G7 decarbonisation efforts assessed
Centre on Regulation in Europe (CERRE)
“The energy transition in Europe: initial lessons from Germany, the UK and France”
The experience of Germany, the UK and France shows that the transition to a power sector running on renewable energy is a lengthy process that has to reconcile conflicting interests which arise when technologies, social norms and institutions change, researchers from Spain, Germany, the UK and France report for CERRE. While the energy transition has caused electricity bills to rise and has burdened some consumer groups, it is in the future envisaged to deliver lower costs due to the increased maturity of renewables. For the future electricity market, the scientists recommend a system of “competition for the market” through capacity tenders, and long-term contracts for differences for renewables and back-up capacity.
Read the paper in English here.
Tracking progress towards ending reliance on coal – first assessment report
Sustainability NGO E3G has published a “G7 Coal Scorecard”, assessing the progress of G7 members in decarbonising their economies by pursuing coal phase-out actions. The US comes first in the ranking, Germany is in sixth place and Japan ranks last. Germany was “struggling to act despite recognising that a coal phase-out is now inevitable”, the country’s scorecard reads. Germany is still supporting financing for coal projects abroad but there is no market for new coal power stations in Germany, the authors found. “Prior to Paris, Germany must acknowledge the need for additional action on existing coal," the report concludes.
See the G7 coal scorecards here.
“Sigmar Gabriel’s red herring”
Sigmar Gabriel, Germany’s Minister for Economic Affairs and Energy, has used the stress test of the provisions that nuclear power stations operators have made for plant decommissioning and storage of the nuclear waste as a red herring, writes Harald Schumann in an opinion piece for Der Tagesspiegel. Gabriel concluded that the utilities had enough money set aside for the nuclear clean-up. In reality, the utilities’ ability to pay depends entirely on their economic well-being, which is decreasing together with their market value, says Schumann. Not even the auditors who did the stress test found the utilities’ calculations convincing, Schumann writes.
Read the op-ed in German here.
Read a CLEW factsheet on securing utility payments for the nuclear clean-up here.
Süddeutsche Zeitung / Jena University
“Redox flow battery could help the energy transition”
Researchers from the Friedrich Schiller University Jena in Germany have presented a new redox-flow battery which they envisage will store power from wind and solar facilities at low costs, Andrea Hoferichter reports in the Süddeutsche Zeitung. The liquid batteries don't require a costly separating membrane and have a lifetime of 20 years. Start-up company JenaBatteries will begin producing the storage devices next summer.
Read the Jena University press release in English here.
Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi)
“Positive signal for direct current connection in Germany”
Transmission grid operators Amprion and TransnetBW have commissioned the building of two converters for the first direct current transmission line between North-Rhine Westphalia and Baden-Württemberg, the BMWi reports. State secretary Rainer Baake said the connection was central to the infrastructure of the energy transition as it would bring power from the north to the south of Germany. The direct current lines will mostly be built on to existing pylons.
Read the press release in German here.
See a CLEW factsheet on the German power grid here.
Road to Paris – COP21
International Energy Agency (IEA)
“Climate pledges for COP21 slow energy sector emissions growth dramatically“
A World Energy Outlook special briefing finds that if all countries meet the goals of their Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDC), growth of energy-related emissions will slow to a crawl by 2030. So far, 150 countries representing almost 90 percent of global energy-related greenhouse gas emissions have submitted the INDC pledges ahead of the climate conference in Paris. However, the pledged climate action is still not enough to limit global warming to under 2°C, the IEA said. Implementing the pledges will require the energy sector to invest around $840 billion annually in efficiency and low-carbon technologies, the IEA stated.
Read the IEA press release and download the World Energy Outlook in English here.
Read a first analysis of the IEA World Energy Outlook special at Carbon Brief in English here.