16 Mar 2015, 00:00
Sören Amelang Kerstine Appunn Ruby Russell

In the media: Bild am Sonntag attacks German energy policy

 Bild am Sonntag

“Getting the green light?”

Germany’s transition to a low-carbon economy is not very environmentally friendly and doesn’t make economic sense, argues Olaf Wilke in a seven-sentence commentary for Bild am Sonntag, Germany's best-selling Sunday tabloid. “Eco-capitalists” reap huge profits from support for renewables, while everybody else faces rising power bills, writes Wilke. In a separate article in the same newspaper, Roland Tichy demands a profound revision of German energy policy: “The Energiewende is a botched job, and instead of changing course, it gets worse, dirtier and more expensive every day.”

See Wilke's opinion piece in German here.

See Tichy’s article in German here.


Bild am Sonntag

“Germans don’t want nuclear power anymore”

Four years after the Fukushima disaster, 81 percent of Germans still think the government’s decision to exit nuclear power was right, according to a poll by Bild am Sonntag. Only 16 percent of those questioned by polling firm Emnid believed the phase-out was wrong. Approval rates were highest among the young. 93 percent of people aged between 14 and 29 said the nuclear exit was the right policy. Overall, 53 percent of those polled approved of financial support for renewable energy, while 35 percent were against it.

See the article in German here.

See CLEW's factsheet on the nuclear phase-out here.


Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung

“Lunacy in Irsching”

That Europe’s most efficient gas-fired power plant is not generating power proves that German energy policy is economically and ecologically unreasonable, writes Georg Meck in a prominent article in the Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung. Priority given to renewable energy in the power grid means that the Irsching power plant cannot be operated profitably, and troubled utility E.ON wants to shut it down. Meek writes, “this lunacy enters the history books as a sub-chapter to the madness of the Energiewende," adding that "the basic problem is a command economy energy transition that has suspended the price mechanism.”


Der Spiegel

“Government and utilities play poker with the money for the nuclear phase-out”

German utilities could make a deal with the government that would give them planning security for their coal-fired plants in exchange for securing funds for nuclear decommissioning, according to Der Spiegel. Two reports commissioned by the government warned that if their businesses continue their current downturn, German utilities might not be able to meet their obligation to pay for nuclear decommissioning. In return for transferring half of their decommissioning reserves (amounting to 17 billion euros) into a state-administered fund, the government could introduce a capacity reserve that would pay utilities for their old, CO2-intensive coal fired power stations for around five years. This could allow Germany to reach its ambitious greenhouse gas reduction targets, while giving utilities planning security, the article says. 

See a short online version of the article in German here.

See a CLEW article on the proposed nuclear fund here.



“Coalition changes course”

Combined heat and power (CHP) used to be one of the German environment ministry's preferred projects, Henning Krumrey writes in the WirtschaftsWoche. 15 years ago, the government provided support for these fossil plants that produce both power and heat. But the introduction of the new Renewable Energy Act in 2014 reduced their income. The Chancellor and the Minister for Economic Affairs and Energy now agree that existing CHP installations should receive more support, but a previous target to increase their share of German power generation to 25 percent will be lowered, Krumrey writes.

See the article in German here.



“Guest commentary: Texas is not a model”

Writing in the WirtschaftsWoche, Green member of parliament Oliver Krischer explains why his party backs a flexible capacity market in the debate over power market reform, arguing that security of supply should be given a market value alongside power generation. Krischer cites the experiences of Texas, which introduced an energy only market, and Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Maryland, which opted for focused capacity markets. In his party's proposal for an "ecologic flexibility market," suppliers would be rewarded for offering the most climate-friendly, inexpensive capacity reserves, that best complement fluctuating renewables. If the German government pursues its current preference of an energy only market - like that of Texas - it will come under immense industry pressure to intervene over price peaks, Krischer writes.

See CLEW's factsheet on the different propsals for a new power market design here and and an overview of stakeholder views on the topic here.


Greentech Media 

“German Energy Storage: Not for the Fainthearted”

An article on Greentech Media says that despite growing demand, the German market for home power storage systems is a “tough market to compete in.” Owners of residential photovoltaic (PV) systems are increasingly choosing to store and consume the power they produce – rather than selling it to the grid – meaning that PV systems with integrated storage make up a rapidly growing share of the market, writes Jason Deign. With low-interest loans and a 30 percent rebate on the purchase price, a typical investment of 13,000 to 25,000 euros (roughly a third of which covers storage) pays off in around 14 years. But that is still a big outlay for most households, Deign writes. Plus, the market is saturated, and 70 percent of players may be selling at a loss to establish market share.

See the article in English here

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