In the media: New numbers on the cost of the Energiewende; power plant closures
“Renewables shift wallops traditional power plants”
According to an article in the Bild Zeitung, citing the Federal Network Agency, nine more conventional power plants will be shut down than originally slated for closure at the beginning of the year, Deutsche Welle reports. That would bring the total number of plants slated for mothballing to 57, according to Deutsche Welle, among other major German media. The reason is that the plants are unprofitable, according to the articles. The German Association of Energy and Water Companies (BDEW) is worried that this could cause supply shortages, according to the reports. BDEW head Hildegard Müller called these power plants “the comprehensive insurance for our renewable energy supply", saying they "must therefore also be financially compensated as such.”
Read the Deutsche Welle article in English here.
“Power users pay 28 billion euros a year for the Energiewende”
New calculations show that the Energiewende is costing power customers around 28 billion euros a year, or 270 euros for a household consuming 3,500 kWh annually, according to a report compiled by the Cologne Institute for Economic Research for the business daily Handelsblatt. In addition to support for renewable energies, the figure also contains the cost of expanding the power network to carry power from the windy north to the industrial south, support for combined power and heat plants, and payments for keeping some old, fossil-fuel plants in reserve. As a result, “The effects of the Energiewende are becoming a threat to Germany as a location for industry, which is scaring off investors and costing jobs,” said Carsten Linnemann, head of the association of business and medium-sized companies in the CDU party, which is part of the current government coalition. The president of the BDI German Industry Association, Ulrich Grillo, told the Handelsblatt: “The calculations make the cost of the Energiewende clear. Companies are afraid these will rise even further.”
Read the article in German here.
Read a CLEW dossier, including factsheets on power prices for industry and households here.
“Gabriel’s advisers call his plans naive”
German economics and energy minister Sigmar Gabriel’s power market reform plans have come under fire from the ministry’s own council of advisers, according to Die Welt. Economists Axel Ockenfels and Achim Wambach have said the plans lack an understanding of the market, calling them “naïve” and based on “wrong assumptions.” This means “large, new risks for the power market,” the article says, citing the economists. For example, it fails to consider the lack of flexibility in power demand, meaning that demand will not necessarily fall when prices rise significantly, as the plan foresees in its promise of a “free price formation”, Die Welt says.
Read the article in German here.
Read a guest commentary by Axel Ockenfels in German here.
Read a CLEW factsheet about government plans for a new power market design here.
Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung/Die Welt
E.ON CEO criticises government plans on nuclear dismantling
E.ON CEO Johannes Teyssen says the economics ministry’s plans to hold nuclear power companies more strictly liable for cleaning up nuclear waste is “neither founded in reality nor constitutionally enforceable,” the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung reports. The plans could make E.ON responsible for the waste even years after the nuclear power plant operations have been spun off into a new company, called Uniper, which from 2016 onwards will pool fossil and nuclear power operations. Even if the new rules are implemented, Teyssen will stick to his plans to split E.ON into two companies, FAZ says. E.ON’s 16 billion euros in reserves for dismantling its nuclear operations will be transferred to Uniper’s books. Teyssen wants the state to contribute, saying a number of the plants were originally ordered by the government, and their dismantling should therefore also be the state’s responsibility, the article says.
A separate article in Die Welt says that the environment minister from North Rhine-Westphalia, Johannes Remmel, has called for a foundation to manage the liabilities in the future, saying that the storage of fuel rods from one research reactor in Jülich alone cost a billion euros.
Read the article in Die Welt here.