07 Jun 2017, 00:00
Julian Wettengel

Nuclear fuel tax law invalid / Energy efficiency market grows

Federal Constitutional Court / Reuters

German nuclear utilities E.ON, RWE and EnBW can hope for the repayment of about 6 billion euros after the Federal Constitutional Court declared the nuclear fuel tax law invalid and incompatible with basic law, reports Reuters. The federal government did not have the legislative authority to introduce the tax in the way it did, said the court in its decision. It declared the law invalid with retroactive effect. A court in the city of Hamburg will now deal with the question of repayments, writes Reuters. The tax, introduced in 2011, is payable by nuclear power station operators whenever they use new fuel elements in their reactors.

Read the court press release in German here and the Reuters article in German here.

For background read the CLEW dossier The challenges of Germany’s nuclear phase-out.


The turnover of German companies in the business of supplying energy efficiency solutions grew about 6 percent to 143 billion euros in 2016, compared to 2015, according to a study by German Industry Initiative for Energy Efficiency (DENEFF) and consultancy PwC. This was despite decreased energy prices. The study is based on a survey among 159 companies in the sector. The sector employed about 566,000 people in 2016. The energy efficiency sector developed above average, which the market entry of many new companies showed, said Carsten Müller, head of DENEFF. “The fact that this happens despite low energy prices shows that the government’s policy is on the right track,” said Müller.

 DENEFF 2017.

Find the press release in German here and the study in German here.

For background, read the CLEW dossier The Energiewende and Efficiency.

Old coal-fired power plants can be made more flexible at reasonable expense, allowing countries with a high share of coal-based electricity to make a smooth transition to a climate-friendly energy system, according to a new study by think tank Agora Energiewende.* Minor modifications allowed coal-fired power stations, for example in Germany and Denmark, to increase and decrease their outputs in quarter-hourly intervals, making them more flexible to the fluctuating output of wind and solar power facilities.

Find the press release in English here and the study in English here.

Also see the CLEW factsheet When will Germany finally ditch coal?

*Like the Clean Energy Wire, Agora Energiewende is a project funded by Stiftung Mercator and the European Climate Foundation.

NDR 90,3

It is impossible to predict the climate policy results of the G20 summit in July after the US decision to leave the Paris Agreement, said German government spokesperson Steffen Seibert in an interview with public radio broadcaster NDR 90,3. But it is “useful” and “indispensable” to bring the 20 leaders to the table in Hamburg. “Strictly speaking, G20 is not a climate conference. At the end of the year we’ll have the UN climate conference in Bonn […] and we will put a lot of energy into getting results that support the implementation of the Paris Agreement,” said Seibert.

Listen to the interview in German here.

For background, read the CLEW articles German reactions to US decision to withdraw from Paris Agreement and Germany, China urge US to remain in climate agreement.

The Federal Network Agency (BNetzA) today started Germany’s second onshore wind power auction, the agency announced in a press release. With 1,000 megawatt (MW), the tender volume is 200 MW higher than the first tender. Deadline for bids is 1 August 2017 and the maximum support rate is 7 cents per kilowatt hour.

Find the press release in German here.

For background read the CLEW article Citizens’ energy projects dominate first onshore wind power auction and the factsheets German onshore wind power – output, business and perspectives and High hopes and concerns over onshore wind power auctions.


Paris-based non-profit group REN21 has published its annual report on the global status of renewable energy around the world. Germany continues to rank among the top five countries in several categories, such as investment in renewable power and fuels without hydro (5th), wind power capacity (3rd) and solar PV capacity per capita (1st).

Find the report, an executive summary, and highlights in English here.

Clean Energy Wire

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said that federal and state governments were “trying to find a solution” in the dispute about nationwide grid fee alignment. “At the moment, a difficult battle is raging on how we best succeed in managing this surcharge generally – for Germany as a whole, so to speak. The draft law is in the German Bundestag [federal parliament]. We now have two plenary weeks left to think about a solution,” said Merkel at general meeting of the Association of Chambers of Commerce and Industry for Northern Germany. She said that it was difficult to introduce a solution overnight, because energy intensive companies, for example in North-Rhine Westphalia, would be faced with “significantly higher power costs”.
The grand coalition’s (CDU/CSU, SPD) federal cabinet had introduced a draft for a grid fee reform in January without provisions to standardise fees, because of the state elections in North Rhine Westphalia. After the elections, Social Democrat energy politician and member of the Bundestag Hubertus Heil told news agency Dow Jones that his party wants a nationwide alignment.

For background, read the CLEW factsheets Power grid fees – Unfair and opaque? and From ideas to laws – how Energiewende policy is shaped.


German utility E.ON has entered into a partnership with greenXmoney to set up an online platform that allows making investments in German solar and wind power facilities “easily, securely and independently of any particular bank”, the company announced in a press release. Owners of solar and wind power facilities register their units, and investors can acquire a portion of the future electricity revenues generated by the solar or wind power system they choose. Customers can resell their investments at any time, writes E.ON.

Find the press release in English here.

For background, read the CLEW dossier Utilities and the energy transition.

All texts created by the Clean Energy Wire are available under a “Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Licence (CC BY 4.0)” . They can be copied, shared and made publicly accessible by users so long as they give appropriate credit, provide a link to the license, and indicate if changes were made.
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