20 Jan 2015
Kerstine Appunn Ruby Russell

In the media: Energy minister rules out capacity markets; renewable growth falling short

© [Lilly Day] - iStock


“Attack on coal” // Interview with Energy Minister Sigmar Gabriel

Germany’s Minister for Economic Affairs and Energy has "ended the debate over capacity payments to fossil-fuelled power plants," according to the Handelsblatt. In an interview with the newspaper, Gabriel made it clear that he did not back a capacity market that would fund otherwise unprofitable power stations. Owners of conventional power plants wanted to “conserve existing over-capacities at the cost of  consumers,” Gabriel said. This was not only a German issue or due to the country’s fast development of renewables: in France, the UK and the US, over-capacity has driven down power prices and capacity markets have been introduced to keep power pants profitable, the minister said. Gabriel instead proposed letting market forces determine which power stations survive. This would mean factoring in high prices at times of scarcity, which would "trigger the needed signals for investment,” he said. Last week German Chancellor Angela Merkel also stated that she opposed payments to fossil power plants.

Read the Handelsblatt article in German here.

Read a pick-up of the interview by Reuters in English here.

Read the CLEW article "Merkel's capacity market scepticism seen as signal in reform debate" here.

See the CLEW Dossier on capacity markets here.



“Op-ed: Old thinking”

Writing in the Handelsblatt, the Green Party’s Oliver Krischer says energy minister Sigmar Gabriel is doing everything he can to thwart the growth of renewables.  Krischer says that renewable energy has proved cheaper than nuclear and coal. Yet tens of thousands of PV businesses have gone bankrupt in Germany and new PV installation in 2014 was significantly short of the government’s development corridor. The potential of PV power is in decentralised production by “prosumers” but revised EEG legislation makes producing power for your own consumption unattractive, Krischer writes.



“Bye, bye Netz”

A growing numer of households and companies produce their own electricity rather than receiving it through the common grid, Dana Heide writes in the Handelsblatt, citing a study by DIW Berlin and EWI Köln. Between 10 and 18 percent of companies and 0.5 percent of households produce their own power. According to a survey by consultancy Accenture, seen by the Handelsblatt, utilities believe there is a risk of customers turning their back on the common grid, except as a back-up for when their own supply is insufficient.

See the article in German here.



“DIHK analysis: Slow grid expansion could split the power market”

A paper by the Chambers of Commerce and Industry (DIHK) says a delay in building important grid connections in Germany could lead to a split between two power markets serving the country's north and south, resulting in rising power prices in the south, DPA/AFX report. This would harm the economy and consumers, the DIHK said.

Read the article in German here.


Stiebel Eltron

“Trendmonitor 2015: Germans see Energiewende in Danger”

61 percent of Germans believe the Energiewende is at risk as result of delays to the construction of power lines to bring renewable power generated in northern Germany to the country’s south, according to a survey by Stiebel Etron, a company that manufactures heating and power storage systems. Of 2,000 people questioned, 91 percent said lack of storage for wind and solar power was a major problem.

See the press release in German here.



“German Utility RWE Hasn’t Ruled Out E.ON-Style Split, CFO Says”

Chief Financial Officer Bernhard Guenther told Bloomberg that German utility RWE could split its power generation unit from its customer supply operations. “The reasons for not doing it are all of a nature that might change over time,” Guenther said. Competitor E.ON announced in November that it would be spinning off conventional power generation and focusing on renewables and customer solutions. Guenther said that E.ON’s move “makes it easier for different shareholder groups to pick which type of risk return trade-off they want to own.” RWE has debts of 30 billion euros.

See the article in English here.

See the Clean Energy Wire’s factsheet on the German utilities here.


Emirates News Agency

“UAE and Germany prepare for MENA solar boom”

Emirates News Agency reports on a ministerial meeting held in Abu Dhabi on January 19, where participants discussed the potential for decentralised renewable power generation in UAE. "Solar PV can meet major shares of the power demand in Germany, on some days nearly 40 percent,” said Rainer Baake, Germany's State Secretary for Economic Affairs and Energy, speaking at the event. “Imagine the potential in the UAE."

See the article in English here.

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