In the media: Should utilities survive?
“Let the utilities die”
Germany’s biggest utilities are in an existential crisis of their own making, writes Nicolai Kwasniewski in a commentary on Spiegel Online. “The survival of the dinosaurs is improbable (…) We shouldn’t shed any tears over them,” he says. Kwasniewski argues the “Big Four” have shown again and again that they have been overwhelmed by the Energiewende and are not necessary for its success. But their collapse would also mean tax payers would have to foot the bill for decommissioning nuclear plants. “Society would have to pay this price for a neat conclusion of the Energiewende,” he said.
Read the commentary in German here.
See a CLEW article on the energy giants' problems here.
“Utilities: Market power makes lazy”
The big utilities are needed to implement the Energiewende, writes Alfons Frese in a commentary in the Tagesspiegel. “The know-how and strength of the big utilities are useful for navigating tricky new business areas like smart grids and storage capacities or demand-oriented generation. In order to enable them to do this job, Energy Minister Sigmar Gabriel needs to explain soon under which conditions fossil plants can be held in reserve for when it is dark and the wind is still and renewables do not generate electricity.”
“What is wrong with energy policy”
The misery of the utilities is largely due to the “incomprehensible rush” of the nuclear phase-out in Germany after the Fukushima disaster exactly four years ago, writes Karl-Heinz Büschemann in a commentary for Süddeutsche Zeitung. “Energy policy is right insofar as it exits nuclear power and pushes renewables. But it’s wrong because it’s hectic and no longer predictable for companies (…) the government has to find its way to a pragmatic energy policy.”
Read the commentary in German here.
Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung
Nuclear phase-out “extraordinary power manoeuvre”
It is still surprising that the Fukushima disaster had its most drastic political consequences in Berlin, writes Heike Göbel in a commentary for Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung. “The Chancellor (Angela Merkel) sells the nuclear phase-out as a contribution to social peace. In reality, it was an extraordinary power manoeuvre to open up the possibility to govern with the Green party.”
“Nuclear power company cuts 1500 jobs in Germany”
French nuclear power company Areva says it will cut 1,500 of its 5,100 jobs in Germany between 2015 and 2017, according to a Reuters report published in the Handelsblatt. Some of the jobs are temporary positions, the article quotes a spokeswoman as saying. Areva already cut 1,500 jobs in 2011 in Germany, it said. Areva’s headquarters in Germany are in Erlangen, with 3,315 workers, with other big operations in Offenbach and Karlstein. A separate article in the Frankfurter Allgemeine quotes a spokesman for the Offenbach operation, with its 700 workers, as saying that location is “up for discussion,” as is the future of all of Areva’s eight German locations. The news comes on the back of a 4.8 billion euro loss in 2014 and restructuring plans announced earlier in March, according to Reuters.
Read the Handelsblatt article in German here.
Read the Frankfurter Allgemeine article in German here.
Security of power supply through cross-border cooperation
The Pentalateral Energy Forum (PLEF) has published a joint assessment of the security of power supply. The report for the first time calculates the joint power generation capacity of the seven countries Belgium, Germany, France, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Austria and Switzerland and assesses the impact they have on each other. A positive finding was that peak demand never occurs at the same time in the seven countries and that electricity from neighbouring countries helps to secure the supply in others, the German Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi) says in a press release. The report supports the Ministry’s previous analysis that Germany will not face any power shortages, neither today nor in 2020/2021.
See the PLEF report in English here.
See a joint statement by the Ministries in the PLEF in English here.
Bizz Energy Today
Hendricks: “Minimum prices are not necessary”
In a comprehensive interview with Bizz Energy Today, Environment Minister Barbara Hendricks explains the German position on the reform of the European Emissions Trading System (EU ETS), saying that the envisaged market stability reserve would cause prices to rise, so that a set minimum price would not be necessary. Hendricks also says that while carbon capture and storage (CCS) is not an option for Germany because the “Energiewende gives us better alternatives,” the government will only support the export of German coal power stations if they are CCS-ready.
Read the interview in German here.
Ministry for Environment (BMUB)
“Germany makes resource efficiency a priority of its G7 presidency”
The German government wants to suggest an alliance for resource efficiency with the G7 members, a press release says. As roughly 50 percent of global CO2 emissions from industry are caused by producing and processing steel, cement, paper, plastic and aluminium and because the use of resources will likely grow exponentially as the global population increases, Germany suggests finding more efficient ways to use resources. A G7 high level session on resource efficiency is taking place in Berlin (12–13 March 2015).
See a list of the German G7 presidency priorities in English here.
Germany Trade and Invest
Germany Trade and Invest (GTAI), the government body to promote trade relations and inward investment, has published a video explaining the Energiewende and related technology innovation and is promoting it as an investment opportunity.
Watch the video in English here.