In the media: Nuclear power sector's chamber orchestra shuts down
"This is what the power market of the future could look like"
In order to incorporate fluctuating power from millions of small, decentralised producers, the most important feature of the future power market will be flexibility, according to a study by consultancy Energy Brainpool and research institute Fraunhofer IWES. The researchers say power prices will have to be more elastic to give consumers an incentive to use more power when supply is high and reduce consumption when it is scarce, Stefan Schultz explains in a Spiegel Online article about the study. The study suggests that the various surcharges that make up a signifanct share of consumer power bills be reduced at times of oversupply to promote technologies that link power supply to demand, as well as flexible power stations. Currently, the surcharges prevent the power price from fluctuating enough to have an impact on demand. The study was comissioned by the German Renewable Energy Federation to contribute to the consulting process for Germany's future power market design, and its findings are likely to be strongly rejected by the country's major conventional power producers, Schultz writes.
See the Spiegel Online article in German here.
See a CLEW dossier on the power market design here.
Frankfurter Allgmeine Zeitung – FAZ
Chamber orchestra of nuclear power sector shuts down
After 28 years, the German nuclear industry's own orchestra has played its last note. Nuclear engineers played classical music in the “Camerata Nucleare”, founded by the director of the Grundremmingen nuclear plant in Bavaria (whose reactors are set to go offline in 2017 and 2021) in a bid to give the nuclear sector a cultural and human face, Jonas Jansen writes in the FAZ. After Chernobyl, it was hoped the orchestra might boost the image of nuclear power, though most performances were given to audiences within the sector. Jansen says the musicians are disappointed in Angela Merkel, who gave them hope by reversing the first nuclear phase-out plan in 2010, but then re-invoked the policy following the Fukushima disaster in 2011. A flautist told the newspaper the Energiewende was a “propaganda trick” and suggested he might leave Germany.
Growing resistance to special treatment for Bavaria in Merkel’s party
Resistance is growing in Chancellor Angela Merkel’s CDU to granting Bavaria special treatment over the planning of electricity superhighways to transport renewable power from Germany's north to the southern regions' industrial powerhouses, Der Spiegel reports. Facing public protests, Bavaria last week dodged a decision on the grid extensions, which a majority of experts consider necessary for the country’s energy transition. The state now wants to negotiate a solution with central government in Berlin. But the CDU’s parliamentary floor leader, Volker Kauder, said the extensions need to be built and expressed strong reservations over subsidies for new gas-fired power plants, which Bavaria is demanding as an alternative to the power lines.
See CLEW's news item on Bavaria’s Energy Dialogue here.
See CLEW's Dossier on the planned grid extensions here.
Grid operator: Building gas-powered plants will cost Bavaria dearly
German grid operator Amprion insists all three maximum voltage lines planned to improve connections between north and south need to be built to make the Energiewende a success. The company’s head, Hans-Jürgen Brick, told Süddeutsche Zeitung: “If we question this, we endanger the whole concept.” Brick warned the new gas-fired power plants Bavaria wants would be much more expensive than extending the grid and could result in higher electricty prices in the country's south.
See the article in German here.
Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung
“Right of Way for Smart Meters”
The economy ministry in Berlin wants to introduce mandatory smart metering for consumers using more than 6,000 kilowatt-hours per year – around 50 percent more than the average four-person household – the FAZ reports. According to draft legislation to be adopted by cabinet by the summer, the technology will be introduced in stages, starting in 2017 with the largest consumers. State Secretary for Energy Rainer Baake told the newspaper he considered the roll-out of digitial metering an important building block of the Energiewende. Many small-scale energy producers, such as owners of solar plants, will also be required to install the technology, the paper reports.
“2000-megawatt transmission capacity for offshore power in German North Sea completed”
Grid operator TenneT and industry giant Siemens have announced the completed connection of offshore wind park HelWin1 to the grid. The connection can transport 576 megawatts (MW), or enough power to supply 700,000 households, TenneT manager Lex Hartman said. Transmission grid operator TenneT now provides a total of 2,000 MW of power line capacity in the German North Sea. By 2019 it plans to operate 7,100 MW of offshore grid connection capacity. The Siemens press release highlighted that the company has completed the world's first two highly efficient direct-current offshore grid-connections.
Responding to Climate Change
“Angela Merkel: The green realist who could make or break a climate deal”
In a feature for RTCC, Megan Darby looks at German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s position on international climate policy. Merkel played a key role in negotiating the Kyoto Protocol, Darby says, and as a scientist by training she must be well aware of the need for action on climate change. But her actions are tempered by politics, and her position has shifted from that of “climate chancellor” to “green realist”, watering down emissions targets that would hurt German car makers and “hiding behind Poland” on targets that would hit the coal industry, the article says.
See the article in English here.