02 Jun 2016
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Commentators spar over renewables reform / Agreement on biomass

Süddeutsche Zeitung

“Failure desired”

Germany, the homeland of the energy transition, treats renewables like a relative who annoys everyone with permanent demands, writes Michael Bauchmüller in a commentary on the reform agreement between Chancellar Angela Merkel and regional states in Süddeutsche Zeitung. He argues the reform of the Renewable Energy Act (EEG) is okay to minimise costs. But the discussion wrongly focuses on the “alleged cost explosion” for renewable development and green power transport. In reality, it is about the survival of the old energy world’s conventional generation, which exacerbates the problems of oversupply and grid bottlenecks. “But the coalition avoids this debate, because it dreads trouble from industry and unions […] the energy transition is in full swing globally. In its homeland, it gets into trouble.”

For details on the reform agreement, read CLEW’s article Wind development has to wait for grid expansion.

You can find more background in the factsheet EEG reform 2016 – switching to auctions for renewables.



“Welcome to reality”

Claims by critics that the reform of the renewable energy law is choking the Energiewende are exaggerated, writes Klaus Stratmann in a commentary for Handelsblatt. “Renewable power  advances with gigantic steps in Germany […] the solutions the government and the states are heading for are a long way away from killing off renewables, wind back the energy transition or file away climate protection,” argues Stratmann. Pointing to high costs, he concludes: “The real scandal is that counter-steering did not begin years ago.”



“It won’t work like this!”

The renewable reform means Germany says goodbye to its role as a pioneer in energy transition and climate protection, and to the Paris Climate Agreement, writes Jürgen Döschner in a commentary for public broadcaster WDR. A lot more electricity will be needed to power transport and heating in the future, but the government “puts renewables in chains […] the reform is a fainthearted step in the wrong direction”.

Read the commentary in German here.


Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung

“Billions thrown to the wind”

The energy transition has become a bottomless pit for power consumers because it got out of control, writes Andreas Mihm in a commentary for Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung. The transition to auctions by 2019 is the right thing but comes too late, according to Mihm. “Until then, electricity consumers will have paid several unnecessary billions more due to the inefficient support.”

Read the commentary in German here.


Zeit Online

“Merkel gives up climate policy ambitions”

If the government wants to reach its climate targets, it should work on grid extensions and making conventional power generation more suitable to complement renewables, writes Alexandra Endres in a commentary for Zeit Online. “But instead, it puts the breaks on the growth of green energy. Germany risks missing its climate targets already […] The government might gain political control over energy policy, but it gives up climate policy ambitions instead.”

Read the commentary in German here.



“A dishonest debate”

The government mantra of exposing renewables to market forces is only a cover-up for the real aim of slowing down renewable development, writes Bernward Janzing in a commentary for the left-leaning tageszeitung. “Many believe the renewable expansion is too fast because coal is suffering,” according to Janzing. “What would really take the energy transition forward is making space in the cables by withdrawing coal power plants.”

Read the commentary in German here.



Agreement about biomass

The heads of Germany’s ruling coalition have found a solution for the contentious support for biomass plants, news agency dpa reports. After postponing the decision in Tuesday night’s discussions between the federal government and state premiers, they agreed on Wednesday night that biomass plants will take part in the new auction system for renewables. The plants should also be expanded by 150 megawatts (MW) annually in the next three years and by 200 MW in the following three years.

Read the article in German here.

See CLEW article "Wind development has to wait for grid expansion".


AG Energiebilanzen

“Energy consumption a little higher”

Germany’s energy consumption in the first three months of 2016 was little higher than during the same period in the previous year, the AG Energiebilanzen reports. Energy usage of mineral oil, natural gas (2% more) and renewables (5% more) increased while consumption from hard coal (4% less), lignite (4% less) and nuclear power (7% less) fell. Wind power increased its share in total energy consumption in Germany by 12 percent, while the share of solar PV dropped by 8 percent.

Read the press release in German here and download the energy consumption data for the first quarter 2016 here.



“A planned end”

Germany is largely focusing on developing renewable energies but, while this is happening successfully, it has not had the intended effect of decarbonising the energy sector, writes Constantin H. Alsheimer, chairman of the board at Frankfurt utility Mainova, in Handelsblatt. While highly efficient gas power plants are standing idle, emission-intensive lignite plants are generating around the clock. To solve this problem there should be a coal exit plan, modelled on the existing nuclear exit, Alsheimer suggests. New coal plants should not be permitted anymore while existing ones should receive run time permissions. Free emission allowances should be taken out of the market. With this, a controlled phase-out of coal by the middle of the century would be possible, he says.


Renewable Energy Policy Network for the 21st Century (REN21)

“Renewables 2016 – Global Status Report”

Germany’s total renewable capacity excluding hydropower ranks third in the world behind China and the United States, according to the new Global Status Report by the Renewable Energy Policy Network for the 21st Century (REN21). But the country comes second after Denmark when the capacity per capita is measured. 

Read the report in English here.




“Germany presses for early review of EU emission goals”

The EU should “keep open the option of raising” its 2030 climate goals before 2020, a German environment ministry official told a conference in Brussels, Mlex reports. The bloc should conduct an early review of its emission target of cutting 30 percent from sectors such as agriculture, transport, buildings and waste, Jasper Braam said. He also said that the EU needed to use more accurate emissions data in order to avoid falling short of the target.

Read the article (behind paywall) in English here.

All texts created by the Clean Energy Wire are available under a “Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Licence (CC BY 4.0)” . They can be copied, shared and made publicly accessible by users so long as they give appropriate credit, provide a link to the license, and indicate if changes were made.
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Sven Egenter

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