24 Jun 2016, 00:00
Kerstine Appunn Julian Wettengel

New power market law / Digitalising the Energiewende

Federal Parliament / Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi)

The German federal parliament has adopted a new power market law. The reform includes the continuation of an energy-only-market with additional capacity reserves. The new rules will also include retiring 13 percent of lignite power station capacity into a “security standby” that will only be used as a “last resort”, the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi) has said.

See a BMWi press release in German here.

Read a CLEW factsheet on Germany’s new power market design.

Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung

The German Parliament has decided there will be no regulatory obligation for average households to install smart meters for their electricity consumption, writes the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (FAZ). However, from next year on, large consumers with 10,000 kilowatt hours (kWh) must install such digital power meters, and the threshold will be lowered to 6,000 kWh in 2020. “The intelligent devices are meant to offer detailed insights into consumer behaviour and reveal savings potential,” writes the FAZ. Utilities may offer the smart meters on a voluntary basis with a cost price cap of 40 euros per year for households. Consumer associations have criticised the devices, saying they are too costly, have little use and are questionable for reasons of data protection, writes FAZ.

Read the article in German here.

Federal Government

The federal government has prolonged a legal statute that regulates support for “interruptible loads”, i.e. power consumers who can reduce their electricity consumption in times of scarcity in order to stabilise the grid.

Read the government press release in German here.

Süddeutsche Zeitung

Hard coal power plant operator and one of Germany’s biggest power suppliers Steag announced that it will leave the German Association of Energy and Water Industries (BDEW) by the end of 2016, writes the Süddeutsche Zeitung (SZ). The industry association had often taken an opposing stance to the company, writes SZ. “This exit might hurry along the association’s Energiewende,” as its newest members were mostly companies that made profits with renewable energy, writes SZ.

Read the article (behind a paywall) in German here.

Abgeordnetenhaus Berlin / The Huffington Post

In line with a global divestment movement, the city of Berlin has decided to divest its money from “companies whose business model contradicts the goal of climate neutrality,” according to the text of a parliamentary proposal approved by the plenary. The decision “will force the city’s pension fund — worth 852.8 million US-dollar, or 750 million euros — to divest from shares of German oil giants RWE and E.ON, as well as the French behemoth Total,” writes the Huffington Post.

Read the article in English here.

Find the parliamentary proposal in German here.


After the British vote to leave the European Union, the EU’s energy union plans are at risk of being “put on the back-burner until more pressing issues are worked out,” writes Sara Stefanini for Politico. In light of the UK’s presidency of the Council of the EU planned for the second half of 2017, many important elements might be stalled. “It’s a substantial risk to the energy union legislation, being bogged down by a presidency that’s not fully designed to be ramping things forward as quickly as possible,” said Jonathan Gaventa, director of the environmental analysis group E3G. The U.K.’s exit could also further complicate the reform of the EU Emissions Trading Scheme (EU ETS), writes Stefanini. “The U.K. is a major centre for Europe’s carbon, energy and financial markets, so its involvement in European policymaking in these areas is essential,” said Dirk Forrister, president and CEO of the International Emissions Trading Association.

Read the article (behind a paywall) here.


The share of global electricity generated by solar PV could grow to as much as 13 percent by 2030, according to a new report by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA). “The solar industry’s expansion is driven primarily by cost reductions, with the report anticipating further cost declines by up to 59 percent in ten years,” writes IRENA in a press release. Annual PV capacity additions must more than double in 14 years to attain a 13 percent share in the electricity mix by 2030. Germany is projected to have 75 gigawatts of solar PV capacity installed in 2030, compared to the current 40 gigawatts.

Read the press release in English here and the full report in English here.

European Parliament / BDEW

The European Parliament has called for raising the EU’s energy efficiency target to 40 percent by 2030 and for binding targets for member states to achieve the 30 percent renewables target by 2030. There should also be binding requirements for increasing energy efficiency. The German Association of Energy and Water Industries (BDEW) rejected the idea, saying that such high binding targets would contradict other policy measures such as the European emissions trading system (EU ETS).

Read the EU parliament press release in English here.

Read the BDEW press release in German here.

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Sven Egenter

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