In the media: Local utilities warn against dangers to power supply
“Electricity Grids and Climate Targets: New Approaches to Grid Planning”
The latest assumptions that will be used in the government's grid development plan take new climate protection targets into account, researchers from the German Institute for Economic Research (DIW) said. The DIW research examined the assumptions and scenarios Germany’s grid operators and the Federal Network Agency (Bundesnetzagentur) are using to create a new grid development plan. Unlike previous scenarios, it assumes a significant reduction in power from lignite, following the government’s decision in December to further reduce CO2 emissions from this sector. The researchers also say that the seemingly slow grid expansion in Germany has so far not hindered and will not impede the energy transition in the immediate future.
Read the report in English here.
“Security of supply must not be endangered”
The German Association of Local Utilties (VKU) has told Energy and Economy Minister Sigmar Gabriel that municipal utilities are in favour of a capacity market, according to a press release issued by the VKU after a meeting yesterday. VKU managing director Hans-Joachim Reck said that a first step in the new power market design should be to further develop the capacity reserve. Reck also pushed for a timely reform of the combined heat and power (CHP) generation law, since falling wholesale prices for electricity have forced some of these power stations to go offline and have prohibited investment in this technology – something that is in conflict with the government’s target of increasing CHP in the power mix.
The Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy is due to publish a white paper on the new power market design in March 2015, followed by new legislation soon afterwards.
See a CLEW dossier on the power market reform here.
“Seehofer is a hazardous case for the Energiewende”
In a reaction to Bavaria’s state premier Horst Seehofer’s statement that a decision on the grid expansion could wait till the end of this year, Anton Hofreiter, head of the Green Party parliamentary group in the Bundestag said that this was “cowardly and irresponsible.” Seehofer was not only sabotaging the Energiewende but also solidarity among the 16 German states, Hofreiter told Welt online. The Bavarian state premier was also endangering industry and jobs because his idea to ensure security of supply by investing in local gas-fired power stations would lead to higher power prices in southern Germany.
See the article in German here.
See a CLEW dossier on the discussion about the grid expansion here.
"Vattenfall boss doesn’t want to be a divider"
Swedish utility Vattenfall wants to sell its lignite mining operations in eastern Germany by the end of this year but this does not mean that it will split up the company like E.ON has, Kevin P. Hoffmann writes in Der Tagesspiegel. Vattenfall CEO Magnus Hall doesn’t seem as interested in such moves as his counterpart Johannes Teyssen at E.ON, the article says. He is taking smaller steps, also because he has to organise and pay billions to dismantle two shuttered nuclear power plants in northern Germany.
“German companies help with renewable energy projects abroad”
Germany is selling components and services for renewable energy projects all over the world, a business that supports over 100,000 jobs in Germany, according to the Renewable Energies Agency, Anja Steinbuch writes in the Süddeutsche Zeitung. From the wind energy industry to biogas and solar, German companies are installing solar panels as far away as Tanzania, Australia and the Philippines, but also within Europe in places like France, the UK and Spain, Steinbuch writes. This is being driven by German know-how, as well as German investors.
“Energiewende: Fewer costs through better weather predictions”
In order to create the best predictions for how much wind energy will be fed into the power grid, scientists are developing new ways to predict the weather, writes Thomas Schneider in the WID-Energiewirtschaft. When wind power facilities fail to produce enough electricity due to weather conditions, this costs money, he writes. As renewables in Germany expand, coming to grips with this issue will be important for stemming losses and making sure the system doesn’t fall victim to fluctuations. The Center for Solar Energy and Hydro Research in Baden-Württemberg and the EWC Weather Consult are evaluating different weather models using computer learning software. Using supercomputers, they analyse large data sets for these models, aiming to get the best prediction for how much wind power can be expected, writes WID.
Read the article in German here.
Mother Nature Network
"Germany's Energiewende is picking up steam"
Germany’s Energiewende is more successful than often portrayed, according to an article by Sami Grover on the website Mother Nature Network. Detailing the increase in renewables, decline in emissions and falling energy prices, Grover writes that the energy transition may be starting to pay off and that 2014 could be a turning point in the transition to a low-carbon economy.
Read the article in English here.