Süddeutsche Zeitung / Die Welt
“Energiewende show on the high seas”
Germany’s energy minister Sigmar Gabriel invited his G7 counterparts to visit a new offshore wind converter platform in the North Sea – but none of them wanted to join him, writes Michael Bauchmüller in the Süddeutsche Zeitung.
The visit was part of the G7 energy ministers meeting in Hamburg where Gabriel said in his opening remarks that the challenge was to find an energy supply "that’s good for the environment but at the same time doesn’t endanger growth and prosperity," Daniel Wetzel writes in Die Welt. But other G7 countries view Germany’s plan to have a “green electricity supply” critically, Wetzel writes. Great Britain plans billions of pounds in subsidies for a nuclear power station and the US is focusing on fracking gas. “Without renewable energies there will be no energy security,” Maria van der Hoeven, executive director of the International Energy Agency (IEA) said on the offshore platform, hinting at another big topic at the energy ministers meeting - Russian gas supply.
Read the Die Welt article in German here.
“EnBW reports 2014 net loss after writedowns on power plants”
The slump in wholesale power prices forced Germany's third-largest utility EnBW to write down the value of its power plants, pushing the company into the red last year, Bloomberg reports. EnBW’s net loss of 451 million euros compared with net income of 51 million euros in 2013, the Karlsruhe-based company said in its annual report. EnBW, which had relied on nuclear reactors for more than half of its output, lost two of its four plants in a first wave of shutdowns as Germany shifts to using more renewable energy, according to Bloomberg. The company wrote down 910 million euros on its plants as wind and solar power increased to 26 percent of national generation, curbing electricity prices already weakened by recession in European economies. EnBW supplies about 5.5 million customers with energy and wants to more than double the share of renewables in its generation portfolio to 40 percent by the end of the decade, according to a Reuters report.
Read the Bloomberg story in English here.
Find the Reuters report in English here.
Read a CLEW article on the utilities’ dire straits here.
Find the CLEW dossier on the utilities’ fight for survival here.
“EnBW bids for insolvent wind farm group Prokon – sources”
EnBW wants to buy insolvent operator Prokon’s wind farms, Reuters reports. An insider told the news agency EnBW’s offer valued Prokon at more than 500 million euros. German wind and solar power farm operator Capital Stage already made a binding offer for most of Prokon last week. Prokon operates 529 megawatts of wind-powered generating capacity in Germany and Poland, according to the report. The company filed for insolvency last year after consumer groups accused it of attracting investors with the prospect of high returns without giving sufficient warning of the risks. An acquisition of Prokon would help EnBW diversify its business away from loss-making coal and gas-fired plants.
Read the article in English here.
Read a CLEW article about the transformation of Germany’s “Big Four” utilities here.
German Association of Energy and Water Industries (BDEW)
“Almost 1.5 million projects produce green electricity”
1.48 million renewable energy projects generated electricity in Germany in 2013, according to utility association BDEW. Of those, about 1.4 million were solar arrays, 23,024 were onshore wind turbines and 13,589 were biomass projects. Association head Hildegard Müller said the continued rise of renewables meant their integration into the power market and the energy system must have high priority.
Frankfurter Allgmeine Zeitung (FAZ)
“Emissions trading needs protection from politicians”
The European Emissions Trading System (EU ETS) doesn’t need reform, writes Hendrick Kafsack in an opinion piece for the FAZ. Because the ETS caps the total amount of emissions that can be produced under the scheme, it guarantees a reduction in greenhouse gases, even if the price for emissions allowances is very low, Kafsack argues. The economic crisis has resulted in an oversupply of allowances and it has made it easier for the EU to achieve its climate targets but that is no reason to punish companies by making arbitrary changes to the ETS market. Instead politicians should do something else to stabilise the trading scheme – they should stop single member states from interfering.
“Pondering Germany’s 'Energiewende'”
“15 years ago, German politicians agreed to wean the country off fossil fuels and nuclear energy. The shift has been expensive and mistakes were made, but it has put Germany on a path to a cleaner, greener economy,” writes Naomi Conrad for Deutsche Welle.
Read the article in English here.