29 Jun 2015 | Sören Amelang, Ruby Russell

In the media: Calls on Merkel to save climate levy

Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung

“Unemployment benefit for coal”

The apparent death of the levy on old coal-fired power plants is bad news because the alternative presented by major utilities and mining union IG BCE is much worse, writes Lena Schipper in a commentary for Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung. “For power plant operators, this is a full-blown success – instead of having to pay for the decommissioning of old power stations, they will get money for it,” writes Schipper.

Find CLEW's latest summary of the debate on the coal levy here.

 

Süddeutsche Zeitung

“Thick air”

The federal ministries for economics and the environment expect the trade union proposal for the future of coal plants to cost tax payers billions of euros, reports Süddeutsche Zeitung. The original proposal of a climate levy would cost the public 420 million euros per year, because utilities would have to shoulder the lion's share of the costs, writes Markus Balser. The new proposal would cost the public 1.4 billion euros per year, plus high one-off costs, according to Balser.   

 

Friends of the Earth Germany/Greenpeace/WWF and others

Environmental groups call on Merkel to save coal levy

A group of nine environmental and development NGOs is calling on Chancellor Angela Merkel to save the coal levy rather than give in to the “coal lobby”, in a prominent advertisement in the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung. “Dear Chancellor, keep your promise and support the climate contribution,” demand Friends of the Earth Germany, Greenpeace, Germanwatch, WWF and others in the half-page advertisement.  The groups insist Merkel must honour her pledges from the recent G7 summit to decarbonise the economy. The NGOs say the alternative proposal endangers Germany’s climate targets and will be much more expensive.

 

German Advisory Council on the Environment

“10 theses on the future of coal until 2040”

The German government must start work on a broad consensus on the future of coal, says the German Advisory Council on the Environment. “We have to develop a timetable for the gradual phase-out of power generation from coal by 2040,” said Martin Faulstich, head of the expert panel advising the federal government, in a press release accompanying the publication of the panel’s “10 theses on the future of coal until 2040”. He said such a plan would also prove that the government takes seriously the decisions made at the G7 summit and the Pope’s environment encyclical.    

Read the press release in German here.

 

Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung

“RWE plans to double profit from green electricity”

Major utility RWE expects to double operating profits at its green energy subsidiary Innogy this year, reports Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung. Thanks to the inauguration of two major wind parks, the company says it aims to earn almost 400 million euros. This is RWE’s first ever profit forecast for its green subsidiary, according to the report.  

 

Tagesspiegel

Vattenfall CEO: “We will certainly stay in Berlin"

In an interview with Tagesspiegel, Tuomo Hatakka, CEO of Vattenfall Europe said he was confident of the company’s future in Berlin. Owned by the Swedish state, Vattenfall is Germany’s third biggest utility. Currently, just 3 percent of its power generation comes from renewable sources, but Hatakka said the company was focused on the energy transition, pointing to its offshore wind parks in the German North Sea. On the climate levy currently being debated in Germany, Hatakka said he welcomed the alternative proposal from trade union IG BCE, as the proposed tax on older coal-powered plants would mean a simultaneous exit from nuclear and lignite, which he said was not workable. Hatakka declined to comment on the impact of the government’s upcoming decision on the levy on Vattenfall’s sale of its German lignite operations, but said clarity was needed if the utility was to close the sale by the end of this year as planned.

 

Frankfurter Allgemeine Zietung

“Siemens builds new plant in Germany”

Siemens CEO Joe Kaeser has announced that the company is looking to building a new wind turbine factory in Germany, FAZ reports. Kaeser told the paper the facility could create 1,000 new jobs. The article says the move is a positive signal from Siemens, following the company’s announcement in May that it would cut 2,200 German jobs. But despite Siemens’ leading role in wind turbine manufacturing, on balance the energy transition has been a burden for the company, Kaeser said, because the market for efficient new gas and steam power plants has virtually ceased to exist in Germany and Europe. Kaeser is critical of the implementation of the German energy transition and says the company is strengthening its presence abroad.

 

Süddeutsche Zeiting

“Grafenrheinfeld goes offline”

The Süddeutsche Zeitung reports on the shutdown of E.ON’s Grafenrheinfeld nuclear power plant last night. The event was marked by around 120 anti-nuclear activists, the paper reports, who picnicked in a neighbouring field, raising a toast as the reactor went offline at midnight. Meanwhile, Maxatomstrom, a utility offering German customers a "100 percent nuclear" electricity tariff, projected a different message on one of the plant's cooling towers: “Thank you for 300 billion kWh of low-CO2 power.”

See the article in German here.

 

The Star

“The case against new investments in coal power stations”

In an interview with Kenyan news outlet The Star, Andreas Kraemer, founder of the Ecologic Institute, says the notion that coal is a cheap source of energy is false, once the environmental, health and social costs are factored in. He also says with distributed renewable power generation there is less risk of corruption, and describes the German experience of community-owned renewable power installations as bringing community-wide benefits.

See the article in English here.

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