13 Jan 2015, 00:00
Kerstine Appunn Ellen Thalman

In the media: Wind power record stresses the grid; utilities invest in renewables

Die Welt/Süddeutsche Zeitung

“’Elon’ und ‘Felix’ cost consumers millions”/ “Stormy times on the power market”

Heavy winds from two low pressure systems created an enormous oversupply of wind power last weekend, costing consumers around 13 million euros, according to network operators Tennet and 50 Hertz, writes Daniel Wetzel  in Die Welt. At the height of the weekend’s production, windmills fed a record 30,700 megawatts of power into the system, Tennet said, an all-time high, according to Die Welt. But there weren’t enough power lines to distribute the power to the south, meaning network operators had to increase production at plants in the south and cut conventional and wind production in the north in order to avoid overloading the system, Wetzel writes. Network operators will add the 13 million euros onto consumers bills, the paper says. The overproduction also caused a dramatic fall in wholesale prices on the European Energy Exchange (EEX), the article says.  At its peak on the weekend, wind power production equalled that of 25 nuclear power plants, write Markus Balser and Michael Bauchmüller in the Süddeutsche Zeitung. This tendency to overproduce and overload is only likely to increase in 2015, they write, because more and more windpower parks are coming on line before power lines are completed to distribute the electricity produced.

Read the article in German in Die Welt here.

Read the article in German in the Süddeutsche Zeitung here.


Handelsblatt / FAZ

“Eco-power is the new nuclear“

Energy company RWE is investing one billion euros in renewable energy operations, despite its high debts. The money will be used between 2015 and 2017 by subsidiary RWE Innogy, the taz reports. RWE Innogy will start up two new offshore wind parks this year. Prior to 2015, RWE invested one billion euro annually in the renewables sector, the FAZ writes. RWE Innogy will cut the number of employees from 1000 to 700 or 800 by the end of this year.

See the Handelsblatt article in German here.

Read the CLEW factsheet on utilities and how they are faring in the Energiewende here.


FAZ / Stuttgarter Zeitung

“Australian money for the Baltic sea”

The energy transition is bringing foreign capital to Germany, writes the FAZ. Australian investor Macquarie Capital has bought half of offshore wind park “Windfelds Baltic 2” which is currently being constructed off the island of Rügen. German utility EnBW sold 49.89 percent of the wind power installation for 720 million euros to the Australians, the Stuttgarter Zeitung reported. If everything goes to plan, the offshore wind park with 80 turbines will become operational in spring 2015, the FAZ article reads. EnBW wants to invest seven billion euros by 2020 to change its focus from nuclear energy to renewable power.

See the Stuttgarter Zeitung article in German here.


BDEW - German Association of Energy and Water Industries

“Economic situation of utilities deteriorates further”

The German Association of Energy and Water Industries (BDEW) has published a survey of utilities, who say their economic situation has deteriorated in the past two years. 69 percent of energy companies who operate conventional power stations, have indicated that this part of their business is detrimental to earnings, the BDEW writes in a press release. One third of the 265 participants who manage municipal utilities said that power generation from combined heat and power plants (CHP) was uneconomical. 34 percent stated that renewable operations were contributing positively to earnings. BDEW chairwoman of the executive board, Hildegard Müller, called for concrete law reform in 2015, regulating the market design, CHP, grid expansion, renewables, CO2 emissions and energy efficiency.

See the BDEW press release in German here.

See the BDEW survey on the economic situation of utilities in German here.



“Caught in the battery dilemma”

Only 8522 e-cars were sold in Germany in 2014 and this is mainly because they are too expensive and because today’s batteries do not provide enough range, Thomas Fromm writes on Sü While the quest for better batteries continues, Germany’s car manufacturers have largely given up on developing this technology, instead they rely on deliveries from Asia. Samsung in Asia and e-car manufacturer Tesla in the United States are taking over battery innovation – not a good sign for Germany’s car industry, Fromm says.

See the article in German here.


Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (FAZ)

“Repairing the Energiewende”

Chancellor Angela Merkel should be setting a clearer tone in climate policy as current president of the Group of 7 industrialised countries and and ahead of its July meeting, for which she has said she wants to put global warming on the agenda, writes Andreas Mihm in a commentary in the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung. But because of domestic politics involving energy policy, such as erecting controversial power lines from north to south and wrangling over who will build power plants to ensure security of supply, Merkel is keeping a low profile on international climate policy, he writes. “At the moment, Merkel cannot take on an important mediator role as the head of the influential club of the seven largest industrial countries (G7),” Mihm writes.

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