E-cars: Daimler invests in batteries / EU checks industry exemptions
German carmaker Daimler plans to invest more than one billion euros in a global battery production compound for its hybrid and electric vehicle fleet. About half the amount will be allotted to the company’s second battery factory to be constructed in the German town Kamenz. Thomas Weber, who is responsible for Daimler’s research, said in a press release: “Highly efficient battery systems are an important aspect of our strategy. They are an integral part of the vehicle architecture and not a ready-made product. The development, production and integration of those complex systems into our vehicles is one of our core competences.” The company has not yet said where other production capacities will be established. Daimler has built battery systems in its first factory in Kamenz since 2012, but CEO Dieter Zetsche earlier this year ruled out investing in cell production for electric cars in light of current global overproduction.
Read the press release in English here.
For background read the CLEW factsheet Reluctant Daimler plans “radical” push into new mobility world and the CLEW dossier The Energiewende and German carmakers.
EU Commission / Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy
The European Commission has found German plans to support high-efficiency cogeneration (combined heat and power – CHP) to be in line with EU state aid rules. The announcement affirmed parts of the deal that the German federal government had struck with the EU Commission on state aid-related aspects of the country’s new power market law and other energy policy issues this summer. “It’s a good signal that legal certainty for the coming years was established in this important area,” German economy minister Sigmar Gabriel said in a press release. State support for CHP facilities could now be paid retroactively from 1 January 2016 on.
In the same press release, the EU Commission said it was opening an in-depth investigation to see if exemptions for energy-intensive industries on CHP-surcharge payments were in line with state aid rules.
For background read the CLEW article Agreement with EU Commission clears way for German power market reform.
Bloomberg highlights some of the ways the individual big German utilities could find the money needed to free themselves of the responsibility for storing nuclear waste. It comes after last week’s federal cabinet decision that sees nuclear power plant operators pay a total of 23.6 billion euros into a state-administered fund. “For the largest part of the sum reserves were built, but the utilities also have to finance a risk surcharge of 6.2 billion euros,” write Tino Andresen and Weixin Zha for Bloomberg. The utilities might have to sell parts of their operations to be able to shoulder the additional costs, write Andresen and Weixin.
Read the article in German here.
For background, read the CLEW factsheet Securing utility payments for the nuclear clean-up and the CLEW article German utilities buy out of nuclear waste liability for 23.6 bln euros.
The fees that consumers pay for Germany’s electricity grid are too high and unfairly distributed across the country's regions, writes Malte Kreutzfeldt in an opinion piece in tageszeitung (taz). He calls for a nationwide harmonisation of the transmission grid fees and the lowering of the equity interest rates for power grid operators further than planned by the Federal Network Agency.
Read the article in German here.
For background read the CLEW article Germany debates form of renewables support as levy rises, the CLEW factsheet Re-dispatch costs in the German power grid and the CLEW dossier The energy transition and Germany’s power grid.
The future of the German energy transition may be in question with the recent reform of the Renewable Energy Act (EEG), but California could take some lessons from the Energiewende, writes Kate Meis for California business-to-business media company GreenBiz. The US state could benefit from ideas and frameworks like Germany’s policy and pricing mechanisms – such as guaranteed feed-in tariffs – as well as community ownership and empowerment and the support and leadership of local governments.
Read the article in English here.