19 Oct 2015 | Kerstine Appunn, Ruby Russell

In the media: Germany as a future power model?

National Geographic

“Germany Could Be a Model for How We’ll Get Power in the Future”

In a long feature for National Geographic, Robert Kunzig takes an in-depth look at the “epochal transformation” from conventional to renewable energy sources that Germany is pioneering. He speaks to energy transition pioneers as well as utilities and explains both the history of the green movement in Germany and the current goals and struggles of the government in reducing carbon emissions.

Read the feature in English here.

 

Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi)

“Offshore grid development: more cables and less liability surcharge”

Transmission grid operators 50Hertz and TenneT have completed offshore wind power connections with a capacity of 4,600 megawatt (MW), the BMWi says in a press release. Germany envisages having an offshore wind power capacity of 6,500 MW by 2020. The surcharge covering the liability of delayed offshore grid connection will be 0.04 cent per kilowatt-hour in 2016, the ministry said. “We are making good progress on offshore grid connections. The time of delays is over,” state secretary Rainer Baake said. 

Read the press release in German here.

 

Die Welt

“EnBW becomes third largest German natural gas company”

German utility EnBW wants to safeguard itself from the transformation from conventional to renewable power – the Energiewende -  in Germany by focusing more on the natural gas business, writes Daniel Wetzel in Die Welt. By buying natural gas importer VNG, EnBW has become Germany’s third largest gas importer, Wetzel says.

Read the article in German here.

 

Verivox

“Increasing grid fees make power more expensive”

Large German cities such as Dresden, Düsseldorf and Essen will increase grid fees next year, consumer portal Verivox says. Households will have to pay up to 29 euros more per year in these cities, while grid operators in Stuttgart and Münster have announced reductions in the grid payments. Grid fees make up around one quarter of the electricity price and vary in different regions.

Read the Verivox press release in German here.

See a CLEW factsheet on household power prices in Germany here.

 

WirtschaftsWoche

“Rising renewables surcharge – just change your power supplier!”

The renewable surcharge that consumers pay on their electricity prices will increase to a record high next year after falling slightly in 2015, writes Christian Schlesiger in the WirtschaftsWoche. This will trigger more opposition to the energy transition from conventional to renewable power but consumers should not panic. They can easily save up to several hundreds of euros per year if they change their supplier, Schlesiger writes. Around 16 million households have costly tariffs which they could change to save money, he says.

See a CLEW article on the renewable power surcharge for 2016 here.

See a CLEW factsheet on household power prices in Germany here.

 

Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung

Government advisor: “Industry puts itself at risk”

The future of the transport sector lies in electric vehicles, Martin Faulstich, chairman of the German Advisory Council on the Environment, has told the FAZ in the wake of the VW emissions scandal. The government advisor said in an interview that, despite accusations that environmentalists put the German industrial sector at risk, the scandal demonstrated that the sector was more likely to endanger itself. He went to say that Energiewende was not about the electricity sector alone, which accounts for just one fifth of German energy consumption. The transport sector also needed to be included to reduce the country’s dependency on oil. Faulstich also talked about the utilities’ responsibility to pay for the decommissioning of nuclear power plants, saying he favoured the transfer of provisions set aside for this purpose to a publically-administered fund.

See the full interview in German here.

See CLEW’s factsheet on paying for the nuclear phase-out here.

 

Handelsblatt

“Do electric vehicles damage the environment?”

Writing for the Handelsblatt, Norbert Häring reports on a study released earlier this year, suggesting pollution from electric vehicles is comparable to that of conventional ones. There have been growing calls for support for the electro-mobility sector following the VW emissions scandal, Häring writes. But a study by four US economists suggests this might not have a positive environmental impact. “The comparison between a gasoline engine and an electric car is really the comparison between burning fuel to move the vehicle, or the burning of a mixture of coal and gas,” Häring quotes the study. Making an accurate comparison is difficult, as much depends on the specific model and the structure of the market. The study found, for example, that because targets are set for average emissions, the more electric cars a manufacturer sells, the more SUVs it can sell, resulting in an overall increase in pollution.

See the article in German here

See the study (behind a paywall) in English here.

 

Politico

“Momentum builds for a united energy front”

Politico warns of a looming “increase in bureaucratic and political infighting” over the scope of EU plans to connect up its energy markets. The scheme, for which legislative proposals will come out next year, aims to increase energy security and efficiency, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and increase grid connections, Anca Gurzu writes. “The final goal is to tear down the physical and regulatory barriers to the free flow of electricity, oil and gas across the bloc.”

Find out more about the energy union in CLEW’s dossier on the European context of the Energiewende here.

 See the article in English here.

 

COP 21

 Süddeutsche Zeitung

“Cursed oil”

As a last preparatory meeting ahead of the global climate summit in Paris gets underway in Bonn this week, environmental activists fear that cheap oil could limit the pressure on negotiators to agree on ambitious climate targets, writes Michael Bauchmüller in the Süddeutsche Zeitung. A low oil price could mean increased use of fuel in the transport sector and less incentive to increase energy efficiency in the building sector. But so far, at least in Germany, oil consumption for transport and heating is falling despite the low price, and home insulation schemes have experienced only a slight loss of interest, Bauchmüller writes.

 

Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung

“Oil with a green tint”

Ten oil companies from Europe, India, Mexico and even Saudi Arabia have agreed on joint efforts to combat climate change, says Christian Schubert in an op-ed for the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung. They want to divest from coal and replace a lot of oil with natural gas and invest in renewable energies. This declaration is more than a PR stunt, even if actual figures are missing, says Schubert. The oil companies are reacting mostly because they are worried about their business models as renewables are spreading.

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