14 Sep 2015, 00:00
Sven Egenter

In the media: EU rules may thwart coal reserve plan

Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung

“EU casts doubt over lignite compromise”

The European Commission has doubts about whether the German government’s plan to put some old lignite power plants in a so-called capacity reserve is in line with EU state aid rules, Hendrik Kafsack reports in the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, citing unnamed sources in the Commission. The plan, which is part of a power market reform package, foresees compensating companies to keep the plants on stand-by in case of power shortages. This would be considered state aid and therefore subject to EU approval, the FAZ writes. It was “very questionable” that the necessary conditions were in place, according to the paper.

Read the FAZ report in German here.


Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung

“Dubious Aid”

Support for keeping power plants on stand-by in case of power shortages is right, but creating a reserve with lignite plants is the wrong way, FAZ Brussels correspondent Hendrik Kafsack writes in a commentary. There are better alternatives in the form of gas-powered plants, he writes. “Therefore one has to hope that the EU Commission – as it is considering - blocks the support for a lignite reserve,” he writes.

Read the FAZ commentary in German here.

Find background on the debate about the reserve and the alternative of a climate levy here.



“Gabriel is destroying E.ON and RWE”

Economy and energy minister Sigmar Gabriel’s policies are driving the country’s largest utilities E.ON and RWE over the edge, writes Wolfram Weimer in an opinion piece in the Handelsblatt. His plans to secure utilities’ financing for the nuclear phase-out and clean-up are taking the companies down, Weimer writes. An ultimate consequence of Gabriel’s strategy could be that taxpayers will have to foot the bill of the nuclear exit. “Not only the stock market has realised this week that the government is on track to systematically destroy E.ON and RWE,” Weimer writes, arguing that the policy decisions have made it impossible for the two to earn back the money they invested in the past.

Read the piece in German here.

Find background on the big utilities’ struggle with the Energiewende in a CLEW dossier here.

Find a dossier on the challenges of the nuclear exit here and a factsheet on the payment issue here.


Der Spiegel

Government advisor sceptical about climate summit success

The climate summit in Paris in December could fail because politicians have not grasped the urgency of the problem, climate economist Ottmar Edenhofer told the magazine Der Spiegel in an interview. Edenhofer, who heads the Mercator Research Institute on Global Commons and Climate Change (MCC), said that while everybody was talking about decarbonising the world economy, in reality the opposite has happened. “We are witnessing a renaissance of coal,” he said. Edenhofer criticised the German government’s plans to put old lignite power plants in a capacity reserve as “highly inefficient.” “That’s nothing but a new, hidden subsidy for coal and therefore the opposite of what we need,” he said. Overall the long-term success of Germany’s Energiewende as a climate policy measure was still pending, Edenhofer said.

Read an abstract of the interview in German on Spiegel Online here.

Find background on Germany’s climate targets in a CLEW dossier here and a factsheet here.


Süddeutsche Zeitung

“The ‘E’ of the past”

The car trade fair IAA in Germany is proof of the current “dire reality” of electro-mobility, writes Michael Bauchmüller in an opinion piece for the Süddeutsche Zeitung, demonstrated by the fact that the new e-cars and their accessories are only in one of the ten exhibition halls at the auto show. “Germany wants to be the leading market, but the producers are still betting mainly on combustion engines, as are most of the buyers,” Bauchmüller writes. But if countries are serious about climate action, the future of the road will be electrical.


Der Spiegel

German car industry loses out on key e-mobility component

Germany’s car industry likes to celebrate itself as the example for the sector but it is faltering on e-mobility, while the future of driving is being invented elsewhere, writes Christian Wüst for the magazine Der Spiegel. Batteries are still a big issue, Wüst writes, adding Germany has lost out to Asian countries when it comes to development and production. “The country that once invented the car has no influence anymore over the development of the key component on which the success of electro-mobility hinges,” Wüst writes.


The Korea Herald

“Germany pioneers renewable energy to thrust economic growth”

“Europe’s industrial powerhouse Germany is transforming its energy supply by switching to renewable sources", writes Joel Lee in the Korea Herald. "Rather than slowing down the country's economy, which grew by 1.4 percent last year, Germany's green transition reduced energy demand by 5 percent and created additional 300,000 jobs, he writes. The German term “Energiewende” -- meaning energy transition -- sums up the Teutonic solutions causing tectonic shifts in the direction of sustainable development: dismantling of nuclear power, switching to renewable alternatives and reducing carbon dioxide emissions.”

Read the full article in English here.

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