“Vattenfall connects coal-fired power plant Moorburg to the grid”
After trial runs lasting over a year, the controversial coal-fired Moorburg power plant in Hamburg has begun commercial operation, according to a report on Spiegel Online. With a capacity of 827 megawatts, the first block of the power station operated by public Swedish utility Vattenfall went online over the weekend. A second block is slated to follow in the summer. According to the article, Friends of the Earth Germany called the the plant's activation “a black day for climate protection,” because it is set to emit 8 to 9 million tonnes of carbon dioxide per year. Vattenfall said Moorburg was one of Europe’s most efficient and environmentally friendly coal-fired power plants, saving 2.3 million tonnes of carbon dioxide annually compared to older installations, according to the report.
See the article in German here.
Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung
“No taxes for insulation madness”
In an opinion piece for the Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung, Georg Meck celebrates a set-back for a planned tax break for building insulation. “Without a doubt, saving energy makes sense. Proper heating, good windows and an insulated roof are never a mistake – but why should that concern taxpayers?” asks Meck. “Insulating is not especially ecological, and economically, it’s a joke (…) Every defeat of the insulation industry is a victory for reason,” writes Meck.
Read the article in German here.
“Ecological heating systems are slow sellers”
The modernisation of heating systems, crucial to the success of the Energiewende, has lost pace, Die Welt reports. Total sales of heat generators in Germany fell 4 percent last year, the first decline in five years, according to an annual report by the Association of Heating Industry (BDH) cited by the newspaper. Heating systems incorporating renewable energy sources registered a particularly steep fall. “The federal government will definitely not achieve its goal of increasing the share of renewable heat sources to 14 percent by 2020 in this way,” BDH head Andreas Lücke is quoted as saying. Currently, this share is only 9.1 percent, according to Lücke.
Find the article in German here.
“Delayed and concealed”
In an opinion piece for the Süddeutsche Zeitung, Markus Balser says the German government risks breaking promises it has made regarding the Energiewende, after it postponed an urgently needed decision on building new electricity superhighways until the summer. “The Energiewende enters its critical phase and turns into a balancing act for the grand coalition. Politicians need to defend what they initiated," Balser writes. But he says that few politicians "dare to utter uncomfortable truths," such as the need for sacrifice on the part of those living close to new power lines or wind parks.
See CLEW's Dossier on the grid extension here.
“Sale of Dea: LetterOne and RWE complete transaction”
RWE has closed the sale of its subsidiary RWE Dea to the Russian-controlled LetterOne Group for 5.1 billion euros. RWE CEO Peter Terium said in a press release “Dea gets a new owner who wants to invest long term in the oil and gas production business” and that “RWE can now focus fully on its core business.”
RWE Dea owns British assets including the Breagh North Sea natural gas field. The New York Times previously reported that the UK had objected to the deal, concerned that these assets could be shut down if LetterOne became the target of increased sanctions against Russia.
See the New York Times article in English here.
See CLEW’s Dossier on the German utilities here.
“Genuflection in Stockholm”
Two east German states which are home to Vattenfall's extensive lignite mining operations are fighting to keep the mines open, according to a report in the Süddeutsche Zeitung. The state premiers of Brandenburg and Saxony, Dietmar Woidke and Stanislaw Tillich, wrote a letter to parliamentarians in Stockholm urging support for mining extensions and continued investments by Vattenfall, which is owned by the Swedish state, even though the company plans to sell its German lignite operations, the article says. The Green Party in Brandenburg’s regional parliament called the move “a genuflection in front of dirty brown coal.”