Der Spiegel / Spiegel Online
State premier criticises coal compromise
Torsten Albig (Social Democrat), state premier of Schleswig-Holstein in Northern Germany, has criticised the capacity reserve for old coal-fired power stations that the Federal Minister for Energy and Economy agreed to this summer. “The climate levy would have been the better option,” Albig told Der Spiegel in an interview. The fluctuations the reserve was allegedly needed for would never occur unless not enough transmission grids were built, his experts were telling him. Albig argues that Germany should exit coal faster than by 2050. He also criticised the implementation of the Energiewende, claiming that feed-in tariffs for renewables had been too high for too long.
Read a Spiegel Online report on the Interview in German here.
“New eco-label for boilers”
Seventy percent of all heating boilers installed in German homes are old, inefficient and therefore bad for the environment, writes Martin Greive in Die Welt. The government wants to establish a national heating label next year for old boilers. The label will show the efficiency status of the installation on a scale from A (very efficient) to G (not efficient). A draft law will be published next week, Greive reports. The label is designed to encourage people to upgrade their old boiler systems to more efficient and less costly models. It is part of the National Action Plan for Energy Efficiency (NAPE) that the government passed in December 2014.
“Getting away from coal”
German savers and companies should start thinking further into the future and pull their money out of fossil investments, writes Anton Hofreiter, head of the Green Party in the Bundestag (federal parliament) in the Süddeutsche Zeitung. If the global temperature increase is limited to two degrees celcius in 2100 (as world leaders decided upon in Cancun in 2010), the share value of energy companies would decrease by 30 to 40 percent, Hofreiter says. It therefore makes sense that shareholders invest their money elsewhere. The way people shun shares of energy giant RWE shows that investment in fossil fuels doesn’t pay off anymore, Hofreiter writes. Small-time savers in Germany should be made aware of the risks they are running when their savings are invested in the fossil industry and they should know more about where their money is actually invested, Hofreiter demands.
“TenneT installs most powerful converter platform at sea”
Transmission grid operator TenneT reports installing the world’s most powerful offshore converter platform in the North Sea. Converter DolWin beta has a capacity of 916 megawatt and has been set up 45km off the mainland to the north of Norderney, according to a company press release. The platform converts three-phase current from offshore wind parks into high-voltage direct-current which is transmitted to the mainland. DolWin beta was installed using a new method, without having to hammer pillars into the sea floor, TenneT said.
Read the press release in German here.
Germany’s once-powerful energy giants are staggering through the Energiewende, but North-Rhine Westphalia’s RWE is struggling the most, writes Markus Balser in the Süddeutsche Zeitung. RWE was just five years ago turning electricity into money, yielding large profits from its lignite and nuclear power stations. But since the nuclear disaster in Fukushima, RWE is losing a bit more every month. The company now has to organise not only the nuclear but also a lignite phase-out. The company leadership will today start a radical restructuring whereby the complex conglomerate of over 100 affiliated companies will be consolidated into one, Balser says. This will trigger protests from RWE’s shareholders, many of whom are big towns like Oberhausen, Bochum, Essen, Dortmund and Duisburg. These shareholders influence the group through exactly those subsidiary companies that RWE CEO Peter Terium wants to merge, Balser says.
Read a CLEW article about the four energy giants and the Energiewende here.