In the media: Fast-track law on power market design, a nuclear fund, wind parks and birds
“Power monster eats the Chancellor”
Frank Dohmen und Gerald Trautfetter in Der Spiegel say the government is under pressure to draft and pass a law on the power market design by summer 2015, which will help deal with the shift utilities face due to the Energiewende. Chancellor Angela Merkel's office expects a so called capacity market, which energy minister Sigmar Gabriel has been opposing so far, the authors write without providing sources. E.ON's move last week to split up its old and new energy operations has been seen by the government as a sign that the large and highly indebted company has accepted the Energiewende as irresversible, they write. However, the step has also heightened the pressure on the government to act, they say.
Utilities always have a reason to complain: sometimes politics take away their right to produce nuclear energy, sometimes they tighten environmental constraints, like last week's climate protection package, writes Michael Bauchmüller in Süddeutsche Zeitung. But the worst news for large power providers has recently been average citizens, who like to generate their own energy and store it in large batteries in the basement. E.ON and Vattenfall (who wants to get rid of its lignite operations in Germany) have understood the change but they are few among many. Just like the manufacturers of steam engines who did not see electric trains coming, some utilities will not cope very well. The new debate is about the phase-out of the old power world. A first step would be the cautious retirement of futile conventional power and integrating many small producers into a functioning system, Bauchmüller writes.
“E.ON open to dialogue on nuclear with German government”
Utility E.ON would like to see discussions with the German government on establishing a public nuclear fund, Reuters reports. Operators of nuclear power stations would be able to transfer these into the fund, together with provisions of 36 billion euros that the owners must set aside to finance nuclear waste storage and the demolition of retired plants. This way the government could – regardless of the financial credibility of the companies – ensure these provisions are definitely available. The question remains, however, whether 36 billion euros will be enough for the entire nuclear waste disposal, the article says. Under current law, nuclear power companies are liable for all current and future disposal costs, an obligation they could waive if the public fund were established.
See the article in German here.
Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (FAZ)
“Provisions are checked”
The Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy will check in a legal study whether the provisions made by utilities for storing nuclear waste and demolishing retired power stations are enough to cover these expenses, the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung writes.
“Beate Jessel on the magic of wilderness”
President of the Federal Office for Environmental Protection, Beate Jessel, said in an interview with Der Spiegel that while wind turbines and especially maize plantations for biogas production can pose a threat to some animals, the Energiewende is needed, also for environmental protection. In order to protect birds from wind turbines, it would be best to concentrate them in large numbers in one area rather than putting up single turbines in many places, Jessel said.
Michael Glassmann and Daniel Wetzel argue in Die Welt that Germany’s large electricity companies have been given little credit for the stabilizing role they play in the energy market, by providing scale and efficiency. Saying that E.ON’s move last week to split its fossil fuel and renewable energy operations into two companies was “practically a self-dissolution,” the authors sum up the public response as “indifferent”: “The company should please wind up its nuclear power plants in an orderly fashion and otherwise, it can go: This was the general tone this week in online forums and newspaper commentaries,” they say. Taking a look into the trading rooms of the big energy company RWE, the authors suggest these big players are an important cog in the wheel for energy efficiency.
Read the article in German here.