05 Oct 2015
Sören Amelang Ruby Russell

In the media: Gabriel takes conciliatory tone over troubled utilities

Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung/WAZ

“Minister Gabriel does not want to ‘shave’ utilities”

German energy minister Sigmar Gabriel surprised stockmarkets with conciliatory remarks about the country’s troubled utilities, reports Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung. Speaking in Bonn, he said the recent ‘bashing’ of energy giants must stop. “It must be in our interest to accompany and support these companies today, in order to enable them to have a future and develop to the benefit of the country and their employees,” Gabriel said, according to the report.
He added that the companies face extremely difficult conditions not only of their own making – they were also “victims of politics”,  meaning they did not carry the sole burden of “responsibility towards the employees in those companies.”
According to a report in WAZ, Gabriel also referred to the obligations of the country’s four biggest utilities (RWE, E.ON, Vattenfall and EnBW) to put aside provisions for nuclear decomissioning. “We have to be careful not to shave those companies, because then we won’t get those 38 billion euros at all," he said. E.ON and RWE shares leapt 8 percent in response to Gabriel’s remarks, the paper reports.

Read the article in WAZ in German here.

Read a factsheet about securing utility payments for the nuclear clean-up here.

Find a dossier about nuclear decommissioning here.

Find a dossier about the utilities’ fight for survival here.


Spiegel Online

“What diesel and nuclear power have in common”

The VW scandal could become a formative economic crisis for Germany, writes Wolfgang Münchau in a column for Spiegel Online. The country was stupid enough to bet its economic future on an industry which had its heyday last century, missed the trend towards e-mobility, and instead placed a highly risky bet on dubious diesel technology, argues Münchau. “If diesel really was as environmentally friendly as proponents suggest, howcome a hitherto respectable company defends it with criminal actions?” Münchau writes that diesel is like nuclear energy: “Not profitable under normal economic circumstances. It requires high subsidies and tax distortions. And it’s dangerous for the environment.” VW should be left to be “devoured by US courts”, and diesel technology to the “purifying forces of markets”, writes Münchau, who is also a columnist for the Financial Times.

Read the column in German here.

Read his comment for the Financial Times on the same topic in English here.


dpa, Live Mint, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung

“Merkel to focus on climate change in talks with Modi”

dpa reports that Angel Merkel wants to strengthen ties with her Indian counterpart Narendra Modi as the two leaders meet in Delhi on Monday, to discuss economics, education and climate change. The German wire reports that they are expected to agree on a 1 billion-euro joint solar energy project.
Indian business newspaper Mint reports that a deal could include transfers of technology and finance to support the development of renewable energies in India. The Mint article also looks at Merkel’s background in climate policy as the head of the German delegation to Kyoto in 1997 and says that “Ahead of Merkel’s arrival, India had announced its voluntary emission cuts by 2030 to tackle climate change.”
The Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, meanwhile, says Merkel will be pushing for India to make greater commitments to fighting climate change, ahead of the global climate talks in Paris.

See the dpa article in German here.

See the Mint article in English here.



“The sky is the limit”

In an op-ed for the taz, Agora Energiewende* director Patrick Graichen says the end of the “oil age” will not come about because fossil fuel supplies are running short. Despite “peak oil” warnings, fossil fuel reserves are still plentiful. In fact, 80 percent of global coal reserves and half of oil reserves must be kept in the ground to protect the global climate. We must give up fossil fuels as quickly as possible - not because they are scarce and expensive, but because they are cheap and widely available, Graichen writes. Development of renewable power is already beginning to overtake the installation of conventional power plants. Now we must reduce our dependence on oil by electrifying the transport sector, he says.



“Germany makes a lot of wind”

Germany has generated record levels of wind power this year, leading to an electricity export surplus of 8 percent, the taz reports. The country has aleady outstripped 2014 production and is on track for an export surplus of around 50 billion kilowatt-hours by the end of the year, equivalent to over 8 percent of domestic energy consumption. For the first time, renewables are expected to cover more than 30 percent of German power consumption this year. At the same time, the article says, coal power generation has remained steady meaning that overproduction has increased volumes of power sold abroad.


*Like the Clean Energy Wire, Agora Energiewende is a project funded by Stiftung Mercator and the European Climate Foundation.

All texts created by the Clean Energy Wire are available under a “Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Licence (CC BY 4.0)” . They can be copied, shared and made publicly accessible by users so long as they give appropriate credit, provide a link to the license, and indicate if changes were made.
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