Power grid operators
According to grid operators, German power consumers will have to shoulder grid fee rebates for energy-intensive industry in excess of 1 billion euros next year, sparking renewed calls for reform of the system to pay for keeping the grid stable as renewable power production rises. The rebates are set to rise more than 20 percent to 1.115 billion euros in 2017. That will mean the surcharge added to consumer power bills to finance the rebates will rise from 0.378 to 0.388 cents per kilowatt-hour (ct/kWh). The operators published their forecast last week in a technical table, which went unnoticed by the press until Green MP Bärbel Höhn drew attention to it, sparking numerous press reports this week.
Find the grid operators' technical table in German here.
Read the CLEW article Industry grid fee rebates top 1 billion euros, fuel reform debate.
dpa / Federal government
Environment Minister Barbara Hendricks has demanded Chancellor Angela Merkel put down her foot in the dispute over the Climate Action Plan 2050. According to news agency dpa, Hendricks told the Funke Mediengruppe she had discussed her proposals with Merkel in advance. “If the Chancellor’s authority to set policy guidelines is worth anything, the draft proposal should return from the consultation with the other ministries almost unchanged.” Hendricks added that all ministries shared responsibility for finding ways to reach the agreed climate goals.
At an event in Berlin yesterday, chief of the Chancellery Peter Altmaier said Hendricks’ plan was an important instrument for climate protection and he was positive a compromise would be found. “There will be a Climate Action Plan 2050,” Altmaier said. He made it clear, however, that he saw the environment minister as responsible for finding a compromise.
Read the article in German here.
For background read the CLEW article Ministry avoids concrete targets in weakened Climate Action Plan.
Germany needs to be bolder with its Climate Action Plan 2050 to set a benchmark for other countries, former Polish environment minister Maciej Nowicki writes in a guest commentary for Zeit Online. “If the latest known draft is not fundamentally revised, it threatens to become an impediment for the national climate plans of Poland and other countries. […] As the home of the Energiewende and one of the world’s largest economies, Germany must remain a climate protection pioneer,” writes Nowicki.
Read the guest commentary in German here.
While Chancellor Merkel takes the lead on decarbonisation at international summits, her political group at home foils efforts to reach agreed climate targets, writes Markus Balser in an opinion piece in Süddeutsche Zeitung. “The fourth largest economy in the world can talk big – but can’t act,” Balser writes.
Environment Minister Barbara Hendricks did well not to rush approval for the watered-down climate plan before the COP22, writes Joachim Wille in an opinion piece in Frankfurter Rundschau. “It may be embarrassing to arrive at the summit in Marrakesh empty handed. But it would have been more embarrassing if she, as representative of the retired climate pioneer named Germany, had presented a plan fit only for waste paper disposal,” writes Wille.
Read the opinion piece in German here.
Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung
Criticism of the planned gas pipeline Nord Stream 2 to connect Russia and Germany is mounting, while former chancellor Gerhard Schröder (SPD) continues to support the project as chair of its board of directors, writes Markus Wehner in an in-depth article for Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (FAZ). “Gerhard Schröder supports Russian energy exports that in turn finance Russian war exports,” while the whole world is appalled by the country’s role in the Syrian war, said Reinhard Bütikofer, Green member of the European Parliament. German conservative politician and chairman of the foreign affairs committee in the Bundestag Norbert Röttgen (CDU) told FAZ, “In my view, the federal government’s language regime that as a private economic project Nord Stream 2 has nothing to do with politics is inacceptable and provocative.” Social democrat and economy minister Sigmar Gabriel continues to support the project, Wehner writes.
For background read the CLEW dossier The Energiewende and its implications for international security.
A shortage of space is increasingly pushing the German wind power industry into forests, sparking growing conflict between green energy advocates and conservationists, writes Daniel Wetzel in Die Welt. While only about five percent of Germany’s wind turbines are currently located in forests, in some regions of the country 80 percent of new construction projects are planned within these sensitive ecosystems, Wetzel says. While generally in favour of the energy transition, the major conservation organisation NABU is now deliberating whether to oppose further forest clearance for wind farms in many areas, a move that “would be hard to swallow for the wind energy lobby”, Wetzel says. Should NABU decide to reject wind farming in forests, it would join the ranks of around 600 citizen initiatives already protesting such projects locally, he adds.
Read the article (behind paywall) in German here.
Read more on local support of and opposition to energy transition in the CLEW dossier The People's Energiewende.
Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung
Major German utilities E.ON and RWE, both highly indebted and struggling to adapt to the new energy environment, could see a positive turnaround, according to an article in Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (FAZ). Future growth could be spurred by rising wholesale energy prices and a possible surge in energy demand, the newspaper says, citing analysis by Metzler Bank. In this case, creating subsidiaries Uniper and innogy would prove strategically sound, giving the utilities “a second chance” to benefit from Germany’s energy transition, a Metzler analyst told the paper.
Read more on the challenges of the Energiewende for Germany’s major energy providers in the CLEW dossier Utilities and the energy transition.
Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung
Following China’s announcement that it will introduce a quota for e-cars as early as 2018, VW has expressed confidence “that the legal framework will comprehend the necessary lead time” for manufacturers to adapt to the regulation, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (FAZ) reports. Beijing gave carmakers an opportunity to comment on the plans for the quota, which would necessitate a massive rise in production of e-cars for most manufacturers. China’s plans had sparked criticism from carmakers for ignoring the need for a transitional period, and from politicians for erecting barriers for foreign companies.
Read more on German carmakers’ struggle to shift to decarbonised vehicles in the CLEW dossier The Energiewende and German carmakers.