Reuters / Handelsblatt / E.ON
German energy company E.ON posted an unexpectedly strong jump in quarterly operating profit, boosted by its retail unit that will form one of the energy group’s main pillars after a recently unveiled overhaul that involves breaking up rival innogy, reports Christoph Steitz for Reuters. First-quarter adjusted earnings before interest and tax (EBIT) grew by 24 percent to 1.3 billion euros.
Earnings at E.ON’s renewables business rose 7 per cent to 171 million euros. The utility noted “countervailing effects” in the market: “On the one hand, its installed capacity was higher than in the prior-year period due to the addition of new wind farms. On the other hand, the sales prices for its power output declined”.
Jürgen Flauger writes in business daily Handelsblatt that E.ON is “back in attack mode” after piling up losses in three consecutive years.
For background, read the article RWE and E.ON overhaul power sector - German reactions to innogy deal and the dossier Battered utilities take on start-ups in innovation race.
Uniper / Reuters / manager magazin
New problems at its Datteln 4 hard-coal power plant have caused a hefty impairment charge at German fossil power generator Uniper. First quarter adjusted EBIT was 350 million euros, down from 514 million euros in the same period a year earlier, the company said in a press release. According to a Reuters report, commissioning of Datteln 4 is “effectively delayed to summer 2020, nine years after it was supposed to enter service”. Datteln 4 is probably the last large coal power plant entering service in Germany, following the start-up of Vattenfall’s Moorburg plant in Hamburg 2014, according to manager magazine. About half of Uniper is owned by German energy company E.ON.
Federal Environment Ministry
Germany’s new environment minister, Svenja Schulze, has said the country has “had a deficit in climate action for many years” and urged that “we have to change course” to meet emissions reduction ambitions. In her speech at the regional industry event Berlin Energy Days, Schulze said the government will introduce a Climate Protection Act (CPA) in 2019 to get Germany on track to meet its 2030 emission reduction target of 55 percent less greenhouse gases than in 1990. “This law will set the rules for how we fulfil the target and how this can be monitored,” the minister said, adding that the legally binding changes in the CPA will “affect many special laws”. Schulze said the commission for Germany’s coal exit is central to this end, reiterating that it will come up with an end date for coal-fired power production by the end of 2018, and that more has to be done in the heating sector, where improving efficiency standards was high on her list of priorities. Schulze added that the debate over a national carbon price that she triggered in April “is exactly the kind of debate we need” to make progress in climate action. The costs of the energy transition had to be shifted from renewables to fossil energy sources in all sectors without causing additional costs for citizens, the minister said.
Find the speech in German here.
The German EU budget Commissioner Günther Oettinger tries to avoid tighter emissions limits for lorries, working against a push for much stricter limits by France, Ireland, Lithuania, Luxemburg and the Netherlands, Jens Tartler writes in the Tagesspiegel Background. The governments have called for reducing CO2 emissions of utility vehicles over 3.5 tonnes by at least 24 percent by 2025 and by over 35 percent by 2030, arguing that lorries only account for five percent of all vehicles on the road but for a quarter of all emissions in the sector, Tartler says. According to the newspaper, the EU Commission will propose a reduction of 10 to 15 percent by 2025, not least due to the influence of German commissioner Oettinger, “who has close ties to the [German] car industry”, Tartler says. Oettinger supports German utility vehicle producers MAN and Daimler, who lobby for reducing emissions reduction to just 7 percent by 2025, according to the article.
For background, read the CLEW dossier The Energiewende and German carmakers.
Women are largely underrepresented in Germany’s energy industry, occupying just 12 percent of executive positions in the sector, consultancy PwC says in a press release. A PwC analysis found the figure had increased by only two percentage points since 2014, “way too little for a period of four years”, the press release says. In spite of women having relevant expertise in the energy sector and a sweeping lack of skilled labour in Germany, they very rarely get promoted to leading positions, according to PwC. About one in four departments in the energy industry is led by a woman, mainly in the areas of human resources and public relations. “Technical or strategic tasks still are almost exclusively carried out by men,” says Nicole Elert, legal expert at PwC. In the top positions, the share of women is just one percent, the consultancy says. The situation for women working in the renewable energy industry is not very different to that in the energy industry in general, PwC adds.
Read the press release in German here.
Find a CLEW article on skilled labour shortages in the Energiewende here.