18 Sep 2015
Kerstine Appunn

In the media: Greenpeace says lignite reserve illegal; staggering utility giants

Osnabrücker Zeitung / Dow Jones Newswires

E.ON CEO compares cheap renewable power to “unpaid slaves”

Current power market structures are not geared to taking up large amounts of renewable energy, E.ON CEO Johannes Teyssen said during a discussion in Osnabrück, the Osnabrücker Zeitung reports. “It’s as if every morning an army of unpaid slaves were coming to work and taking away everybody else’s jobs,” Teyssen said according to the paper. “I am sure that workers’ unions would consider this to be a market failure,” he added. E.ON’s Teyssen and municipal utilities want to see a capacity market that would pay for keeping power stations on stand-by for times of little sun and wind, because they say cheap power from renewable sources is making conventional power production uneconomical.
State secretary Rainer Baake, whose ministry has proposed a new energy-only market without capacity markets, said at the same event that there was no market failure, Dow Jones Newswires reports. A current market adjustment was pushing large overcapacities out of the market. As this is also happening in the rest of Europe, prices would rise again in the future, Baake said.

Read the Osnabrücker Zeitung article in German here.



“Staggering giant RWE”

Utility RWE’s supervisory board could decide at its autumn meeting today (Friday) on a  new chairman of the board, dpa-AFX writes. While the incumbent chairman wants former SAP finance director Werner Brandt to follow him, municipalities that own large shares in RWE would prefer to see Werner Müller, a former minister for economic affairs, to head up the board. CEO Peter Terium will have to explain to the board how he will cope with a sharp decline in share prices and alleviate fears of dividend cuts, the article says.


Rheinische Post

“RWE boss on call”

The slump in RWE shares shows that the markets don’t trust CEO Peter Terium anymore, writes Antje Höning in a leader in the Rheinische Post. Terium’s concept of simply hoping the state will bail him out is unconvincing to investors, also because even premium payments to lignite power plants and a nuclear clean-up fund won't rescue RWE now. One has to hope that the buzz about an alleged Arab investor was part of the general turbulence and not a bearish attempt to drive up RWE’s share price – such tricks wouldn’t be taken well by the market, Höning says.

Read the leader in German here.



“Greenpeace analysis: expensive reserve for energy supply unnecessary”

The planned reserve of lignite-fired power stations isn't necessary to keep Germany’s power supply secure and therefore is in breach of EU law, an analysis by Hamburg law firm Rechtsanwälte Günther and Energy Brainpool, commissioned by Greenpeace Germany shows. The economic analysis of the power market by Energy Brainpool showed that Germany has massive overcapacities. Even in 2023 when the last nuclear power station will go offline, there would still be an excess 11 gigawatts of power plant capacity, four times the amount envisaged for the lignite power reserve. If under these circumstances Germany couldn’t justify the reserve, the EU commission wouldn’t approve it under current state-aid rules, the lawyers conclude.

Read the analysis in German here.


dpa/ WirtschaftsWoche

“The 400 million-euro offensive”

Germany’s minister for Education and Research, Johanna Wanka has launched a new initiative to make the energy transition a success, dpa reports. The 400 billion-euro “Kopernikus Projects” will run for ten years and support researchers and industries in developing new technologies and energy systems for later commercial use. Projects include storage of renewable energy for example in power-to-gas facilities and the development of grid systems that can cope with a high share of renewables.

Read the article in German here.



“Government may not neglect public charging infrastructure for e-cars”

The German Association of Energy and Water Industries (BDEW) suggests a cooperation between energy companies and the state to establish a nationwide infrastructure for electric vehicles consisting of 10,000 charging stations. If the government wants to achieve its target of 1 million e-cars on Germany’s roads by 2020, such a public infrastructure is necessary, a BDEW press release reads. The association suggests that the 100 million-euro project should be financed partially by businesses and public funds.

Read the BDEW position paper on the market development of electro mobility in German here and the press release here.


Spektrum der Wissenschaft

“Coal has to become much more expensive”

Three months before the climate conference in Paris, states are presenting their greenhouse gas reduction targets, but in reality we are experiencing a comeback of coal, writes Ottmar Edenhofer from Mercator Research Institute on Global Commons and Climate Change (MCC) in an opinion piece for Spektrum der Wissenschaft. Particularly poor but fast growing economies are investing massively in new coal-fired power plants. If only one third of all planned coal power stations are built, the CO2 budget for staying within the 2 degree-Celsius warming-limit would be almost completely depleted. A minimum of 80 percent of available coal has to stay in the ground in order to stay under that threshold, writes Edenhofer. But currently this was not happening.  Coal is extremely cheap, also because states subsidise the use of oil, gas and coal at 150 US dollars per tonne of CO2. Much could be achieved if we put a price on CO2 but a first step would be reducing the coal subsidies.

Read the op-ed in German here.

Read a MCC commentary on “Development incentives for fossil fuel subsidy reform” in English in Nature Climate Change here.


Berliner Zeitung

“The fear of the grassroots power sector”

Citizen energy projects from solar panels on family homes to village cooperatives’ small wind parks have made life difficult for large power suppliers in Germany. But now the grassroots power sector fears its development will be stymied as well, writes Thorsten Knuf in the Berliner Zeitung. In an attempt to make renewable power installations cheaper, the Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy wants to determine renewable payments via a new auction scheme. Small actors in the renewables sector are worried that this will drive them out of the market as large companies can offer more and cheaper projects and take more risks.

Read a CLEW article about the new auction model for renewables here.

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