“SMA Solar returns to profit on foreign demand”
SMA Solar, Germany’s largest solar group, posted its first operating profit in three years thanks to strong foreign demand, according to a Reuters report. The group posted earnings before interest and tax (EBIT) of 34.3 million euros in 2015, compared with a loss of 165 million euros a year earlier. The company increased sales by almost a quarter to one billion euros and proposed a surprise dividend, the first in three years. Shares rose more than seven percent.
SMA’s international share of sales rose to 87 percent from 78 percent in 2014, according to a press release. The most important foreign markets were North America, Great Britain, Japan and Australia.
Read the report in English here.
Find the SMA Solar press release in English here.
“Gabriel’s understanding of being close to the people”
German energy minister Sigmar Gabriel likes to emphasize that the Energiewende is a community project, involving citizens in a close dialogue, writes Fritz Vorholz in Die Zeit. But towns and municipalities which want to take the Energiewende into their own hands by taking over local power or gas grids often end up in court over concerns by the Federal Cartel Office. Gabriel’s recent reform proposals will not remedy this situation, according to legal experts cited by Vorholz. The legal insecurities will reduce competition and investments, and prevent taking the Energiewende closer to the people, according to Vorholz.
Read the article in German here.
Find the CLEW dossier on citizens' energy here.
“Energy policies need fundamental renewal”
Marijn Dekkers, the president of the German Chemicals Industry Association (VCI), has criticised the German renewable energy surcharge (EEG) as too costly and not effective. Dekkers argues in an opinion piece for the Handelsblatt that it harms the acceptance of the Energiewende in Germany. “The 1,500 medium-sized companies in the [chemical] sector that pay the full levy finance the bulk of the effort. Support for the energy transition will only return when prices fall. […] It is therefore time for a fundamental reform of the EEG instead of further attempts at patchwork repair.”
Read the opinion piece in English here.
Find a CLEW factsheet on the EEG reform plans here.
Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung
“Energiewende for the shipping industry”
Uwe Lauber, CEO of machine manufacturer MAN Diesel & Turbo, is calling for a maritime energy transition by shifting from heavy oil to liquefied natural gas (LNG) as propellant for ships, reports Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung. According to the article, the benefits of using LNG include 25 percent less CO₂ emissions, as well as virtually no sulphur dioxide emissions, which currently pollute the air especially in harbour cities. Lauber sees this shift as the “core piece of the energy transition on the high seas”. He calls for planning security instead of subsidies to cope with the transition: “It’s a paradigm shift to convert a whole industry. Politicians have to set a secure framework.” So far, only 2 percent of ships worldwide use LNG.
“RWE must finally make the radical change”
Welt’s Rolf Schraa writes of a “change of an era” for the German utility RWE in the run-up to the corporation’s spin-off of its renewables operations from the fossil and nuclear energy generation at the end of this week. With about two thirds of the current employees, the as-yet-unnamed company will constitute the “new core” of RWE’s business. Schraa notes that the “old RWE AG” has announced to hold a majority stake in the new company. Therefore, “the green daughter will not get rid of her black parents”. The belated decision to split was driven by low wholesale electricity prices and the pressure of the Energiewende, writes Schraa. “RWE slept through the lucrative Gold Rush-era of the energy transition.”
Read the article in German here.
Read a CLEW dossier on utilities in the energy transition here.