15 May 2015, 00:00
Kerstine Appunn Sven Egenter

In the media: Worries at RWE; solar trade violations

Süddeutsche Zeitung / Handelsblatt

“RWE fights for brown coal”

Power company RWE is toughening its stance on energy minister Sigmar Gabriel’s proposal for a climate levy on old coal-fired power stations. The policy would lead to 17 of 20 power stations and two of three mines becoming uneconomical, RWE CFO Bernhard Günther told the Süddeutsche Zeitung. Some 7000 RWE jobs alone could be at risk, Günther said.
Environmental groups also worry about RWE’s financial well-being, writes Jürgen Flauger in the Handelsblatt. A representative of anti-nuclear organisation “Ausgestrahlt” told the paper that it was time for RWE to transfer funds for decommissioning and waste storage of their nuclear power stations to a state-administered fund and that they should sell off parts of the company to finance the clean-up if necessary.

Read the Handelsblatt article in German here.

See a CLEW dossier on the German utilities and the energy transition here and a recent article here.


taz – die tageszeitung

“Energiewende without sense”

It is “physically impossible” to achieve a higher than the current share of renewable energies in the German power mix, economist Hans-Werner Sinn from the Ifo Institute for Economic Research said this week, Malte Kreutzfeldt reports in the taz. Sinn is one of the most vocal critics of the Energiewende, Kreutzfeld writes. Sinn's main argument is that it won’t be possible to store wind and solar power, a problem “that you will not solve”, he said. In 1993, the big four utilities had made a similar prediction, Kreutzfeld says. In the long-term renewable energies could not cover more than 4 percent of Germany’s power needs, they argued at the time – today renewables cover almost 28 percent, the author notes.

Read the article in German here


Süddeutsche Zeitung

“Solar warriors”

German and European authorities are investigating solar firms for bypassing EU anti-dumping rules on imported Chinese solar panels, Markus Balser writes in the Süddeutsche Zeitung. Industry insiders talk of more than 1000 cases of violations of the rules. Balser also cites the German finance ministry as saying that at least twelve companies are suspected of having imported Chinese solar panels, avoiding anti-dumping tariffs.

Read the article in German here.


PV Magazine

Green energy account surplus tops 5 billion euros in April

The reserves on Germany’s renewable energy account rose to a record of over 5 billion euros in April, Sandra Enkhardt reports in PV Magazine, citing figures of the Network Agency. The figures confirm that the surcharge consumers pay with their electricity bills for the support of renewable energy could have been cut by more than the effective reduction from 6.24 to 6.17 cents per kilowatt hour, she writes.

Read the article in German here.

Read a CLEW factsheet on the mechanics of the green energy account here.

Find the grid operators’ most recent account statistics in German here.


Renewables International

“Germany drastically increases ‘winter reserve’”

At the beginning of the month, the German grid regulator announced a near tripling of the emergency backup capacity for the power sector, Craig Morris writes at Renewables International. This special pool of backup power plants to prevent shortfalls in power supply is called the “winter reserve” because power demand peaks in the winter, he explains. The Network Agency expects the winter reserve to shrink back in coming years, largely because grid upgrades are expected to make themselves felt by that time, he says.

Read the full article in English here.


National Review

“Germany’s Green-Power Program Crushes the Poor”

Germany’s energy policy has created a “brutal” burden for the poor as the support for renewable power has driven up electricity prices, writes Robert Zubrin, president of gas and oil industry equipment maker Pioneer Energy, in a contribution for the National Review Online. In response to an op-ed by Thomas Friedman in the New York Times, Zubrin writes the policy amounted to a “form of ultra-regressive taxation — in effect, a state-sponsored cult of human sacrifice for weather control”.
“Germany has brought the world many remarkable political innovations, including government by bureaucracy, the welfare state, regimentation of education, Red, Brown, and Green parties, theoretical and applied racial science and engineering, the precautionary principle, and the systematic philosophical and practical negation of Judeo-Christian ethics,” Zubrin concludes. “Its heartless energy policy is entirely consistent with that history.”

Read the post in English here.

Read the CLEW factsheet on household power prices here.

Read a CLEW article on the debate about the social implications here.

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