Ministry of Finance / FÖS
Government subsidies seen rising
Subsidies and tax concessions will increase to 22.9 billion euros in 2016 from 20.4 billion euros in 2013, according to the 25th "subsidies report," which has been approved by the government, the Ministry of Finance says. 2016 spending is expected to increase by 1.1 billion euros, which will mostly be spent on the development of high-speed internet in rural areas, support for housing insulation and the increase of energy efficiency and the national climate initiative.
Green Budget Germany (FÖS) says that even though subsidies have been initially tested for their sustainability, the government wasn’t planning any fundamental changes to environmentally damaging subsidies.
Download the subsidies report in German here.
“Subsidies without sense”
Germany is increasing subsidies despite the good condition of its economy, writes Daniel Wetzel in an opinion piece for Die Welt. This makes sense for complex infrastructure projects like high-speed internet in rural areas, but the largest share goes to the Energiewende, even though it is unlikely that the government will be able to force through its ambitious climate targets with this money, Wetzel writes. One example is the heating market: new state incentives aim to promote heating houses with renewable energy, but the low oil price is boosting demand for polluting oil heating systems.
Read the op-ed in German here.
A glance at the wholesale power price, together with the stock prices of large energy utilities is enough to reveal how badly the utilities are currently faring, writes Jürgen Flauger in an opinion piece for the Handelsblatt. For the first time in ten years, power price futures for next year fell below 30 euros per megawatt-hour this week. This bodes ill for companies like E.ON and RWE, who until a few years ago could rely on high profits from their coal power stations, Flauger says. But now they are burning money when generating power. It is not enough for the large utilities simply to find new business opportunities, they must also quickly reduce costs.
Read a CLEW article about how utilities are trying to adapt to the Energiewende here.
"No clear German government position on photovoltaics trade dispute"
The German government is lacking a firm opinion on minimum import prices for Chinese photovoltaic (PV) modules, Sandra Enkhardt writes in the online PV-magazine. The Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy said it was up to the European Commission to diagnose whether dumping prices for Chinese PV technology were harming the European PV industry. If this were the case, the import measures could be extended. The ministry also said it didn’t have enough information to be able to judge what effect the minimum price for Chinese PV imports had on the costs and slow-down of the German solar power development.
Read the article in German here.
Leibniz University of Hanover
“Gone with the wind? The impact of wind turbines on tourism demand”
A large number of wind turbines near holiday destinations is often perceived as hurting tourism. A new study using secondary statistics on tourism and wind turbine locations by Tom Brökel and Christoph Alfken from the Leibniz University of Hanover, concludes that this is generally true but that negative effects are alleviated by an overall increase in tourism demand. Inland destinations are more affected by tourists antipathy toward wind turbines than coastal regions. Near the coasts, tourists tend to prefer locations with fewer wind turbines but they don’t stay away entirely.
Read the press release in German here.
Read a working paper on the study in English here.
“Heat doesn’t affect the power system”
A heat wave like Germany experienced this summer can reduce the efficiency of conventional power plants considerably, writes Jörg Staude in the Frankfurter Rundschau. The warmer the cooling liquids for coal and nuclear power plants, the lower their efficiency. Also, photovoltaic installations reduce power generation by 0.5 percent for every degree hotter than 25°C, Staude writes. While renewable installations are generally less affected by heat, a long hot period usually also comes with little wind, Staude is told by a BDEW representative.