08 Oct 2015, 00:00
Sören Amelang

In the media: Wind now cheapest power to produce in UK and Germany

Association for Electrical, Electronic & Information Technologies (VDE)

“Average duration of power supply cuts per consumer and year less than 12 minutes for first time”

The average power consumer in Germany can expect to experience no more than 2.4 power cuts over a ten-year period, according to a study by the Association for Electrical, Electronic & Information Technologies (VDE). On average, consumers’ power supply was interrupted by less than twelve minutes in 2014. “For the first time since we began collecting the data ten years ago, the duration has fallen below twelve minutes,” the VDE said.

Find the VDE press release in German here.

Read the article in German here.


Financial Times

“Compromise and opposition on road to Germany’s renewable energy”

The Energiewende has already transformed the German landscape and economy, but three main challenges remain, reports Jeevan Vasagar in the Financial Times. Firstly, the country remains heavily dependent on lignite and coal, and analysts say political commitment will be needed to reduce the carbon-intensity of the energy mix, writes Vasagar. The second challenge is to build power lines that will carry wind power from the north to industry in the south, in the face of local opposition. The third challenge is  reforming the financing of the renewables industry, shifting from feed-in tariffs to a competitive tender process. “Fifteen years after Germany embarked on its radical plan to rewire Europe’s biggest economy, the path remains as thorny as ever,” concludes Vasagar.

Read the article in English here.



“Wind and solar boost cost-competitiveness versus fossil fuels”

Wind power is now the cheapest electricity to produce both in Germany and Great Britain, even without subsidies, according to an analysis by Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF). This is the first time G7 countries have crossed this threshold, writes Tom Randall in an accompanying Bloomberg article. “In the UK, onshore wind comes in on average at 85 dollars per MWh in the second half of 2015, compared to 115 dollars for combined-cycle gas and 115 dollars for coal-fired power; in Germany, onshore wind is at 80 dollars, compared to 118 dollars for gas and 106 dollars for coal,” according to Bloomberg. These “levelised” costs take into account not just the cost of generating a marginal MWh of electricity, but also the upfront capital and development expense, the cost of equity and debt finance, and operating and maintenance fees, according to BNEF. In China, onshore wind is cheaper than gas-fired power but still much more expensive than coal. In the US, coal and gas are still cheaper than onshore wind.

Read the BNEF article in English here.

Read the Bloomberg article in English here.

Read a Guardian article about the BNEF report here.


Sächsische Zeitung

“We don’t want to close the power plants”

Czech utility CEZ does not intend to close Vattenfall's lignite power plants in eastern Germany in case it can buy these assets, CEZ managers Daniel Benes and Pavel Cyrani tell the Sächsische Zeitung in an interview. CEZ is now awaiting German government decisions to see if some of the older lignite generation blocks will be transferred into the planned capacity reserve, which will keep some coal plants as an emergency backup. The managers also said they were interested in investing in technology companies from the renewables sector in Germany. 


Süddeutsche Zeitung

“Insulation taking effect”

German households spent much less on heating in 2014 than the previous year and costs are set to fall further this year, according to calculations by the German Institute for Economic Research (DIW), reports the Süddeutsche Zeitung. Energy consumption for heat fell by 2.7 percent in 2014, and prices fell for oil and gas, according to the report. Due to stricter building regulations and insulation efforts, as well as a more energy-conscious population, energy use for heating has been falling for years, according to DIW. “The significant progress in energy use will likely still not be enough to achieve the government's goals,” said DIW expert Claus Michelsen. The government’s target is to make Germany’s buildings climate neutral by 2050.

Read the article in German here.

Find the DIW’s study “Heat Monitor Germany” in German here.



“Russian billionaire Fridman nears deal for E.ON’s North Sea assets”

Russian billionaire Mikhail Fridman has emerged as the frontrunner for the acquisition of German utility E.ON's Norwegian North Sea assets, three industry and banking sources said on Tuesday, according to a Reuters report. E.ON is hoping to fetch up to 2 billion dollars from the sale of all its oil and gas assets in Norway, the British North Sea and Algeria as part of a broad restructuring, according to Reuters.

Read the article in English here.


Financial Times

“EU set to delay diesel emissions tests by two years”

Europe’s diesel carmakers are set to win at least two extra years to fully comply with planned new EU emissions tests, amid clashes over how regulators should address the Volkswagen emissions cheating scandal, reports the Financial Times. National transport officials discussed European Commission proposals that would give manufacturers until late 2019 to comply. In 2012 the Commission proposed that real-world emissions tests be fully implemented in 2017, according to the article.

Read the article in English here.



Frankfurter Rundschau

“An ambitious climate programme for India”

Germany has agreed to finance India’s roll out of solar energy with two billion euros and the subcontinent has finally made its climate targets public, writes Brigitte Knopf, secretary general of the Mercator Research Institute on Global Commons and Climate Change, in an opinion piece in the Frankfurter Rundschau. “The fact that countries like India, who justly perceived themselves not as part of the problem, now want to become part of a solution, inspires hope that the international climate negotiations in Paris can be a success,” writes Knopf. But even if the intended nationally determined contributions (INDCs) become reality, the world would still be on track to a warming of 2.7 degrees celsius; and at present, 3.6 degrees seem more likely. To avoid this fate, CO2 heavyweights like India need an ambitious climate programme and not just good intentions, writes Knopf. “The INDCs must not become empty promises. Compliance with voluntary announcements to cut CO2 must be verified…these rules for transparency must become part of an agreement in Paris.”  

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