01 Jul 2015, 00:00
Sören Amelang Ellen Thalman

In the media: Will Merkel agree to an "expensive" and "dirty" deal tonight?

Süddeutsche Zeitung

“Dirty deal”

At a high-level meeting with Chancellor Angela Merkel tonight, the German government looks set to abandon plans for an additional levy on old coal-fired plants and instead adopt the union proposal of paying utilities for mothballing the power stations, writes Michael Bauchmüller in a commentary in the Süddeutsche Zeitung. “It would be a victory (for the unions), but a defeat for power consumers, climate protection – and reason,” he says. According to Bauchmüller, the plan is plainly inferior and allows utilites to convert even their oldest and dirtiest plants into cash. “If this sets a precedent, the Energiewende and environmental protection in general will become unaffordable,” concludes Bauchmüller.

Read the comment in German here.   

Find a CLEW summary of the latest twists and turns of the coal levy saga here.  


Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung

“Energiewende could become more expensive”

Abandoning the levy on coal could cost power consumers and taxpayers 11 billion euros by 2019, according to calculations said to come from the economics ministry, reports the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung. The calculation adds up all the extra projects necessary to achieve the countries' emissions targets for 2020, such as new heating systems, additional support for combined power and heat plants and efficiency.
The coal levy was meant to reduce emissions from coal power stations by 22 million tonnes. Because the union proposal would only lead to a cut of 11 million tonnes in that sector, cuts elsewhere would be necessary, according to the report.



“Lifeline for German coal to be costly for public, markets”

If the German government opts for putting old coal-fired plants on reserve and paying their operators to keep them ready for use when needed, it would benefit the industry but could drive climate protection costs higher and keep the power market from eliminating overcapacity, according to analysts cited in a Reuters report. Keeping the plants on reserve would also help their operators sell the assets, as Sweden's Vattenfall wants to do. The German government is set to decide on Wednesday how to reduce coal emissions to help meet its 2020 climate targets ­– either by fining coal-fired plants that produce too many emissions or by paying operators to keep around 2.7 gigawatts of power on reserve for when wind and sun energy are in short supply.

Read the article in English here.



“Lower electricity prices in Germany still burden producer earnings”

Over the next five years, German electricity prices are likely to remain at current low levels, due largely to overcapacities, according to the international ratings agency Moody’s Investor Service. The price will move in a range of 30-35 euros per megawatt hour until 2020, close to the current level of 31-32 euros per MWh. The amount of renewable energies coming on line in the period will rise,  according to the report, titled “Europe’s Electricity Markets: In Germany Low Power Prices Keep Pressure on Generation Earnings.” Moody’s also said it expects that greater capacity from new, more efficient coal power plants will have an effect on price-building and coal prices will recover only moderately, while CO2 prices are expected to remain stable.



“Germany postpones vote on fracking law amid coalition row over details”

Disagreement over details of a new law that would allow very limited fracking of shale gas in Germany has led to a postponement of Friday’s vote, according to a Reuters report.  Contention among Social Democrats, who are part of the coalition government with Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservative Christian Democrats, has led to the delay. The law would ban fracking but allow scientific test drilling under strict conditions, Reuters says. There is strong opposition in Germany to the method, which shoots chemicals into rocks to release shale gas, but German industry wants to keep the possibility open, pointing to the boom in shale gas in the US, Reuters writes.

Read the article in English here.


Environment and Energy Publishing/ClimateWire

“From opposite directions, France and  Germany converge on climate change”

Germany and France may differ on nuclear power and in their approach to energy independence, but they must cooperate if they want to make progress in climate protection, according to article by Umair Irfan, E&E reporter.  In a comparison of the two systems, Irfan writes that the countries’ approaches can serve as a case study for others, like the US, that are pursuing their own energy transition.

Read the article in English here

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