In the media: Job cuts in the energy sector and nuclear decommissioning
100 works councils of the four big German utilities held a crisis summit in Berlin on Thursday, Markus Balser writes in the Süddeutsche Zeitung. Because the big utilities' conventional power stations have been earning less money due to competition from renewable energies, the work councils are worried about job cuts in the power sector. They want the government to step in, so workers don't have to pay a social price for the transition from fossil to renewable energies in Germany, they said in a statement after the meeting.
“500 more jobs on the brink of being cut”
EnBW may cut another 500 jobs, the WirtschaftsWoche reports. Germany’s third-largest utility employs around 20,000 people, the article says. Now management is negotiating how a restructuring of the areas administration and power generation could eliminate 300 to 500 jobs. Low power prices are harming the company, the article says. Last summer, EnBW took impairment charges of 1.2 billion euros on its coal and gas fired power stations. Next week it will present its 2014 figures.
See the article in German here.
“This is how a nuclear plant is erased from the landscape”
In a long article in Die Welt, Maren Hennemuth explains how a nuclear power plant is decommissioned. The highly technical process takes several decades and if everything goes well, up to 97 percent of the power station’s remnants can be decontaminated. However, storing radioactive waste or finding remnants of radioactive water can cause delays that drive up the costs of the decommissioning process, the article says. According to Germany’s nuclear power law, operators of reactors have to pay for the decommissioning of their power stations and for nuclear waste storage. Many of the former employees at the power stations now work in decommissioning – but the operators are also advertising to reach young people, the author says, quoting their slogan, "It’s a job with a future."
Read the article in German here.
“Number of the day: The price of the nuclear phase-out”
Nuclear power station operator EnBW wants 261 million euros in damages from the state of Baden-Württemberg because of the government’s decision to shut down their reactors after Fukushima, writes the TAZ. This is in the interest of EnBWs shareholders, the management said – but almost half of EnBW is actually owned by the state of Baden-Württemberg, the TAZ points out.
See a CLEW factsheet on the utilities in Germany and their nuclear assets here.
Describing the complicated issue of who will pay for nuclear decommissioning in Germany, Klaus Stratmann writes in the Handelsblatt that Vattenfall’s attempts to restructure the company could end up leaving the German tax payer with the bill. If Vattenfall were to sell its lignite operations in Germany – as it is seeking to do at the moment – recoverable assets of the company would be even further diminished, experts say. The article cites Green Party parliamentarian Sylvia Kotting-Uhl as saying that “the German government does not really know what Vattenfall is going to do.” She wants a public fund that administers the utilities’ savings for nuclear decommissioning.
See a CLEW news article on the proposed nuclear fund here.
"Lower energy consumption in Germany explained"
Analysing the recent publication of new AGEB 2014 statistics on Germany’s energy consumption, Craig Morris at energytransition.de says that Germany saw “a 5.3 percent increase in electricity productivity, resulting from a clear decrease in power consumption along with good economic growth.” However, some of that decrease could be because production in the chemicals sector (the second biggest energy consumer after metal production) shrank by nearly seven percent in 2014, Morris writes. The AGEB figures showed that significant progress has been made toward increasing renewables as an energy source for the power sector, he said. Their share has grown by around two percentage points annually in the past few years. The share of renewable energy in total energy consumption only grew from 10.5 to 11.1 percent year-on-year in 2014.
Read the blog-post here.