“Bavaria does not need two grid extensions”
The southern German state of Bavaria, one of the country’s industrial powerhouses, has completed a three-month “Energy Dialogue” consultation process meant to ease rising tensions over infrastructure for the Energiewende. But according to the Süddeutsche Zeitung, the region’s energy minister Ilse Aigner referred the most important decisions – the unpopular extension of the maximum-voltage grid to transport wind power to Bavaria – back to the central government in Berlin. In her concluding remarks, she seemed to suggest that one of the two grid extensions under discussion isn't necessary to secure Bavaria’s energy supply when the region’s nuclear plants are switched off.
See the CLEW Dossier on the grid extension here.
“A lot of drivel about nothing”
Commenting on the results of Bavaria’s “Energy Dialogue”, Frank Müller writes in the Süddeutsche Zeitung that scant progress has been made. “There are still those in favour and those against grid extensions. Still nobody really knows how Bavaria will replace the almost 50 percent of its electricity currently made up nuclear in just seven years.” An expert commission would have been more appropriate to address the problems than a huge round table, argues Müller.
See the op-ed in German here.
"Seehofer blocks the line"
According to Thomas Sigmund at the Handelsblatt, responsibility for the grid expansion problem now lies with Bavarian state premier Horst Seehofer, who will have to solve the contentious issues with the federal government. “Therefore, the never-ending story of the grid extension – necessary for the Energiewende – will continue.”
“Local Utilities plan to create common brand”
Municipal providers of heat, electricity and water plan close cooperation to attract customers under a common brand that could endanger the country’s biggest utilities, the Süddeutsche Zeitung reports. “We want to build a common brand with strong internal and external ties,” the German Association of Local Utilities (VKU), told the paper. But the article's authors, Markus Balser and Michael Bauchmüller, doubt if the utilities, which are frequently in competion with one another, can adapt fast enough to an electricity market that is undergoing rapid change due to the Energiewende and technological innovation.
Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research
“Clean technology can partially make up for weak CO2 pricing”
A new study by German research institute PIK looks at the policies needed to keep global warming below 2 degrees, as long as CO2 prices remain too low to reduce emissions. Studies have shown that to have an impact, the price of emitting a tonne of CO2 would have to exceed 30 US dollars. But researchers at PIK says that in combination with support for renewables and a ban on new coal-fired power plants “a sub-optimal price for CO2 of only 7 US dollars can initiate a necessary transformation of the energy system.”
See the press release in English here.
“Töpfer: the energy transition has to be socially buffered”
Klaus Töpfer, the former head of the UN environment programme (UNEP) and executive director of the Institute for Advanced Sustainability Studies, told news agency epd that social equity represents one of the biggest challenges of the transition to a low-carbon economy. It would not be acceptable if the socially disadvantaged were to carry the heaviest burden, Töpfer said, adding that ensuring this does not happen was as important as guarding energy-intensive and export-dependent industry from high electricity prices. Otherwise, Töpfer said, the Energiewende was moving in the right direction but needed more investment in research.
See the article in German here.
Dow Jones Newswires
“Additional solar capacity almost halved in 2014”
New solar capacity installed in Germany last year fell short of the government’s growth corridor, according to figures from the Federal Network Agency, Dow Jones reports. Around 1.9 gigawatts (GW) went online, compared to 3.3 GW of new capacity installed in 2013, and short of the 2.5 GW target set out in the EEG renewable energy legislation.
“Green politician's vision of a socially fair Germany”
Former environment minister and member of parliament Jürgen Trittin, has laid out his position on Germany’s energy transition in a new book “Stillstand – Made in Germany”. Trittin thinks desiring an economy with almost zero growth is “naïve” writes Rudolf Hickel, in a book review for the Süddeutsche Zeitung. Instead, he envisions a balance occuring as the fossil and nuclear energy sector shrinks but the use of steel, cement and complex technology for wind power products rises. According to Hickel, Trittin says this “ecological materialism” provides the basis for the “social-ecologic transformation” that he describes in further detail in the book.