Majority says climate change caused heat wave / Inflexible biogas
Sixty-eight percent of respondents to a survey for ZDF-Politbarometer believe the hot weather this summer was a result of climate change. The figure is up from 48 percent who replied to the same question in 2015. In 2018, 28 percent believed the hot weather was due to normal variation, down from 49 percent in 2015.
Find the results in German here.
This CLEW article takes a look at reactions in the media and by environmental NGO’s to the heat wave.
The German government should put in place “clear incentives” to reduce CO2 emissions, said Utz Tillmann, director of German chemical industry association VCI, in an interview with Tagesspiegel Background. The fledgling government has delayed policy changes that have prevented investments that would cut carbon pollution, Tillmann added. The chemical industry is both the third most important economic sector in Germany and one of the country’s largest consumers of energy, according to Tagesspiegel Background.
Find the Tagesspiegel Background article (behin paywall) in German here.
For background, read the CLEW article First 100 days - German government in disarray neglects energy policy.
Germany is seeking to limit China’s investment in sensitive firms, following revelations that state-owned China Southern Power Grid purchased a substantial share of a 1,650-kilometre natural gas distribution network and a 420-kilometre high- and medium-voltage network in western Germany, according to an article in Handelsblatt Global. The German government is considering lowering the threshold for the review and veto of foreign acquisition of critical infrastructure, according to the article. The push comes on the heels of the German government’s move to block Chinese acquisition of power transmission grid operator 50Hertz “on national security grounds”. The government may currently review an investment in a firm linked to national security if a foreign entity seeks to purchase at least 25 percent of its shares. Under the revised law, that threshold would be lowered to 15 percent, the article says.
Read the article in English here.
For background, read the news digest item German politicians closely watch Chinese company’s plans to buy share in German grid operator, the dossier The energy transition and Germany’s power grid, and the article Sino-German tandem: Export champions promote global energy transition.
German Economic Institute (IW)
The federal government should reform its tax code to achieve the necessary rate at which residences are renovated to be made more energy-efficient in order to meet its goal of a nearly climate-neutral building stock by mid-century, the German Economic Institute (IW) writes in a report. In particular, a targeted tax measure should be established to motivate long-term homeowners to carry out energy renovations, according to IW.
Read the report in German here.
Clean Energy Wire
Most German biogas plants capable of producing power according to demand are not making use of this flexibility because the spread between base and peak prices at the wholesale market is not large enough, the German government said. The response came in a reply to an enquiry launched by the liberal FDP party. Overcapacities in Germany’s power market are likely to blame, the government said. The FDP wrote that although 2.64 gigawatt of biogas plants were receiving a flexibility premium payment to prevent them from producing power during times of high input from solar and wind installations, there was little evidence of these plants being operated flexibly. The government said that 56.6 million euros in flexibility premiums were paid in 2016, adding it did not see any evidence for abuse of the system. There is no requirement for biogas operators to prove the flexibility provided over a year, but plants have to be certified to receive the flexibility payment.
Intra-German flights should be completely prohibited and per-person air traffic should be capped, according to environmental and mobility experts, Markus Decker writes in the Frankfurter Rundschau. Air traffic in Germany increased by 2.3 percent in the first half of the year, according to Decker. Two years ago, the Federal Environment Agency (UBA) called for the government to stop promoting air travel by ending the exemptions of kerosene from the energy tax and international flights from value-added tax payments, Decker writes.
For background, read the dossier The energy transition and Germany’s transport sector and the factsheet Air cargo emissions in Germany.
Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung
The German transition to a low-carbon and nuclear-free energy supply – dubbed the “Energiewende” – should be based on the use of market-based instruments and competition between companies and technologies, Hubertus Bardt, head of the research division at the German Economic Institute (IW), and IW Director Michael Hüther write in an opinion piece in the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung. Such an approach would reduce costs and spur innovation, according to Bardt and Hüther. “The state’s purpose is not to define technological and market innovations, but rather to provide innovation-friendly regulations and adequate infrastructure,” they write.
For background, read the factsheets How much does Germany’s energy transition cost? and From ideas to laws – how Energiewende policy is shaped.