28 Feb 2017, 00:00
Sören Amelang Benjamin Wehrmann

German pv industry hopes for resurrection / Blackout precaution

Süddeutsche Zeitung

Today’s judgement by the European Court of Justice in Luxembourg on import tariffs on Chinese pv modules will determine the course of a possible resurrection for the industry in Germany and other EU countries, Michael Bauchmüller writes in Süddeutsche Zeitung. The pv industry thrived in Germany before a cancellation of its significant subsidies in 2012 pulled the plug “practically overnight”, Bauchmüller explains. Tariffs subsequently imposed on cheaper Chinese competitors drastically reduced pv expansion as the modules were made artificially expensive, he writes. But optimism once again is rife in the pv services industry, Bauchmüller adds. Falling prices might make pv modules more attractive again, leading to “an end of the solar eclipse,” solar association BSW told the newspaper.

Read the article in German here.

Potsdamer Neueste Nachrichten

Germany hosts about 120 generating units capable of a “black start”, meaning they will be available for repowering the grid from scratch in the event of a, so far unprecedented, major blackout, Anna Ringle writes in Potsdamer Neueste Nachrichten. “Turbines are being serviced and maintained – although they produce no power for the market,” she explains, using the example of a gas plant near Berlin. The plant had been taken off the market as “its location was economically unviable”, Frank Mehlow of operator Leag explained. The reserve plant park’s provision cost about 219 million euros in 2015, which are passed on to consumers via grid fees, according to the Federal Grid Agency (BNetzA).

Read the article in German here.

For background, see the CLEW factsheets Germany's electricity grid stable amid energy transition and Power grid fees – unfair and opaque?

Die Welt

A recent study by Agora Energiewende* shows that Germany can achieve its climate goals in the heating sector by increasing efficiency and by rolling out millions of heat pumps to replace oil-fired heating systems, writes Daniel Wetzel in Die Welt. But it remains an open question as to how the government plans to persuade landlords to make the necessary investments. Last year, 66,500 heat pumps were installed, but the targets require a rate of more than 400,000 per year until 2030. Wetzel says heat pumps are more expensive because the Energiewende increases power prices. “The revolution devours its own children.” 

*Like the Clean Energy Wire,  Agora Energiewende is a project funded by Stiftung Mercator and the European Climate Foundation.

Read the article in German here.

Find background in the CLEW dossier The Energiewende and Efficiency.

Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy

Germany’s Economy Ministry (BMWi) aims to launch an “energy transition in transportation” by financially supporting research and development projects on sector coupling and electrification in the sector, the ministry said in a press release. The BMWi intends to provide 130 million euros over the course of three years to explore research into the use of alternative fuels in passenger cars, lorries, ships, construction vehicles and industrial engines, the press release said.

Read the press release in German here.

For background, see the CLEW dossier The energy transition and Germany’s transport sector.

Rheinische Post / IG BCE

The German power grid was on the brink of a blackout on the 24th of January because of an extended period of little wind and cloudy skies, the Trade Union for mining, chemicals and energy industries (IG BCE) warned in the Rheinische Post. Energy providers and grid operators struggled to provide the regular daily demand of 80 gigawatt as “renewables could not even contribute five percent of that”, Michael Vassiliadis, head of the trade union representing workers in conventional energy generation industries, told journalists. A blackout in Germany was only avoided because providers “used even the last reserve plant,” Vassiliadis said.

Read the article in German here.

For more information, see the CLEW factsheet How can Germany keep the lights on in a renewable energy future?

Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung

Automotive supplier SHW is confident it will soon boost its revenues by providing parts for vehicles with alternative engines - despite losing a major order worth 100 million euros by US e-car manufacturer Tesla, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung reports. CEO Frank Boshoff said that while currently about 75 percent of SHW’s revenues were made with supplying parts for cars with combustion engines, he expected the share of hybrid and electric engines in the company’s turnover to increase significantly from 2018 on, the newspaper writes. Orders by manufacturers in China and the US were expected to help spur this transition, Boshoff added.

For more information, see the CLEW dossier The Energiewende and German carmakers.

All texts created by the Clean Energy Wire are available under a “Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Licence (CC BY 4.0)” . They can be copied, shared and made publicly accessible by users so long as they give appropriate credit, provide a link to the license, and indicate if changes were made.
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