"Energy efficiency in companies: Hidden chances for climate protection"
Greater energy efficiency efforts by companies could help Germany save nearly a quarter of the CO2 emissions necessary to reach its climate target of slashing emissions 40% by 2020 over 1990 levels, reports Spiegel Online, citing a paper written by the Fraunhofer Institute for Systems and Innovation Research. Around 50,000 companies could cut their energy usage to save 23 million tonnes of CO2 out of the 85 million necessary to reach the goal, Spiegel Online says. The German government is working on a plan to meet the targets, which the country is predicted to miss by 5-8 percentage points. The main point of contention is whether to close coal-fired electricity plants, which some say are necessary to fill the gaps in renewable energy production when there is no sun or wind. Spiegel says the Fraunhofer report shows potential savings can be had from sources other than power plants. Last week, the government said it would conduct voluntary energy efficiency audits on 50,000 companies every four years.
See the article in German here.
"Windstill in Bavaria"
After months of debating, the Bavarian state parliament is expected this week to sign off on a new law that will increase the distance between power-producing windmills, according to an article in the Süddeutsche Zeitung. The new rules prescribe a distance between windmills of ten times their height, which amounts to around 2 kilometres using the standard height of 200 metres, the report says. Opposition politicians from the Social Democratic Party say this is the "death knell" for wind energy, whereas Bavarian state premier and CSU politician Horst Seehofer says it won't hinder expansion.
Read the article in German here.
Politicians in North and Central Germany want to redraw Suedlink power line map
Several counties in the German states of North Rhine-Westphalia, Hesse and Lower Saxony are protesting the recently proposed route for new Suedlink power lines, which will carry wind power through their regions from the North Sea to Southern Germany, according to dpa-AFX cited on the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung's website. Politicians from those states have criticized the plan as intransparent and said that alternatives had not been properly considered.
Separately, on Monday, the offshore windpark Meerwind Sued/Ost was connected to the power grid, with the potential to light up 360,000 homes, and two further parks with similar capacity will go online in 2015, according to a report in Germany's taz newspaper. By 2020, offshore windpower will have increased tenfold as more parks are completed, the paper said.
Read the FAZ report in German here.
Read the taz report in German here.
Dow Jones Newswires
Draft bill: Associations criticise pilot auction scheme for solar power installations
A draft version of the new law introducing a system of auctions for photovoltaic installations in Germany lacks provisions to protect citizen-owned projects, say the German Renewable Energy Association (BEE) and the German Solar Energy Association (BSW) according to the Dow Jones Newswires. The competitive bidding scheme (used to determine prices for solar power) will replace feed-in tariffs by 2017 and would favour big commercial actors, the renewable lobby fears.
"When the environment falls prey to ecology"
Protecting the "visual integrity" of Germany's Unesco World Heritage sites has to be kept in mind when developing renewable energy, writes the president of the German Unesco Commission, Verena Metze-Mangold in an opinion piece for Die Welt. She supports the idea of the Energiewende and acknowledges that people are generally in favour of renewable energies even if wind turbines affect the landscape. However, she warns that the protection of landscapes and cultural assets must not be weakened in the process.
See the op-ed in German here.