In the media: Wind power booms while solar wanes; Energiewende is popular, but Germans grumble about implementation
Handelsblatt / dpa
“Solar boom continues to ebb“
Germany built 1.95 gigawatts-worth of solar installations in 2014 – 43 percent fewer than the year before, the Handelsblatt writes, reporting figures published by the Federal Network Agency (Bundesnetzagentur). The decrease in photovoltaic installations comes after Germany reduced its guaranteed feed-in tariffs for solar power producers. According to the Renewable Energy Act (EEG), which sets a development target for different renewable technologies, Germany should be adding between 2.4 and 2.6 gigawatts of solar power annually, the Handelsblatt writes. For the second year in a row Germany missed this target, the Vice President of the Bundesnetzagentur, Peter Franke said.
See the Handelsblatt article in German here.
See the press-release from the Bundesnetzagentur in German here.
Die Welt / Stern
“Wind power growth hits new record”
According to a report in Stern, Germany saw record growth in wind power installations in 2014. The German Wind Energy Association BWE expects that Germany will have added capacity of 3.5 to 3.7 gigawatts, saying that increased wind park planning after the Fukushima accident in 2011 resulted in many wind parks going online last year. The “growth corridor” set by the Renewable Energy Act for wind power sets a target of 2.5 gigawatts annually. If more power stations are installed, producers receive less money for their electricity. However, this does not seem to bother investors, as wind turbines can still earn enough money, the newspaper Die Welt writes.
See the article in Stern here.
See the article in Die Welt here.
“Energiewende: Why 2014 was a good year for renewables”
Worldwide, 2014 saw 44 gigawatts of new solar capacity and 47 gigawatts of wind power come online, writes Benjamin Reuter for Wirtschaftswoche Green. In his renewables-review of last year, he highlights data from Texas, where power from wind and solar installations for the first time was cheaper than conventional electricity, even without state subsidies. In Germany, new business models have given rise to the leasing of roofs for solar panel installations and the development of photovoltaic installations in cities. Batteries that can store locally produced renewable energy have seen their first small boom in 2014, Reuter says.
Read the article in German here.
“Energiewende: unhappy with the implementation”
In theory, 75 percent of Germans are in favour of the Energiewende, writes the Leipziger Volkszeitung. In reality, 60 percent of the population is unhappy with the implementation of the necessary infrastructure measures, Ortwinn Renn, sustainability researcher from the University of Stuttgart told the paper. People need to be taken seriously and should be better-informed, especially when it comes to the network expansion, a consultancy from Leipzig concludes.
“BDI-boss: Bavaria’s CSU should accept new power lines”
The president of industry federation BDI has warned Bavarian state premier Horst Seehofer (CSU) not to escalate his stance against new power lines and asked him to be realistic. “Bavaria cannot be self-sufficient,” Ulrich Grillo said according to the Süddeutsche Zeitung. He called for an integrated Energiewende for the whole of Europe that would result in efficiency gains worth 50 billion euros per year. The Bavarian state government opposes new power lines that would transport wind energy from the north to the south and instead suggested that Bavaria could build more gas-fired power stations to compensate for nuclear power that will be taken offline by 2020.
“The quiet death of hard coal”
The closure of the last hard-coal mines in North Rhine-Westphalia is happening quietly, writes Rolf Schraa in the General Anzeiger. Around 3000 jobs were lost in the hard coal industry in 2014, while 2000 more will follow in 2015 when the second-to-last mine in the Ruhr area closes. Digging coal from 1000 meter-deep deposits is too costly compared to coal imported from Australia, where they only have to dig down 30 meters. Only 14 percent of the hard coal burned in Germany in 2014 was locally mined, as most of it was imported, the article says.
Interview with energy expert Claudia Kemfert on Energiewende publicity
The Energiewende is being bad-mouthed, says Claudia Kemfert, Professor for Energy Economy from the German Institute for Economic Research, DIW, told the Bremer Zeitung in an interview. On the one hand, Chancellor Angela Merkel calls it the government's most important project, while on the other hand, politicians don't advertise the benefits of the energy transition for jobs and value creation, Kemfert said. Instead, problems related to the Energiwende are constantly highlighted, she said. At the same time, she would like to see the government be more transparent and do a better job of explaining side-effects like rising electricity prices.
“The flexibility of German coal-fired power plants amid increased renewables”
In a long article for PennEnergy, Hans-Wilhelm Schiffer, Advisor to the Executive Board of RWE AG, writes about the challenges of Germany’s energy transition for the power system, predicting that fossil fuels will play a similar role in 2023, despite the increase in renewable energy capacity. Flexible coal- and gas-fuelled power plants will be needed to supplement the fluctuating renewable power supply, Schiffer says.
See the article in English here.