In the media: Utility breaks ranks in favour of climate levy
“Bad atmosphere in the power sector”
One of Germany’s four largest utilities, EnBW, has come out in favour of the government’s proposal for an additional levy on old coal-fired power stations, reports the Süddeutsche Zeitung. EnBW head Frank Mastiaux discusses the various reform options currently on the table in a letter to energy minister Sigmar Gabriel, which was also seen by the Clean Energy Wire. Mastiaux says that even though the ministry’s original proposal will have significant economic effects on individual plants, a comparison shows it is “a balanced and efficient solution that can contribute to achieving Germany’s climate targets.” The unusual letter marks a crack in the alliance of the four big utilities against the climate levy, write Markus Balser and Michael Bauchmüller, who also note that EnBW does not operate brown coal plants, in contrast to rivals E.ON, RWE and Vattenfall.
Find the article in German here.
Read a CLEW article about the levy here.
Dow Jones Newswires
“Eurelectric conference – Future energy market to focus on consumers”
The energy system will be revolutionised in the coming decade, António Mexia, president of European power association Eurelectric and CEO at Portugal’s EDP said at the annual Eurelectic conference in Berlin. All energy companies had to switch their focus onto consumers, Mexia said, according to Dow Jones Newswires. Hildegard Müller, chairwoman of the German Association of Energy and Water Industries (BDEW) said that in the coming competition, fast moving companies would devour those that moved too slowly and investments that only paid off over a long period, such as 20 years, didn’t make sense anymore. She reiterated the BDEW’s demand for a national and European capacity mechanism that would give conventional power stations an economic perspective, the report says.
Federal Network Agency
New power station list published
The Federal Network Agency has published the latest list of power stations in Germany, including their most recent figures on renewable installations feeding power into the German grid. The agency also updated the list on which conventional power stations they expect to be added and retired between 2015 and 2018. They calculate that 4,750 megawatts (MW) of capacity will be added (thereof 2,591 MW hard coal and 1,954 MW natural gas) by 2018, while 7,763 MW of conventional capacity is listed for retirement (thereof 2,559 MW of nuclear).
Download the power station lists in German here.
“Report – Government plans programme worth billions for e-cars”
The German government plans a financial support initiative worth around three billion euros to boost lacklustre sales of e-cars, business daily Handelsblatt reports, according to Reuters. A plan involving additional tax incentives, and possibly further support for research, as well as incentives for charging stations, is currently under consideration, according to the report, which is based on government insiders. Chancellor Angela Merkel aims to have one million e-cars on German roads by 2020, but sales have been weak recently.
Read the report in German here.
“Merkel’s energy poverty”
Chancellor Angela Merkel keeps stressing the importance of mitigating climate change and the Energiewende in the run-up to the G7 meeting in Elmau this weekend, but no other policy issue is better proof of her grand coalition’s recent inaction, writes Marlies Uken in a commentary for Zeit Online. “Whenever it becomes more concrete, the Energiewende is reduced to a political shambles,” argues Uken, referring to recent debates about the coal levy, new power lines and a support scheme for building insulation. If Germany wants to convince other nations to protect the climate, it has to move forward, instead of constantly hesitating, argues Uken.
Find the article in German here.
University of Applied Sciences Berlin
“Study shows potential of decentralised solar power storage for energy transition is underestimated”
Battery storage in houses with photovoltaic installations could see owners cover up to 80 percent of their power consumption with renewable energy, researchers at the University of Applied Sciences (HTW) in Berlin have found. The potential of decentralised battery storage exceeds the entire storage capacity of pumped hydro power in Germany, a HTW press release says. Household batteries could also help in stabilising the grid by storing excess solar power in the lunch-time peak.
See the press release in German here.
Download the study in German here.
REnewEconomy / Renewables International
“Why Germany’s Energiewende is causing ripples in US”
Responding to claims by US Senator Lamar Alexander about Germany’s “expensive” nuclear phase-out, energy imports and high household power prices, Craig Morris writes in Renewables International that pursuing the energy transition to a low-carbon economy based on renewable sources is cheaper than not pursuing it. Refuting the senator’s arguments one by one, Morris shows that Germany did not built new coal-fired power stations to compensate for mothballed nuclear stations and that “German power rates are high, but power bills are low by US standards.”
Read the article in English here.
Heinrich Böll Stiftung/Friends of the Earth Germany
The Heinrich Böll Stiftung, which is associated with the Green Party, and environmental group Friends of the Earth Germany, have published a “Coal Atlas” looking at the current status of coal worldwide. The publication argues coal is bad for climate, health and the environment and its use must stop as soon as possible, especially in Germany, which is still the largest producer of the particularly dirty brown coal. “During the climate summit year 2015, the world is watching Germany, the country of the Energiewende, full of expectations,” the preface says.
Find a link to the “Coal Atlas” (in German) here.