“RWE: shut down or sale?”
RWE’s deputy chairman of the executive board Rolf Martin Schmitz said that power stations hit by falling electricity prices could no longer turn a profit, forcing plants to shut down. “We have excess power stations,” Schmitz said, but while there was interest from Asia in buying used small gas-fired stations, there was no real market for the kind of large facilities that RWE operates. “Every coal-fired power station is unique, you cannot simply dismantle it in Germany and piece it back together in Asia.”
See the article in German here.
“I don't think much of a price floor”
Asked about reform of the European Emissions Trading System (EU ETS), Germany’s Environment Minister Barbara Hendricks told the Handelsblatt in an interview that there is increasing support from other European governments to take allowances out of the market by introducing a market stability reserve. Economists have also suggested a minimum price for emission allowances, that when hit causes allowances to be automatically removed from the market, but the minister was sceptical of this idea. “The special charm of emissions trading is that restricts itself to giving target amounts, and leaves it to the actors to find the most cost efficient way of achieving them,” Hendricks said.
“Dramatic acceleration in the decline of energy prices”
Berlin-based think-tank Agora Energiewende says average energy costs for private households in Germany fell by 3.9 percent between November 2014 and the end of the year – the steepest decline in six years. Energy prices have fallen 7 percent since August, according to the European Climate Foundation's Energy Price Monitor. The main factor bringing consumer energy prices down is the falling price of oil, Agora says.
See the article in German here.
"New rules for the gas and electricity grid"
The Handelsblatt reports that the grid regulator, the Bundesnetzagentur, wants to reform the way the German distribution grid is financed to speed up development. This is in part to meet the technical challenges of a decreasingly decentralised energy supply. With many small producers now feeding power on to the grid, it must cope with a flow of power in both directions.
See the press-release from the Bundesnetzagentur in German here.
“Interview - TenneT warns power line delays could hamper Germany's energy transition”
Speaking to Reuters, TenneT board member Lex Hartman warned against delaying decisions over the SuedLink grid extension. “We haven't got time to continue discussions for another six months, otherwise the grids won't be ready until 2022," Hartman said. The project has faced resistance from some Bavarian politicians and has yet to be signed off by Berlin, Reuters reports.
See the article in English here.
“Cities will be the energy storage centres of the future”
In an interview with Craig Morris at Renewables International, Peter Birkner, CTO at utility Mainova in Frankfurt, explains how local power providers can survive the Energiewende and which business models look promising as conventional power plants become unprofitable. Investing in power-to-heat components and flexible, smart grid solutions are on Birkner's list but he also says that dispatchable capacity must have a price, and that more must be done to facilitate storage in the power system.
See the interview in English here.
Huffington Post Business
“Energiewende: Addressing the Myths of Germany's Energy Transition”
In a blog post for The Huffington Post, David Dodge writes that Germany’s Energiewende has attracted criticism in the US and Canada, but experts say claims renewables have undermined the stability of the German grid and rising power prices have forced industry abroad, have little basis in fact. Dodge says the broad public backing for the energy transition can in part be explained by the money citizens earn from the production of renewable power.
See the blog in English here.