“We have to exit within 25 or 30 years”
German environment minister Barbara Hendricks expects coal to be phased out in Germany by 2045 at the very latest. “We have to exit the burning of coal step by step in the next 25 to 30 years; 25 years is even more realistic," Hendricks told weekly Die Zeit. Hendricks also defended last weeks’ government agreements on energy policy. “Firstly, no one questions the climate targets. Secondly, coal-fired power plants are taken off the grid.” Hendricks said she did not believe work will start on new open-cast coal mines in the eastern region of Lusatia. “My impression is that even operator Vattenfall has lost interest in mining lignite. It is looking for a buyer, but it is questionable whether it will manage to sell.”
Read an article by news outlet n-tv about the interview in German here.
Find reactions to last weeks agreements here.
Read a CLEW factsheet on Coal in Germany here.
The Guardian/Yale environment 360
“Brown coal wins a reprieve in Germany’s transition to a green future”
The German government decided to start mothballing lignite plants last week, but people in the mining regions still hold out hope for the future of the CO2-intensive technology, reports Christian Schwägerl for Yale Environment 360. But the rapid growth of renewable power will make coal operations less profitable in the future, according to the article, which provides a broad overview on the conflict between brown coal and Germany’s transition to a low-carbon future, and was also published by the Guardian.
Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung
The Energiewende is not the only reason for the spectacular demise of major German utilities RWE and E.ON, write Helmut Bünder und Brigitte Koch in an analysis in Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung. “The search for causes also leads to a mixture of management failures and many years of hubris”, argue the authors. “For years, both companies didn't take seriously politicians’ declared attempt to convert the energy system. Subsidised solar and wind power didn’t fit into traditional business models.”
Read a CLEW dossier on the utilities' fight for survival here.
“German Green Power Forces Neighbours to Bolster Blackout Defenses”
The increase of wind and solar installations in Germany generates so much electricity that it’s spilling over into neighbouring countries’ power grids, increasing the risk of blackouts, writes Bloomberg. Poland and the Czech Republic currently spend $180 million to protect their grids, and Austria is restricting trade, write Weixin Zha and Marek Strzelecki.
Read the Bloomberg article in English here.
Read a CLEW dossier about the energy transition and Germany’s power grid here.
Read a CLEW dossier on the European context of Germany's energy transition here.
“The Tiny Islands at the Heart of Germany’s Offshore Wind Boom”
An industrial revolution caused by the boom in offshore wind is transforming the tiny North Sea island Heligoland, report Nicholas Brautlecht and Tino Andresen in a feature for Bloomberg. Heligoland was until recently solely dependent on daytrippers seeking tax-free liquor and tobacco, as well as bird watchers. Over the last two years, it has turned into an offshore service hub for the wind turbines that now pepper the horizon.
Read the article in English here.