German Energiewende no global blueprint? /Renewables investment trends
World Energy Council (WEC)
German energy policy will not serve as a global energy policy blueprint, but as inspiration, according to the World Energy Council (WEC) Germany. In a survey, 60 percent of energy experts from 42 countries said the Energiewende could not serve as a global blueprint but 79 percent said aspects of German energy policy could be adopted in their respective countries.
Other key findings:
- Questioned about primary drivers of the energy transition, experts in EU countries cited climate protection (45 percent) and energy security (28 percent), compared to 5 percent and 23 percent for the rest of the world. Economic growth (36 percent) and increasing the availability of energy (27 percent) were the primary drivers for non-EU countries
- In the long term, most experts (71 percent) expected German energy policy to strengthen the country’s economic power
- Expansion of the electricity grid and digitalisation were viewed as relevant issues in most countries (90 and 88 percent respectively)
- In most countries, energy efficiency measures (92 percent) and a carbon tax (75 percent) were perceived as top strategies in tackling climate change
G20 Agriculture Ministers
G20 agriculture ministers called for more sustainable use of resources in a joint declaration following the first G20 ministers meeting under the current German presidency. “In light of the growing global population and the goals of the Agenda 2030, agriculture must deal with the available resources in a more productive, sustainable and responsible manner,” said German agriculture minister Christian Schmidt in a press release. The joint declaration also highlighted the relationship between agriculture and climate change. The ministers committed to supporting the implementation of the Paris Climate Agreement and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
For background, read the CLEW article IEA director calls on Germany to lead on climate during G20 presidency.
An 18 percent drop in global expenditure on renewable energy last year does not mean the energy transition is losing support, Stefan Merx writes for Handelsblatt. Figures compiled by Bloomberg New Energy Finance merely reflected that costs for installing renewables in general are falling substantially, while investment in certain energy transition sectors clearly went up, Merx explains. Among these are offshore wind energy, where investment increased by 40 percent, and the digitalisation of energy systems, such as smart grids, he writes. “Digitalisation is a megatrend in the energy economy,” Stefan Kapferer, president of the German Association of Energy and Water Industries (BDEW), told Handelsblatt.
For more information, read the CLEW dossier New technologies for the Energiewende.
Welt am Sonntag
Small solar energy companies that invest heavily in research and development are Germany’s last hope of gaining a good share in an industry in which the country has invested billions in subsidies, Daniel Wetzel writes in weekly newspaper Welt am Sonntag. Companies like Solarwatt and sonnen GmbH are operating in niche segments where they can beat market leaders from China that are focused on large-scale solar power projects, Wetzel explains. Unlike the case of Germany’s former solar leader Solarworld, subsidies via the Renewable Energy Act (EEG) “actually don’t play a role for us anymore,” Detlef Neuhaus from Solarwatt told the newspaper.
For more information on the EEG and solar energy, read the CLEW article Auctions to set the price for wind and solar - the debate.
Neue Zürcher Zeitung
The transition to a low-carbon economy cannot be brought about by subsidising clean energy sources and will unfold by itself if market forces are allowed to come into play, Helmut Stalder writes in Swiss daily Neue Zürcher Zeitung (NZZ). “Germany subsidises its expansion of wind and solar energy with 20 billion euros per year,” Stalder says, adding that the country “failed to take coal and gas out of the market,” thereby creating overcapacities and a price collapse. Europe “wallows in subsidised power,” he writes. Switzerland should not react to this unusual situation by subsidising domestic energy producers itself, but rather consider steering taxes to lower power consumption and rethink whether “autarchy in power production is necessary in times of highly interconnected surplus markets.”
Read the article in German here.
For background on the Energiewende’s effects on Germany’s neighbours, read the CLEW dossier Germany's energy transition in the European context.
Tesla is confident it will enter the German business fleet market on a large scale with its upcoming mid-range e-car Model 3, according to Jochen Rudat, who heads the company’s operations in Germany. “After talks with many German companies, I’m very confident we will enter three digits at larger companies,” Rudat told manager magazine. “I’ve heard that some companies want to switch their entire fleet to the Model 3.”
Read the interview in German here.
For background, read the CLEW dossier The Energiewende and German carmakers.
VW is considering including the iconic Beetle in its electrification plan, Automobile reports. “There have been no decisions so far,” Volkswagen’s head of design Klaus Bischoff told the publication at the Detroit auto show, “but it’s possible the Bug’s future is electric.”
Read the report in English here.
For background, read the CLEW factsheet Dieselgate forces VW to embrace green mobility.
German battery maker sonnen GmbH aims to push the country’s traditional energy giants out of the market with flat-rate contracts for electricity provided by a network of battery storage and green power facilities, Franz Hubik writes for Handelsblatt. “The crazy bit: chances aren’t too bad that the plan will succeed,” Hubik says. Bundling thousands of decentralised wind parks, solar PV and biomass facilities in with storage facilities, the company is to make money from supplying system flexibility rather than selling power, according to Hubik. Sonnen offers battery storage to customers in combination with a flat rate electricity contract.
For more information on private households’ stake in energy transition, see the CLEW dossier The People's Energiewende. For background on storage solutions, read the CLEW dossier New technologies for the Energiewende.