26 Jan 2015
Ruby Russell

In the media: Tensions in Bavaria over energy policy

Süddeutsche Online

“Aigner under pressure”

Writing for Süddeutsche Online, Frank Müller reports on tensions between Bavarian energy minister Ilse Aigner and state prime minister Horst Seehofer, as Aigner prepares to present an energy concept for the industrial powerhouse Bavaria. Müller says the Energiewende has presented particular challenges for the south German state, which has been keen to exit nuclear power as quickly as possible, despite having a higher proportion of nuclear in its energy mix than any other state. Compounding the problem, writes Müller, has been Seehofer’s reluctance to accept the need for power lines to bring electricity for wind turbines in the north. Aigner, who has been forced to “pick up the ball” will present cornerstones of Bavarian energy policy. There will be few surprises, Müller says: Of the two proposed power lines that have met resistance in Bavaria, the state is likely to accept one – SuedLink – and hope that will be bearable for the public, also demanding that a greater proportion of the line is laid below ground, while masts carrying above-ground sections for the grid could be limited to a lower height than previously planned.

See the article in German here.


Süddeutsche Online

“Four gigawatts for Bavaria”

Also writing for the Süddeutsche, Christian Sebald looks at the “gigantic project” of grid extensions to bring power to Bavaria – and asks whether overhead or below-ground power lines are better, and of there is there an alternative to these “electricity highways”. Below-ground cables, Sebald says, are far more subtle but the land above them must be kept clear of buildings and in ecologically valuable areas the damage caused by laying them can be irreparable. Below-ground lines are also around 10 times more expensive. The two planned lines would each carry 2 gigawatts of power – roughly equivalent to three nuclear power plants or five modern gas-fired plants. The alternative would be to build more gas-powered plants, Sebald writes, but with the cost of renewables, coal and nuclear power so low, investment in gas-powered plants could only be encouraged with a capacity mechanism – an idea which is as controversial as the power lines.

See the article in German here.



“Unjustified suspicions”

In an interview with the taz, environment minister Barbara Hendricks insists that her ministry is not to blame for the problems surrounding the closure of the RWE-owned nuclear power plant at Biblis. RWE is suing the German government for losses after it was ordered to shut down the plant in 2011. Hendricks told the taz that accusations that the ministry had ignored expert advice on issue were unfounded.

See the interview in German here.



“Germany offers Saudi investors 15 percent return on solar power investments”

Cleantechnica reports that Germany is looking to Saudi Arabia for investment needed in solar power, storage and smart grid technologies as nuclear power is phased out.

See article in English here.

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