20 Feb 2015
Kerstine Appunn Ruby Russell

In the media: "Sun King" and hydro power potential

World Energy Council

“German energy transition is currently not an export hit”

Many international energy experts doubt that Germany's energy transition works as a blueprint for other countries, a survey by the German branch of the World Energy Council found. A third of the respondents said the German Energiewende could serve as a blue print, but the majority doubted that their own country would have the technological and economic conditions to follow the German example. However, 65 percent of those from Europe said that parts might be copied in their country.
Asking the chairmen of the national committees of 35 of the World Energy Council's member states in November 2014, 74 percent said they saw the Energiewende as a threat to security of power supply in Europe. While two thirds believed German energy policy would harm the country’s economy in the short and medium term, more than 50 percent expected the Energiewende to boost Germany’s economic power after 2020. Uwe Franke, President of the German committee of the World Energy Council said: “It seems as if the German energy transition is currently not an export hit”. He told the magazine Focus that the most important task was now to build confidence and a good framework for investment in the energy sector together with Germany’s partners.

Read the survey in German here.

See the Focus article in German here.


Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung - FAZ

"Brown coal in Grevenbroich: A steam city"

In a long feature about Grevenbroich, a city in North-Rhine Westphalia that considers itself the "energy capital" of Germany, Mona Jaeger looks at citizen attitudes to locally mined lignite, and the RWE-operated power stations in the area. RWE and its lignite (brown coal) operations are one of the biggest employers in Grevenbroich, where it also sponsors social events and environmental protection projects, she writes in the FAZ. Even now, with Germany in the midst of its transition from coal to renewable power, few people in and around Grevenbroich oppose power production from fossil fuels, a Friends of the Earth Germany representative said.

See the feature in German here.



 “Citizen participation: The energy revolution from below”

The DLR Institute of Engineering and Thermodynamics is undertaking a study aimed at providing the citizens of Metzingen, Baden-Württemberg, with the information they need to play an active role in greening their energy system, with support from the local municipal utility. The town already has a support scheme for photovoltaic power, a pumped storage plant, rapid-charging points for e-cars, and a car-sharing scheme, Windkraft-Journal reports. The first stage of the study will gather information on citizens’ energy use, their attitudes to new technologies and willingness to adjust their behaviour. Expert briefings and public discussions will follow, allowing citizens to make an informed contribution to future developments. “It has been shown that citizens are more interested in the local energy transition than is commonly assumed,” said project manager Uwe Pfenning. “They want to see behind the socket and know where their energy comes from and what technologies were used.”

 See the article in German here.


Eckernförder Zeitung

“Energiewende in your own home”

Helge Lienau, an entrepreneur from Eckernförde in northern Germany has invested in renewable energy on site, to reduce energy costs for his small steel business, Arne Peters reports in the Eckernförder Zeitung. Lienau operates photovoltaic arrays, a mini wind power turbine and a small combined heat and power plant (CHP) on site, and hopes to begin turning a profit from his over 200,000 euro-investment after 10 years. But his renewable installations are already helping his business, says Lienau, who bought his CHP plant on Ebay and built the small wind turbine himself: “Normally I would pay 2,000 euros for energy per month, including the business and our four-person household, now it’s only 980 euros”.

See the article in German here.


Die Tageszeitung - taz

“TenneT in detention”

Transmission grid operator TenneT must re-work its suggested routes for new power lines between north and south Germany, the taz reports. The Federal Network Agency said that TenneT was required to provide alternative routes for the power superhighway Suedlink. Citizen groups who oppose the new power lines being built near their villages and homes, considered this a step in the right direction, the article says.

Read the article in German here.

See CLEW's Dossier on German grid extension here.



“E.ON divests its solar business in Italy to private infrastructure fund F2i SGR”

German utility E.ON has sold seven ground-mounted solar plants with a combined capacity of 49 megawatts, most of them located on Sardinia, to Milan-based, private infrastructure investment fund manager F2i SGR. The sale price was not published. In January 2015, E.ON decided to sell its Italian coal and gas generation to Czech energy company Energetický a Průmyslový Holding (EPH). E.ON CEO Johannes Teyssen said at the time his company was continuing to assess “possible divestment of other businesses in Italy.” In autumn 2014, E.ON announced plans to split its renewable and customer operations from conventional generation and global energy trading.

See the E.ON press release in English here.



 “Germany's 'Sun King' Seeks to Rebuild Empire From the US”

According to a story from Reuters, German solar entrepreneur Frank Asbeck is seeking to revive his ailing company, SolarWold, in the US. The company’s value fell from 5.2 billion euros in 2007, to its current 169 million euros, Reuters reports. The article says Asbeck “single-handedly unleashed a trade war” with China when he successfully lobbied for import duties on Chinese solar panels, in response to Chinese subsidies for their manufacture. Asbeck hopes to sell 60 percent of SolarWorld’s 2015 output in the US, where he says the firm already has a 10 percent share of the market.

 See the article in English here.



“Study concludes hydroelectric pumped storage development should expand in Germany”

A study commissioned by Voith Hydro found potential for 24 gigawatts (GW) of new pumped storage capacity in Germany, on top of plants that currently have a combined capacity of around 7 GW, Hydroworld reports. CDU parliamentarian Roderich Kiesewetter visited the hydroelectric equipment supplier's operations in Baden-Württemberg last week to discuss the findings of the study, which was published last year and looks at the role new hyrdoelectric facilities in Baden-Württemberg and Thuringia could play in integrating power from renewable sources. “Within the scope of the energy transition, pumped storage plants not only store and re-feed surplus electricity from renewable energies, but due to the plants’ extremely flexible operation, these power stations also make a significant contribution to supply quality and provide guaranteed outputs,” said Andreas Schäfer of the Institute for Electric Plants and Energy at RWTH Aachen, who led the study.

 See the article in English here.

 See the study in German here.

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