World Energy Council/Roland Berger
“Energiewende requires new financing models”
Traditional utilities can no longer shoulder the huge infrastructure investments necessary for the Energiewende, according to a study from management consultancy Roland Berger published by the World Energy Council in Germany. “Many traditional utilities that were able to finance investments in the power sector largely with equity capital have their back up against the wall: Many fossil plants are not profitable anymore since the Energiewende,” said Uwe Franke, president of the World Energy Council, in a press release. New investors must be found, because 280 billion euros will have to be spent by 2030 on renewable capacities, grids and other infrastructure, according to the study entitled “The energy transition as capital transition – Financing challenges as seen by market players.” Institutional as well as private equity investors will enter the German energy sector, the study predicts.
The Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung runs an article on the study under the headline: “Is the Energiewende running out of money?”
Find the World Energy Council study in German here.
Read the article in the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung in German here
Read a CLEW dossier on the troubles of traditional utilities here.
“What switching off Grafenrheinfeld means”
Writing for Süddeutsche Zeitung, Christian Sebald says massive growth of wind and solar means there won’t be power shortages when the Grafenrheinfeld nuclear power plant goes offline next Saturday. The 1.5-gigawatt plant has been a cornerstone of Bavarian power production since it went online in 1981, Seebald writes. But when Bavarian industry lobby group VBW met recently with state premier Horst Seehofer, the plant’s decommissioning wasn't even debated, the article says. Improvements to grid infrastructure mean renewables will be able to compensate for the shortfall, as Bavaria takes an important step on the path to becoming nuclear-free.
See the article in German here.
“108 billion euros subsidies for Hinkley Point C”
State subsidies for the planned British nuclear reactor Hinkley Point C will be much higher than previously thought, according to a short analysis by consultancy Energy Brainpool for German green power supply company Greenpeace Energy. The feed-in-tariffs guaranteed by the British government will add up to about 108 billion euros in 35 years and will distort the European energy market, according to the analysis. Greenpeace energy is suing the EU Commission for agreeing to the subsidies and Austria has also announced it will sue, according to the press release.
Read the press release in German here.
Increase transparency of power grid financing
A new study by Agora Energiewende* says more data and transparency are needed on the German power grid. Lack of data means the real cost of network charges to power consumers is unclear, but estimates put them at around 18 billion euros a year, making the cost of feeding electricity on to the grid the second most expensive factor in the overall power supply. Germany's Federal Network Agency found in its own evaluation report that Germany was lagging behind on data transparency compared to other European countries, the Agora Energiewende says in a press release. The business interests of grid operators are often cited as a reason for keeping the data secret, something the study disputes, saying that since grid operators have monopolies company secrets are not vital to their success.
See the press release and download the study in German here.
“A question of faith”
Private investors in insolvent wind farm operator Prokon are split over a proposed takeover by major utility EnBW, according to a report by Handelsblatt. One group has started a campaign to keep Prokon in the hands of private individuals rather that allow it to be swallowed by the huge industrial group. But other investors favour a takeover by EnBW, because the utility has offered 550 million euros in cash for Prokon. The company filed for insolvency last year after consumer groups accused it of attracting investors with the prospect of high returns without giving sufficient warning of the risks. The acquisition of Prokon would help EnBW diversify its business away from loss-making coal and gas-fired plants. According to the article, a Prokon takeover would more than triple EnBW’s onshore wind capacity.
Read the CLEW dossier on the citizens’ Energiewende here.
“Majority of Germans want the coal exit”
59 percent of Germans would like to see Chancellor Angela Merkel introduce a coal phase-out with the aim of qutting coal completely by 2040, a survey by polling institute TNS Emnid for Greenpeace Germany shows. 37 percent of the 1,034 participants from across Germany said they didn’t want to see coal-fired power stations shut down by 2040. The coal exit was almost equally popular across all age groups and among men and women, as well as across party boundaries. But there were regional differences. In western Germany, 63 percent supported the coal exit, compared to 43 in former East Germany, where the majority (52 percent) opposes phasing-out coal.
See the results of the TNS Emnid poll in German here.
“Energy sector calls on government to start structured dialogue”
A majority of Germans (53 percent) doesn’t believe that government policy is able to solve the upcoming challenges of the energy transition, compared to 38 percent who have confidence in current policy, according to a press release by the German Association of Energy and Water Industries (BDEW). The statement cites the first results of the “BDEW energy monitor” survey to be published in the coming weeks. Public confidence in Energiewende policy was down from last year, when 52 percent of participants said they believed policy makers were able to tackle energy transition issues, while 40 percent didn’t share this confidence. BDEW Chairwoman Hildegard Müller said a structured dialogue between the federal government, states and industry were needed to provide planning security for energy companies in the areas of grid expansion, power market design, the climate levy, and the reform of the combined heat and power law.
Read the press release in German here.
*Like the Clean Energy Wire, Agora Energiewende is a project funded by Stiftung Mercator and the European Climate Foundation.