03 Nov 2016, 00:00
Sören Amelang Benjamin Wehrmann Julian Wettengel

German energy use stable / Energiewende's “sobering results”?

AG Energiebilanzen

Primary energy consumption in Germany 2016 is likely to be on the same level as the previous year, according to estimates by energy market research group AG Energiebilanzen (AGEB). Germany consumed 9,815 petajoules between January and September 2016 - 0.3 percent more than in the same period last year. Natural gas consumption rose 6.5 percent and renewables rose 1.4 percent. Consumption of nuclear energy fell 9.6 percent compared to the first nine months of 2015.

Read the press release in German here.

German Council of Economic Experts

The Energiewende’s economic costs are high but its contribution to reducing climate change is moderate, according to the German Council of Economic Experts’ Annual Report. “Given the global effect of greenhouse gases, a global approach to climate policy is needed, or at least an EU-wide approach,” the executive summary says. “So far, Germany's energy transition has delivered sobering results […] This experience reveals the drawbacks of a purely national approach to climate policy.”
The council, which was set up to evaluate government economic policy, said it is against a policy-induced coal exit, arguing it would be better to let market signals via the EU ETS decide which power stations should be switched off first. One of the five experts, Peter Bofinger, argues there is no contradiction between the energy transition and the ETS, which is “characterised by an oversupply of certificates.”

Find the report’s executive summary in English here and the entire report in German here.

Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung

The federal economy ministry plans to introduce a common transmission grid fee across Germany, writes Andreas Mihm in Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung. Grid fees currently differ depending on the region and are higher where the development of renewables calls for faster grid expansion. This is particularly the case in eastern German states, according to Mihm. “Germans from the East pay so that green electricity can be delivered to southern Germany. […] All in all, the regulation will help consumers in the East, which have up to 20 percent higher costs [at the moment],” writes Mihm.

Read the CLEW factsheet Set-up and challenges of Germany's power grid and the CLEW dossier The energy transition and Germany’s power grid.

Handelsblatt Online

German utility STEAG has announced the decommissioning of five coal-fired generating units due to a low wholesale electricity price, Handelsblatt Online reports. The shutdown will affect hundreds of jobs on the sites in the regions of North-Rhine Westphalia and Saarland, workers’ council chairman Ralf Melis said, according to Handelsblatt. The company, owned by a federation of municipal utilities, revealed in September plans to cut up to 1,000 jobs and step up its investments in renewable energy. Wholesale electricity prices in Germany have been falling considerably over the past two years as additional energy provided by solar and wind power stations brought excessive supply to the market.

Read the article in German here.

For more information on how energy transition affects the electricity market, see the CLEW dossier Energiewende effects on power prices, costs and industry.


Germany and France jointly defend priority grid access for electricity generated from renewable sources, reports Politico. The European Commission, meanwhile, is considering removing priority dispatch ahead of power coming from fossil fuels. In a so-called non-paper, dated late October, the two countries set out their position on renewables support aspects, also including a “rule of last curtailment”, according to Politico. This ensured that renewables are dropped last when the power grid is congested. The EU Commission is expected to update its renewables regulation at the end of the year, writes Politico.

Read the article (behind paywall) in English here.


Cabinet approval of environment minister Barbara Hendricks’ Climate Action Plan 2050 before she travels to the COP22 in Marrakesh could be possible after all, reports news agency dpa. Ministry sources told dpa that Chancellor Angela Merkel had signalled support in finding a compromise as fast as possible. Hendricks had demanded that Merkel put her foot down in the dispute over the plan. Merkel said: “I would wish for us to approve this climate protection plan in a timely manner.”

Read the article in German here.

For background read the CLEW article Ministry avoids concrete targets in weakened Climate Action Plan.

Deutsche Welle

Deutsche Welle’s Jens Thurau finds it embarrassing that the German government seems to be unable to approve environment minister Barbara Hendricks’ Climate Action Plan 2050 before the climate conference in Marrakesh. Without Germany as a credible driving force, “it will be difficult to fulfil the big oath taken in Paris - the goal of a temperature rise of less than 2 degrees Celsius”, writes Thurau.

Read the opinion piece in English here.

Wall Street Journal

Environment minister Barbara Hendricks’ announcement that she did not expect the cabinet to approve her Climate Action Plan 2050 before COP22 in Marrakesh next week “marks the latest embarrassment for a country that once pioneered the fight against global warming but has since seen its environmental credentials tarnished”, writes Zeke Turner for Wall Street Journal. The delay did not have any immediate effect, but “a weak showing from Germany at the Marrakesh meeting could have a corrosive effect,” writes Turner.

Read the article (behind paywall) in English here.


Germany has received assurances that its carmakers will not be discriminated against in China, economy minister Sigmar Gabriel said in Beijing, reports Gernot Heller for Reuters. China plans to set quotas for electric cars in 2018, and some German firms have expressed fears that the quotas would restrict their market share. Gabriel said Chinese Industry Minister Miao Wei had indicated that German fears of being excluded were unfounded. Miao had promised that any German carmaker producing in China, the world's biggest auto market, would be treated on an equal basis with Chinese companies.

Read the report in English here.

Read more on German carmakers’ struggle to shift to decarbonised vehicles in the CLEW dossier The Energiewende and German carmakers.


Germany ranks 11th in business consultancy PwC’s Low Carbon Economy Index 2016 because the country’s carbon intensity fell 1.1 percent in 2015. The Paris Agreement implies that Germany’s carbon intensity must fall 3.1 percent per year between 2015 and 2030, according to PwC. For the first time, China topped the index as a result of falling coal use and a shifting economic base with rapid growth in less carbon-intensive services.

Read the press release in English here.

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