“German backlash grows against coal power clampdown“
The proposed levy on old coal-fired power stations is fast becoming a test of the German government’s commitment to decarbonise its economy, according to the Guardian. Energy companies warn construction of over half the country’s planned power plants could be scuppered if the levy was introduced and trade unions see 100,000 jobs at risk. But clean energy experts told the British paper the figures cited by both employers and unions were alarmist and unrealistic. “If the government gives in now, an important window of opportunity will close and not open again for a long time,” Sabrina Schultz from environmental think-tank E3G told the Guardian.
Read the article in English here.
Find a CLEW factsheet about Coal in Germany here.
“Keep it up”
Klaus Töpfer, former executive director of the UN Environment Programme and Germany’s former environment minister, says in an interview with Süddeutsche Zeitung the government must stick to the climate levy in the face of vocal protests. The majority of the population supports the government’s course, which makes sense from an environmental and an economic perspective, according to Töpfer. “The future belongs to renewable energies – not only in Germany, but worldwide. It is very questionable whether sticking to old structures is sensible economic policy.” Töpfer says Germany now needs to develop a broad consensus about how to phase out brown coal. “The transition has become unstoppable.”
“Government plans put 40,000 jobs at risk in lignite regions alone”
The government plans for a coal levy put 40,000 jobs in Germany’s lignite mining regions at risk, according to lignite industry association DEBRIV. The levy represented an existential threat to around half of Germany’s lignite plants, according to DEBRIV. A shutdown of this magnitude would directly affect 11,350 employees at mines and power stations, says the association. It says these numbers are based on calculations by economic think tank HWWI, which says it published these findings last November. Because of lost income, another 28,000 people would lose their jobs in the mining regions in the medium term, according to DEBRIV.
Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung
“Energy surcharge may drop again in 2016“
The reserves on Germany’s renewable energy account rose to a record 4.8 billion euros in March. Increasing solar power generation will likely reduce the surplus in the summer, but the size of current reserves suggests the green energy surcharge Germans pay with their power bills to finance the feed-in tariffs for renewable energies might well drop again in the coming year, reports the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung. In October, the surcharge was reduced from 6.24 to 6.17 cents per kilowatt hour because of a surplus.
Read CLEW’s factsheet about how the green energy account works here.
Find the grid operators’ most recent account statistics here.
The government "does absolutely nothing" to promote e-mobility
There will be 2 – 3 million electric vehicles on Germany’s roads by 2020, Kurt Sigl, president of the Federal Association for E-mobility, told the newspaper Die Zeit in an interview. That's much more than the government target of 1 million cars but Sigl believes that EU emission limits and new hybrid models from German manufacturers will boost sales. The German government, however “does absolutely nothing” to promote e-cars, he said. An easy way would be to grant businesses tax relief for using electric vehicles, but the government rejected this idea, Sigl said.
See the article in German here.
Nuclear power operators unlikely to get compensation
Germany’s biggest utilities RWE and E.ON are unlikely to get compensated for the switch-off of nuclear power stations in the wake of the Fukushima disaster, writes legal and energy expert Peter Becker in a guest commentary in Süddeutsche Zeitung. The moratorium in March 2011 was legitimate because nuclear authorities needed to re-evaluate the security of nuclear power plants, according to Becker. “Therefore, the companies will have a difficult time in court”, writes Becker.