“Risk, endurance and determination”
Steve Westly of the Westly Group, which has invested in numerous clean-tech firms including Tesla, says he would buy shares in the new E.ON “every day of the week,” according to an article in Handelsblatt. The German utility has chosen the right path in splitting its renewable and a fossil operations into two companies, Jürgen Flauger writes. “Many utilities around the world will follow this example," the article quotes Westly as saying. E.ON CEO Johannes Teyssen told shareholders yesterday that E.ON was splitting because it could not optimise its operations in both energy worlds in a single company. Teyssen said he didn’t believe that conventional power stations were no longer needed but in times of upheaval radical action was required, Flauger reports.
See a CLEW dossier on utilities in the Energiewende here.
Süddeutsche Zeitung / The New York Times / Siemens
Siemens cuts 4,500 jobs
Siemens will cut further 4,500 jobs, around 2,200 of them in Germany, the Süddeutsche Zeitung reports. CEO Joe Kaeser blamed problems in the power station and gas sector. Siemens hadn’t sold “a single gas turbine” in Germany recently, Kaeser said. He also stressed that Siemens had hired 16,000 new employees worldwide between October 2014 and March 2015, the Süddeutsche Zeitung writes. Siemens' sales of equipment to producers of oil, gas and electricity have also been eroded by the slump in oil prices, the New York Times reports. The company said in a press release that the measures were being taken “in response to the persistently difficult environment in the global power generation market. The Power and Gas Division is having to cope, among other things, with regulatory changes, massive price erosion, aggressive competitors and regional overcapacities.”
Read the press release in English here.
Read the New York Times story here.
See a CLEW dossier on the energy transition's effect on jobs and businesses here.
Frankfurter Allgmeine Zeitung (FAZ)
“Germany’s failed climate policy”
When the economy grows, so do greenhouse gas emissions – this is true for most countries in the world, writes Bjørn Lomborg in an opinion piece for the Frankfurter Allgmeine Zeitung. Germany has managed to defy this trend but rising costs for green energy in effect hamper economic growth, according to Lomborg, a political scientist and director of the Copenhagen Consensus Center. Renewables will not solve the problem because the technology is not mature enough and too expensive, Lomborg argues. The money should instead be invested in issues of malnutrition, malaria and poverty, and in the research and development of renewables so that they become cheap enough to outcompete fossil fuels, Lomborg argues.
In a contribution drawing on Lomborg’s arguments, FAZ authors Heike Göbel and Carsten Knop blame the Energiewende for "bad news" such as the Siemens job cuts. Utility E.ON's split in two was leaving some questions open although the plans overall had shareholders' support, they write.
Economic report on the climate levy
Economy and energy minister Sigmar Gabriel will publish a complete economic report on his planned climate levy, the Handelsblatt reports. The so called “climate contribution” would oblige old coal-fired power stations to pay a levy on CO2 emissions they emit above a set limit. Utilities and trade unions fear that power plants would be forcd to close and jobs would be lost as a result of the mechanism. Christian Democrat members of parliament had demanded from Gabriel to make the method and results of the climate levy more transparent.
Die Tageszeitung (TAZ)
“Demand splits Christian Democrats in parliament”
Around 100 members of parliament from the Christian Democratic Union and the Christian Social Union (CDU-CSU) demand stricter rules to prevent the pollution of drinking water from fracking, Malte Kreutzfeldt writes in the TAZ. The group does not constitute a majority of Christian Democrat MPs but is supported by many Social Democrats, including Environment Minister Barbara Hendricks. Business-oriented members of the CDU-CSU want to see more options for fracking in Germany, calling the dissidents “eco-colonialists” because they would rather import natural gas than exploit German resources.
Read the article in German here.
“Germany Says Credibility on Line in Lignite Emissions Showdown”
Germany is looking for ways to cut CO2 emissions by reducing output from lignite-fired power stations, Rainer Baake, state secretary at the economy and energy ministry told BloombergBusiness in an interview. Every German government of the past 10 years has committed to a 40 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions, meaning achieving this goal is a question of credibility. “We have a lively debate over the instruments,” Baake said. “But we have targets and those have to be met.”
Read the article in English here.