27 Mar 2017 | Benjamin Wehrmann

Industry head questions power tax / Green power revenues could decline

Der Tagesspiegel

“Electricity tax no longer justified”

Stefan Kapferer, head of Germany’s largest energy industry association BDEW (Association of Energy and Water Industries), says the country’s next government would be prudent to repeal the electricity tax. The tax "can no longer be justified" and power prices would become “more competitive” without it, Kapferer said in an interview with Der Tagesspiegel. Lower fees and taxes on power are needed to enable companies to make important investments during the transformation of the power market, Kapferer added.

Read the interview in German here.

For background, see the CLEW article Debate on financing renewables in new ways gathers pace in Germany and the CLEW news digest item CO2 price should replace levy to fund renewables expansion - state sec.

 

Die Welt

“Price drop for green power”

Changing renewables funding from guaranteed feed-in tariffs to auctions will drastically reduce revenues in the wind power industry, Daniel Wetzel writes in Die Welt. The renewables surcharge power customers pay with their electricity bill currently stands at 8.3 cents per kilowatt hour (kWh) but could drop to 4 to 5 cents in the next few years, Wetzel writes. This will force manufacturers, project developers and landlords to exploit saving potential, which is abundant, he adds. However, “it cannot be expected that power will become cheaper for consumers in the end,” Wetzel says. Costs for grid expansion and operation have long replaced the surcharge as the biggest cost-driver on the bill, he explains.

Read the article in German here.

For more information, see the CLEW factsheet EEG reform 2016 – switching to auctions for renewables and the CLEW dossier Energiewende effects on power prices, costs and industry.

 

Saarbrücker Zeitung

“Voters clearly reject coalition of the left in Saarland”

Voters in the German federal state of Saarland have clearly rejected a coalition of Social Democrats (SPD) and Left Party (Linke) by giving the governing conservatives of the Christian Democrats (CDU) a clear mandate to continue their grand coalition with the SPD, Monika Kühborth writes in Saarbrücker Zeitung. With 40.7 percent of the votes, the CDU’s Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer gained considerably compared to the last election in 2012, while both the SPD’s (29.6 percent) and the Left Party’s (12.9 percent) result was below that of the last vote, she writes. The SPD in the Saarland could not capitalise on the so-called “Schulz-effect” named after the party’s new leader Martin Schulz, whose nomination has made the party soar in federal polls, Kühborth says. The elections in Saarland were a “debacle” for the Greens, who did not achieve the 5 percent threshold to enter parliament, she adds.

Read the article in German here.

For background on the Saarland’s potential as a bellwether for federal elections, see the CLEW article Saarland election first test on road to next Energiewende government. Saarland state elections results (preliminary).

 

Handelsblatt

Mining trade union: Coal exit after 2040 “realistic”

The head of German mining trade union IG BCE, Michael Vassiliadis, opposes a quick phase-out of coal-fired power production, Handelsblatt reports based on an interview by news agency dpa. A speedy decommissioning of lignite power plants would be “absurd,” Vassiliadis said, pointing out that licenses for the plants would be valid well into the 2040s. This was a “realistic” time to exit coal, he added. “We need to stop painting ideological pictures,” Vassiliadis said, arguing the energy transition needed “economically and technologically prudent” decisions.

Read the article in German here.

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

 

Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung

“Water in the tank”

Electric cars will one day dominate Germany’s roads, but in the meantime cars with fuel cells that generate power from hydrogen could contribute to the country’s transition in transportation, Lukas Weber writes for Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung's website. Leading companies from the car, natural gas and fossil fuel industries have now teamed up in order to establish a comprehensive infrastructure for hydrogen cars in Germany, Weber writes. The H2 Mobility consortium plans to operate up to 100 filling stations in the country by 2018 and a further 300 by 2023, which would make Germany the hydrogen car leader, he says.

Read the article in German here.

For more information, see the CLEW factsheet The role of biofuel and hydrogen in Germany's transport Energiewende.

 

Frankfurter Rundschau

“Gear Euratom towards renewables at last“

Europe’s nuclear power organisation Euratom needs to be drastically reformed and become more democratic and transparent, Sylvia Kotting-Uhl, nuclear energy expert of the German Green Party’s parliamentary group, writes in a guest commentary for Frankfurter Rundschau. “The idea of safe and clean nuclear energy failed long ago,” Kotting-Uhl writes, adding that in spite of Germany’s nuclear exit, many old nuclear reactors were still in service in other counrties along its borders. “Neighbouring countries need to have a say when it comes to security requirements for reactors close to the border,” she writes. Moreover, Germany still funds nuclear energy with “immense sums” via its Euratom contributions, especially the experimental nuclear fusion reactor ITER in France, Kotting-Uhl argues. “A technology that would mean Germany’s re-entry to nuclear power if it were implemented,” she says.

Read the commentary in German here.

Also see the CLEW dossier The challenges of Germany’s nuclear phase-out.

 

Der Spiegel

“Speed! Speed! Speed!”

An expert panel wants to speed up the transformation of Germany’s transport sector to lower emissions and greater electric mobility, Sven Böll and Horand Knaup write for Der Spiegel. In its new study, the think tank Agora Verkehrswende*, an initator of the panel, warns that “without a transport transition, Germany as a car manufacturing location is in danger,” Böll and Knaup write. If Germany were to meet its climate targets, energy transition would have to be succeeded by a transport transition brought about by “determined political action,” the study adds. The experts call for tighter CO2 emissions controls, e-car quotas and more efficient calibration of public and goods transport systems. “Millions of people will have to change their daily habits,” Agora Verkehrswende’s head Christian Hochfeld told Der Spiegel. This could only work “if a majority accepts that there needs to be a change,” he added.  

See the CLEW dossier The energy transition and Germany’s transport sector for more information.

*Like the Clean Energy Wire, Agora Verkehrswende is funded by the Stiftung Mercator and the European Climate Foundation.

 

TenneT

“Statkraft and TenneT cooperate for renewable energy market integration”

Norwegian hydropower company Statkraft and Dutch grid operator TenneT plan to intensify cooperation in the German federal state of Schleswig-Holstein in order to optimise the market integration of wind power, TenneT has said in a press release. Statkraft, “Europe’s largest producer of renewable energy,” and TenneT, one of four major grid operators in Germany, plan to do “pioneer work” to improve wind power’s grid and market compatibility, Statkraft manager Stefan-Jörg Göbel said. Statkraft’s real-time data from seven remote-controlled wind parks will allow TenneT to better gauge the optimal power output of wind turbines, according to the press release.

Read the press release in German here.

See the CLEW dossier The energy transition and Germany’s power grid and the CLEW factsheet Loop flows: Why is wind power from northern Germany putting east European grids under pressure? for background.

 

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