In the media: Unions see 100,000 jobs at risk; wind sets new record
Unions – CO2 levy could erase 100,000 jobs
The additional CO2 levy on old power plants, proposed by the German government to achieve climate targets, puts up to 100,000 jobs at risk, warns German service union Verdi, according to an article in Süddeutsche Zeitung. Union head Frank Bsirske said the measure might lead to abrupt and profound changes of economic structures in Germany’s mining regions. Bsirske also said he expects mass protests against the levy, which aims to curtail the operation of emissions-heavy lignite plants.
Read the article in German here
Read a CLEW article about the struggle over the future of lignite here.
Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung
CO2 levy would be “useless sacrifice”
It would be little comfort to employees in mining regions if their jobs fell victim to “the government’s exaggerated climate goals,” writes Heike Göbel in a commentary for the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung. “It would also be a useless sacrifice, because Germany is only responsible for three percent of worldwide CO2 emissions,” argues Göbel. “Big emerging countries, mainly China and India, will decide whether climate protection will be a success or failure.”
Find the commentary in German here.
“Living a lie that harms the climate”
Protest against the CO2 levy is dishonest and the moment of truth has arrived for brown coal, writes Jörg Haas in a commentary for the Frankfurter Rundschau. Brown coal is not a cheap energy source because its contribution to climate change will cost us and our children dearly, argues Haas. “It’s a social parasite that makes itself cheap at the expense of all of us.” It’s plain to everyone that climate protection cannot be reconciled with plans to burn brown coal for many years to come, argues Haas. “More honesty is needed in German energy policy, which cannot afford to live lies any longer. Brown coal only has a limited future. The sooner this truth is accepted, the more time is left for a socially acceptable farewell.”
Read the commentary in German here.
“Brown coal must not become an export hit”
The sale of Vattenfall’s lignite operations to a Czech operator might lead to the export of brown coal to Czech power stations, warns the Green Party’s energy expert Gerd Lippold, a member of Saxony’s regional parliament, in an interview with news agency dpa-AFX. Because of political insecurities in Germany, the assets can only be interesting to an investor with alternative strategies in mind, said Lippold. Czech power plants could be operated for many years to come but lignite will become scarce in that country in the mid-2020s. “If the plants could be operated with East German coal, it could even become profitable to transport the coal over hundreds of kilometres," said Lippold.
“Government seems to be abandoning e-car target for 2020”
When the German parliamentary opposition recently asked the government about its targets for e-cars, the reply was evasive, Matthias Kamann reports in Die Welt. Instead of reiterating the aim of having one million electric vehicles on the road by 2020, the government said it wanted to make Germany a leading supplier and leading market for e-cars. Currently, there are 24,000 e-cars registered. The Green Party criticises that publicly accessible charging stations can become costly to use for e-car drivers if not a member of the particular charging scheme. But the Minister for Economic Affairs and Energy is not informed about this problem, saying it didn’t have statistical data on the average charging price at these stations. Like this, the government will never reach its 1 million car target, a Green Party member told the author.
Read the article in German here.
“Power with new record”
In March 2015 Germany reached a new power export high – 5.29 billion kilowatt-hours (kWh) were exported to neighbouring countries, mostly the Netherlands, Austria and Switzerland, Bernward Janzing reports in the taz, citing figures from the research institute Fraunhofer ISE. When storm “Niklas” hit Germany on 31 March, the day-record for wind power generation was broken, as 752 million kWh were fed into the grid, covering 44 percent of the total power consumption in Germany. Grid operators had to shut down 2,300 megawatts worth of wind turbines to keep the system stable, as grid capacity was not sufficient to transport the large amount of wind power from north to south, Janzing writes.
See the article in German here.
See a CLEW dossier about the German power grid and challenges on windy days here.
“Transfer site for liquefied gas”
Because of Europe’s wish to become more independent of Russian gas imports, Brunsbüttel in northern Germany is under consideration as a port for receiving liquefied natural gas (LNG), Thorsten Knuf writes in the Frankfurter Rundschau. It would be the first facility of this kind in Germany and it would cost billions, Knuf says. Planning in Brunsbüttel, best known for its now retired nuclear power station, is still in its very early stages but there are many managers and politicians that see LNG as the next big thing in the energy sector, a view that has to do a lot with geostrategic thinking, writes Knuf. So far, LNG is important in Asia but marginal in Europe. Because the LNG transport and technology is expensive, the EU member states have to decide whether security of supply is worth the extra costs. Today, the around 24 LNG import terminals in Europe are not used to capacity and a project in Wilhelmshaven was stopped because it lacked financial viability. Other countries like Poland and Lithuania are investing anyway and are opening large LNG import facilities by 2016.