“Gabriel pushes Bayern to decide on power network”
Bavaria risks a weakening of its economy and higher electricity prices unless it agrees to the two planned power lines transporting wind power from the north to the south, Minister for Energy and Economic Affairs, Sigmar Gabriel told Bild am Sonntag, Reuters reports. Gabriel wants a decision by January, saying that otherwise power could become scarce in Bavaria, after the remaining nuclear power stations go offline – “and everything that’s scarce is also expensive,” the minister added. Gabriel called the implementation of the Energiewende one of the most important topics for 2015.
See the report in German here.
“Opinion: Germany needs more courage for its energy transition”
In an opinion piece on Deutsche Welle online, Richard Fuchs argues that the reform of Germany’s Renewable Energy Act, which parliament passed last year, could stunt the development of renewable energy installations. He says the new law has “shackled” the Energiewende, by putting a cap on new wind farms and solar plants. The new law limits subsidies to a targeted volume of gigawatts provided by new installations annually. He calls the target “shamefully low” and says it will hinder investment in a sector that has until now been very dynamic an created over 380,000 new jobs.
Read the article in English here.
See a CLEW dossier on the new renewable energy legislation here.
FAZ / dpa
“Study: German big business defies economic lull”
Germany’s 100 biggest publicly traded companies by sales volume managed to increase their operating profit by nine percent between January and September 2014, a study by consultancy Ernst & Young showed, according to the German news agency dpa. However, the same did not apply to the energy sector where profits of the six largest suppliers fell by one third and returns decreased by eight percent. “The Energiewende is taking its toll,” the article says.
See the article in German here.
“One percent hope”
Last week’s data showing that Germany’s greenhouse gas emissions decreased in 2014, reversing a recent expansion, should help counter arguments by some opponents of the Energiewende that the project is actually damaging the climate, according to a story in the taz by Bernhard Pötter. The AG Energiebilanzen said that C02 emissions decreased by one percent on a seasonally adjusted basis and by around five percent in absolute terms, the paper cites Hans-Joachim Ziesing of the DIW institute (one of the members of the AG Energiebilanzen) as saying. This data should thwart critics of the Energiewende writes Pötter, pointing out that Germany’s economy grew by 30 percent since 1990, while energy usage sank to its lowest level since 1990, by around 14 percent, in that time period.
Read the article in German here.
See a CLEW article on Germany's energy consumption and power generation here.
“More and more turbines at sea”
The fifth German offshore wind park has gone online, the FAZ reports. “Nordsee Ost” operated by utility RWE was supposed to have become operational in 2012 but like several other offshore projects it was delayed by a missing connection to the grid and other problems with construction. Despite these draw-backs, the offshore sector by now believes it will fulfil the government’s target of 6.5 gigawatts of wind power capacity in the North Sea and the Baltic Sea by 2020.
"Energiewende may cost a little bit more"
A survey by the University of Bremen found a majority of those interviewed believe people should support the Energiewende according to their means, the Bremer Nachrichten reports. Researchers interviewed 450 people from different social backgrounds in a shopping centre. The majority said they would be ready to bear higher energy costs if this helped further the transition to a low-carbon economy. 75 percent of participants opposed exemptions from higher power costs awarded to energy-intensive industries.
“Poverty in Germany; What happens, when the electricity is switched off”
Household costs for electricity, gas and district heating have nearly doubled in the last 14 years, writes the Welt Online, making it hard for many to pay their bills and putting the poor, long-term unemployed and those in retirement in danger of having their electricity shut off. The paper says around 100,000 households in North Rhine-Westphalia had their power and gas cut off in 2013. Not only the poor, but also students, those seeking political asylum, and those on disability or sick-pay also often have trouble meeting their payments, according to the paper. “The dream of the Energiewende is expensive,” the author writes. Once consumers owe over 100 euros, they are at risk of being cut off, and welfare payments for the long-term unemployed and state pensions have not risen enough to match the price rises of recent years. the paper says.
Read the article in German here.