In the media: More on the coal debate, comment on fracking, Rifkin on Energiewende
"Billions for utilities"
If coal fired power stations were retired, everybody could profit: the climate, consumers and utilities, writes Marlies Uken for Zeit online. The problem is, none of the large electricity companies want to be the first to shut down capacity that would enable the remaining stations to earn some 5.8 billion euros extra, owing to rising prices on the wholesale market, Uken writes, citing calculations by the German Institute for Economic Research (DIW).
See the article in German here.
"Shut down the smokestacks"
It's too bad that Economy Minister Sigmar Gabriel has already ruled out shutting down old coal fired power plants soon, writes Michael Bauchmüller in Süddeutsche Zeitung. Around six gigawatts of hard coal and lignite capacity could be retired without endangering security of supply, the author writes, citing the DIW. This would simultaneously reduce emissions and benefit utilities, which have suffered losses in recent years due to low prices from over-capacities, he says.
Dow Jones Newswires
"US Economist Jeremy Rifkin/Germany’s Energiewende is on solid footing"
The current difficulties in Germany’s Energiewende can be overcome, Jeremy Rifkin said on the sidelines of a conference in Berlin. Having just met with Chancellor Angela Merkel and Economy Minister Sigmar Gabriel, the sustainability advocate and consultant to the EU Commission and German government said he was confident that the remaining four pillars for a new energy system will be constructed in a few years. Energy efficient buildings, smart transmission networks, storage facilities and electric mobility would build on renewable energy to create a new system that can react flexibly to decentralized and fluctuating power production, the article says.
"No chance for fracking"
Fracking in Germany is almost dead, writes Michael Bauchmüller in an opinion piece for Süddeutsche Zeitung. A draft of the new fracking law states that drilling in less than 3000 meters depth is forbidden unless an expert commission of scientists declares specific projects non-hazardous – which they will rarely dare to do, the author says. Business representatives have long wanted cheap natural gas from fracking in Germany, but they would be disappointed anyway because Germany actually does not possess enough accessible natural gas reserves that would last longer than a few years, Bauchmüller writes.
Ministry for Environment
"Some things you do not want to see"
The German Ministry for the Environment (BMUB) has started a new communications campaign with startling video clips, on which several German media reported. Aimed at getting households to use less electricity (for lights), one spot shows a teenager walking in on her parents "in the act" and quickly switching off the lights so she won‘t see them anymore. The campaign features other videos encouraging closing windows and cycling, and according to the ministry website wants to highlight how small behaviour changes in every day life can save energy and benefit the climate.
Read a story in German for example on Stern.de here.