24 Apr 2017, 00:00
Sven Egenter Benjamin Wehrmann Julian Wettengel

Green Party plunges in polls / Toll on underground power lines?

Süddeutsche Zeitung

The German Green Party is polling at its lowest nationwide level in 15 years and risks falling below the five-percent-threshold required to stay in parliament, Robert Rossmann writes in the Süddeutsche Zeitung. In several recent polls, the Greens’ popularity has dropped to six percent, in stark contrast to the 13 percent the party received a year ago or the 25-percent approval in the wake of the Fukushima disaster in 2011, Rossmann says. “The Greens’ core topics aren't in the spotlight right now,” he says, adding that the party’s reluctance to take a position on what coalition they might seek in government is alienating potential voters. The Greens’ co-head Cem Özdemir did signal to their former partner, the Social Democrats (SPD), that there would be no new coalition without  acommitment to a coal exit, Rossmann writes.

For background, see the CLEW factsheets The Green Party’s draft election programme and The road to the next Energiewende government.

Die Welt

German farmers and land owners should be compensated when their property is used for planned underground direct current power lines, the German Farmers’ Association’s (DBV) general secretary Bernhard Krüsken has said in a letter to the economy ministry,  Daniel Wetzel reports in Die Welt. Krüsken wants new regulation that would guarantee “recurring flat rate acceptance payments,” amounting to 10 euros per meter of power lines per year, writes Wetzel. This kind of electricity toll could be paid by consumers with their power bill, according to Wetzel.

Read the article in German here.

Find background information in the CLEW dossier The energy transition and Germany’s power grid.

Nature and Biodiversity Conservation Union (NABU) / Wuppertal Institute for Climate, Environment and Energy

Exiting coal-fired power generation in Germany is a matter of when, not if, according to a meta study by  the Wuppertal Institute, commissioned by the Nature and Biodiversity Conservation Union (NABU). The study analyses position papers and scientific studies from the past three years. Wuppertal Institute found that studies with a coal-exit date based on conditions laid out in the Paris Climate Agreement put the target year at 2025-2035, while studies emphasising economic and technical feasibility see a coal exit between 2035 and 2040. The authors call for more research on the macroeconomic effects of a German coal phase-out.

Read the NABU press release in German here and find the full study in German here.

For background read the CLEW factsheet When will Germany finally ditch coal?


Germany will likely miss the 2020 EU goal to increase the renewables share of gross final energy consumption to 18 percent (currently 14.6 percent), according to projections by  the German Renewable Energy Federation (BEE). “While 23 EU member states will reach their renewables development targets, Germany is among the few countries that would miss the goal if the government doesn’t react quickly,” said BEE’s acting managing director Harald Uphoff in a press release.

Find BEE’s press release in German here.

Find out more about the country’s goals in the CLEW factsheet Germany’s greenhouse gas emissions and climate targets.

Berliner Morgenpost

In 2016, the German government spent only 1.6 billion euros of its 2.4-billion-euro Energy and Climate Fund on projects to save energy, according to an unreleased finance ministry report, seen by Berliner Morgenpost. “The economy ministry simply let 800 million euros for energy efficiency lapse,” said Green Party budget expert Anja Hajduk. The federal government said that some programmes only started in 2016 and are thus in the initial phase, writes the Berliner Morgenpost.

Read the article in German here.

For more information, see the CLEW article Government lacks overview of Energiewende costs - auditors and the CLEW dossier The Energiewende and Efficiency.

Welt Online

Car manufacturer VW has made an agreement with transmission grid operator Tennet to provide weather data automatically collected by VW vehicles in Germany, Daniel Wetzel writes on Welt Online. “Using built-in rain, light, and sun sensors, the cars will collect the weather data and send them to Tennet in real time,” Wetzel explains, adding that the Dutch-German grid operator intends to use the data for short-term prognoses, allowing it to better predict the productivity of solar power plants and optimise its grid regulation. Tennet Germany CEO Urban Keussen told the newspaper the data could allow the company to buy less balancing energy and might also help “to limit construction of new power grids.”

Read the article in German here.

For further information, see the CLEW factsheets Volatile but predictable: Forecasting renewable power generation and Re-dispatch costs in the German power grid.

Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung

The proportion of building construction costs that falls on interior work like thermal insulation in houses is rising in Germany, Bernd Freytag writes in Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung. Depending on the definition, thermal insulation in line with the latest energy saving regulations makes up between seven and ten percent or even more of total construction costs, Freytag explains. “Especially installers of heating systems have substantially expanded their share from 3.7 percent to 6.4 percent,” he says. According to industry lobby groups, Germany’s new Energy Saving Ordinance (EnEV) is the main reason for the cost increase, Freytag adds.

Rheinische Post

Germany’s most populous state North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW) would be wise to “massively advocate” for shifting the financial foundation of the country’s energy transition from national subsidies to a better functioning European Emissions Trading System (ETS), economist Christoph M. Schmidt writes in a guest article for Rheinische Post. NRW, home to Germany’s two largest utilities and the country’s largest coal mining region, currently pays a lot more for funding renewables than federal states that benefit most from the expansion of solar and wind power, he says. “No other federal state has a greater interest in keeping the Energiewende’s economic costs down than NRW,” Schmidt says.

Read the article in German here.

For background, see the CLEW factsheet Germany ponders how to finance renewables expansion in the future.

Many gas-fired power-plant projects in Germany never get off the ground because investors fear adverse business conditions will hinder profits, Stefan Kapferer, head of Germany’s largest energy industry association BDEW, said in a press release. Investments in gas-fired power plants “will only be made if there’s a clear policy signal that gas as an energy vector and the gas infrastructure have a political future,” Kapferer explained. Fifteen gas-fired power plants with a capacity of 9,500 megawatts (MW) currently are in the planning stages in Germany, but the majority haven't recieved the final go-ahead, the BDEW says. According to the lobby group, gas-fired power plants will play a central role in reducing the country’s CO2 emissions, which is why a capacity reserve mechanism was necessary to ensure their construction.

Read the press release in German here.

Clean Energy Wire

Danish offshore wind company Dong’s subsidy-free bid at Germany’s first auction for new offshore wind parks was based on sound economics, Martin Neubert, managing director of the company’s German operations, said at the Hanover Fair 2017, Germany’s largest industrial fair. Neubert rejected claims that majority-owned Danish state company had put in a politically motivated or strategic bid. Since nearly 50 percent of the listed company was now owned by outside investors, the calculation had to be economically sound, Neubert told the Clean Energy Wire at the fair. Since offshore installations could now be built without subsidies, the current system of planning and regulation through Germany’s Maritime and Hydrographic Agency for offshore projects was now questionable. If offshore did not need subsidies and companies were able to provide connection to the grid, they should be treated like any other power producing facility, Neubert said.

 Find more background in the news story on the result of Germany’s first offshore auction.

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