21 Sep 2017, 00:00
Sören Amelang Benjamin Wehrmann Julian Wettengel

E.ON prepares Uniper sale / Renewables levy to fall slightly -forecast


German utility E.ON might sell its remaining share in fossil spin-off Uniper to Finnish utility Fortum for 3.8 billion euros, the company said in a statement. The announcement was greeted by dismay by Uniper, which could be broken up by Fortum, according to analysts, report Arno Schuetze and Jussi Rosendahl for Reuters. “Sources close to the matter told Reuters that Fortum was mainly interested in Uniper’s hydropower plants and interests in Swedish nuclear power stations, and it was already working with a partner that might take Uniper’s coal-fired plants.”

Read the Reuters article in English here.

Read the E.ON release in English here.

Find background in the CLEW dossier Battered utilities take on start-ups in innovation race, and the factsheet Germany’s largest utilities at a glance.


E.ON needs the money of a potential Uniper sale for investments in wind and solar energy, and to compete with energy start-ups and the likes of Google, write Jürgen Flauger und Franz Hubik in an article in Handelsblatt. The company is accountable to its shareholders, rather than to last year’s promise to grant Uniper independence. Analysts tell the paper the deal is attractive both for E.ON and Uniper shareholders, while Uniper management would lose out.

Find the Handelsblatt article (behind paywall) here.

Find background in the CLEW dossier Battered utilities take on start-ups in innovation race, and the factsheet Germany’s largest utilities at a glance.

Germany’s levy to support renewables expansion, the EEG surcharge, will decrease to around 6.74 euro cents per kilowatt hour (ct/kWh) in 2018, from this year’s 6.88 ct/kWh, according to calculations by think tank Agora Energiewende.* A predicted rise in wholesale power prices would lower the support payments to renewable power producers. In addition, Germany’s “green energy account” has a surplus of more than 3 billion euros, which could be used to lower the levy for consumers, writes Agora Energiewende in a press release. In 2019, support payments for newly built offshore wind parks would then significantly increase the EEG surcharge to more than 7.5 ct/kWh in 2019, approaching the levy’s peak expected in the following years, writes the think tank.

Find the press release in German here.

For background, read the CLEW factsheets Balancing the books: Germany's "green energy account" and What German households pay for power.

*Like the Clean Energy Wire, Agora Energiewende is a project funded by Stiftung Mercator and the European Climate Foundation.

Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung

The next German government after Sunday’s election should begin with “a critical examination” of existing climate and energy policy guidelines and decide new, “more realistic” ones, writes Andreas Mihm in an opinion piece in Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung. “This has to include the admission that a decarbonisation by 2050 is not realistic with today’s possibilities and without a radical change in the way we life. As every primary school teacher knows, targets must be achievable. Guidelines that ask too much of the pupils from the start, achieve the exact opposite: they discourage,” writes Mihm. “Less overly ambitious announcements are recommended for the next legislative term, and more promising deeds instead.”

Find the opinion piece in German here.

For background, read the CLEW factsheet Germany’s greenhouse gas emissions and climate targets.

Spiegel Online

The German Green Party is at risk of becoming the weakest parliamentary group after this week’s elections, although extreme weather patterns in the Caribbean and the dieselgate scandal at home have shifted the political focus to the environmentalist party’s core competencies, Thomas Fricke writes in a commentary on Spiegel Online. “It might be a bitter truth, but there is plenty of evidence that people are just not mobilised by climate threats,” which are – as of yet – too abstract and distant, Fricke says. The Greens give the impression of putting climate above everything else, including jobs and wealth, “which is a message that hardly gets through to a large part of the populace”, he says. The Greens would be wise to not treat climate protection as an outstanding “special issue”, but instead to view it “as a fixed part of everyday regular governance” that couples emissions reduction with economic growth and competitive market economy thinking, Fricke argues.

Read the article in German here.

For background on the German voters’ attitude towards climate protection, see the CLEW interview with pollster Emnid.

Zeit Online

Environmental protection and conservativism are two defining traits of German society but a corresponding political coalition of the Green Party and the CDU seems as distant as always days before this week’s parliamentary election, Fabian Federl writes on Zeit Online. One reason might be that an understanding has gained a foothold in which “consistent ecology” always will be “a zero sum game” that produces economic losers in return for ecologic winners and which repels powerful forces in the conservative camp that are primarily occupied with conserving material privileges, Federl argues. Another reason, he says, is the Greens’ “arbitrariness”, as they are part of coalitions at the federal state level with virtually every other party currently present in the German parliament. If a party “fancies expropriation [of house owners] as a political measure” when in a coalition with the Left Party but “agrees on abolishing a cap on rent level rises” in another coalition with the CDU and economic liberal FDP, “it’s little wonder that they eventually become inauthentic,” Federl says.

Read the article in German here.

For more information on Germany’s coalition options, see the CLEW factsheets Colour codes: How energy & climate policy differs in German options and a chart on German parties’ energy & climate positions. / E3G

No matter who will govern Germany after this week’s election, a coalition agreement that does not include a commitment to address a phase-out of coal-fired power production “would be a bad sign”, Julian Schwartzkopff writes on The technology that still accounts for a third of German emissions begs the likely new and old Chancellor Angela Merkel to act in order not to risk undermining “German climate leadership at a time when it is needed most”, the researcher at climate think tank E3G writes.

In a separate paper, E3G examines five different outcomes of the election and their ramifications for the future of coal in the country. Assuming that Merkel stays at the helm of German politics, the colour-code of the next coalition “will greatly influence German climate and energy policy over the next four years”, the paper says.

Read the article in English here and the E3G paper in English here.

See the CLEW article German election to define speed and shape of energy transition and the CLEW factsheet When will Germany finally ditch coal? for more information.

German Institute for Economic Research (DIW)

German households on average paid 6 percent less on heating in 2016 than in 2015, according to the study “Heating Monitor 2016” by the German Institute for Economic Research (DIW). This was not due to sinking consumption, but to falling prices for heating oil and gas. “Actually, private households consumed 2 percent more heating energy than in the previous year despite refurbishing measures,” writes DIW in a press release. The study is based on data from households in apartment buildings, which make up about half of Germany’s total housing stock.

Find the press release and the study in German here.

For background, read the CLEW dossier The Energiewende and Efficiency.

All texts created by the Clean Energy Wire are available under a “Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Licence (CC BY 4.0)” . They can be copied, shared and made publicly accessible by users so long as they give appropriate credit, provide a link to the license, and indicate if changes were made.
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