10 Sep 2015, 00:00
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In the media: Ex-minister "wants to save RWE"


"Werner Müller wants to save RWE"

RWE’s municipal shareholders plan to put former German economy minister Werner Müller in charge of the stricken utility’s supervisory board, the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (FAZ) and the business daily Handelsblatt report.
Some union representatives on the RWE supervisory board also favor installing Müller, who now runs the public foundation managing Germany’s exit from hard coal mining, Helmut Bünder, Carsten Knop and Brigitte Koch write in the FAZ.
Handelsblatt reporter Jens Koenen writes that outgoing supervisory-board head Manfred Schneider proposed Werner Brandt, a former senior manager at software company SAP, as a successor. RWE's supervisory board convenes on Friday next week, 18 September.
Müller has proposed a public nuclear phase-out fund like the RAG foundation, which saved the old RAG mining company, because he is sceptical about the utilities' ability to cope with the long-term costs of decomissioning, the FAZ authors write. He was therefore seen as someone who would not oppose a “(partial) nationalisation of power generation in Germany,” they write.

Read the FAZ article in German here.

Find CLEW background on who pays for the nuclear phase-out here.

Find a CLEW dossier about the utilities’ struggle to cope with the Energiewende here.


E.ON bows to political pressure and keeps nuclear plants

Major utility E.ON has abandoned plans to spin off its nuclear power plants when it splits in two next year. The operation and decommissioning of the company’s German nuclear activities will not be transferred to the new spin-off Uniper, as previously planned, but will remain with E.ON, the company said in a press release.

Read the CLEW news story on E.ON’s change of strategy here.


Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung

“With grandpa Müller”

Werner Müller is convinced he is the only one who can solve RWE’s numerous problems, writes Carsten Knop in a commentary in the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung. Because of his extensive experience and connections, he has a good chance of achieving his ambition to become the new “baron of the Ruhr area”. But Knop writes he is too old and "vain". “Progress looks different. And a nationalisation of power supply would be the top of the heap of problems besetting a messed-up Energiewende.”


Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung

“Market experiments”

In its draft law for the future power market, the German government's insistence that market forces will determine electricity prices sounds like something from a topsy-turvy world, writes Andreas Mihm in an op-ed for the Frankfurter Allgmeine Zeitung.  He says this is in sharp contrast to previous energy policy, which steadily increased state intervention. “It is uncertain whether this will be enough to animate investors to build new power plants, which will remain necessary to secure supply. But it’s still better to try this approach, rather than squeeze another surcharge for old (and new) power stations out of consumers,” he writes.

Find the commentary in German here.

Read a CLEW article on the draft law here.


Friends of the Earth Germany

“How the German car industry ignores climate protection”

German cars continue to become heavier and more powerful because manufacturers have little incentive to develop truly efficient models, according to an analysis by Friends of the Earth Germany (BUND) and alternative motorist association VCD, published one week before the beginning of the motor show in Frankfurt (IAA). According to the press release announcing the study, manufacturers have some efficient models on offer, but these come with a hefty markup on the price. “Despite statements to the contrary at car shows, German manufacturers still bet on powerful premium cars, which consume a lot of fuel,” said BUND transport expert Jens Hilgenberg. He says there is not enough political pressure to make the companies change their strategy.

Read the BUND press release in German here.


Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung

“Green energy surcharge unlikely to fall significantly”

Despite large expenses for solar energy over the summer, Germany’s national green energy account posted a surplus of 3.2 billion euros at the end of August, a record for this time of the year, reports Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung.  Despite the surplus, experts warn consumers should not hope for a significant decrease in the surcharge added to their energy bills, which supports renewable energy expansion, in the coming year, according to the article. This is because the number of wind turbines is increasing rapidly and because wholesale power prices are so low, which also adds to expenses.

Read a factsheet explaining the “green energy account” here.

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