In the media: Power-to-gas as Energiewende solution?
“Power-to-gas reduces costs for Energiewende by billions and enables 100-percent renewable power supply”
By using technology to store excess wind and solar power as hydrogen and methane, Germany could have a 100-percent renewable power supply by 2050, a study by the Research centre for power networks and energy storage (FENES), commissioned by Greenpeace Energy, found. In the beginning, establishing the hydrogen storage technology would increase costs in the power system, but by the 2030s, a power system including hydrogen storage would be cheaper than one without the technology and could generate savings of 12-18 billion euros by 2050, a Greenpeace Energy press release says. Hydrogen can be turned into methane, which could be added to Germany’s existing natural gas storage and pipeline-system, securing power supply in times of little wind and sun.
Read the press release in German here.
“What to do with all the green power?”
Environmental groups are debating whether storing renewable power as synthesised methane is a sensible concept for the energy transition, writes Fritz Vorholz in Die Zeit. Unlike researchers at FENES and Greenpeace Energy (see above), the Institute for Applied Ecology considers the procedure to be “extremely expensive and inefficient,” Vorholz writes. Whether the “wind-gas” storage idea makes sense depends on whether there are better alternatives, the author says, listing a range of options like adjusting power demand to power production, better European grid interconnection and pumped hydro power plants for storage. Even though the power-to-gas technology only has an efficiency factor of 30 percent, combining the power system with the gas network has the largest potential for ensuring a continuously renewable power supply, Vorholz concludes.
Read the article in German here.
See a CLEW factsheet on technologies for the Energiewende here.
Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung
Even though power station operators want to shut down more plants than thought, the power supply is secure – this bit the proponents of renewables have got right, says Helmut Bünder in an opinion piece for the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung. But that doesn’t mean that the grid won’t need patching up in some regions to remain stable, Bünder says. This includes keeping unprofitable plants online for emergencies, something that costs consumers millions of euros. Meanwhile no company will invest in new flexible power stations under these circumstances. The Energiewende is facing a practical test.
Read the op-ed in German here.
taz – die tageszeitung
“The ‘CO2-monster’ gets going”
Utility Vattenfall will start operating Germany’s largest hard coal-fired power station later this week, writes Sven-Michael Veit in the taz. In 2007 Hamburg agreed to build the power plant, but its new government of social democrats and the Green Party, as well as climate activists would have preferred to never see it come online. The new plant can cover 85 percent of Hamburg’s power demand but this is too much in times of the Energiewende where renewable power has grid priority, writes Veit. It will also increase the city’s CO2 emissions of around 18 million tonnes by 8.7 million tonnes annually. It’s not clear how Hamburg under these conditions will be able to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 40 percent by 2020, as planned according to its climate targets.
Read the article in German here.
See a CLEW article on coal power in Germany here.
Renewables International/PV Magazine
“How Germany reached one-cent solar through bad policy”
Bidders in the second round of auctions for German solar projects under a pilot tendering scheme have been “gaming the system,” bidding extremely low to lock in contracts in the certainty they will still receive the highest price accepted, reports Renewables International, citing PV Magazine. That’s because the system guarantees uniform pricing – all bidders are awarded the highest price accepted in the auction, Craig Morris writes. According to information revealed in a parliamentary query by opposition Green Party, the lowest bid was 1 cent per kilowatt-hour, while the highest was 10.98 cents. The winners and the highest price accepted will be announced at the beginning of September. The lowest bid will not necessarily be accepted, the article says.
Read the Renewables International article in English here.
Read a CLEW article on renewable auctions here.