Federal government decides on 4,000 euro buyer's premium for e-cars
The federal government plans to start its 1-billion-euros e-mobility funding programme as early as mid-May, announced finance minister Wolfgang Schäuble at a joint press conference of the finance (BMF), economics (BMWi) and transport (BMVI) ministries. “We are providing the impetus to quickly lift the number of e-cars on German roads,” said Schäuble. Economics minister Sigmar Gabriel admitted that the goal of 1 million electric cars on the road by 2020 might not be reached and transport minister Dobrindt explained: “We aim with this programme to reach the critical mass of 400,000 e-cars, which is one percent of the total of cars on German streets, so that then the market forces can start working.”
The federal government and the auto industry will each invest 600 million euros in direct incentives until 2019. A buyer’s premium of 4,000 euros for purely electric cars and 3,000 euros for hybrids at a maximum list price of 60,000 euros will be shared equally. The government will invest an additional 400 million euros into charging station infrastructure and the federal vehicle fleet.
Find a press release of the economics ministry in German here.
"Nuclear clean-up costs: utilities can absolve themselves for 23.3 billion euros"
Germany’s four nuclear power station operators, RWE, E.ON, EnBW and Vattenfall should pay 23.3 billion euros into a state administered fund for storing radioactive waste, the government commission on nuclear financing has proposed according to sources from the commission, Spiegel Online reports. The official report by the commission will be published this afternoon.
Read a CLEW factsheet about securing utility payments for the nuclear-clean up here.
“There are more important things than incentives to buy”
There is only a small amount of interest in e-cars because they are expensive, have a limited range, and manufacturers are reluctant to advance the e-car sector as they make little profits compared to conventional vehicles, writes Matthias Breitinger in Die Zeit. Because of these diverse obstacles, Breitinger argues for a holistic approach to support e-mobility: “State support should be a mix in which the strengthening of the infrastructure […] is at least as important as direct incentives to buy.”
Read the opinion piece in German here.
“It doesn’t work without the government”
State incentives to buy are necessary to get a dynamic process going in the first place, writes Alfons Frese in an opinion piece in Der Tagesspiegel. “The government is a co-player in the automobile network by setting standards and guidelines, as well as forcing certain developments,” writes Frese. According to him, the car manufacturers had the money to pay their share in the process.
Heise Security / Reuters
“Nuclear power plant Grundremmingen: Infection with ancient malware”
A computer in Bavarian nuclear power plant Grundremmingen has been infected with malware, according to media reports. The computer, which was found to have “two ancient viruses” (Conficker and Ramnit), was not connected to the internet or the steering systems of the power plant and could not execute its malicious purpose, writes Heise Security. It was unlikely that the viruses were part of a targeted attack on the power plant, the article says. Power station operator RWE is investigating how the computer was affected.
Read the article in German here.
Read a Reuters article in English here.
Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung
"Suppliers complain about energy transition"
German component suppliers and subcontractors of the automobile industry are feeling the pressure of the Energiewende, writes the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung. Christian Vietmeyer, from supplier association ArGeZ, said the sector was suffering from high energy costs because the medium-sized companies were often not exempt from surcharges. The companies organised in the ArGeZ had a turnover of 222 billion euros in 2015, up by 2 percent compared to the previous year. But they are sceptical about the development in 2016, particularly because of the economic slowdown in China.
“The short era of cheap power”
The hope that power prices for households may be falling is a thing of the past, writes Holger Zschäpitz in the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung. Consumers in the basic supply contracts of their local electricity supplier are paying on average 30.27 cents per kilowatt-hour (kWh) – a year ago the average price was below 30 cents, the author writes, referring to numbers from comparison portal Toptarif. Consumers that have switched to cheaper suppliers have also seen prices increase since last year. Prices are currently being spiked by an increase in surcharges for combined heat and power and renewables as well as exemptions for industry and higher grid fees, the author says.
Read the article in German here.
Read a CLEW factsheet on household power prices in Germany here.
“Digitalisation: Where are the German digital utilities?”
Digitalisation will be the next big megatrend in the energy landscape, writes Hendrik Sämisch, managing director of Next Kraftwerke, in an op-ed for EurActiv. The utilities’ hesitation to invest into renewables has left them with unprofitable assets and now they are about to miss the boat on digitalisation as well. The reason why digitalisation is without an alternative is because it is needed to guarantee a secure energy grid with millions of small, renewables, decentralised power plants, the author says. “These plants need to be aggregated by digital utilities who control them smartly to align supply and demand.”
Read the op-ed in English here.
“This is how the Energiewende is torpedoed”
The government’s current plans to reform the Renewable Energy Act (EEG) will make the transition towards renewables lose its comprehensibility and accessibility for regular citizens, writes René Mono in Cicero. At times of CO2-trade within the EU, the Paris Agreement and the functioning of the electricity exchange in Leipzig, the ‘appeal’ of the Energiewende lay in its easy-to-grasp local appearance: “Renewable energy facilities are mostly clearly arranged, manageable, with little technical complexity, found locally, and without smell and sound.” The aim of the government might be to lower power prices for its citizens, but the reform will likely lead to more critics of the Energiewende seeing it as just another impenetrable ‘project of the establishment’, writes Mono.
Read the article in German here.
Find a CLEW factsheet on the planned EEG reform here.
Federal Network Agency
Methods for sub-surface power cables
Several new direct-current power lines in Germany will have to be build underground, as of 2016. As this requires new rules for planning the connections, the Federal Network Agency has presented a position paper describing how the lines can be built in the most direct way, how the effects on nature and landscape can be limited, and costs reduced.
Download the position paper in German here.