Renewable energy sources produced about 34 percent of Germany’s net power generation for public electricity supply in 2016, according to first projections by solar energy research institute Fraunhofer ISE. “The share of renewables therefore remained roughly unchanged, compared to 2015,” Bruno Burger of Fraunhofer ISE told Clean Energy Wire. There was a drop in coal-fired and nuclear power generation last year, but a sharp rise of natural gas, according to the data. Earlier projections by AG Energiebilanzen (AGEB) had showed similar developments in German primary energy consumption. Fraunhofer ISE’s calculations are based on data by Germany’s statistics agency (Destatis) for January through September. Fourth quarter extrapolations are based on preliminary data by the European Energy Exchange (EEX) and the grid operators, and the final data available in autumn 2017 may differ, according to Burger.
Calculations on the share of renewables in Germany’s power mix can lead to varied results, depending on the preliminary data used. The share also differs when assessing net power generation (focus on power fed into the grid) versus gross power generation, which includes facilities that generate electricity for industry self-consumption and electricity that plants use for their operation. The share of renewables in Germany’s gross power generation in 2016 was about 32 percent, according to Fraunhofer ISE.
Find the complete document in English here.
Find out more about the difficulties surrounding the data on the share of renewables in the CLEW factsheet Germany’s renewable generation peaks remain shrouded in data fog.
Read about estimations of the share of renewables in Germany’s primary energy consumption in the CLEW article German carbon emissions rise in 2016 despite coal use drop.
Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung
Peter Terium and Johannes Teyssen, former CEOs of Germany’s traditional utilities RWE and E.ON respectively, face each other in a new green energy rivalry after both companies split in two last year, writes Helmut Bünder in a portrait of both men in Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung. Teyssen heads the “new” E.ON focussed on renewables, while Terium is the head of RWE renewable spin-off innogy. But it is not quite true that two former advocates of dirty nuclear and coal power now want to head into the clean world of wind and solar power, writes Bünder. The new E.ON had to keep some nuclear power stations, while both managers also agree that coal and gas will remain essential for many years to come.
German coal mining state Brandenburg premier Dietmar Woidke has rejected calls for an end date for the country’s use of lignite for power generation. “A discussion on whether we will switch off brown coal in 10, 20 or 40 years would only lead to a loss of jobs in Germany,” Woidke said in an interview with publishing group svz.de. He said renewables were not in a position yet to reliably cover power demand.
Read the interview in German here.
For background, read the CLEW factsheet When will Germany finally ditch coal?
Germany’s buyer’s premium for electric cars introduced last year has had a meagre impact, writes Hanne Schweitzer in Zeit Online. The money earmarked for the incentive can cover between 300,000 and 400,000 cars, but authorities received a mere 9,023 applications in the past half year. Car industry expert Stefan Bratzel from the Center of Automotive Management told the author: “The premium is a flop, it does not have any effect.” But he added the failure had the positive side effect of forcing actors to consider alternative ways to push e-mobility, such as increasing e-car ranges and improving charging infrastructure.
Read the article in German here.
Find the official statistics on the premium here.
Find background in the CLEW dossier The Energiewende and German carmakers.
The fondness of Germans for firecrackers released about 4,000 tonnes of particulate matter during New Year celebrations – about 15 percent of what vehicles in the country emit during an entire year, Christoph Behrens writes in Süddeutsche Zeitung. On New Year’s Day 2017, many survey points registered particulate matter volumes far exceeding EU limit values of 50 micrograms per cubic metre per day, with some stations measuring up to 1,346 micrograms during peak hours, Behrens writes. “This is a poisoning of the air that just runs counter to modern standards,” Jürgen Resch, director of the environmental association Deutsche Umwelthilfe (DUH), told the newspaper. Resch calls on German cities that already struggle to meet the EU’s limit values, such as Munich or Stuttgart, to impose stricter bans on the use of private firecrackers in order to bring emission values down.
Read the article in German here.
Süddeutsche Zeitung / Reuters
Germany’s major utility RWE intends to pay its 6.8 billion euro-contribution to a state-administered fund for financing the storage of nuclear waste without delay, raising questions about its actual financial status, Michael Bauchmüller writes in Süddeutsche Zeitung. RWE last year denied its shareholders a dividend payout for the first time since the 1950s, pointing at financial difficulties resulting from Germany’s nuclear exit and low energy prices, Bauchmüller explains. “Surprisingly, RWE all of a sudden has a lot of money,” he adds. The national Commission to Review the Financing for the Phase-out of Nuclear Energy had allowed the “notoriously cash-strapped” utilities to pay their share in instalments until the end of 2022, Bauchmüller writes. In that case, they would have been responsible for any additional cost regarding nuclear waste accruing in the meantime – a risk that RWE’s new CEO Rolf-Martin Schmitz “did not want to take”, Bauchmüller writes.
For more information on Germany exiting nuclear power generation, read the CLEW dossier The challenges of Germany’s nuclear phase-out.
Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung
The term “fracking”, commonly understood in Germany as unconventional gas drilling by means of chemicals, has discredited almost any form of onshore welling in the country regardless of its actual environmental impact, Frank Pergande writes in Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (FAZ). The 2011 US documentary “Gasland,” which depicts the negative consequences of the technology on the drinking water supply, caused opposition to fracking with “sweeping critique for Germany’s natural gas and oil production” that had been conducted without criticism for decades, Pergande writes. “’Fracking’ became a fighting term,” he explains, adding that the ensuing debate led to a “greater awareness for the contradictions of the technology”.