Mercedes-Benz owner Daimler is accelerating its electric car programme, after it failed to cut fleet emissions in Europe for the first time since 2007 last year, Ilona Wissenbach and Edward Taylor report for Reuters. “In the coming years, the company will invest 10 billion euros in the expansion of its electric portfolio and will bring more than 10 new electric cars in series by 2022,” according to a Daimler press release. Previously, Daimler had aimed to achieve the target by 2025.
Read the Reuters report in English here.
Read the CLEW factsheet Reluctant Daimler plans “radical” push into new mobility world for more information.
Average German wholesale electricity prices fell almost nine percent to 28.96 euros per megawatt-hour last year, according to a power market review by grid operator TenneT. Redispatch volumes fell for the first time since 2013, due to a decrease in wind power and improvements in grid infrastructure. Price differences between Germany, Belgium, France, and the Netherlands were reduced in 2016, according to the analysis.
In a letter to her French counterpart Segolene Royal, German environment minister Barbara Hendricks opposed extending the French nuclear plant Cattenom's operational life, Germany’s Federal Government (Bundesregierung) said in a written answer to a parliamentary inquiry by the Green Party. According to the government statement, the plant near the German border is not safe against “seismic influences” - meaning it is not earthquake-proof.
Find the government’s answer in German here.
See also the CLEW factsheet Germany’s energy transition in the European context.
Der Tagesspiegel Online
Germany’s electricity tax is no longer justified in its current form and should be lowered, Hubertus Heil, deputy chairman of the Social Democrats’ (SPD) parliamentary group, said in an interview with Der Tagesspiegel. The tax was introduced by the SPD and the Green Party at the beginning of the century to support clean energy generation, Heil explained. “But if power becomes more and more green, it doesn't make sense to tax this green power,” he said.
Read the interview in German here.
See the CLEW factsheets Germany’s energy consumption and power mix in charts and What German households pay for power for more information.
Handelsblatt Global Edition
The head of Chinese solar panel producer Trina Solar, Gao Jifan, has said German competitor Solarworld was “a company with no competitiveness” that would inevitably “die”, Stephan Scheuer writes in Handeslblatt Global Edition. Gao, whose company is the world’s leading producer of solar panels, said Solarworld could not “rely on government protectionism or subsidies forever”. He also accused the European Commission of “protectionism” in the solar industry to the detriment of European consumers, Scheuer writes, but conceded that the Chinese government also subsidised solar panel manufacturing to some degree.
Read the article in English here (behind paywall).
German energy company Uniper, together with three other co-owners of gas-fired power stations Irsching 4 and 5, has announced plans to decommission the “ultra-efficient and modern” plants for the second time in two years. In a joint press release, plant owners Uniper, Mainova, N-ERGIE and ENTEGA said they could “once again see no viable market prospects for the power plant” as the law forced them to offer the plant’s services “at prices below cost”. They added that they believed the requirement was “unconstitutional.” The plants, in operation since 2010 and 2011 respectively, were “particularly well suited” to rapid cushioning of fluctuating power generation by wind and solar plants, the owners said. “Yet this safeguard, upon which every electricity consumer in Germany relies, is not given appropriate remuneration.” If the grid agency (BNetzA) deems the plants to be relevant to the stability of the power system, it will not permit the shutdown.
Find the press release in English here.
See the CLEW dossier Energiewende effects on power prices, costs and industry for background.
Handelsblatt Global Edition
Russian gas and oil producer Gazprom plans to axe nearly every second job at its German subsidiary, Jürgen Flauger writes in Handelsblatt Global Edition. Apart from cutting Berlin staff from 230 to 130, Gazprom Germania was also “replacing German leadership with Russian managers” to ensure more direct communication with Gazprom’s Moscow headquarters, Flauger writes. “It’s our priority to create synergies and to reduce parallel structures,” Gazprom told Handelsblatt. However, Flauger argues that due to the “dramatic fall” in oil and gas prices the world’s largest natural gas producer could “no longer afford all of its inefficiencies”.
Read the article in English here.
See the CLEW factsheet Germany’s dependence on imported fossil fuels for background.
The Moorburg coal power plant in Hamburg wastes the energy equivalent of 36 tonnes of hard coal per hour during normal operation because environmental organisations and citizen initiatives prevent it from using waste heat for district heating, Olaf Preuß writes in Die Welt, calling this “a waste and a pointless burden on the climate.” The article says at times Moorburg provides three quarters of the electricity consumed in Germany’s second largest city. Operated by state-owned Swedish energy company Vattenfall, it was also intended to provide district heating but activists prevented construction of a necessary pipeline. Hamburg policy, meanwhile, changed in favour of decentralised heating plants that are yet to be constructed, Preuß explains.
Read the article in German here.
See the CLEW article Moorburg power plant – Last of a dying breed, or the future of coal in Germany? for more information.