“Energy transition causes controversy between chancellor and state premiers”
An alliance of three state premiers have informed Chancellor Angela Merkel about their concerns about a new “climate contribution” payable as a levy by the most CO2 intensive fossil power plants if they exceed a certain emission limit, Der Spiegel reports. The heads of Saxony, North Rhine-Westphalia and Lower Saxony fear for jobs in the lignite sector if the emission payment was introduced. But according to Der Spiegel, Merkel said that “one has to find ways to comply with the climate protection targets”. She doesn’t want to seem idle when it comes to pursuing Germany’s aim of cutting CO2 emissions by 40 percent by 2020 – not in the year of the G7 summit in Germany and the UN climate conference, the article says.
See a CLEW article on the climate contribution debate here.
“Climate levy on lignite will be softened”
The climate levy as proposed by the Minister for Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi), will not have “the feared impact on coal mining regions”, the economy minister of North Rhine-Westphalia, Garrelt Duin told the Rheinische Post after a meeting between state ministers and federal energy minister Sigmar Gabriel. Gabriel would be open to other suggestions as to how Germany’s climate targets could be reached, Duin told the paper.
See the article in German here.
“Reducing power production from lignite would hardly affect power prices”
A background paper by consultancy Enervis, commissioned by think-tank Agora Energiewende*, shows that mothballing old coal power stations with a total capacity of 10 gigawatt would lead to a price increase of around 0.4 cent per kilowatt-hour. Limiting CO2 emissions from fossil power plants – as has been suggested with the climate levy proposal from the BMWi – would mostly effect lignite power stations that are more than 40 years old in 2020, the Agora paper found. Limiting their production would reduce Germany’s (recently rising) power exports from lignite-fired plants which would see gas-fired stations for example in the Netherlands increase generation again. Because natural gas is less CO2 intensive than lignite, this would lead to an overall emission reduction, Agora Energiewende argues.
See the press release and download the paper in German here.
“FÖS analysis on Gabriel’s climate contribution: 'There isn’t a more gentle way to introduce structural change' ”
The proposed climate levy for old, CO2 intensive power stations is “economically reasonable and ecologically necessary”, the Green Budget Germany (FÖS) has found in an analysis. The climate levy is a market based tool that precisely targets the oldest power stations with the highest emissions, a press statement by the FÖS says. Power prices would rise less and power station operators will keep more of their decision making powers, compared to other possible measures to cut emissions from the power sector. The analysis calculates which power stations in Germany will be effected by the levy and to what degree this will make their power production more expensive.
See the study in German here.
Renewables Grid Initiative
“Open letter: Grid operators and environmental groups jointly support presented plans to reform electricity market”
The Renewables Grid Initiative of transmission system operators TenneT and 50Hertz together with environmental groups Germanwatch, WWF and NABU say they welcome Energy Minister Sigmar Gabriel’s efforts to create a clear framework for the power market. “To maintain high system stability in Germany and move the energy transition forward consistently, new power lines are needed,” they write in an open letter to the minister.
Read the letter in English here.
WWF op-ed: “Don’t buckle!”
Germany can only achieve its greenhouse gas reduction targets if it tackles power production from lignite, like the recent government proposal for a climate levy on the biggest emitters does, writes Regine Günther, head of climate and energy policy at WWF Germany in a guest commentary for the Handelsblatt. Germany isn’t the only country that has introduced national measures to reduce CO2 emissions because the European emission trading system (EU ETS) does not work, Günther says. Now German politics have to make clear that it is taking its own climate targets seriously and the government mustn’t buckle to the threats coming from the old energy sector.
E.ON / Wirtschaftswoche
“No economic prospects: Owners of the Irsching 4 and 5 gas-fired power stations announce their closure”
The owners gas-fired power station Irsching in Bavaria have notified the Federal Network Agency that they wish to mothball the highly efficient combined-cycle gas turbines Irsching 4 and 5. As a reason they give the lack of “prospect of operating profitably when the current contract with the network operator expires in March 2016”, a statement by E.ON and the other operators of Irisching says. If the network agency deems the plants to be relevant to the stability of the power system, it will not permit the shutdown. “E.ON and the other owners view the shutdown notices—and any legal action that may become necessary if the shutdowns are prohibited—as a last resort. It would be better for all sides to find a regulatory framework that covers the actual costs of maintaining the units as reserve capacity and dispatching them to stabilize the network”, the statement says.
An article in the magazine Wirtschaftswoche said that threatening to shut down Irsching was E.ON’s way of putting pressure on the government to decide how it will pay for a capacity reserve that would include gas fired stations.
See the press release in English here.
See the Wirtschaftswoche article in German here.
“Moody's downgrades E.ON to Baa1; stable outlook”
Rating agency Moody’s has downgraded German utility E.ON's credit rating, citing “continuing headwinds that E.ON faces in its domestic and international businesses, which limit the group’s financial flexibility in the context of the planned reorganisation,” as a reason.
See the Moody’s statement in English here.
See a CLEW Dossier on the utilities and the Energiewende here.
"ABB Germany holds up well in dificult environment"
Swiss engineering group ABB said the “sluggish implementation” of the Energiewende hampered necessary investment. Order intake of its German unit from within Germany rose 2014 by 2.4 percent, but fell overall for ABB Germany by five percent, it said in a media release.
Read ABB’s media release in German here.
*Like the Clean Energy Wire, Agora Energiewende is a project funded by Stiftung Mercator and the European Climate Foundation.