In the media: Global perceptions of the Energiewende, CO2 from cars and report on fossil fuel dependency
Study: Renewable Energies Agency (AEE)
“How the world sees the Energiewende”
Germany’s Energiewende – the shift from conventional and nuclear energy to a renewable power supply – is the focus of much media attention around the world, the AEE found in a review of articles in the non-German press. Germany is sometimes singled out for its pioneering, cutting-edge renewable technology, which has become increasingly affordable around the world as a result of German investment, the study finds. However, other views frequently voiced in the international media include the idea that the German energy transition was a panicked response to the nuclear accident in Fukushima, that it will endanger the economy and power supply security, and it is resulting in rising CO2 emissions. “In order to reveal the importance of the Energiewende for international climate protection it is important that the reasons and details of developments in Germany are made transparent to international observers,” Philipp Vohrer, director of the AEE said in their press release.
See the study in German here.
Frankfurter Allgmeine Zeitung (FAZ)
“Berlin no longer cares for climate constraints on cars”
France and Germany are delaying the shaping of stricter emission rules for car manufacturers, the Frankfurter Allgmeine Zeitung reports. Under a current compromise, the European car industry has to lower average CO2 emissions per kilometre to 95 grams by 2021, but the French and German governments have suggested in a statement that further restrictions on emissions by 2025 will now be postponed till 2030, the newspaper says.
Writing in the Süddeutsche Zeitung, Barbara Mooser describes how small German communities fare in the Energiewende, using the Bavarian county of Ebersberg as an example. While 16.6 percent of total energy consumption is covered by renewables across the whole of Germany, many villages and towns already produce more renewable energy than they consume. By 2030, Ebersberg wants to be entirely independent of fossil fuels, even though changes to the renewable energy law (EEG), and new rules in Bavaria that limit the construction of wind farms, make this target more difficult, the county climate protection manager told the Süddeutsche Zeitung.
Federal Institute for Geosciences and Natural Resources (BGR)
“Oil still the most important energy source”
Most of the energy needed around the world – and in Germany – is currently supplied by fossil fuels, the Federal Institute for Geosciences and Natural Resources says in its annual energy study. Demand for fossil fuels is likely to keep rising as a result of global population growth and economic growth in emerging markets, the researchers write. Despite the growing share of renewables, Germany’s dependency on imported energy commodities will also increase, mainly as a result of the end of domestic hard coal mining and diminishing reserves of oil and natural gas, the report finds. The researchers base their findings and predictions on information from scientific papers, economy and trade reports, political sources and investigations, as well as their own energy commodity database.
Download the energy study in German here.
Download the energy study data as an Excel-Sheet here.
See an article by EurActiv on the topic in English here.
In an opinion piece for Die Zeit, Rainer Baake, State Secretary at the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs defends the Energiewende against the allegation that it is a “dirty mistake,” made in the same paper by Frank Drieschner. Germany has succeeded in making up the shortfall of power from retired nuclear plants with renewable energy, which has also helped push some fossil fuels out of the domestic market, Baake writes. Electricity generation from coal has remained high as Germany exported a record 34 TWh in 2013 – possibly more – in 2014. The issue is not an excess of renewable power but an excess of conventional generation. The resulting poor CO2 emission balance is not the sign of a failed Energiewende but rather of political failure, namely the European Emission Trading System (EU ETS). Because of declining emissions prices, Germany must – for the time being – introduce other another law to reduce emissions in the power sector, Baake writes. This instrument will be drafted in the first half of 2015 and will be in place until the EU ETS is functioning again.
“RWE supervisory board advises strategy – Ver.di wants more money”
Reuters reports that RWE’s supervisory board will meet on Friday to discuss medium-term strategy. Trade union Ver.di is calling for wage increases and extended job security for the German utility’s 60,000 employees. Another of Germany’s major trade unions, IG BCE, is also expected to outline demands on Friday. "No one wants compulsory layoffs," an RWE spokeswoman told Reuters on Wednesday. "But unless RWE's situation improves significantly, those layoffs can no longer be fully ruled out." The article says RWE is struggling with the German energy transition, but has insisted it does not plan to follow competitor E.ON, which announced it would be spinning off its conventional power generation operations. RWE has posted billions of euros in losses and write-downs as the growth of renewables has forced utilities to “take drastic steps to reinvent their business models,” Reuters says.
See the article in German here.
“Despite Vattenfall’s plans to sell, mine expansion plans progress”
Dow Jones reports that the process of expanding two of Vattenfall’s Brandenburg lignite mines – announced before as the Swedish state-owned company decided to sell its German lignite operations – continues, despite uncertainty over future ownership. The report quotes Brandenburg’s infrastructure minister Kathrin Schneider speaking after a meeting of the lignite committee in Cottbus, where one of the two mines is located. The city of Welzow said that negotiations over the resettlement of communities, needed to make way for the mining expansion, will continue next year. Plans to expand the mine at Jänschwalde will be reviewed next year in light of confirmation as to if, and to who, Vattenfall will sell the mine. The German government’s future energy policy will also play a role, she said, calling it a “difficult situation.” Greenpeace criticised the expansion plans as “grossly negligent” in relation to the climate, Dow Jones reports.