'Lobby battle' ahead of Energiewende summit / Local utilities struggle
“Lobby battle over Energiewende”
There is a lot of pressure on Chancellor Angela Merkel and state premiers to hammer out a compromise at tonight’s meeting on the reform of the Renewable Energy Act (EEG), writes Richard Fuchs on public broadcaster dw.com. While energy intensive industry applauds efforts to control costs, environmental organisations are horrified, according to Fuchs. Many different groups are involved in the “lobby battle over the Energiewende”.
Read the article in German here.
Also read CLEW’s overview of the talks in the article Merkel, state premiers seek compromise on core Energiewende law.
“Greens call on states: Protect Energiewende in renewable fight”
The Green Party has called on the regional states to hold their ground in tonight’s talks with Chancellor Angela Merkel. “The state premiers must protect the energy transition and climate protection against the federal government,” Anton Hofreiter, head of the Green’s parliamentary group, told news agency dpa-AFX. He added that Germany could only achieve its climate targets with strong renewable support. “The last reforms of the Renewable Energy Act destroyed photovoltaic, this time it’s wind’s turn,” said Hofreiter.
The head of pro-business party FDP, Christian Lindner, told the newswire it was time to inject free market principles into energy policy. “Organised particular interests and states block the desperately needed policy change… the money-printing machine called Renewable Energy Act must be stopped by ending the automatic granting of permanent subsidies.”
“Really only an end in itself”
The substitution of nuclear power with electricity from renewable sources – the central goal of the Energiewende – can only be successful, if the switch is “clearly linked with grid development”, writes Michael Fuchs, deputy head of the CDU-CSU Conservative Parties’ parliamentary group in the Bundestag, in a guest commentary in Handelsblatt. Fuchs rejects the commissioning of new offshore wind parks without making sure the power can be routed to Germany’s industrial south. He says new facilities that could not deliver their electricity because of grid bottlenecks should not be fully compensated. “This would lead to a kind of migration of renewables projects to the south,” writes Fuchs.
“Rigid large power stations cost hundreds of millions of euros extra”
Large conventional power stations in the German state of Schleswig-Holstein sometimes ran at or near full capacity during periods of abundant solar and wind power in 2015, even though it would have been technically possible to throttle production in many instances, according to Berlin-based consultancy Energy Brainpool, commissioned by Greenpeace. Renewable facilities were shut off during those times to avoid grid overload. Because of a lack of publicly-available data about the individual cases, the authors can only speculate about the reasons, according to the paper.
Inflexible conventional plants thus caused hundreds of millions of euros of re-dispatch costs, says Greenpeace in a press release. Referring to the planned reform of the Renewable Energy Act (EEG), Greenpeace energy expert Tobias Austrup said: “The [Christian Democrats] want to make wind power the scapegoat for grid bottlenecks. That is absurd. The opponents of the energy transition should finally recognise that the inflexible large power stations cause environmental problems and are the real power price drivers.”
Find the analysis in German here.
Find more information in the CLEW factsheet Re-dispatch costs in the German power grid.
“Local utilities struggle with financial problems”
Local energy utilities that are also operating other services for the public, such as transport, are suffering from lower liquidity and higher debt than pure energy utilities, a study by consultancy PwC has found. Analysing the 2014 annual reports of 300 utilities, PwC found that 22 percent of the companies were in a critical situation regarding access to financing.
Read the press release in German here.
See the CLEW factsheet Small, but powerful – Germany’s municipal utilities.
Merkel – Germany to use G20 presidency in 2017 to focus on sustainability goals
German Chancellor Angela Merkel has said her country wants to use its G20 presidency next year to “explicitly focus” on sustainability goals. At the yearly conference by the German Council for Sustainable Development in Berlin, she also said the Paris Agreement meant great progress for climate protection efforts. “Germany wants to continue to set a good example,” she said, adding her government was currently preparing the Climate Action Plan 2050.
For background, read the CLEW factsheet Climate Action Plan 2050: Negotiating a path to decarbonisation.
“Decentralised production of hydrogen peroxide – using surplus renewable power”
In order to balance out spikes in power grids resulting from fluctuating wind and solar power, surplus electricity can be used for the decentralised production of chemicals with the help of a new electrolytic cell developed by Fraunhofer Institute for Interfacial Engineering and Biotechnology (Fraunhofer IGB). In the cell, hydrogen peroxide can be produced on site with electricity alone – just from air and water, according to a press release. Because of its highly oxidising and cell toxic effects, hydrogen peroxide is widely used as a bleaching agent and disinfectant in many technical areas.
Read the press release in English here.
Read the CLEW Dossier New technologies for the Energiewende.
Statistics Agency (Destatis)
“373,000 electric bikes imported in 2015”
Germany imported 373,000 e-bikes last year, an increase of 60 percent, according to statistics agency Destatis. At the same time, the number of e-bike exports rose a third to 142,000. While the average price of an imported bike was 750 euros, exported bikes cost 1,296 euros on average.
Find the press release in German here.