dpa / AFP
Opposition to Minister Gabriel’s power station levy – discussion postponed
The debate over the levy for older power stations emmitting CO2 beyond a certain limit, proposed last week by Minister for Economic Affairs and Energy Sigmar Gabriel, is attracting more and more criticism. The deputy leader of the Christian Democrats (CDU), senior partner in the ruling grand coalition with Gabriel’s Social Democrat Party, has accused Gabriel of contradicting agreements made between the two parties when the current government was formed. “The agreement entails neither a coal exit nor discrimination against a certain power station technology,” Armin Laschet told German news agency dpa. The CDU/CSU parliamentary group has cancelled two meetings to discuss Gabriel’s proposal to reduce CO2 emissions from Germany’s oldest – mostly lignite-fired – power plants, AFP reports, saying it wanted to speak with industry representatives and the EU Commission first.
See the dpa report in German here.
See the AFP report in German here.
See a CLEW article on the challenges for Gabriel's emission cap proposal here.
Reuters / Handelsblatt
“Germany wants to put eight power plants into an electricity reserve”
As part of the German power market reform, the energy ministry suggests a small capacity reserve that would provide electricity in emergency situations when the market has not succeeded in balance power demand and supply, Reuters reports, citing a paper also seen by the Clean Energy Wire. The reserve would consist of 4 gigawatt power station capacity, not more than the capacity of eight larger power plant units, Reuters says. Operators of existing plants would compete at an auction for plants to become part of the reserve, taking the plants out of the regular market and providing power only in case of shortages.
See the article in German here.
“Good prospects for wind turbines manufacturers”
Hamburg wind turbine manufacturer Nordex expects rising sales, the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (FAZ) reports. Turnover will rise from 1.73 billion euros in 2014 to between 1.9 and 2.1 billion euros this year, the company said. Nordex has orders amounting to 1.46 billion euros on its books for 2015, management said, and could therefore see double-digit growth for the second year in running. Germany is still Nordex's most important market, the FAZ article says. But new developments – including Bavarian regulations increasing the miniumum distance between wind turbines and homes from 800 metres to 2,000 metres – could affect the company’s prospects, the author writes.
In a separate opinion piece in the same newspaper, Holger Paul says Nordex manager Jürgen Zeschky was right to decide to leave China, where foreign producers don’t really stand a chance, and the US where large firms like Siemens, General Electric and Vestas dominate the market. Instead, Nordex is expanding business in well-chosen emerging nations, where lucrative medium sized projects beckon.
See a Nordex press release in German here.
taz / Euractive
“Berlin fracking bill criticised ahead of UN climate talks”
The German government has been working for months on a bill to regulate fracking in Germany but recent criticism from the CDU has seen a decision by the cabinet in Berlin postponed, the taz reports. The draft law prepared by the Ministry for Environment and the Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy wants to prohibit fracking in areas over 3,000 metres above sea level, except for scientific reasons. But CDU MP Andreas Mattfeldt and environmental organisations want to see more environmental safeguards in the new law - not only for fracking but for all petroleum and gas related drilling. Environmental organisations BUND and NABU said boosting conventional energy production contradicted Germany’s pledge to focus on the expansion of renewable energy sources, Euractive reported.
See the taz article in German here.
See the Euractive article in German here.
“A sea of aluminium”
Offshore wind turbines pollute the sea with more and more aluminium particles, a study by the Federal Waterways Engineering and Research Institute (BAW) found, according to the taz. The aluminium is used to prevent corrosion of the wind turbines’ surface. A single offshore wind turbine loses around 10 tonnes of aluminium over 25 years. Combined, Germany's fleet of North Sea and Baltic Sea turbines could release 13,000 tonnes of the metal. Little is known about the impact of aluminium particles on humans and marine flora and fauna, the article says.
See the article in German here.
“Little hope for German power price recovery before decade’s end”
In an article for ICIS – which provides information on the petrochemicals industry – Laura Raus reports that experts aren’t expecting German wholesale power prices to climb any time soon. Traders and analysts say that while further sharp price drops are not expected, there are no “fundamental reasons” why German energy prices should rise before the nuclear phase-out is completed in 2022. At that point, the reduction in baseload power may force prices up again, an expert at E-Bridge Consulting told ICIS. But in the meantime, planned measures for reform of the European carbon market and proposals to oblige older German power stations to purchase more carbon credits are unlikely to boost prices, the article says.
See the article in English here.