Law reform delays energy transition - study / Utilities fear collapse

University of Applied Sciences Berlin (HTW)

“New study: EEG 2016 thwarts Paris climate agreement”

If Germany continued the deployment of renewable energies at the average pace of the last 15 years, the energy transition would take more than 100 years, a study by Volker Quaschning, professor at the University of Applied Sciences Berlin (HTW) finds. In order to achieve the Paris climate targets (limiting global warming to under 2/1.5°C), a decarbonisation by 2040 would be necessary, Quaschning said at a press conference. Instead of curbing the development of renewable energies as the government was attempting with the latest reform of the Renewable Energy Act (EEG), Germany would need a four- to fivefold faster renewables expansion than before, Quaschning said. Onshore wind power would have to grow by 6.3 gigawatts (GW) net annually instead of 2.8 GW (gross); solar PV would have to grow by 15 GW instead of 2.5 GW as suggested in the new EEG.
Germany would need more power in 2040 than today, due to the electrification of the heating and transport sector, the study showed. But if the targets of the EEG 2014 were followed through, the country would only reach a 35 percent share of renewables in electricity consumption in 2040 and with the EEG 2016 pathway applied an even lower share of 26 percent, Quaschning calculated.

Read the press release and download the study in German here.

For background see a CLEW factsheet on the reform of the Renewable Energy Act here.

 

Die Welt

“Local utilities expect collapse of electricity trade”

Germany’s energy transition will lead to a severe drop in profits for the country’s electricity and gas suppliers, according to an analysis by the local utility association Thüga, to be presented next week, writes Daniel Wetzel in Die Welt. The authors of Thüga’s “Strategy-Review” write that the prospects for the electricity trade in particular were “crushing”. The development is triggered by the “fast, subsidy-driven expansion of small, decentralised electricity producers,” writes Wetzel. This made the work of the traders more fragmented, laborious and costly and the margins of profit declined because of high market liquidity.

Read the article in German here.

 

Die Welt

“Not in front of my door”

The  government of Bavaria plans to avoid the possibility of a final nuclear repository in the state by way of a trick, writes Daniel Wetzel in Die Welt. Bavaria’s environment minister Ulrike Scharf announced to the parliamentary commission responsible for finding a final repository that it will introduce a dissenting opinion for the final report. So far, the consent in the commission had been that three types of host rock could be used to store the waste, writes Wetzel. The Bavarian government now wants to exclude granite from this list, effectively making a final repository in the state impossible. “With the dissenting vote against granite as a host rock, Bavaria excludes itself quite pleasantly from the search,” writes Wetzel.  

Read the article in German here.

 

PV magazine

“EEG-reform: Bundesrat demands several changes in the details”

The German Bundesrat demands several changes to the reform draft of the Renewable Energy Act (EEG) after the first reading in the second chamber of the German parliament, reports PV magazine. The Bundesrat agrees with the “general goals” of the reform, writes PV magazine, but calls, for example, for small PV systems of up to 1 megawatt to be exempt from future tenders, instead of the proposed 750 kilowatt threshold. It remains to be seen if the demanded changes will be applied to the draft, as the act is decided upon by means of an accelerated procedure, writes PV magazine.

Read the article in German here.

Find the statement of the Bundesrat in German here.

Read the CLEW factsheet EEG reform 2016 – switching to auctions for renewables.

Read the CLEW article Wind development has to wait for grid expansion on current government plans.

 

Berliner Morgenpost

“It gets uncomfortable”

The federal government has to “leave the comfort zone” and start making “uncomfortable decisions” if it is serious about sustainable climate and energy policy, writes Jakob Schlandt in an opinion in Berliner Morgenpost. “Unpleasant distributional conflicts have been put off so far,” writes Schlandt. Undertakings like a radical decarbonisation would also produce losers, but up until now citizens were left under the illusion that the Energiewende will continue as painless as it has been.

 

Handelsblatt

“The right step”

The planned merger of Siemens’ wind power business with Spanish Gamesa holds risks, but is the right step to take, writes Alex Höpner in an opinion piece for Handelsblatt. “It is correct to invest in renewable energies. […] Fossil energy sources are a model of the past [and] it is good to show that the former idea of a green infrastructure giant was not given up completely,” writes Höpner.

Read the opinion piece in German here.

 

dpa-AFX

“Environment minister conference commits to coal exit”

The environment ministers of the states have called on the federal government to come up with a concrete timetable for the country’s coal phase-out, reports dpa. The ministers ask for the inclusion of “the questions of structural change, supply security and affordability” in the plan for an exit from coal use, according to a press release.

Read the article in German here.

Read the press release by the conference of environment ministers in German here.

 

dpa

“Industry expert: We’ll need coal power plants for a long time still”

Germany will rely on coal-fired power plants for its electricity supply “at least until 2050”, says Franz-Josef Wodopia, managing director of the German Coal Importer Association, according to dpa. Because of a lack of affordable mass storage systems, there were currently no alternative solutions for the fluctuations of wind and solar energy, says Wodopia. Without a strong base of conventionally produced electricity, the stability of the power grid could not be maintained.

Read the article in German here.

 

Federal Environment Agency

“Greenhouse gas neutral goods transport is necessary and possible”

A study by Germany’s Federal Environment Agency UBA finds that increasing transport of goods by 2030 will require a reduction of emissions from this sector, for example by using more rail instead of road transport. The researchers say that road transport fees must rise while the rail infrastructure has to be expanded. With ambitious measures, the share of rail transport can be increased from 18 to 23 percent by 2030.

Read the press release in German here and download the study on financing a sustainable goods transport in German here.

 

PV magazine

Digitalisation law: Mandatory smart meters for all PV installations larger than 1 kilowatt

An explanatory note on the draft law on the digitalisation of the energy transition shows that the government is planning to make smart meters mandatory for all new renewable installations as of 2018, PV magazine reports. Representatives of the solar PV industry opposed the idea, saying that this would slow down solar PV expansion. The digitalisation law will be debated in parliament this week.

Read the article in German here.

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