Federation of German Industries (BDI)
German industry association warns against German “solo” in climate, energy policy
The recent Paris agreement on climate does not give Germany a reason to toughen its own climate policy, the head of the Federation of German Industries (BDI), Ulrich Grillo, said. The group of the G20 largest industrialised and emerging countries provided the right forum for more climate action, ideally in the form of a global carbon emissions trading system. Germany should remain a driver on the European level without being an “activist” on a national level, Grillo said. “We should not turn from a pioneer into an eremite,” Grillo said. The danger was to drive the emission-efficient industry out of Germany, which would ultimately increase emissions globally. Grillo also rejected proposals of a coal exit. “National initiatives on coal are pointless,” he said, adding that under the European trading system this would only lead to higher emissions elsewhere. Grillo said the plan to ditch fossil fuels by 2050 - as suggested by environment minister Barbara Hendricks - was “illusionary”. But he also claimed that the future of coal in Europe was “limited”, pointing to the lack of plans and investment in new coal-fired power plants. “Let’s finish the nuclear exit first,” he said when asked about his view on how to deal with upcoming structural changes. The BDI’s warning against “national solos” on climate policy was one of three main points at the BDI’s traditional media conference at the start of the year. The other two issues were risks to the economy from global crisis and the need for investment in light of the strong influx of refugees and migrants.
Read the BDI’s press release in German here.
Find a CLEW story with reactions to a recent proposal for a coal exit plan here.
Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy
“Pilot tenders for photovoltaics have been a success”
The energy ministry (BMWi) has published a field report on the photovoltaics pilot tender in 2015, which was passed by the government on Wednesday. “Competition in all three auctions was high and prices fell from round to round, which was good news for consumers,” the BMWi said. Prices fell from 9.17 cent per kilowatt-hour to 8.49 ct/kWh, to 8 ct/kWh. Small bidders also managed to win tenders in the second and third rounds.
The experience from the first year of pilot tenders for photovoltaic installations will be used to develop auction designs for other renewable technologies, which are planned to come into effect after a reformed Renewable Energy Act is passed later this year.
Read the press release in German here.
Read the field report in German here.
Read a CLEW article on pilot renewables tenders here.
“Grid operators often charge inflated fees”
Many grid operators charge inflated fees which increase power bills for consumers, according to the Federal Network Agency (Bundesnatzagentur), reports public broadcaster ZDF. Because the roughly-800 operators in Germany are local monopolies, the Network Agency has to approve their earnings. But the operators manipulate their balance sheets so they can charge more, according to an internal report by the agency seen by the broadcaster. Experts estimate these tricks push up grid fees by a total of around one billion euros per year to around 18 billion euros, according to the report. The agency is currently powerless to intervene because the balance sheet manipulations are not illegal, says the report.
Find the report in German here.
“German green power subsidies are too generous”
The feed-in tariffs for offshore wind were set too high for many years, writes economist Michael Funke, who is part of a research network on climate change, in an op-ed in Hamberger Abendblatt. Calculations show clearly that investors would have built wind parks even with significantly lower incentives. “The German subsidies are too generous,” Funke writes. Germany should have switched to an auction model, which Denmark uses, much earlier, he adds.
Find the op-ed in German here.
Read a CLEW article on Germany’s introduction of renewable auctions here.
“More photovoltaic storage systems than electric cars”
At least 20,000 battery systems to store solar power were installed in German households in 2015, but only 12,363 new electric cars were registered, reports pv magazine. The government is currently working on new incentives for battery storage systems, after the previous system expired at the end of 2015, according to the report.
Find the report in German here.
“Wind power in forests does more harm than good”
Wind energy is an important part of the Energiewende, but its roll-out must no longer damage biodiversity, writes Daniel Lingenhöhl in a commentary on science website spectrum.de. Many wind turbines in forested areas do more harm than good because they endanger rare birds and bats, according to Lingenhöhl.
Read the commentary in German here.
“Connections for power”
Stefan Kapferer, the designated candidate for the position of chairman of the influential Association for Energy and Water Industries (BDEW), first worked in energy policy when he was state secretary in the economy ministry in 2011, writes Michael Bauchmüller in a portrait for Süddeutsche Zeitung. The Liberal Democrat Kapferer, who since 2014 worked for the OECD in Paris, will be useful for the BDEW because of his connections into Sigmar Gabriel’s energy ministry and to Angela Merkel’s chancellery.
“Awakening enthusiasm for climate protection”
The historic climate agreement from Paris prescribes a tight schedule as to when states have to revise and improve their climate actions, writes Annalena Baerbock, speaker for climate policy of the Green Party parliamentary group in the Frankfurter Rundschau. But there is nothing but a lot of silence from the German government and Angela Merkel did not mention climate protection at all in her new year speech, Baerbock says. The politician calls for several instant measures by the government, such as CO2 budgets for fossil power plants, more renewable growth, a stop to coal technology financing by German development bank KfW and federal budget divestment from fossil fuels.
“The most expensive transition in the world”
Germany’s energy transition has put an end to almost CO2-free nuclear power and wants to substitute coal with natural gas, which will cost billions of euros in subsidies, former federal economy minister Wolfgang Clement writes in the Handelsblatt. This issue will continue until there is enough power storage in Germany, he writes. Instead of more subsidies for renewables, the government should opt for a truly European energy policy which will require a European energy infrastructure and massive private investment, he says.