Federal Court of Auditors
Germany’s Federal Court of Auditors has criticised the government for lacking overview of the costs of the energy transition. The economics ministry “has no overview of the financial consequences of the Energiewende,” says the evaluation for the budget committee of Germany’s federal parliament, the Bundestag. The report was seen by the Clean Energy Wire, and is purely advisory in character. The court objects that “fundamental questions” such as “how much will the energy transition cost the state” remain unanswered, and warns that the project’s costs might spiral out of control.
The independent Federal Court of Auditors is charged with the external examination of the German budget.
Please note: The Clean Energy Wire will publish a longer article on the auditors’ report later today.
The federal government, regional states, and municipalities will have to invest in energy efficiency in new building projects, according to a draft law, reports Klaus Stratmann in Handelsblatt. The economic and environmental ministries’ proposal for a law on energy consumed in buildings says new public buildings such as schools, ministries, or town halls are not allowed to use more than 55 percent of a reference building’s consumption from 2019. Climate activists said the proposal was not ambitious enough, and claimed the text also offered a loophole for municipalities if costs were too high.
Read the article in German (behind paywall) here.
For background, read the CLEW dossier The Energiewende and Efficiency.
Germany’s energy and economy ministry (BMWi) is searching for alternative ways to fund the country’s switch to renewables, reports Nathan Witkop for Montel. The ministry tendered for a study to explore “models for the future financing of renewable energy” at the end of last year. “This marks the first official steps towards ending the Renewable Energy Act (EEG) levy,” writes Witkop. “An alternative way to pay for a rising share of clean power in the energy mix may resemble the licensing fees used to pay for public broadcasting, according to the tender.“
Ministry spokesperson Beate Baron told the Clean Energy Wire the tender was only a very first step of a long process that was still entirely open. “This does not mean we are looking for alternatives to the Renewable Energy levy – we simply look at the long-term possibilities,” she said.
Read the article in English (behind paywall) here.
Read an earlier article on the topic by Bizz energy in German here.
For background, read the CLEW article Germany debates form of renewables support as levy rises.
The relative calm surrounding the current management of state-owned utility EnBW must not hide the fact that the company could face great trouble, Andreas Müller writes in Stuttgarter Zeitung. EnBW’s pull-out from wholesale business, as well as the early parting of its sales manager, “are signals that should worry the owners”, Müller writes. “The question over the company’s right to exist in a decentralised energy world is decided in the sales department,” he explains. For that, EnBW needed to offer products and services that customers actually want. “But there is little success in this respect.”
Read the article in German here.
Germany’s federal states continue to disagree on the planned reform of the country’s electricity grid fee structure, writes Klaus Stratmann in Handelsblatt. It follows economy minister Sigmar Gabriel’s backtracking on plans to standardise fees across the country. State economy minister of North Rhine-Westphalia Garrelt Duin welcomes the current draft, while energy transition minister of Schleswig-Holstein Robert Habeck told Handelsblatt: “Small-state mentality kills the Energiewende.”
Consumers in rural areas with strong renewables development currently pay higher fees, as the grid must be expanded there to transmit more wind power to Germany’s industrial west and south. Additionally, measures by grid operators to ensure the stability of a power grid coping with more volatile renewable power are growing more frequent. This is the case mostly in eastern and northern German states.
Read the article in German here.
Federal German government
The German government has published its 2016 version of the country’s sustainability strategy. “With the strategy, the federal government lays the groundwork for Germany to become one of the world’s most efficient and environmental-friendly economies by 2030,” said environment minister Barbara Hendricks in a press release. The strategy includes proposals on political measures in areas such as access to affordable and clean energy, climate protection, poverty and health.
Environmental organisation Germanwatch commented on the publication in a press release: “We welcome that with its sustainability strategy the federal government sends an important international signal to other G20 states, and that the implementation of the Agenda 2030 and climate and energy topics are firmly included in the agenda of the German G20 presidency,” said Klaus Milke, chairman of the Board at Germanwatch.