FAZ/World Economic Forum
“Praise for German competitiveness”
According to the World Economic Forum’s new Global Competitiveness Report, Germany is one of the most economically competitive countries in the world, reports Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung. Germany’s ranking improved from 5th to 4th place. Good marks for infrastructure, innovation and market size contribute to the economy’s standing, according to the report. Switzerland came first, followed by Singapore and the US.
See the World Economic Forum’s Global Competitiveness Report in English here.
“Dispute over state aid for RWE”
The suggestion of state aid for battered utility RWE by Armin Laschet, deputy head of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s CDU party, has sparked controversy, reports German news agency dpa. Garrelt Duin, economy minister for RWE’s home state North Rhine-Westphalia said he cannot imagine using taxpayers’ money. Instead, policy must create reasonable conditions for the industry, Duin argued. Investors took the discussion as a positive sign for RWE, with shares up six percent, according to the report.
See yesterday’s News Digest with Laschet’s comments here.
See the dpa report in German here.
German carmakers’ association (VDA)/FAZ
“There is an anti-diesel lobby”
Questioning diesel technology because of VW’s emissions manipulations is totally unjustified, Matthias Wissmann, head of the German carmakers' association told the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung. Wissmann said there was an “anti-diesel lobby, which is led by non-governmental organisations.” He added that companies will "do everything to explain the new, clean diesel cars to consumers."
See the interview in German here.
“Where, please, is the industry minister?”
In an opinion piece for the Handelsblatt, Thomas Sigmund criticises energy and economics minister Sigmar Gabriel for failing to limit damage to the image of German industry from the VW exhaust scandal. Sigmund says the Green Party has scored points from the scandal. But it is Gabriel's duty to take action to limit its impact on the “Made in Germany” brand. He suggests the minister could put revision of corporate governance rules at the top of his agenda. Instead, Gabriel has remained silent on the issue, Sigmund says, mainly because of behind-the-scenes competition between the CSU and SPD coalition partners.
Yale Climate Connections
“How Germany’s Renewable Energy Revolution Took Off”
Germany's geography and huge economy make it an unlikely birthplace for a renewable energy revolution, reports Sarah Peach in Yale Climate Connections. But citizens’ protest against nuclear energy, beginning decades ago, and the search for alternatives, were responsible for a grassroots energy transition. “These days, the fight against climate change – in addition to anti-nuclear sentiment – is still driving the renewable revolution in Germany,” writes Peach.
Read the article in English here.
Federal grid agency (Bundesnetzagentur)
“Support for PV arrays will not be cut”
Feed-in tariffs for solar installations will remain constant until early December, the Federal grid agency (Bundesnetzagentur) has announced. New solar capacity installed over the last year amounted to 1,437 MW, which is below the legal corridor of 2,400 to 2,600 MW, the agency’s vice president Peter Franke explained. “As a consequence, feed-in tariffs will stagnate for the first time ever," he said. The feed-in tariff is revised on a monthly basis, depending on whether the addition of new solar capacity exceeds or falls short of the prescribed target.
See the press release in German here.
“First Utility launches in Germany – branded as Shell”
First Utility and Royal Dutch Shell will sell gas and electricity in Germany under the Shell brand, reports Emily Gosden in The Telegraph. “The deal marks First Utility’s first foray abroad after establishing itself as Britain’s biggest ‘challenger’ supplier to the Big Six. It is also thought to be the first time Shell, the global oil and gas giant, has struck a major household energy supplier partnership to sell electricity and gas in its name in Europe,” writes Gosden. First Utility said it had opted to use the Shell brand as the company was well-known and established in Germany.
See the article in English here.
“Biogas on the scrapheap”
In a feature for Die Welt, Jochen Clemens looks at the declining fortunes of the German biogas industry. In the early 2000s, farmers did well out of the sector, which was subsidised to play key role in Germany’s energy supply. For many, it became their primary source of revenue. But plant operators say changes to the Renewable Energy Act mean they may go out of business, putting 30,000 jobs at risk. One operator has filed a complaint with the Constitutional Court in Karlsruhe.
Biomass is the most expensive source of renewable power, Clemens writes. But operators are compensated only from the power they produce, and not for the role they can play in compensating for fluctuations in supply from wind and solar.
See the story in German here.
“Not an export success”
Each EU country must chart its own path to a low-carbon energy supply, State Secretary for Energy Rainer Baake said at a conference by Brussels-based think tank Bruegel in Berlin, reports the taz. Researcher Georg Zachmann argued at the event that the costs of the Energiewende may be too high. But Baake said that while Germany had paid a high price for giving up nuclear and integrating renewables into its energy supply, the need for subsidies is coming to an end.
See the article in German here.
Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi)
“Cabinet decision for additional budget strengthens energy and climate fund”
The cabinet's approval of the supplementary budget means an additional 1.3 billion euros will flow into the government’s “energy and climate fund”, according to a ministry press release. “The money will finance new efficiency measures that will contribute to Germany achieving its climate targets for 2020.”
See the press release in German here.