30 Dec 2015 | Sven Egenter

Municipal utilities under pressure / PV support stable

Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung

“Government puts pressure on municipal utilities”

Germany’s municipal utilities have criticised the federal government’s plans for digitalising the Energiewende and its rejection of a decentralised capacity market to secure power supply, Andreas Mihm writes in the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung. The head of the municipal utilities association VKU, Katherina Reiche, told the paper that plans to give grid operators direct access to user data and to introduce “intelligent meters” would open the door to competitors such as telecommunications companies, further eroding the utilities’ business. Metering and billing data might provide much-needed income for municipal utilities, as power generation is not making money, Mihm writes. Reiche reiterated the VKU’s position that a form of capacity markets, where conventional power plants receive a fee for backing up fluctuating renewables, will ultimately become necessary. “We need to talk about this in the next election period,” she told the paper.

Read the article in German here.

Find background on the government’s new power market design here.

Find a CLEW factsheet on municipal utilities here.

 

German Grid Agency

“No cut to remuneration rates for PV installations”

The remuneration rates for new photovoltaic (PV) installations will remain unchanged between 1 January and 1 March 2016 because newly installed capacity of 1.42 gigawatts (GW) over the past twelve months was more than 900 megawatts below the planned corridor of 2.4-2.6 GW, the German grid agency says in a press release. This is the second time in a row that rates have stayed stable.

Read the press release here.

 

Berliner Morgenpost

“Gabriel’s power market reform evaporates”

The German government’s power market reform looks set to have little effect because the government is shying away from splitting the German electricity market into different pricing zones, writes Jakob Schlandt in the Berliner Morgenpost. Power should become more expensive in the south than in the renewables-rich north, he argues. “But that would be explosive for the governing coalition.” The alternative, the three big north-to-south transmission lines, are unlikely to be finished before the mid-2020s because local protests have delayed the process.

Read the article in German here.

 

Tagesspiegel/dpa/Verivox

“Power prices stable for now”

Household electricity prices look set to remain largely stable overall at the beginning of next year, German news agency dpa writes in a report picked up by many newspapers such as the Tagesspiegel.
“We do not expect big or dramatic changes,” the report quotes Ingmar Streese of the consumer association vzbv as saying. Data from price comparison site Verivox showed that of around 800 suppliers, 140 announced price increases of on average 2.8 percent for 1 January 2016. 49 suppliers announced cuts of on average 2.2 percent. “The price cuts from 2015 are now followed by renewed increases in many places. The reasons are rising government charges and the costs of the power grid,” said Jan Lengerke from Verivox in a press release.

Read the article in German here.

Find the Verivox press release in German here.

Find a story on the renewables surcharge increase here and a factsheet on household prices here.

 

Sächsische Zeitung/Evangelische Pressedienst (epd)

State minister does not see quick coal exit

The minister for economic affairs and energy of the federal state of Brandenburg has rejected the idea of a fast exit from lignite, which is mined in the state, according to an article by the Evangelische Pressedienst (epd), picked up by the Sächsische Zeitung. “We can only do without coal as a bridging technology once it is possible to provide renewable electricity reliably around the clock,” minister Albrecht Gerber, a Social Democrat, says in the article. “That is not a question of political will but of technical feasibility.” Therefore, the Energiewende must be advanced, according to Gerber. “Once we have done that then the age of coal will also be over,” he says. “But I don’t know if that’s going to be 2040 or 2050 or whenever.” The federal government’s climate action plan 2050, advertised for mid-2016, must not hurt industry’s competitiveness in the state or its ability to innovate, Gerber said.

Find background on the government’s climate action plan here.

 

Leipziger Volkszeitung

Union head: “Grid fees must be fair”

The head of the mining union IG BCE, Michael Vassiliadis, has supported the idea to create uniform grid fees across Germany, in an interview with the Leipziger Volkszeitung. Vassiliadis also called for increased competition instead of government support for renewable energy sources. At the same time, government should support storage technologies, he said. Lignite would remain a necessary bridging energy resource until storage for renewable energy was ready, he said.

 

Oilprice.com

“Germany’s prospect for energy storage”

Small-scale battery systems and large-scale energy storage, including the control power market and power-to-gas energy storage technology, have a “fair business potential” in Germany, writes Gaurav Agnihotri on Oilprice.com. So far, grid operators have been able to handle the sharp increase in fluctuating renewable energy to over 30 percent of domestic consumption. “According to some experts, the energy storage market can only flourish in Germany once the renewable energy’s total share grows above 40 percent,” Agnihotri writes.

Find the article in English here.

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