“Grid Agency: About 350,000 households had their power cut off”
The number of power cut-offs in Germany rose by two percent to a new record in 2014, reports Spiegel Online. According to the Federal Grid Agency’s monitoring report, which is to be approved by ministers on Wednesday, 351,802 households on basic tariffs had their power cut off temporarily last year, reports Spiegel, which has seen parts of the report. The number rose from around 345,000 in 2013 and 320,000 in 2012, writes Stefan Schultz. He says the main reason for the increase is the rise in power prices.
Read the article in German here.
Read the CLEW factsheet “What German households pay for power” here.
Find the CLEW article on Article "Welfare groups urge power cost relief for German poor" here.
“Power price likely to rise in 2016 – Do companies cheat at grid fees?”
Many consumers must brace for power price increases in 2016, according to a survey of price comparison websites by news agency dpa. “Only a few providers will lower prices a little, whereas several utilities have announced price increases of around 3 percent for the coming year,” according to the report. This would translate into additional costs of around 40 euros for an average household consuming 4,000 kilowatt-hours (kWh) per year. But the report also says that the outlook remains unclear, as a majority of utilities have not yet announced their prices for the coming year. These statements are due by Friday this week.
Grid fees, which make up almost a quarter of the power price, will rise by 4 percent on average, but with strong regional variations, according to price comparison website Verivox, reports dpa. Consumer associations and the Green Party complain grid fees are intransparent.
Read the article in German on the website of Focus magazine here.
German Association of Energy and Water Industries (BDEW)
“Power exports up in first nine months of 2015”
Germany's net power exports to neighbouring countries rose by almost 36 billion kWh in the first nine months of 2015, compared to same period in 2014 when exports amounted to 21 billion kWh, the BDEW reports in its monthly energy data overview. Domestic power consumption increased by 0.7 percent in the period from January to August to 364.3 billion kWh, compared to 361.7 billion kWh a year earlier.
“Get out of coal”
Managers of large utilities like to talk about the subsidies for wind and solar power when they want to discredit renewable energies, writes Frank-Thomas Wenzel in an opinion piece for the Frankfurter Rundschau. It’s true that renewable facilities receive a payment for every kilowatt-hour they feed onto the grid that is higher than the market price. But this market price is low, because coal and nuclear power plants are producing large amounts of power around the clock, while receiving state subsidies as well, Wenzel writes. “This is crazy. Tax payers’ money is being used to subsidise coal power which is extremely harmful to the climate and leads to upheavals on the market. Tax payers’ money is used against the Energiewende,” Wenzel says.
Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (FAZ)
“EU waives strict energy saving targets“
The 2016 work plan for the European Energy Union contains only one important legislative proposal, according to the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, which has seen a draft version of the report on the status of the Energy Union due to be published on Wednesday. The proposal mentions better regional interconnection of power markets, more flexible power trading, and capacity mechanisms. The EU will likely miss its target of 20 percent more energy efficiency for 2020, the article says. Yet the European Commission doesn’t suggest any new efficiency measures, nor does it mention a previously discussed increase to the efficiency target for 2030 from 27 to 30 percent.
Read a dossier on Germany’s energy transition in the European context here.
COP21 - Road to Paris
Reuters / FAZ
“France to go ahead with climate summit, with tough security”
France will remain host to the UN climate conference (COP21) in Paris in November/December, Reuters and FAZ report. Over 20,000 delegates, journalists and members of civil society groups are expected to attend the summit. US president Barack Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry will also attend, despite the recent terror attacks, the American government said.
“Hot air, not clean air”
Ending inefficient subsidies for fossil fuels is once again on the agenda of the current G20 meeting in Antalya, writes Bernhard Pötter in the daily tageszeitung. The 20 largest industrialised countries agreed to this aim in 2009 but continue to support fossil fuels with billions of dollars, as revealed by studies from environmental NGO Oil Change International and Overseas Development Institute (ODI) and the International Monetary Fund (IMF), writes Pötter. To date, the G20's achievements on reducing fossil fuel subsidies have been "poor" Pötter says.
“A four-degree-Celsius world is almost un-insurable”
By the end of December insurance company AXA will have divested from shares in coal businesses amounting to 500 million euros, Christian Thimann, member of the board at the French insurance company told Zeit Online in an interview. Together with the World Bank, AXA was testing so-called parametric insurance policies for farmers in poor countries, which are to be paid out according to satellite images showing weather-related damage in order to save on lengthy verification processes on the ground, Thimann said.
Read the interview in German here.