Clean Energy Wire
The government has postponed at the last minute the official start of the phase-out commission for the third time. The official launch was removed from the cabinet agenda only hours before the meeting was due to start. The coal commission – officially called “Special Commission on Growth, Structural Economic Change and Employment” – is supposed to bring policymakers, industry representatives, labour unions and possibly environmental NGOs to the table to decide on a roadmap and a clear end date for coal-fired power production.
Find plenty of background in the article Germany gears up for official talks on coal phase-out.
Please note: The Clean Energy Wire will publish an article on this topic shortly.
Clean Energy Wire
New power lines are needed urgently to incorporate an increasing amount of renewable electricity in the power grid, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said at the 20-year anniversary of the Federal Network Agency. “It’s obviously also a question of the acceptance in the population which we have improved because we have been relatively adventurous by deciding to install many powerlines underground. We have to see if this is as successful in the long-term as we hope. Because the technical experience with [these lines] is still very limited. Never mind, the main point is, these powerlines will be built,” Merkel said.
For background on the issues with Germany’s grid expansion see this CLEW Dossier.
The fact that Siemens selling one single large gas turbine to British utility SSE is news shows that the manufacturers must rethink their business and bet more on smaller turbines for decentral use, writes Axel Höpner in an opinion piece in Handelsblatt. Gas power plants are a good partner for renewables because they are flexible and deliver necessary baseload power, writes Höpner. However, they are not cost competitive in countries like Germany due to regulatory reasons. Siemens had missed the developments regarding smaller turbines, but now needed to “resolutely follow that path”.
Read the article (behind paywall) in German here.
For background, read the CLEW factsheet Germany’s Siemens: a case study in Energiewende industry upheaval.
Allianz pro Schiene
Ahead of Germany’s first diesel car driving ban in Hamburg from 31 May, the rail transport group Allianz pro Schiene called on regional and federal governments to make local rail transport in metropolitan areas more attractive. Older diesel cars and trucks will be banned on two roads on a total length of 2.3 kilometres in Hamburg, Germany’s second largest city. “The expansion of city rail systems is the best long-term protection against driving bans for any metropolitan area,” said the group’s managing director Dirk Flege in a press release.
Read the press release in German here.
See CLEW’s diesel bans Q&A for background.
Jacobs University Bremen
Renewable energies place a greater burden on power grids than previously thought, according to an article by scientists from the Jacobs University Bremen published in the “Scientific Reports” journal. Even the slightest fluctuations can be measured over very long distances, writes the University in a press release. The scientists said they were surprised to find that “tree-like distribution networks leading from the generator to the consumer are more stable in respect of such interferences than close-meshed interconnected grids in which the power lines are connected in many loops in a circle”.
For background, read the CLEW dossier The energy transition and Germany’s power grid and the factsheet Germany's electricity grid stable amid energy transition.
The governments of Hamburg and Schleswig-Holstein, two of Germany’s northernmost federal states, have announced the goal to supply the region with 100 percent renewable power by 2035, reports Andreas Dey in Hamburger Abendblatt. Hamburg Mayor Peter Tschentscher called the target ambitious and said it depended on the necessary infrastructure. Asked about the relatively new coal-fired power plant Moorburg in the city, Tschentscher said it was owned by Swedish utility Vattenfall and the company must decide the plant’s future. In a press release, the states also said they agreed on a joint power grid development plan.
For background, read the CLEW’s 2017 article Wind power course at stake in election in "cradle of Energiewende" .