In the media: No more free coal for miners
“RWE said to consider 10 percent stake sale to Abu Dhabi investors”
Germany’s second largest utility RWE, grappling with rising debt, is considering selling a ten percent stake to investors from Abu Dhabi, according to a Bloomberg report citing insiders. RWE could announce the sale in conjunction with a strategic partnership in the Middle East, but there is no certainty yet an agreement will be reached, says the report. RWE confirmed it was contacted by an investor from the region and is considering different types of cooperation, but declined to give further details. CEO Peter Terium told analysts last week his company is eyeing one more region, which may be the Gulf region, according to the report.
Read the report in English here.
Read CLEW’s report on the recent results of large utilities here.
“Coal all gone”
German hard-coal mining operator RAG wants to stop the time-honoured tradition of giving away free coal to its pitmen in 2018 when the last German mine closes, reports the Süddeutsche Zeitung. “It’s not a lack of goodwill, but if we stop mining coal, we can’t give it away anymore,” a spokesman said. At present, around 100,000 miners benefit from the right to free coal and unions are demanding the tradition continue. Pensioners get 2.5 tonnes per year and active miners 7.5 tonnes - the amount each pitman mines on average during one shift, but much more than a household can use in a year. Most miners today already use the option of having the value of their coal – currently 125 euros per tonne - paid out in vouchers instead of having it delivered to their cellars.
Read CLEW’s factsheet on coal in Germany here.
Federal grid agency – Blockade of power-line extension biggest hurdle for Energiewende
The Federal Grid Agency considers Bavaria’s refusal to build electricity superhighways to transport wind power from northern to southern Germany the biggest danger for the Energiewende. “From our point of view, the extension of power grids is the most central issue. However much headway we can make on other topics, the Energiewende is endangered if grids are not extended at the same time,” said agency head Jochen Homann in an interview with Dow Jones.
Read the interview in German here.
Read CLEW’s dossier about Germany’s power grid here.
“An energy union looks different“
EU leaders are about to destroy one of Europe’s most important new projects, the Energy Union, Rebecca Harms, chairwoman of the Green parliamentary group in the European Parliament writes in the Frankfurter Rundschau. Either the Energy Union will become an “empty shell” or even worse, “a means to further support the old energy mix of coal and nuclear power,” Harms says in the opinion piece. Poland wants to use the Energy Union to invest in coal power stations – claiming that these will be “green energy sources.” Renewable energies and energy efficiency have been sidelined at the negotiations even though exactly these technologies should be boosted by the Energy Union, she says. The conflict with Russia shows how dangerous it is to be dependant on countries that use commodities for aggressive politics – it is absurd that a country like Germany prefers to keep negotiating with such countries, Harms says. “Like this, the EU will definitely not get stronger.”
“Government plans new industry exemptions”
The government is considering extending industry exemptions on power prices to two new sectors, reports Spiegel Online on the basis of an early draft of a bill from the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy. The paper suggests companies specialising in surface refinements and producers of particular metal products like stamped parts should also be exempt from the EEG-surcharge. Additional industry exemptions mean that other consumers will have to shoulder more of the burden for the shift to renewables. The Green party criticised these policies. Economy minister Sigmar “Gabriel’s subsidy policies are losing all sense of proportion,” said the party’s energy spokeswoman, according to Spiegel Online.
Read the article in German here.