Lignite sale advances / Secret iCar lab in Berlin

 Der Tagesspiegel

“Czech investor wants to take over brown coal operations”

A year and a half after Sweden's Vattenfall said it would sell its German lignite operations, a decision on the future of eastern German brown coal is now in the works, writes Alexander Fröhlich in Der Tagesspiegel. Vattenfall's supervisory board debated the sale of its German lignite assets to Czech utility and mining company EPH on Sunday, ahead of its German subsidiary's board meeting on Monday in Berlin.

Read the article in German here.

Find a recent CLEW article on the sale here.

Find a CLEW factsheet on the sale here.

 

Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung

“Apple hires German car experts for iCar laboratory in Berlin”

Apple is working on an electric "iCar" with help from German car industry experts at a "small, secret development laboratory" in Berlin, writes the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung. Citing insiders, the paper says Apple has a 15-20 person team of “high-calibre experts from the German auto industry” planning the project and working on the technology. The iCar is targeted for release as a car-sharing compact car in 2019 or 2020, the newspaper writes. Apple did not comment.

Read the article in German here.

Find a CLEW dossier on the Energiewende in transport here.

 

pv magazine

Tight schedule for consultation on Renewable Energy Act

Business associations and German states have little time left to participate in consultations for the 2016 reform of the Renewable Energy Act (EEG), reports Sandra Enkhardt in pv magazine. The economics ministry will only accept written statements until 21 April. The cabinet is likely to vote on the proposal on 27 April, with parliament debating the law in May and June, the paper writes.

Read the article in German here.

Find a summary of first reactions to the proposal in Friday’s News Digest here.

Find a CLEW factsheet on the reform proposals here.

 

Kieler Nachrichten

“Green ministers: Federal government blocks wind energy”

Energy ministers from German states where the Green Party is in government are criticising reform plans for the Renewable Energy Act (EEG), according to the Kieler Nachrichten. In a joint statement, they say limiting the share of renewables to 45 percent by 2025 lacks courage. Renewables could provide a much larger share of electricity consumption, making a greater contribution to  climate protection and guaranteeing more future-proof jobs, they argue. “Obviously, the government doesn’t care about the Paris Climate Agreement,” said Robert Habeck, the Green energy minister from the state of Schleswig-Holstein.

 

Agence France Presse

Left Party says renewables expansion “handed over to large investors”

Planned government reforms will hand over future renewables expansion to large investors, sidelining citizens’ projects, according to Left Party energy spokesperson Eva Bulling-Schröter. She also criticised that economics minister Sigmar Gabriel wants to retain the “rigid” lid on onshore wind expansion, according to an afp report.

 

Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung

“6.5 billion euros for eco power in one quarter”

German power consumers paid 6.5 billion euros in the first quarter of 2016 to finance renewable energies, up by 400 million euros or seven percent from the same period last year, reports Andreas Mihm in the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung. Feed-in tariffs paid to operators of wind, photovoltaic or biomass installations rose to 5.2 billion euros compared to 4.2 billion euros.

Find the CLEW factsheet on Germany’s “green energy account” here.

 

Die Welt

“Against the ‘dark, cold calm’ with Siemens technology”

Siemens has plans to build the first large, 600-megawatt, gas-and-steam turbine power plant in Germany after four years of order stagnation, reports Gerhard Hegmann in Die Welt. The plant, to be built in Leipheim in Bavaria, could be used to ensure the security of the power supply to compensate for the unreliability of renewable sources, writes Hegmann. “According to industry experts, the project is a model case on how Siemens – aside from wind power facilities – could profit from the Energiewende in its conventional power plant segment after all.” Siemens did not comment on the plans.

Read the article in German here.

Find the CLEW factsheet "Germany's new power market design" here.

 

Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung

“A miracle made in Germany”

Scientists at a start-up with the German Aerospace Center (DLR) are developing the prototype of a free-piston linear generator (FPLG), expected by the end of the year, reports the Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung. This motor would be “cleaner, more efficient, lighter, smaller and cheaper than everything currently on the market,” says investor Manfred Gröger. “The motor is the missing piece that makes the Energiewende affordable.” The FPLG is essentially a hybrid motor that kicks in when the battery is empty, runs on many kinds of fuel from diesel to hydrogen to bio fuels and would function as a range extender for electric vehicles. The idea of an FPLG first surfaced more than half a century ago, but the level of development in electronics was not up to the task.

 

Handelsblatt

“Industry mourns the end of the uniform power price”

Despite record low wholesale market prices for electricity in Germany, energy-intensive industries are lamenting the days when the power price was higher but state levies and fees lower, write Klaus Stratmann and Martin Wocher in the Handelsblatt. For those companies that are not exempt from paying the renewables surcharge because they are energy intensive and competing internationally, the wholesale market price only makes up one quarter of their expenses for electricity, Christian Schimansky from foundry industry association BDGuss told the paper. Rising grid fees in some parts of the country were also posing a threat to industries competitiveness, the article says.

Read the article in German (behind paywall) here.

Read a CLEW factsheet about power prices for industry in Germany here.

 

Tagesspiegel

“More companies to be exempt from renewable energy surcharge”

2,305 companies want exemption from the renewable energy surcharge this year, compared to 2,154 last year, reports Dagmar Dehmer in the Tagesspiegel. The government says 116 exempted companies’ power consumption was so low they almost would have lost the exemption last year.  The Green Party suspects many of those companies may be avoiding measures to increase efficiency so they can stay exempt from paying the surcharge, and says the government must resolve this conflict of goals.

Find the article in German here.

 

Deutschlandfunk

“Without a secure infrastructure, disaster looms”

The new bill on the digitalisation of the energy transition is full of holes and doesn’t take into account a range of important technical details, writes Peter Welchering on Deutschlandfunk. This was the result of a parliamentary hearing on the law last week. The draft bill didn’t clarify how data from customers who have installed smart meters are allowed to be used, the author says.

Read the article in German here.

 

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