17 Oct 2018, 13:12
Kerstine Appunn Benjamin Wehrmann Julian Wettengel

Law to boost German grid expansion / Energy minister disappoints

Süddeutsche Zeitung

Germany’s energy ministry is drafting a law to accelerate the development of the country’s electricity network, Michael Bauchmüller reports in the Süddeutsche Zeitung. The draft, seen by the paper, will include streamlining the planning procedure, particularly where new power transmission lines are going to follow existing routes. It also includes new options for penalising property owners and grid operators who delay expansion works. The law is currently being reviewed by other ministries and is due to be voted on in parliament in December.

Read the article in German here.

Find further details on the ministry’s plan to accelerate grid expansion here.

Rheinische Post

Peter Altmaier’s track record as Germany’s economy and energy minister lacks actions, particularly in energy policy, Antje Höning and Birgit Marschall write in the Rheinische Post. “The energy transition resembles a construction site, and the planned coal exit is dividing the country,” they say. Since March, Altmaier has still not found an energy state secretary for his ministry – currently Hildegard Müller, innogy’s COO for grid & infrastructure, is a possible candidate, the article says. In September, Germany’s Court of Auditors criticised the government for not managing the energy transition better, and Rolf Martin Schmitz, head of energy company RWE, said that “for a long time, federal policy has set guidelines and a target for the energy industry. None of this can be seen at the moment.”

Read the article in German here.

For background, read the CLEW articles Merkel puts long-time confidant in charge of energy transition and First 100 days- German government in disarray neglects energy policy.

Spiegel Online

Stricter EU emission limits and new, more realistic exhaust gas testing methods were pushing the car industry to the “brink of collapse,” Volkswagen CEO Herbert Diess said at an event on 16 October, Spiegel Online reports. He lamented that the current “campaign” against cars was “threatening the very existence” of Germany’s car industry. Diess criticised the switch to electric cars as not beneficial to the environment because Germany’s power systems are still dominated by coal assets. "Instead of using petrol or diesel, we'll basically use coal, even if we're electrically powered, and in the worst case even lignite," he said. "That drives the idea of electric mobility ad absurdum!”

Read the article in German here.

Find background on Germany’s car makers’ fate in the energy transition here, and also read the CLEW interview Disruption caused by energy transition is unstoppable - Amory Lovins.

Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung

Business development banks like the KfW are an important source of funding for Germany’s energy transition and they increasingly use so-called green bonds to finance endeavours in clean energy production or e-mobility, Günter Heismann writes in the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung. The green bonds’ returns are used to fund climate and environmental protection projects and are supposed “to offer investors an opportunity” to engage in these fields, which allows them to clearly trace what the money is spent on, says Michael Stölting of NRW Bank. The development bank of the federal state of North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW) says that if one million euros are invested in a green bond, this on average would save 800 tonnes of CO2 per year over two decades - the period during which renewable energy installations receive guaranteed support in Germany. “Word has got around that sustainable assets are often very profitable,” Heismann says, adding that a visible rise in green bond emissions will likely be further boosted once the EU decides on common rules for green finance in 2019.

See the CLEW interview Germany laggard in assessing fossil investment risks - Deutsche Börse for background on green finance in the country.

Clean Energy Wire

More than two-thirds of Germany’s lignite plants emit higher amounts of nitrogen oxides (NOx) than would be permitted under new EU standards (which have not been implemented into German law so far), a report published by Friends of the Earth Germany (BUND) and Climate-Alliance Germany finds. NOx emissions could be reduced by more than half if power station operators installed new filter systems, the organisations say.

Find the study in German here.

Clean Energy Wire

Germany and France will help Belgium through potential power capacity problems this coming winter, the news agencies dpa and Reuters report. As of November, six out of seven nuclear power plants which Belgium relies on for much of its power supply will be offline due to maintenance works. Belgium’s energy minister, Marie-Christine Marghem, and her German counterpart, Peter Altmaier, announced on 16 October in Berlin that Germany would transfer some of its excess electricity to Belgium via the Netherlands (a direct German-Belgian connection is due to be completed in 2019-2020).

Find the Reuters report in German here.

Think tank Agora Energiewende has launched a new publication series in English that is taking a closer look at the fundamental issues of transforming energy systems toward a low-carbon paradigm. The publications draw on the German experience, but also include case studies from other countries. The first two issues focus on flexibility and low-cost renewables.

Find the publications in English here.

*Like the Clean Energy Wire, Agora Energiewende is funded by Stiftung Mercator and the European Climate Foundation.


Rising grid fees, increased wholesale prices, and the high oil price level will likely lead to rising natural gas prices for household consumers in 2019, writes the price comparison website CHECK24 in a press release. Grid fees, which make up about one quarter of household gas prices, will on average increase by about one percent. However, there are big regional differences: while grid fees decrease in eastern Germany, they increase in the northern and western parts of the country, writes CHECK24.

Find the press release in German here.

For background, read the CLEW dossier The role of gas in Germany's energy transition.

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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