EnBW / Reuters
German utility EnBW reports a 1.8 billion euros net loss after already fully incorporating in the 2016 financial statements an expected payment of 4.7 billion euros into the country’s nuclear clean-up fund. “Due to the law of reorganising responsibility for nuclear waste management, we were pushed to the very limits of our company's financial capabilities in 2016,” said Frank Mastiaux, Chairman of the Board of Management at EnBW, in a letter to shareholders. The company will suspend its annual dividend for the first time in 13 years, reports Reuters. While grids, renewable energies and sales already account for 80 percent of the operating result (adjusted EBITDA), the company would now focus on the future with "major projects such as the Hohe See offshore wind farm," said Mastiaux in a press release.
For background read the CLEW factsheet Securing utility payments for the nuclear clean-up.
Clean Energy Wire / Federation of German Consumer Organisations (vzbv)
Replacing Germany’s renewables surcharge with a tax-financed energy transition fund could help to distribute the financial burden associated with expanding low-carbon energy sources more fairly, a study commissioned by the Federation of German Consumer Organisations (vbzv) has found. According to the study by energy consultancy enervis, an Energiewende fund could bring 70 million customers potential savings of up to 250 euros per person and year. Private customers currently used 25 percent of the electricity in Germany but footed 36 percent of the bill, vzbv head Klaus Müller explained at the study’s presentation in Berlin. Financial capabilities of families were not accounted for under the current system, making poorer households spend a larger fraction of their income to fund renewables, Müller added. If the surcharge was replaced by a fund, income and corporate taxes would have to rise in order to compensate for the more than 25 billion euros in revenue generated by the surcharge, the study says.
Find a press release by the vzbv in German here.
For more information, see the CLEW article Debate on financing renewables in new ways gathers pace in Germany as well as the CLEW factsheet What German households pay for power.
Completing the energy transition and reaching Germany’s climate targets is possible only with a corresponding transport transition (Verkehrswende), according to a policy paper by new think tank Agora Verkehrswende.* The organisation presents “Twelve Theses” describing central fields of action and topics of Germany’s transport transition with the “clear goal of bidding fossils oil and gas farewell by 2050”. Technological progress in e-mobility and digitalisation was not enough to reach greenhouse gas reduction goals, and a regulatory framework for a climate-neutral transport system by 2050 was needed. “The government must set the right course now,” said Christian Hochfeld, director of Agora Verkehrswende, in a press release. The theses include: “The transport transition will succeed with the mobility transition and the energy transition in transport”, “The transport transition secures the economic location Germany” and “The societal benefit of the transport transition will be its driver”.
Find the paper (in German) for download here.
*Like the Clean Energy Wire, Agora Verkehrswende is funded by the Stiftung Mercator and the European Climate Foundation.
Germany needs a vision for the transport system of the future, writes Alexander Möller, managing director of Germany’s largest automobile club ADAC, in a guest commentary in Handelsblatt. “We don’t think big enough and seldom visionary. We need a target vision in which we move emission-free, automated and in an interconnected system mobility of public and individual transport,” writes Möller. The car remained “mobility guarantor number one.”
For background, see the CLEW dossier The Energiewende and German carmakers.
Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung
After a record loss of 16 billion euros, CEO Johannes Teyssen sees his utility E.ON on track to become “a perfectly normal” company again, Helmut Bünder and Brigitte Koch write in Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung. Since profits in the power and gas retailing business have dwindled due to fierce competition, E.ON focusses on the more arduous business of tailor-made customer solutions, the authors write. Yet, E.ON’s management “would already be satisfied with last year’s operating profit” before interest and tax, Bünder and Koch explain. According to Teyssen, the utility’s split from fossil spin-off Uniper has been “very straining,” which is why E.ON’s current “dry spell” was likely to persist for “another two years.”
For background, see the CLEW factsheet E.ON shareholders ratify energy giant’s split.
World Economic Forum
In the midst of its transition to low-carbon energy generation, Germany has re-entered the top 20 in the World Economic Forum’s (WEF) Global Energy Architecture Performance Index. The index examines the affordability, environmental sustainability, and security of national energy systems around the world and is typically dominated by smaller countries that find it "comparatively easier to enact changes in their energy systems", the WEF explained in a press release. Germany achieved rank 19 due its particularly good performance in electrification, the diversification of its domestic supply, and its energy security. It scored bad in terms of energy imports, nitrous oxide emissions as well as its CO2 emissions.
Find the press release in English here.
See the CLEW factsheet Germany’s energy consumption and power mix in charts.
Several industry representatives support the call to abolish the electricity tax in Germany, writes Jens Tartler in Tagesspiegel. Association of German Chambers of Commerce and Industry (DIHK) and German Engineering Federation (VDMA) argue that power prices are too high for companies and other consumers, due to levies and taxes. The power tax should be replaced by a CO₂ tax, as the former prevented “merging power, heat and mobility into a flexible energy system”, according to Harald Uphoff, acting managing director of German Renewable Energy Federation (BEE).
Read the article in German here.
For background, see the CLEW article Debate on financing renewables in new ways gathers pace in Germany and the CLEW news digest item CO2 price should replace levy to fund renewables expansion - state sec.
The federal state of Saxony wants to change the law in order to exclude itself from the search for a final nuclear waste repository in Germany, Michael Bauchmüller writes in Süddeutsche Zeitung. Saxony wants to exclude granite from the rock varieties coming into consideration for a final repository before a vote on the matter in the Bundesrat, the council of federal state governments, since construction of further “technical barriers” was needed to make granite safe for nuclear waste storage, he writes. In Germany, granite is mainly found in Saxony and parts of Bavaria, which also sought to rank down the rock variety in the search process. Environment minister Barbara Hendricks said Saxony should not “act free of any responsibility” by attempting to exclude its territory from the search.
Read the article in German here.
See the CLEW factsheet What to with the nuclear waste – the storage question for further information.
Utilities should expand their product range beyond power, gas, water and heat to sell innovative services or even electric appliances, according to an online survey for the study “The future of energy: What consumers really want” by consultancy AXXCON. The energy industry did not know consumers’ demand enough, but the study showed that “the doors of the customers are open”, said consultant Hakan Yesilmen in a press release. Survey respondents can imagine their utility not only offering new supply, production and price models, but also selling solar PV systems, e-cars and smart home solutions.
Find the press release on the survey in German here.