“Energy Union: In concert, not solo”
One of the main priorities of the EU Commission's Energy Union framework is the development of renewable energies – but the commissioners in charge do not offer much detail on how this will be achieved, writes Dagmar Dehmer in an opinion piece in the Tagesspiegel. Instead they argue that environmentally harmful subsidies should be discontinued. But this will be a tough nut to crack, Dehmer writes. In the end, all governments come up with good reasons why their particular subsidies are not really subsidies at all and should therefore remain untouched, she says.
“Europe’s centrifugal forces”
The EU Commission wants a Europe with little CO2 and a lot of inventive genius where power flows freely across borders, but this vision has little to do with the reality of its energy market, says Michael Bauchmüller in an opinion piece for the Süddeutsche Zeitung. In reality, Brussels is feeling the centrifugal forces of Europe, he asserts. One nation after another decides to implement their own power market design: France and the UK have already introduced capacity markets, while Germany is thinking about it. The EU member states have always been in pursuit of more autonomy when it comes to energy policy – the German government pursues a nuclear phase-out and the energy transition, Great Britain supports new nuclear reactors with a feed-in tariff, Poland guards its coal power stations which have been phased-out in Denmark, he writes. Even under the pressure of the Ukraine crisis, member states do not agree on the collective purchase of gas, Bauchmüller says.
“Germany delays decision on power lines until summer”
The German government has delayed the urgently needed decision on whether to build “electricity superhighways” from the windy north to the energy-hungry south until the end of June, Reuters reports. Chancellor Angela Merkel said a committee of her coalition government had decided to resolve the issue "before the summer," according to the report. The decision, already delayed from the end of January, had previously been expected imminently. But there are divisions in the governing coalition because Bavarian state premier Horst Seehofer – leader of the Christian Social Union (CSU), sister party of Merkel’s CDU – has bowed to local resistance against the power lines and instead wants to subsidise gas power stations.
Read the article in English here.
“Coalition halts tax incentive for heat insulation”
The governing coalition appears for now to have halted previously agreed tax incentives for the insulation of buildings worth billions of euros, Süddeutsche Zeitung reports. The coalition committee was not able to achieve consensus on the issue, according to a letter seen by news agency dpa from the leader of the Social Democrat’s parliamentary group, Thomas Oppermann. The measure had been agreed by Chancellor Angela Merkel and regional states in December to give homeowners tax breaks for replacing old windows and boilers as well as adding thermal insulation. According to the report, Bavarian state premier Horst Seehofer resisted the reduction of other tax incentives planned to finance the measure.
Read the article in German here.
“Wind park developer Ostwind turns its back on Bavaria”
Because of stricter rules limiting the construction of new turbines in Bavaria, wind park developer Ostwind has decided to turn away from its home state and instead wants to hire staff and open new offices further north, Dow Jones reports. “A medium-sized family company like ours needs continuity and reliable regulation in energy policy. Sadly, both are currently lacking in Bavaria,” management said, according to the report. Bavaria banned construction of wind turbines anywhere near populated areas in November and since then planning of new projects has ground to a halt, the company said.