German wind industry worries / Election could change Nord Stream fate
IG Metall Coast
More than 40 percent of work council representatives in the German wind power sector expect market conditions to deteriorate, trade union IG Metall Coast says in a press release. In a survey of wind power companies, around a quarter of respondents said they expected layoffs and production plant closures. “The share of companies with a negative business outlook has significantly increased compared to previous years," the press release says. Some companies said they expected to have to axe around 20 percent of their workforce. Many also complained that the recently introduced renewables auction system and its rules for citizen energy projects made matters worse, as flexible implementation time limits reduced planning security.
Find the press release in German here.
See the CLEW factsheet German onshore wind power – output, business and perspectives for more information.
German Wind Energy Association
The new German system for tendering renewable energy projects to the cheapest bidder urgently needs to be amended to avoid severe planning insecurity for the wind industry, the German Wind Energy Association (BWE) says in a press release. The reduction of annual expansion volumes from around 4,000 to 2,800 megawatts, as well as the “flawed legal definition of the new actor group ‘citizen energy’”, make reliable projections “almost impossible” for wind turbine manufacturers and suppliers, the BWE argues. Extended time limits to implement citizen energy projects make it hard for turbine manufacturers to anticipate orders, the BWE says, calling for a more consistent auction system with equal time limits for all bidders or for exempting certain citizen-owned projects from mandatory auctions altogether.
Find the press release in German here.
See the CLEW factsheet EEG reform 2016 – switching to auctions for renewables for background.
It is unclear whether the Russian-German gas pipeline project Nord Stream 2 will retain political backing following the German federal election, Anna Sauerbrey writes for Tagesspiegel. The Social Democrats supported the project and it would "likely lose backing in any government without the SPD", writes Sauerbrey. Elmar Brok of the conservative Christian Democratic Union (CDU) told the paper the pipeline was a "political project" and said "a single foreign state company must not dominate our market." Brok, a former chairman of the foreign affairs committee in the European Parliament, called for "open and honest discussion" of the project after the election.
Read the article in German here.
For background, read the CLEW dossier The Energiewende and its implications for international security and the CLEW factsheet Germany’s dependence on imported fossil fuels.
Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung
The auto sector will remain one of the steel industry's biggest customers, because the switch to e-mobility demands large quantities of steel for component parts, charging stations, power grids and power stations, Helmut Bünder writes for Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung. “The auto industry is the single most important sector for German steel giant Thyssenkrupp AG,” said Karsten Kroos, chief executive of the company's Components Technology division. A quarter of Thyssenkrupp's annual revenue comes from the automobile sector. Currently, almost half of all e-cars worldwide contain component parts by Thyssenkrupp, and the company has already concluded several contracts to build battery factories, Bünder writes.
For background, read the CLEW dossiers The Energiewende and German carmakers and The energy transition's effect on jobs and business.
Amid a growing anti-coal movement, thousands of masked protesters in hooded white jumpsuits have blocked Germany’s coal infrastructure, Paul Hockenos reports for The Nation.
Find the article in English here.
Get background on the question when will Germany ditch coal in the Clean Energy Wire factsheet
dpa / Handelsblatt
Geothermal energy is hailed by many as a great hope for the energy transition, but despite its seemingly endless potential for clean heat, the technology has barely got off the ground in Germany, news agency dpa reports in an article carried by Handelsblatt. In the second half of 2016, geothermal energy accounted for just 0.1 percent of the country's renewable power generation, the article says. Geothermal energy accounts for a somewhat larger share of heating, however, and could potentially cover around 60 percent of Germany’s heating demand, according to Gregor Dilger of the German Geothermal Association (BVG). Dilger argues that high taxes and surcharges on electricity have prevented greater use of geothermal energy, even though the small boreholes it relies on (with a depth ranging from 100 to more than 4,000 metres) give it a major advantage over other renewable energy sources: “It does not blemish the landscape.”
Find the article in German here.