06 Jul 2015 | Sören Amelang, Ellen Thalman

In the media: RWE CEO to shift gears on restructuring

Handelsblatt Global Edition

“Power provider’s new playbook”

German utility RWE is planning a major reorganisation in response to the rising tide of renewable energies in the German power market, much like rival E.ON announced last year, according to an e-mail written by RWE CEO Peter Terium and seen by the Handelsblatt. Last year E.ON split its business into two companies, one centred on new, renewables technologies, and the other with old, fossil-fuel based plants. According to the Handelsblatt, Terium, who previously said he wouldn’t follow E.ON’s lead, said in the e-mail that the move "will simplify legal structures by either bringing together or removing companies.” This plan will be presented to the non-executive supervisory board at an extraordinary meeting on August 10, Handelsblatt’s Jürgen Flauger writes. The restructuring involves mainly parts of the company responsible for sales and new product and services development, and involves companies in Germany, but not abroad, the paper says. 

Read the article in English here.

 

Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung

“Power consumers – mount the barricades!”

Last week’s government agreements on the future of coal and the construction of electricity highways is yet another example of a familiar story: tax payers and power consumers end up shouldering the exorbitant costs of the Energiewende, writes Lena Schipper in a commentary for Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung. “By 2020, the extra cost is about ten billion euros, to be added onto the power price – for climate protection, it would probably help as much to use the money to gild wind turbines,” writes Schipper. Politicians have degraded consumers to financiers of presents to the energy industry, and the public should rise in protest, according to Schipper.

Read a CLEW article on the government's decision here and find a collection of reactions here.

 

Handelsblatt

“Political botch”

The government lacks the courage for a consistent climate policy, writes Silke Kersting in in a commentary for Handelsblatt. She argues it’s a total contradiction to protect brown coal with payments even though the government’s declared aim is decarbonisation. “What the government does in the name of climate protection is a political botch,” writes Kersting. “The Energiewende is a mammouth task to be undertaken by the whole of society, not only in Germany. If we want to start the process in earnest, a straight course of action is needed.”

 

Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung

“Cable Spaghetti”

The government’s decision to bury large sections of the electricity highways in order to appease local residents leaves many questions unanswered, writes Michael Ashelm in a commentary for Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung. The agreement does not provide clear guidelines grid operators can use for planning, which might result in new delays, according to Ashelm. “The problem remains: The Energiewende is a black box. It will bring more negative surprises for consumers and tax payers.”

 

Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung

“Expiry date for emissions certificates”

The EU Commission plans to tighten the rules for the free allocation of emissions certificates for companies facing international competition, and it also wants to add an expiry date to the certificates, reports Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung. According to an internal reform proposal to be presented by energy commissioner Miguel Arias Canete in mid-July, and seen by the newspaper, the total sum of emissions rights is to shrink by 2.2 percent per year after the end of the current trading period lasting until 2020, compared to the current 1.74 percent. So industry will face the double challenge of having to get by with fewer certificates and more obstacles to get them for free, according to the paper.

 

Frankfurter Rundschau

“Parents are liable for their children”

German power companies have set aside money to pay for dismantling nuclear plants and storing waste, but this is invested in infrastructure that may have lost value, hampering their ability to meet obligations, writes Thorsten Knuf in the Frankfurter Rundschau. The tax-free reserves on their balance sheets amounted most recently to 38 million euros,  and no one knows exactly whether this money could be easily liquidated and whether it will be enough, the author says. In November, an independent commission will make suggestions for securing this money over the long term, possibly through a public foundation, which would still exist if one of the companies were to become insolvent, he writes.

Read the article in German here.

 

Süddeutsche Zeitung

“Tracking the solar mafia”

Between 2011 and 2014, 1,180 solar modules valued at around 15 million euros were stolen from solar parks, rooftops, warehouses and transporters, according to a poll of state criminal investigators in Germany by the Süddeutsche Zeitung. In fact, the amount may be quite a bit higher, the newspaper says, as many states are only just now beginning to compile statistics on solar panel theft. Investigators suspects professionally organised criminals are responsible. The locations are carefully chosen and the thefts take place at night, as the plants are not producing power during that time. The loot is then transported quickly over the border, mostly in the direction of Eastern Europe, writes the newspaper. The state of Brandenburg has formed a special task force to deal with the problem.

Read the article in German here

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