Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung
“The country, a wind industry park”
"Rapeseed, maize, and wind monocultures" in the German countryside reveal what the solar age looks like, writes Jan Grossarth in a prominent commentary in conservative daily Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung. A return to a more natural way of life was one of the original motivations for the Energiewende, but instead it has turned much of rural Germany into “the largest industrial project in German history”, according to Grossarth. “At night, one can see more red warning lights flash on all horizons than stars in the sky.”
“The 4th largest economy in the world just generated 90 percent of the power it needs from renewables”
Sunday’s record share of renewables is a big deal, writes Jeremy Deaton on thinkprogress.org. “Sunday’s spike in renewable output shows that wind and solar can keep pace with the demands of an economic powerhouse,” he writes. Deaton says it is also notable that Germany is an unlikely leader in solar because of its geographic location and that the performance highlights the success of the Energiewende, even though the country still gets most of its power from fossil fuels.
Find the article in English here.
CLEW reported on the renewable spike in Monday’s News Digest.
“The great contradiction”
German carmaker BMW is a prime example for the industry’s current tightrope walk, writes Thomas Fromm in Süddeutsche Zeitung. The Munich-based company has invested billions of euros into the development of e-cars – money which it has earned with ever larger and more powerful conventional cars. “You can hardly find another industry with such a massive gap between theory and reality, and between vision and day-to-day business,” writes Fromm. “The revolution of the car world costs a lot of money, people say at BMW. The profits from the old car world is meant to pay for it.”
Read the article in German here.
Also read CLEW’s Dossier on the energy transition and Germany’s transport sector.
International Council on Clean Transportation / Süddeutsche Zeitung
“Emissions scandal escalates”
A new study from the International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT) confirms government doubts about the accuracy of carmakers’ CO2 emissions tests, report Markus Balser and Klaus Ott in Süddeutsche Zeitung. The carmakers use all sorts of tricks and loopholes in the test procedure, according to the study. Transport minister Alexander Dobrindt has said he might verify carmakers’ data on CO2 emissions.
Find the article in German here.
“Defeat for wind power lobby”
The Bavarian constitutional court has upheld a controversial distance rule for new wind turbines, reports Christian Sebald in the Süddeutsche Zeitung. Since 2014, wind turbines in Bavaria could only be built when they are a distance of ten times their height from the nearest human settlement. With today’s 200 metre high turbines, this means distance requirements of up to 2 kilometers. Wind power proponents said the rule made new wind development in Bavaria de facto impossible and challenged the regulation in court. Only 0.1 percent of Bavaria was available for wind power because of the rule, they claimed. The constitutional court argued that the Bavarian government was entitled to change the law and said that more space was available to smaller turbines.
Read the article in German here.
German Advisory Council on the Environment
Environmental Report 2016
The German Advisory Council on the Environment (SRU) has published its Environmental Report 2016 in which it calls for an ecological transformation of Germany’s economy. The seven scientists who publish their advice to the government every four years say that Germany has achieved plenty in the area of renewables but was a “negative example” when it came to agricultural policy, where it had attenuated stricter EU rules on ecological farming. Germany needed to abandon “worn out technological development paths” such as electricity generation from lignite and intensive farming. Rising electricity prices in the Energiewende should not be used as an argument against the reform, the SRU says. The experts suggest that the issues of lower income households which struggle to pay for electricity should be solved in the social policy sphere.
Find an English summary of the report here.
Also read CLEW's Factsheet: What German households pay for power
“The ability to change is and will remain a decisive competitive advantage”
The continuous decline of power prices was putting pressure on the conventional power business, EnBW CEO Frank Mastiaux said at the utility's annual general meeting in Karlsruhe. By 2020, EnBW wants to compensate for the decrease in earnings from conventional generation by further developing renewables, the grid business and customer-oriented sales.
Read the press release in English here.
General Court of the European Union
EU court confirms 2012 Renewable Energy Act (EEG) involved state aid
The EU's General Court has dismissed the action brought by Germany against the Commission decision to classify renewable energy support granted in the 2012 Renewable Energy Act (EEG) as state aid. In a press release, it also confirmed the Commission's view that industry exemptions granted to electricity-intensive industry constituted state aid. Despite its state aid classification, the EU commission had approved the renewable support and most of the industry exemptions.
The German Ministry for Energy and Economic Affairs (BMWi) said the current EEG law was not affected by the decision, and that industry would not have to fear repayments. It also said it would consider whether to challenge the decision.
Read the court's press release in English here.
Find the ministry's press release in German here.