In the media: Coal plants can be switched off; solar gets cheaper

Spiegel Online/IZES

“Coal plants can be shut down despite nuclear phase-out”

Germany can shut down its coal-fired power plants by 2040, despite the nuclear phase-out and without endangering power supply, according to a study by the Institute for Future Energy Systems (IZES). But in addition to the planned expansion of renewable energies, the country would have to build more gas-fired plants, which emit much less CO2 than coal-fired stations, according to an article in Spiegel Online about the findings. This would cause an increase in the power price until 2030, between 0.7 and 2.7 cents per kilowatt-hour, but would bring overall cost reductions for consumers from 2035, according to the article.

Find the Spiegel Online article in German here.

You can read the study in German here.                   

This CLEW article provides an overview over the coal debate.

This CLEW factsheet explains the recent policy decisions.

 

Federal Network Agency

Uniform price at second photovoltaic tender 8.49 cents per kWh

Germany’s second-ever photovoltaic tender resulted in a price of 8.49 cents per kWh, according to the Federal Network Agency. “Bidders’ reactions to the stiff competition in the first round resulted in lower offers,” said Jochen Homann, the agency’s president. The current feed-in tariff, valid until 1 September, is 8.93 ct/kWh. The agency had said in mid-August that the tender for large ground-mounted arrays resulted in 33 successful bids, granting support for 159.7 megawatts (MW) of solar capacity. The tender was more than 3 times oversubscribed with 136 bids for 558 MW capacity.
The second tender followed a different auction design, compared to the first. This time, a system of uniform pricing meant all bidders were awarded the highest price accepted in the auction. The average successful bid in the first round was 9.17 ct/kWh.

Read the agency’s press release in German here.

Read a CLEW article on renewable auctions here.

 

Die Welt

“Cheap oil reduces incentive for refurbishments”

Homeowners are refraining from investing in home insulation because of the low oil price, Richard Haimann reports in Die Welt. Support programmes by state development bank KfW that should incentivise people to make their homes more energy efficient have only been moderately successful – since 2012, the KfW-supported loans have fallen to 3.6 billion euros from 4.2 billion euros, the article says. The KfW has reacted by increasing support and reducing interest rates. But low oil and gas prices are delaying  the time it takes to pay off the investments, Haimann is told.

Read the article in German here.

 

McKinsey

Energiewende Index: offshore wind on track; other energy transition targets not reachable

The energy transition is continuing its positive trend, consultancy McKinsey finds in its latest Energiewende-Index Germany. Nine out of 15 indicators are on track, while six are falling behind the target, the bi-annually published analysis says. Areas that are “realistically on track” are solar PV development, reducing power consumption, jobs in renewable and energy intensive industries, security of supply and now also offshore wind power development. Falling behind the targets set by the government, are CO2 emission reductions and the decrease of the renewable power surcharge, McKinsey says. In order to reach its greenhouse gas reduction goal, Germany would have to quadruple the average annual CO2 reduction rates it achieved between 2000 and 2014, McKinsey Director Thomas Vahlenkamp said according to a press release. Due to offshore wind development, the renewable surcharge for power consumers would increase instead of fall, as had been promised by the government.

Read the press release and find the index in German here.

 

German Institute for Economic Research (DIW)

“Petrol and diesel continue to dominate road transport”

Both in Gemany and around the world, petrol and diesel will remain the dominating fuels in road transport while a shift towards alternative fuels like liquid gas or natural gas or electric cars is  – so far – not in sight, researchers at the DIW say in a new study. For Germany, the researchers’ scenarios show that the share of diesel in fuel usage will increase. They therefore recommend a reassessment of tax benefits for diesel cars (whose emissions are more health damaging). In Germany’s climate action programme 2020, there are no measures included that could reverse the trend of increased consumption of fossil fuels in the transport sector, the authors say.

Read the study in German here.

 

Rhineland-Westphalia Institute for Economic Research (RWI)

"Northern Germany likes renewables, the east stays faithful to coal"

Public opinion about energy policy varies greatly between different regions in Germany, according to a study by the Rhineland-Westphalia Institute for Economic Research (RWI). For example, support for the construction of new overland power lines ranged from 47 percent to 68 percent in different regional states in 2013. Attitudes to new coal-fired plants showed a similar variation. In western Rhineland-Palatinate, 70 percent of people rejected the idea, whereas resistance was much lower in Eastern Saxony (46 percent). The authors also found that women are generally much more in favour of wind and solar energy than men.

You can find the RWI’s discussion paper in German here and a summary here.

Consult this CLEW factsheet on the German public’s support for the Energiewende.

 

Frankfurter Rundschau

High risk negotiations

It would be the “horror scenario” for the UN climate conference in Paris if climate diplomats didn’t complete a reasonable negotiating text in the meetings leading up to the event, writes Joachim Wille in the Frankfurter Rundschau. But the 76 page-long document currently being discussed at the penultimate preparatory conference in Bonn, is far too long and includes sometimes contradictory options for reduction targets or technology transfers, the author says. In order to have a complete text in Paris, negotiators will have to come up with an entirely new, ambitious draft, Wille is told by Greenpeace climate expert Martin Kaiser.

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