22 Feb 2016
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Industry softens Energiewende bashing / New support for PV storage

Die Welt

Industry softens Energiewende-bashing

At the latest meeting of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservative CDU party’s economic council (CDU Wirtschaftsrat), business leaders softened their usual bashing of the Energiewende considerably, reports Daniel Wetzel in Die Welt. “This year, the reckoning with German energy policy was unusually mild and even ended on an almost conciliatory note,” writes Wetzel. Participants praised the transition from fixed renewable feed-in tariffs to auctions. Johannes Teyssen, head of renewable utility E.ON, said the energy sector was becoming one of Germany’s most innovative industries. Chancellery head Peter Altmaier, who is popular with participants, said recent reforms had ended the "Energiewende chaos", and he was optimistic that planning security for the next 15 years would be achieved during this legislative period.

Read the article in German here.    



“More market, more energy”

Germany can’t achieve its three goals of reforming the energy sector, improving climate protection and preserving industrial competitiveness at the same time, writes Werner Bahlsen, head of the conservative CDU party’s economic council (CDU Wirtschaftsrat). “Without significant participation from the USA and large developing countries, Germany’s pioneering role remains over-ambitious and ineffective,” writes Bahlsen, who is CEO of biscuit maker Bahlsen. “This is why realism is more important than ever: Germany must adapt its targets to what are economically justifiable and lower European targets.” Bahlsen says reforms to limit the rise of power prices do not go far enough.

Read a CLEW factsheet on industrial power prices here.


Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy / pv-magazine

“PV battery storage support starts on 1 March”

A new 30 million-euro support programme for photovoltaic storage batteries will start on 1 March this year, and run until 2018, the Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy has announced. The batteries will be connected to the power grid. Photovoltaic installations with a battery attached will only be allowed to feed half of the power generated at peak times into the grid while the rest is stored – this would contribute to the overall stability of the power system, the ministry argues. Jörg Mayer, head of the German Solar Industry Association (BSW) told pv-magazine that the battery incentive would reduce the need for more grid connections.

Read the ministry press release in German here.

Read the pv-magazine article in German here.


dpa /

“EnBW takes over lion’s share of green power provider Grundgrün”

Germany’s third largest utility, EnBW, has agreed to buy the bigger part of Berlin-based green power provider Grundgrün, according to a report by press agency dpa. EnBW will take over Grundgrün’s contracts with around 350 wind and solar power producers with a capacity of around 3,000 megawatts. The deal could bring EnBW around 10,000 green power clients. The utility currently provides 40,000 clients with renewable electricity. “The takeover is a good fit for nuclear-heavy EnBW as it aims to transform itself into a renewable powerhouse,” the report says. 

Read the article in German here.   


Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists

“Can Germany’s renewable energy revolution be replicated in the United States?”

No country has gone as far as Germany when it comes to investing in new energy policies and climate strategies, writes Beate Liepert in an analysis for the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists. Its power system is still far from perfect, because flexible but climate-damaging coal plants still provide baseload energy, but this problem will be solved in the future. In the US, clean biomass and hydropower could provide the necessary baseload for a distributed power system that prioritises solar and wind. “The United States may have the capacity to embrace a distributed, local, and flexible renewable energy system,” concludes Liepert.

Read the article in English here.


Die Welt

“Municipal utilities fight for survival”

Many of Germany's municipal utilities are in dire financially straits, write Carsten Dierig and Daniel Wetzel in Die Welt. A study by the Institut für den öffentlichen Sektor (Public Corporate Governance) and consultancy KPMG had shown that in 23 out of 93 towns with more than 80,000 inhabitants, the financial situation of both the local utility and the town itself are worrying, the article says.

Download the study in German here.

Read a CLEW factsheet on municipal utilities here.


Die Welt

“Energy campus Hamburg – the lab of the Energiewende”

The German energy transition is so far mainly a transformation of the electricity market, Professor Werner Beba from the Energy Campus Hamburg tells Die Welt. His research facility is working on a new integrated supply system in which renewables also provide energy for heating and transport. The project is also looking at ways for industrial consumers and the Hamburg harbour to make better use of wind power from Schleswig-Holstein, which on some days already produces more power than it can use. The target is for these two northern states to cover their power demand with 100 percent renewable energy by 2035. The researchers are also looking into different ways of storing electricity, for example as hydrogen or synthetic natural gas.

Read the article in German here.

Read a CLEW dossier on technologies of the Energiewende here.



“In digital nirvana”

After the energy transition, digitalisation is the next big change rattling the energy sector, writes the Handelsblatt. But even though smart homes, big-data and "the internet of things" are the buzz words at every sector conference, utilities lack the necessary digital know-how, a study by the paper’s own think tank Energy Academy found. Of 230 experts participating in a survey, 80 percent said the energy sector didn’t have enough expertise to master the challenges of digitalisation, the article says. The solution could be to cooperate with non-energy related companies.

“Germany – a nuclear fusion leader”

A German nuclear fusion research facility recently made a huge step by heating plasma to 80 million degrees, reports Craig Morris on Proponents of the research argue that it will solve the problem of nuclear waste. But one reason for Germany’s nuclear phase-out was “the wish for community energy: people making their own energy in smaller distributed systems,” writes Morris. “Fusion plants will have to be big by design. There will be no community nuclear fusion. The technology requires large corporations.”

Read the article in English here.

Find a CLEW dossier on Germany’s nuclear exit here.


Huffington Post Blog

“Clean and inexpensive: German power becomes future-proof”

The investment into renewables development that is largely paid for by households will eventually aid the German economy, writes Felix Matthes from the Öko-Insitut in a blog on Huffington Post. Wind and solar power facilities built today will be cheaper than coal and gas-fired power stations, even when storage costs are included, he says. Moreover, costs for renewable power will never depend on fluctuating prices on the world market for fossil fuels – which are likely to become even less stable in the future. In many states in the world the energy system is in need of huge investment – with or without an energy transition. Investing in renewables would be the future-proof and most cost-effective option, Matthes argues.

Read the post in German here.

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