28 Aug 2018, 13:07
Benjamin Wehrmann Julian Wettengel

German energy industry optimistic about future / Unclear coal savings


The German energy industry is optimistic and sees itself well prepared for the future, financial services company KPMG said in its Future Readiness Index 2018. While its future readiness is "solid", it is currently facing only the beginning of a complex and fundamental transformation, and should better prepare for important future trends such as disruptive business models and technologies. Energy industry representatives see their sector well prepared for developments triggered by climate change, and many say that sector coupling is one of the key challenges of the coming years. KPMG writes that the energy industry has understood that customer needs are changing fundamentally with more and more prosumers in the market. For its index, KPMG evaluated a survey of 600 decision makers from all sectors of Germany’s economy.

Access the index in German here and the energy industry chapter in German here.

See the CLEW dossier The energy transition’s effects on the economy for background.

Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung

The German government has failed to report the carbon emissions savings achieved by putting several coal plants into a security stand-by mode reserved for supply bottlenecks, the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung reports. An assessment scheduled for the middle of the year was intended to prove whether the security reserve achieved the emissions reduction goal of 11 to 12.5 million tonnes CO2 by 2020. “This process has not been finished yet due to its complexity,” the economy ministry said. If the goal is unlikely to be met, the government has to come up with alternative measures by December, the article says. The security reserve, which so far has not been used, is seen as a possible model for phasing-out the remainder of Germany’s coal plants, a procedure currently debated in Germany’s coal exit commission

Find plenty of background on the coal commission in the article Commission watch – Managing Germany’s coal phase-out.

Environmental Action Germany

The concentration of harmful nitrogen dioxide (NO2) emissions are above the legal limit in 116 cities and municipalities in Germany, NGO Environmental Action Germany (DUH) says in a press release. The NGO’s analysis included 41 cities that so far had not been officially monitored and are exempt from government programmes to improve air quality, which so far includes 65 cities. “We have a problem across the board in Germany with the diesel poison nitrogen oxide in the air we breathe,” DUH Jürgen Resch said, adding that air quality improvement programmes had to be extended to all affected cities. The limit of 40 micrograms per cubic metre had been far exceeded in Bonn (77 mg/m3), Stuttgart (67 mg/m3), Hamburg (62 mg/m3) and Düsseldorf (59 mg/m3), the DUH says.

Find the press release in German here.

See the CLEW article One year after Germany’s “diesel summit,” air quality challenge remains and the dieselgate timeline for more information.

German Wind Energy Association

The “market slump” in the German wind power sector, which continues to lead to job cuts at manufacturers and suppliers, is caused by government regulation, writes the German Wind Energy Association (BWE) in a press release. “On the one hand, the federal government talks about reaching ambitious expansion and climate targets by 2030 and 2050, but at the same time it is placing restrictions on companies here and now, which are meant to make reaching these goals possible,” said BWE head Hermann Albers. The BWE criticised the introduction of expansion limits with the Renewable Energy Act (EEG) reform in 2016/17 and calls on the government to introduce the planned special auctions fast, as well as “a dependable timeline and volume concept for further expansion until 2030”.

Find the press release in German here.

For background, read the CLEW article Minister promises stability for troubled German wind power sector and the CLEW dossier Onshore wind power in Germany.

Welt Online

The expansion of wind power generation in northern Germany is meeting resistance from politicians and environmental organisations alike, Welt Online reports in two separate articles. In north-eastern state Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, politician Eckhardt Rehberg, of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservative CDU, said he was “terrified” by calls from the state’s renewable energy industry to expand the total area designated for wind power generation from 1 percent to 1.2 percent of the territory. The new figure would include more potential locations in forests. Rehberg said there was not enough grid capacity to absorb more wind power, and that calls for expansion would be “shameless”.
In western neighbour state Schleswig-Holstein, environmental organisation NABU said the state’s government was “incapable of managing an environmentally friendly energy transition” as it failed to establish adequate protection standards for the endangered red kite, a bird of prey. The organisation says the species is especially threatened by wind power turbines. It added that reducing the land area designated for wind power from 1.95 percent to 1.8 percent of the territory to give the birds more room would not hurt the energy transition’ success.

Read the articles in German here and here.

For background, read the CLEW factsheet Fighting windmills: When growth hits resistance.

Federal Statistical Office

Industrial companies in Germany have invested 8.4 billion euros in 2016 in more sustainable technology that reduces, avoids or removes emission from environment, the Federal Statistical Office (Destatis) says in a press release. The figure equals about ten percent of total investments and was over two percent higher than in the previous year. Over 3 billion euros went to sewage management  and 2.7 billion to climate protection measures, such as renewable energy sources or energy efficiency. Investments into renewables by industrial companies were nearly 22 percent lower than in 2015, Destatis says.

Find the press release in German here.

See the CLEW dossier The energy transition’s effects on the economy for background.

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