26 Apr 2018, 00:00
Sören Amelang Kerstine Appunn Julian Wettengel

Renewable system cheaper than nuclear - study / New "diesel miracle"?

A renewable, controllable power supply would be less expensive than producing electricity in new nuclear power plants in eastern Europe, a study conducted by Energy Brainpool and commissioned by power supplier Greenpeace Energy finds. Poland, Hungary, Slovakia, and the Czech Republic are currently planning the construction of 15.6 gigawatts of nuclear power capacity, the press release says.
Official estimates put the cost of nuclear electricity generation in these new plants at 80 euros per megawatt-hour (MWh). The study’s author, Fabian Huneke, says that this figure is too low since the nuclear power plant projects in France and the UK are facing costs upwards of 119 euros per MWh (not including the costs of nuclear waste storage). An integrated system of wind and solar power combined with power-to-gas installations that convert surplus electricity into storable gas (sector coupling) would cost between 100 and 119 euros per MWh, depending on how many countries cooperate, Energy Brainpool calculates.
26 April 2018 marks the 32nd anniversary of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster, which triggered a vocal anti-nuclear movement in Germany, culminating in the nuclear phase-out in the year 2000, and again in 2011.

Read the study in English here.

Find background on Germany’s nuclear exit here.

Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi)

The German government has agreed to abolish large regional differences in transmission grid fees by standardising them across the country in five equal steps. The implementation will begin at the start of next year, and completion is planned by early 2023, according to a press release. “The extension of transmission grids serves the energy transition, and this is why it is not a regional, but a federal necessity,” said energy state secretary Thomas Bareiß.

Read the press release in German here.

Find background in the CLEW factsheet Power grid fees – Unfair and opaque?

Reuters / Bosch

German auto supplier Bosch has announced a vastly improved diesel technology as it strives to draw a line under an emissions scandal that has tarnished the diesel car industry, reports the news agency Reuters. The company’s new technology could enable manufacturers to reduce the nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions of their vehicles “so drastically that they already comply with future limits,” Bosch said in a press release.Under certain conditions, cars built with the new technology could emit as little as 13 mg NOx per kilometre, said Bosch. “There’s a future for diesel. Today, we want to put a stop, once and for all, to the debate about the demise of diesel technology,” said Bosch CEO Volkmar Denner. The Stuttgart-based auto supplier also said it would teach its 70,000 staff a new code of conduct for developers by the end of this year in an effort to change the “mindset” of the company, writes Reuters.

Find the article in English here, and the press release in English here.

For background, read the CLEW factsheet "Dieselgate" - a timeline of Germany's car emissions fraud scandal and the dossier The Energiewende and German carmakers.

Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung

German auto supplier Bosch has every right to be proud of its improved diesel technology, which it says leads to far less nitrogen oxide emissions, but economic success depends on the reputation of diesel as a whole, writes Susanne Preuß in an opinion piece in the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung. At least in Germany, this “seems doubtful,” as the scandal had disappointed customers so much that many would “not easily trust the new diesel miracle,” writes Preuß. “For the environment and the economy, however, it would make sense to happily accept the technological progress of [German] engineers,” she writes.

For background, read the CLEW factsheet "Dieselgate" - a timeline of Germany's car emissions fraud scandal and the dossier The Energiewende and German carmakers.

Clean Energy Wire

In the debate about the controversial planned direct Russian-German pipeline Nord Stream 2 and its effects on Ukraine, the German federal government wants to help ensure that the requisite modernisation of Ukraine’s gas infrastructure takes place. Germany intends to support the formation of a consortium of investors together with the European Commission, a government official said in Berlin. The government “understands well” that Ukraine wants to secure revenues from transmitting Russian gas to western European countries, he said. Plans are just beginning to take shape, and in the end, it is up to the companies involved to decide on possible investments, the official told the Clean Energy Wire.

For background, read the CLEW news digest piece Merkel says Ukraine must not be excluded from Nord Stream 2 pipeline and the factsheet Germany’s dependence on imported fossil fuels.

Climate Home

Germany, France, and Sweden are among seven European Union countries advocating a faster transition to a clean economy, arguing that 2018 is a critical year for strengthening this ambition, reports Megan Darby for Climate Home. “Enhanced action by all countries is urgent and necessary for respecting the Paris Agreement long-term goals,” as was shown by the recent “alarming scientific analysis on climate change,” the countries write in a joint press release. “It is an important step forward that the EU will now develop a new long-term climate strategy based on the Paris Agreement,” said Karsten Sach, director general in the German environment ministry (BMU).

Read the article in English here, and find the press release in English here.

Carbon Tracker

Carbon prices in the European Union’s Emissions Trading System (ETS) are set to double by 2021 and could quadruple to 55 euros a tonne by 2030 if the European Commission ultimately legislates to align the bloc’s current emissions targets with the Paris Climate Agreement, finds a new report published by the London-based Carbon Tracker Initiative. In order to put EU emissions on a path consistent with the Paris goals, carbon prices must “rise to levels that would make even the most efficient coal and lignite power plants unprofitable,” writes Carbon Tracker in a press release. According to the initiative, the EU would have to raise its target of reducing emissions by 40 percent by 2030 to 55 percent to align it with the Paris Agreement.

Find the press release in English here, and the report in English here.

For background, read the CLEW factsheet Understanding the European Union’s Emissions Trading System.

German parliament

German environment minister Svenja Schulze wants a discussion “about the existing models for CO₂ pricing that do not put an additional burden on citizens, but still provide an incentive to reduce CO₂,” she said in a parliamentary debate. Schulze said that the reform of the European Union’s Emissions Trading System (ETS) was beginning to show effects with higher prices. Now, it was “logical” to think about other ways of CO₂ pricing in sectors not covered by the ETS, like transport and heating. In light of the increased integration of all sectors (sector coupling), “it makes little sense to burden electricity with taxes and levies, while not putting a reasonable CO₂ price on fossil energy sources,” she said. Georg Nüßlein (CSU), deputy leader of the conservative CDU/CSU parliamentary group, said that a price on CO₂ would lead to additional burdens on citizens. Climate protection was an international topic that called for international solutions. “We do not want national solo efforts,” said Nüßlein.

Find the transcript of the debate in German here.

For background, read the CLEW article German environment minister open to national carbon price.

All texts created by the Clean Energy Wire are available under a “Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Licence (CC BY 4.0)” . They can be copied, shared and made publicly accessible by users so long as they give appropriate credit, provide a link to the license, and indicate if changes were made.
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