German Institute for Economic Research (DIW) / Institute for Applied Ecology / European Climate Foundation (ECF)
“Industry’s energy bills fall by a tenth”
German manufacturing companies’ energy bills have fallen 11 percent since 2010, according to a new energy cost indicator calculated by the German Institute for Economic Research (DIW) and the Institute for Applied Ecology (Öko-Institut) on behalf of CLEW funder European Climate Foundation (ECF). Adjusted for the growth of the sector over the past six years, energy costs fell by as much as 21 percent, mainly due to cheaper oil and gas, according to a press release. “Whereas industry’s energy costs were 3.25 billion euros per month in 2013, they only added up to an average 2.72 billion euros over the past six months,” the institutes said. Industry power bills also fell during this time.
The new indicator aims to fill a gaping hole in official statistics on industry energy costs, according to the institutes. It represents industry’s total energy costs from power, gas, oil, coal, biomass and other sources, taking into account taxes, levies, and exemptions. “It is striking that energy prices fell most significantly in industry sectors with a high energy consumption. In sectors with low consumption, energy bills have even partially gone up,” states the release. This is mainly due to the fact that energy-intensive companies often buy their electricity on the wholesale market, where prices have fallen significantly, and also benefit from tax exemptions.
Find the press release in English here.
Read CLEW’s factsheet Industrial power prices and the Energiewende.
Read CLEW’s factsheet What business thinks of the energy transition.
“Experts: New nuclear power stations would be ‘economic madness’”
Some politicians in Europe still cling to nuclear power, but many experts believe the technology does not have a future because of high costs and cheaper alternatives, writes Gero Rueter for public broadcaster Deutsche Welle. European Commission support for the technology is "economic madness," Claudia Kemfert from the German Institute for Economic Research (DIW), told the author. Rueter writes nuclear power is already more expensive than renewable energy, without taking into account external costs for associated risks, decommissioning and waste storage.
Find the article in German here.
Read CLEW’s dossier The Challenges of Germany’s nuclear phase-out.
Read CLEW’s factsheet Nuclear clean-up costs.
Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung
“Premium from the tax payer”
The e-car subsidies that the government cabinet agreed upon yesterday are a “reward” for an industry that might not believe in electric cars itself, writes Heike Göbel in an opinion piece in the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung. “If it did, it would be easy for [the car industry] to come up with the billion out of its own pockets and seriously start the competition for customers.” The current subsidies will not be the last, if the government “continues to try to prove itself right” instead of letting the market forces work, writes Göbel.
Read CLEW’s dossier The energy transition and Germany’s transport sector.
Also read CLEW’s article Federal government decides on 4,000 euro buyer's premium for e-cars.
“Thanks to Dieselgate”
E-car subsidies have been discussed and rejected many times in Germany, but the debate only got serious after the VW emissions scandal, writes Ulrich Schäfer in an opinion piece in the Süddeutsche Zeitung. The decision to support e-cars through subsidies is now being celebrated as a success, but “in truth, the government's hastily introduced plans conceal that it has done too little for too many years to reach its goal of a million e-cars on German roads by 2020,” writes Schäfer.
"Vattenfall says activists committed criminal acts"
Anti-coal activists committed numerous criminal acts during the occupation of a lignite mine over the weekend, according to operator Vattenfall. The utility said activists hid a mock bomb and manipulated signalling installations and rails. As a consequence, an engine was “derailed for a short time.”
Read the article in German here.