28 Jan 2015
Ellen Thalman

In the media: Government agrees plan for solar auctions

Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy

Cabinet agrees to auction plan for solar subsidies

The German economics and energy ministry said the government cabinet had signed off on its plans to auction the rights for solar subsidies – to be tested in multiple pilot tenders over 3 years. The government is no longer setting a guaranteed subsidy for every kilowatt-hour of solar power fed into the grid, instead it will award subsidies for a limited amount of power to the lowest bidders using an auction system. The idea is to cut costs by introducing market elements to the renewables sector, which has expanded greatly in recent years on the back of state subsidies. The first call for tenders runs until April 15. A total of 500 megawatts will be auctioned over several tenders 2015, with 400 megawatts planned in 2016 and 300 in 2017.  Other kinds of renewables, like wind power, will also be subject to an auction system after 2017.

Read the government media release in German here.



“Future of the solar sector”

Despite changes to the renewable energy law that have cut some state support for individual solar panel installations, there is still a big payoff for power consumers who choose to put solar panels on their roofs, writes Bernward Janzing in a commentary in the taz. The article comes on the day the government is publishing details of its new auction system for solar installations, which will replace the previous unlimited subsidy system. Despite changes to state support like the subsidy for personal power production, it is still cheaper for people to use their own solar panels for electricity than to buy it from the network, the paper says. People should remember this, instead of just complaining about the government’s bad policies, Janzing says.

Read the article in German here.


Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy

Further siginificant CO2 cuts for automobiles only possible with more e-cars

The German state secretary for economics and energy, Matthias Machnig, presented a study on CO2 emissions cuts for automobiles at an event in Brussels, saying that reductions below 95 grams per kilometer are only possible with the broad introduction of cars that run on alternative fuels – especially electric cars, according to a press release from the Ministry.

Read the study in English here.

Read the press release in German here.


Süddeutsche Zeitung

“IG Metall wants to mediate CO2 dispute”

German metalworkers union IG Metall wants to participate in the dialogue over CO2 emissions limits between the European automobile sector and the EU at an event involving carmakers, EU parliamentarians and German works’ couincils in Brussels next week, according to the Süddeutsche Zeitung.  The EU wants to tighten limits for new car emissions by 2020 to 95 grams of carbon dioxide per kilometer from 130 grams currently, and possibly to 75 grams by 2025, the newspaper says. But auto industry officials say this could cost billions and possibly hurt some carmakers, Janzing writes. IG-Metall head Detlef Wetzel told the Süddeutsche: “We think CO2 emissions limits are basically the right way to go, but we have to talk about what is technically possible, as well as what can be done in terms of jobs policy.” The union’s idea is to make no decision on CO2 limits before 2017, when there is more clarity on how the electric car market is developing, and to what extent these emission-free cars can be included in the tally, Janzing writes.

Read the article in German here.


The Energy Collective

“EU energy union: Fault lines emerge between pivotal member states' design proposals”

Behind-the-scenes discussions are taking place in Brussels over a more closely linked single energy market that would make the EU less dependent on gas and oil imports from Russia, according to the Energy Collective, which cited a Reuters report on “non-papers” about the subject circulating in Brussels. These ideas include expanding renewables and making it easier to switch supply channels quickly, according the website. Non-papers are unofficial documents often used to float new ideas, the website reported.

Read the article in English here.


Wirtschaftswoche Green

“High power prices: German economy less affected than previously thought”

While many companies with high energy use are exempted or partially relieved from paying power levies to fund Germany’s transition to green energy, it is not clear whether those who do pay it are suffering from higher power prices, writes Benjamin Reuter in Wirtschaftswoche Green. Reuter cites economist Andreas Löschel of the University of Münster, who has studied the relationship of productivity to the electricity price and what this shows about the economy. For example, he says, if a German company can produce more value using a kilowatt of power than its competitors abroad, then it is not necessarily bad if that kilowatt hour is more expensive. It doesn’t have to mean they are losing competitiveness, Reuter writes. Löschel said also in the initial results of a study he conducted that German companies work more energy efficiently than their counterparts in many other countries. Ironically, the study suggested that electricity is far more expensive for Chinese manufacturers in terms of the value produced, than for Germans.

Read the article in German here.

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