24 Feb 2017, 00:00
Benjamin Wehrmann

Grid operators want new gas plants / Heating energy demand off target

Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung

Germany’s transmission grid operators are calling for the construction of new conventional power plants in southern Germany to bridge the gap between the country’s nuclear phase-out and the completion of major new high-voltage power lines supplying renewable power from the north, Andreas Mihm writes in Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (FAZ). These “reserve plants” should be constructed in the early 2020s and have a capacity of 2000 megawatts, “roughly similar to that of two nuclear power plants". According to a report by the Federal Network Agency (BNetzA), flexible gas turbines would be most suitable to balance demand and supply of power and maintain grid security across the region, Mihm writes.

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

Süddeutsche Zeitung / Techem

German households’ energy consumption for heating has remained almost unchanged  in recent years, Ralph Diermann writes in Süddeutsche Zeitung. According to data by gas meter reader Techem on gas, oil and district heating demand from 1.5 million households between 2008 and 2015, consumption adjusted for weather variations decreased by about 1.2 percent annually, “making an achievement of the climate targets for the next years and decades a distant goal,” Techem CEO Frank Hyldmar said. In order to reduce energy consumption for heating in line with 2020 targets, households should have saved twice as much, Techem explained in a press release. Diermann says the data showed that the bevhaviour of individual consumers had a considerable impact on heating energy consumption, as demand patterns varied greatly between residents of the same buildings.

Find the press release in German here and the article in German here.

tageszeitung (taz)

A large-scale shift to e-cars would drastically reduce the number of people employed in Germany’s car manufacturing sector, Richard Rother writes in taz. “Replacing cars with combustion engines with e-cars will eliminate a large part of value creation,” automotive industry expert Stefan Bratzel told taz. While a combustion engine has about 1,000 components, their electric counterparts make do with only 50, he said. Up to a quarter of jobs in the industry could be at risk from a complete switch to e-cars, Bratzel estimates.

Read the article in German here.

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

tageszeitung (taz)

Large-scale expansion of public transportation, integrated mobility concepts and charging infrastructure could offset job losses associated with a shift towards e-cars in Germany, Beate Willms writes in a commentary for taz. “Of course these jobs are different from those performed by car manufacturers today,” Willms writes. “But the transition doesn’t take place at a moment’s notice". A structural change for climate protection with corresponding employment policy “could make mobility of the future a new export hit.”

Read the commentary in German here.

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

The Economist

The rapid rise of renewable energy systems in recent years could signal that “the world is entering an era of clean, unlimited and cheap power,” The Economist writes. But while it was “about time” renewables played a more important role, the “dirty secret” is that they make power from any source cheaper, meaning investments in conventional power sources  are less profitable, despite still being needed during  the transition to a low-carbon economy. “Unless the market is fixed, subsidies to the industry will only grow,” The Economist writes. One solution could be more extensive deployment of new technology, like that of German energy-storage firm Sonnen, to help smooth out intermittent supply during the transition, The Economist writes.

Read the Leaders text in English here and a longer article on how renewables create "a world turned upside down" here.

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

Federal Ministry for the Environment

Germany will help Iran implememt its national climate protection targets, the Federal Ministry for the Environment (BMUB) says in a press release. During a visit to Teheran, German state secretary Jochen Flasbarth also aims  to strengthen cooperation on water management and curbing air pollution. Together with Iranian vice president Masoumeh Ebtekar, Flasbarth will also inaugurate the “IES Enviro 2017" fair, which focuses on green economy innovation. The nuclear agreement made in 2015 has reanimated bilateral cooperation between the two countries, the BMUB adds.

Read the press release in German here.

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