05 Nov 2015
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'Emergency repairs' to the power market / Cutting CO2 without nuclear

Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung

Power market reforms are mainly “emergency repairs”

German energy minister Sigmar Gabriel says the reforms passed in cabinet yesterday train the power market for the 21st century, writes Andreas Mihm in a commentary for Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung. But Mihm argues the changes are “above all an emergency repair of long-standing aberrations in energy policy that question the success of the whole Energiewende”. Mihm names the “overhasty and overpriced” transition to renewables, which creates enormous stress in the power system, as the biggest error. Mihm argues that it is still the right approach to bet on market forces, but he says the standby reserve of lignite plants is useless and its only purpose is to compensate utilities for the destruction of their business model. “Nobody believes that they will ever be online again,” he writes.

Find details of the reforms in the factsheet "Germany's new power market design" here.


Frankfurter Rundschau

“Legal actions against lignite reserve looms”

Municipal utility cooperation Trianel is considering legal actions against a new electricity standby reserve comprised of lignite-fired power stations, Thorsten Knuf reports in the Frankfurter Rundschau. There were several indications that the lignite reserve was illegal state aid under EU rules, as it would compete with municipal power production and was not open to all technologies, Trianel said. Energy minister Sigmar Gabriel said that he expected it to be in agreement with EU law.


Süddeutsche Zeitung

“Smart electricity”

The roll-out of smart meters in Germany will start with large consumers, while normal households will not be forced to install the new technology, Michael Bauchmüller writes in the Süddeutsche Zeitung. The new law on the digitalisation of the energy transition also includes strict data protection rules, energy minister Sigmar Gabriel said. “Nobody will know when Sigmar Gabriel goes to the fridge at night,” the minister said. The intelligent meters will help to better balance supply and demand in the power system. Power traders will have a better idea how much power they need to buy to supply their customers. Flexible tariffs could also enable customers to use more power at times when electricity is cheapest, smart meter manufacturer Landis+Gyr explained.

Read the article in German here.

See a CLEW factsheet on the new power market design including the digitalisation law here.


German Institute for Economic Research (DIW)

“European climate targets can be reached without nuclear power”

Europe does not need to use nuclear power in order to achieve its greenhouse gas reduction targets, according to case studies and a scenario analysis by the DIW. Rising investment and operating costs of nuclear plants, as well as unsolved questions about decommissioning and final storage of radioactive waste, were making the technology economically unattractive, DIW researcher Claudia Kemfert said. Cheaper renewables in combination with electricity storage could compensate for the drop in power from nuclear reactors by 2050, the researchers calculated.

Download the study in German here.

See a CLEW dossier on the nuclear phase-out in Germany here.


Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung

“Factory of counterfeiters”

Revelations about the deliberate misrepresentation of CO2 emissions at VW are a new “chapter of horror”, writes Holger Appel in a commentary for Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung. “The news lead into a menacing maelstrom that approaches the whole German car industry and threatens to engulf VW. Its reputation is ruined, its pride destroyed, its abilities questioned.”  

Read the comment in German here.



“New life for old batteries”

Car companies want to use discarded batteries from electric vehicles to build grid storage in order to reduce costs, reports Handelsblatt. Daimler has begun work to build Germany’s largest battery storage system, with a capacity of 13 MWh, in cooperation with three partners this week in the west German town of Lünen, reports Franz Hubik for the paper. More than 650 used batteries from Smart-branded leasing cars will be able to cover the power demand of Lünen’s 85,000 inhabitants for one hour, according to the plans. Daimler CEO Dieter Zetsche said finding new uses for discarded batteries would help to lower the costs of new batteries.
Rival BMW had announced a similar scheme in Hamburg at the beginning of the year, according to Handelsblatt. Hubik says the carmakers’ grid storage systems intrude into one of the last remaining highly profitable business areas of traditional utilities.

Read the article in German here.



“Export hit energy transition”

State support for green energy is decreasing in Germany, prompting renewable technology manufacturers and service providers to look abroad for new market opportunities, Andreas Schulze reports in the Handelsblatt. He gives the example of biogas power plant maker Ökobit, but says that photovoltaic companies are also looking to participate in other countries’ energy transitions.


IDW-online / HTWK Leipzig

“Apartment house as a mini power plant”

After running a two-year test on an “efficiency plus” house with photovoltaic installations, a heat-pump and battery storage in Bavaria, researchers from the HTWK Leipzig found that such an apartment house can produce more energy than it uses. The excess power of 13,900 kilowatt-hours could be used to charge an electric car for driving 80,000 km per year.

Read the press release in German here.


COP21 – Road to Paris


“NGOs demand coal exit from German banks”

German banks have invested 5.7 billion euros in the coal sector of the Philippines, activists from NGO Urgewald say, according to a report by Dario Sarmadi on EurActiv. Deutsche Bank contributed 4.5 billion euros, followed by Allianz insurances with around 1 billion euros, the activists said. Urgewalt and developing organisation Oxfam demand that the banks come up with an exit plan for coal finance ahead of the Paris climate conference.

Read the article in German here.

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