"Energiewende: Coalition agrees to put coal plants on reserve"
Many German media reported the government decision to place 2.7 gigawatts-worth of coal-fired plants into a reserve for use when renewable energies like wind and sun are in short supply, rejecting an original proposal to fine the highly polluting plants when they surpassed a specific emissions level. The agreement contained other measures aimed at helping Germany cut emissions, the reports said. Among other things, the government agreed to use existing power lines more heavily than planned for transporting power from the windy north to the industrial south and will bury some of the new lines. That measure was largely to appease concerns of Bavarian residents near the new power lines in the south, according to Die Zeit. In addition, the government will take steps to ensure that nuclear plant operators are held financially accountable for dismantling nuclear plants. Support for energy efficiency measures will be increased as well.
Read a report in Die Zeit in German here.
Read a CLEW factsheet about the government decisions here.
Read a CLEW article highlighting reactions to the decisions here.
“Relief and frustration over Gabriel’s coal compromise”
Coal industry employees expressed relief over the government coalition deal to pay coal-fired plant operators for keeping plants on reserve. But energy economists said the plan would be expensive, according to a report by rbb radio in Berlin.
“That is good news. A structural change in Lusatia has been avoided,” said the head of the works council at Vattenfall Europe Mining, Rüdiger Siebers, according to rbb. But he added: “We have to assume that we will be affected by the suspensions of the plants,” saying that any job cuts would need to take place in a socially acceptable manner. Energy economist Christian von Hirschhausen from the German Insitute for Economic Research (DIW) spoke of an expensive and ineffective measure in an interview with rbb. “It is expensive, because it pays for capacities that under normal circumstances would not receive compensation. And it is ineffective, because only the oldest power plants will be part of this reserve, such as Jänschwalde or Frimmersdorf, which were slated for shut-down anyway,” he said. When asked about this, a spokesperson for the economics ministry said that specific power plants would be designated later.
Read the article in German here.
Federal Ministry of Economics and Energy
“Federal Budget 2016: Economics Ministry strengthens investment in R&D and Energiewende”
The German government cabinet has signed off on a draft budget for 2016 that would raise the economics ministry's budget by 2 percent to 7.5 billion euros, mainly targeted at business, energy and research, according to a press release from the Federal Ministry of Economics and Energy. Around 3 billion euros are slated for areas related to the Energiewende. These include around 1 billion euros for measures to reach climate protection targets through the National Action Plan for Energy Efficiency (NAPE), support in the areas of energy research, energy efficiency, renewable energies and energy-efficient building renovation. A further 300 million euros are part of an investment package, Einzelplan 60, sponsored by the Ministry of Finance, while another 1.6 million euros will go to the Energy and Climate Fund (EKF).
Read the press release in German here.
“Municipal atom bomb”
Claimants in a lawsuit against the EU Commission over subsidies for the planned British nuclear plant, Hinkley Point, are worried that the planned subsidies will put competitors at a disadvantage – a position that a study by consulting firm Energy Brainpool confirms, writes Michael Bauchmüller in the Süddeutsche Zeitung. The study looks at the influence of various nuclear expansion scenarios would have on the price of electricity and therefore on the profitability of power plants in Germany. The subsidies could allow the 3.2-gigawatt power plant, which is three times larger than other such plants, to sell power at prices that considerably undercut the competition, according to the article.
Read the article in German here.