Die Welt / sh:z
„The North focuses on wind power“
Germany’s northern state of Schleswig-Holstein wants to increase its share of renewables in the power mix and for heating and wants to lower energy consumption of state-owned property 40 percent by 2020, die Welt and sh:z report. Schleswig-Holstein’s energy minister Robert Habeck announced a new energy transition and climate protection act that his ministry is preparing, which would result in his state producing three times as much renewable power as it consumes by 2025. By 2050, the aim is for Schleswig-Holstein to emit 95 percent less CO2 than in 1990. Taking neighbouring Denmark as an example, the state also wants to achieve a “heat transition," deriving 22 percent of its final energy consumption in the heating sector from renewable energies by 2025, the proposal reads. The states targets are even more ambitious than those for the whole of Germany.
See the government plan for the energy transition and climate protection act in German here.
See the sh:z article in German here.
Renewable Energies Agency
“Power prices down in 2014 – but no benefit for households”
Electricity companies should pass price declines onto household customers as quickly as they have passed on price rises in the past, the Renewable Energies Agency said after the German Statistics Office announced that steep price declines in 2014 for distributors were not reflected in household prices, which rose. Electricity producer prices fell 3 percent in 2014 over 2013, the Statistics Office said. Despite the drop, households paid 1.3 percent more for electricity while prices for distributors were 9.2 percent lower. The price on the electricity exchange has fallen by 30 percent since 2010, according to the statistics office, while in the last four years, households have paid 25 percent more, especially those who are customers of the large utilities that provide basic service throughout Germany, the Renewable Energies Agency said. Switching providers enlivens competition and signals to the market that consumers are demanding lower prices, said Philipp Vohrer, head of the agency. “If they decide in favour of an eco-power company, this also helps spur the Energiewende in Germany,” he said.
Read the press release from the Renewable Energies Agency here.
Read the press release from the Federal Statistics Office in German here.
Read a CLEW article on household power prices here.
taz – die tageszeitung
Depending on where they live, consumers in Germany pay more or less in grid fees on their electricity bills. In Düsseldorf, it’s 4.75 cents per kilowatt-hour, in Brandenburg 9.88 cents, Bernward Janzig writes in the taz. The grid is more expensive in rural regions, where fewer people have to be connected with longer lines. But now investment into rural distribution grids in order to connect renewable energy installations is raising the fee for rural residents by even more, he writes. Politicians and scientists therefore are now discussing the idea of harmonising grid fees for the whole of Germany, a move that the Left Party and the Green Party support, Janzig writes.
See the article in German here.
“Riding the razor’s edge”
Conventional power plants should be compensated fairly for remaining on standby to supply power when renewables are unavailable, the head of EnBW, Frank Mastiaux, told Manager Magazine. These plants are currently unprofitable, he said, but are still expected to supply power vital to the German economy. For example, in Baden-Württemberg, EnBW supplies 70 percent of all power, comprising 20 percent of the value-added from German industrial production, Mastiaux told the magazine. He was also critical of the slow pace of the Energiewende, saying that despite a vast number of studies about how to implement the transition to green energy, decisions for implementing the project must be taken. He said the federal, state and local governments need a well-organised project management to achieve this.
Read an excerpt of the article in German here.
"Terium: 'We need a European solution'"
Cutting C02 in Germany alone, will do nothing toward reducing greenhouse gases on a European scale, because C02 production will merely shift to countries outside Germany, Peter Terium, CEO of Germany’s second-largest energy provider, RWE told Deutsche Welle in an interview. Not just in terms of climate targets, but also for security of supply, Germany needs to broaden its thinking beyond its own borders, he said. Other countries have already introduced so-called capacity markets to ensure that there is enough electricity available to meet future demand, he said. German electricity providers have been calling for such a market as they are expected to keep unprofitable coal-fired plants up and ready to compensate for lulls in wind and solar power. Supporting the German government in its push to establish a mechanism that would ensure stability on the European emissions trading market, Terium says that a reform of emissions trading must take place as soon as possible – best by 2017 - in order to ensure trust in the system. Looking ahead to the Paris Climate Summit at the end of 2015, Terium said it may be necessary to decouple binding minimum climate goals from a global climate agreement. “Maybe it is time to pave the way for a new climate protection architecture that is more voluntary and based on multilateral agreements.”
Read the article on the Deutsche Welle website here.
“CSU fights about power lines”
Talks among Bavarian politicians over new overland power lines to expand the electricity grid are tense, the Süddeutsche Zeitung writes. At a party meeting of the ruling CSU in Kreuth, “crisis talks” between state premier Horst Seehofer, who opposes the lines, which would run through the Bavarian countryside, and his economiy minister Ilse Aigner, who seems ready to accept at least one of the two grid additions, were described as “very serious.” A decision is expected in the beginning of February, when the state government will present results of its “Energy dialogue” between civil society, politicians and businesses presents.
FAZ - Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung
"Solar sector shrunk by 60 percent in three years"
The numer of employees in the photovoltaics sector has fallen from 128,000 in 2011 to 50,000, the FAZ reports, quoting the head of the German Solar Industry Association, Carsten Körnig. The latest company hit was Hanwha Q-Cells, who announced that it will move its entire production abroad, leaving 550 of 900 employees in Germany without a job. Some businesses are now investing in high quality products to withstand competition from cheap solar cells from China, the article says but the case of Q-Cells should be a wake-up call for politicians, after illegal Chinese dumping strategies had caused so many job losses already.
Read the original FAZ article on Q-Cells in German here.