Germany’s offshore wind development is accelerating, write Franz Hubik and Daniel Delhaes in the Handelsblatt. While the first wind parks suffered from delays, exploding costs and problems with the grid connection, they are now being heralded as the new big job creator in northern Germany, they write. Further investments are planned by the likes of Siemens and E.ON and by the end of the year, German offshore capacity will likely have tripled to over three gigawatts, the authors write. The offshore industry had a turnover of 1.9 billion euros in 2014 and employed 19,000 people. The offshore industry is benefitting from the government’s announcement that initial feed-in remuneration will remain high (18 ct/kWh) in the future. Still, some offshore enterprises have closed down and more and more German companies like Bilfiger and Hochtief are pulling out of the sector, the authors say.
Vattenfall / Die Welt
Vattenfall applies to decommission nuclear power plant Krümmel
Power plant operator Vattenfall has handed in the application to decommission its nuclear power station in Krümmel, near Hamburg. Dismantling the plant will take 15-20 years, the utility estimates. The company will establish an interim storage facility for radioactive waste at the site. However, it also says that all its plans are being made under the condition that a final national repository for the waste is available by 2022.
Krümmel contributed to the loss of trust in nuclear power in Germany more than any other nuclear plant in Germany, writes Daniel Wetzel in Die Welt. Because of its “never-ending series of incidents,” including fires, sudden shut-downs and power-cuts, anti-nuclear activists used it repeatedly as an example of the risks of atomic power.
Read the Die Welt article in German here.
Agora Energiewende* / Agorameter
Sunday lunchtime – all German fossil power is exported
On Sunday, 23 August 2015 around 1pm, renewables (solar, wind, biomass, water) covered up to 84 percent of Germany’s electricity consumption, the Agorameter, a chart-tool for power generation and consumption in Germany showed (See Figure below). The remaining domestic consumption (pink line) was covered by nuclear power which will be phased out by 2022. All power generated from fossil fuels like hard coal, lignite and natural gas was therefore – by way of calculation – exported to Germany’s electrical neighbours.
Source: Agora Energiewende, 2015.
Handelsblatt Global Edition
“The sun king shines” – Interview with Frank Asbeck
In an interview in the Handelsblatt Global Edition, Frank Asbeck, CEO of solar panel maker Solarworld, argues for extending minimum pricing for solar panels, which expires in December and is up for review by the European Commission. Despite complaints from utilities and large industrial companies, Asbeck says his efforts to keep price floors in place are saving jobs in an industry threatened by Chinese dumping practices. He also favors keeping subsidies in place as the power market transforms from one tailored to fossil fuels to one based on renewable energy. Still, he says, “It’s clear that the branch must be able to pay for its own costs.” Already, he says, the 30 percent growth rate in solar installations is not driven by subsidies, claiming that only about half of the newly installed panels qualify for support. Asbeck says the worst of the solar market crisis is over, and even though Solarworld has weathered difficult times, he expects positive earnings this year and investment in new machines and jobs.
“Why do Germany’s electricity prices keep falling?”
After German wholesale power prices hit a 12-year low on Monday, BloombergBusiness takes a look at how the rise in wind and solar power is taking a toll on conventional power companies’ stock prices and boosting those of renewables producers. Bloomberg’s Commodity Index, which measures 22 raw materials on an excess return basis, hit its lowest level since 1999 Monday.
Read the article in English here.
“Federal government expects more deaths”
In an answer to a parliamentary query from the opposition Green Party, the German government said it expected more health problems and even deaths to result from extreme weather from climate change as the 21st century progresses, according to an article in the Handelsblatt, citing dpa. The Federal Ministry of Health referred to a study by the German Weather Service (DWD), which claims that extended periods of heat will raise mortality rates, the article says. “Already in the first decade of the century, the number of deaths from coronary heart ailments during heat waves has risen,” the government said, according to the article. The DWD expects three–to-five times higher rate of such deaths by the end of the century.
Read the article in the Handelsblatt here.
"Energiewende must be more market-oriented”
The Energiewende must be more flexible, market-oriented and more European, and solutions for the move to renewables must take the entire energy system into consideration, says Uwe Beckmeyer, state secretary in the economics ministry, according to Dow Jones Newswires. The expansion of the power network is essential, but winning public support for the project is too, he said at a conference in Berlin. That’s why the government has agreed to bury a greater share of the power lines needed for the expansion. Beckmeyer said the recent solar panel auction was a contribution to a more market-oriented system. From the government’s viewpoint, this has been a success, he said, according to Dow Jones. He rejected criticism that the auctions favor large players, noting that a diverse group of actors had participated in the auctions.
Ministry for Environment
“7,500 municipal climate action programmes”
Environment minister Barbara Hendricks has honoured the 7,500th municipality to come up with a climate action concept. The region of Siegen-Wittgenstein wants to save 950,000 tonnes of CO2, helped by the national climate initiative which is funded by the state. State support for more efficient street lights and heat insulation of municipal buildings amounted to 60 million euros for 1400 projects in 2014, a ministry press release said.
Read the press release in German here.
*Like the Clean Energy Wire, Agora Energiewende is a project funded by Stiftung Mercator and the European Climate Foundation.