04 Nov 2014 | , Ellen Thalman

In the media: Power lines, offshore wind and energy law reform

Spiegel Online

 “Controversial power lines: Network operators want to considerably lengthen transmission routes”

Germany’s four big electricity network operators want to expand new transmission lines that will link Saxony-Anhalt in the north and Bavaria in the south by 180 to 200 kilometers beyond the originally planned route in both directions, Spiegel Online reports, citing “network operator sources.” The extension is mentioned in a summary of the operators’ new network development plan, obtained by Spiegel Online and dpa news agency, which is expected for release Tuesday. Hoping to avert criticism that the new transmission lines will transport lignite-produced electricity from eastern Germany, operators contend in their report that the expansion serves as a “direct connection” to Saxony-Anhalt’s “windpower basin,” Spiegel says. The story was reported broadly in German media.

Read the Spiegel article in German here.

Read the dpa article in the FAZ in German here.

 

Dow Jones Newswires

“'Don’t touch our coal'/Mining, chemical and energy union demands changes to energy policy”

The mining, chemicals and energy union, IG BCE, held a rally protesting the short-term closure of coal-fired power plants, demanding that Germany’s transition to clean power neither endanger jobs nor hoist prices, Dow Jones Newswires reports. Around 120 workers near Leipzig took part on Monday, and another demonstration with around 1,000 workers in Saxony-Anhalt is planned Tuesday. Germany is currently engaged in a debate over how to secure its power supply when preferred renewable sources like wind and sun are unavailable. Operators argue it is too expensive to keep fossil fuel-fired plants running just to fill the gaps.

See the IG-BCE press release here.

 

Dow Jones Newswires

Industrial power association welcomes Economics Ministry power reform ideas

Germany’s industrial power association VIK welcomed the Economics Ministry’s ideas for reforming the power market, laid out last week in a so-called green paper, according to Dow Jones Newswires. The paper was a good basis for adapting the market to the increasing amount of power from fluctuating wind and sun sources and the decreasing share from thermal power plants, but it is important to consider the competitiveness of industrial customers and the ability of households to pay for this change, the VIK said.

See the press release from the VIK here.

 

Handelsblatt/dpa

“German wind industry lacks test sites”

A report by dpa news agency in the Handelsblatt says the German wind power sector lacks suitable sites to test prototype installations. The article says this puts the young industry in hardship as much needs to be done to make offshore wind competitive. Currently, power from offshore turbines is around three times the cost of onshore wind power. The article says that while regional governments of north German states are in favour of the sector’s development in principal, they are failing to make suitable open-sea sites available.

See the article in German here.

 

Scientific American/ClimateWire

“How East Germany cleaned up dirty power”

A feature by ClimateWire published in Scientific American looks at how the East German experience of transforming its energy supply offers insight into the country’s wider energy transition. The article describes how after German reunification, safety fears saw the former East’s Soviet-designed nuclear reactors taken offline, while declining industry and population lowered the demand for power, frequently rendering large fossil fuel-burning plants unprofitable. This created ideal conditions for green power sources, which got a boost from renewable energy legislation introduced in 2000, and allowed communities to generate their own power. Although the federal states of the former East still mine and burn large amounts of carbon-heavy lignite, they saw more than 40 per cent of their power consumption covered by renewables in the first half of this year – considerably higher than the national share of 28.5 per cent over the same period.

See the article in English here.

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