In the media: Hamburg focuses on renewables; innovative power storage ideas; prices in 2015; utilities and a stable grid
“Hamburg puts focus on development of green energies”
The city-state of Hamburg is profiting from Germany's Energiewende in the form of investment and new jobs, the Hamburger Abendblatt reported, citing Economy Senator Frank Horch. Hamburg has established itself as a “capital of wind power,” attracting investment by numerous important wind industry players to the city, the senator said. Since 2008, northern Germany gained 24,000 new jobs in the renewable energy sector, 14,000 of them in Hamburg. The city plans to further internationalise the sector and build on its successes in the offshore wind technology segment, the article says.
Read the article in German here.
“Software for a stable grid”
Large-scale power storage devices are not necessarily the answer to filling gaps in wind and solar power, Bernward Janzing writes in the taz. Instead, small and intelligent means of storage could be far more useful, the author says, since they can provide so-called system services that keep the frequency in the grid stable and enable the system to restart when there is a blackout. A project in Schwerin by local utility Wemag and software company Younicos hopes to gain experience in stabilizing network frequencies using small power storage facilities.
Read the article in German here.
“Rising electricity prices are the past”
The director of think-tank Agora Energiewende told Deutschlandradio Kultur that he expects electricity prices to fall in 2015. The renewable energy surcharge will decrease and power should become even cheaper on the exchange, all leading to reduced household prices, he said.
Read the interview in German here.
Read a CLEW article on household electricity prices here.
“Power costs double compared to the U.S.”
In an interview with Jens Voss at the Rheinische Post, Ernst Grigat, head of the company association Chempark in North-Rhine Westphalia, said that he was not sure if the German government took the chemicals industry's worries about electricity prices seriously. Power for industry costs only half the amount in the U.S. that it does in Germany, Grigat said. If companies at Chempark had to pay the full surcharge for renewable energies, from which they are currently exempted, the electricity price would be three times as much in Germany, he added.
See the interview in German here.
“Will EnBW's plans succeed?”
Unlike E.ON, whose move to split up conventional and renewable energy operations was heavily publicized, utility EnBW quietly started embracing the Energiewende two years ago, Anika von Greve-Dierfeld und Susanne Kupke write for dpa-AFX. The company started from a difficult position, since the share of nuclear power in its portfolio was quite high, they said, but this will be entirely phased-out by 2022. It now wants to invest in its grid and wind power and is looking to expand its cooperation with communities and councils in smart grid technology and energy efficiency measures, the article cites EnBW CEO Frank Mastiaux as saying.
“Vattenfall – a company falls apart”
Swedish-owned utility Vattenfall is still the largest power supplier in north-eastern Germany, but it seems as though the company may have lost more than it gained in recent years, Olaf Preuß writes in Die Welt. Its nuclear power plants have been shut down, its lignite operations in Eastern Germany are for sale and the company had to sell Hamburg's power grid back to the city administration, following a referendum in 2013. But Magnus Hall, CEO of Vattenfall since October 2014, said “the company does not intend to leave Germany,” Preuß writes. Vattenfall invests in offshore wind-parks near Sylt in the North Sea and wants to increase the share of renewables in its power mix, which currently makes up only 3 percent, the author writes.
See the article in German here.
The New York Times
“Germans balk at plan for wind power lines”
Writing about the planned overland power line, Südlink, that will eventually transport wind power from northern to southern Germany, Melissa Eddy of the New York Times says Germans' enthusiasm for green energy is fading in places close to the high-voltage lines. In an “outbreak of not-in-my-backyard syndrome,” protest groups are forming around the town of Fulda, fearing negative effects for their health and the value of their properties. Many citizens attending information sessions offered by grid operator Tennet made alternative suggestions for where to build the lines, the author reports. If the authorities approve the new grid plan, construction will be slated for completion by 2022 when the last of Germany’s nuclear power stations shut down.
Read the article in English here.
The energy collective
“A snapshot of Germany's electricity mix: Solar capacity reigns, but coal generation sustains”
In a column for The energy collective, Stephen Lacey takes a look at Germany’s power mix, using slides from the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems (ISE) that compile data on power generation in the first 10 months of 2014. Lacey highlights how the increased share of renewable power contributes to a decline in revenue among conventional power plant operators and writes that power from coal is still vital to the system, despite the growth in renewables. “Germany might be moving faster than other countries. But it’s also proving that energy transitions don’t happen quickly, no matter how aggressive the policies,” the author concludes.
Read the column in English here.
See information and latest figures on power consumption and generation for the whole of 2014 in a CLEW article here.