Pressure on utilities to pay more for nuclear storage
Nuclear commission wants utilities to supplement clean-up provisions
The commission on payments for the nuclear clean-up insists that nuclear power station operators have to supplement the provisions they have made for storing radioactive waste, Reuters reports. Only then could the state take on the risk of rising costs for the construction of interim and final storage facilities. The commission believes that the estimated interest of 4.6 percent on the utilities’ provisions is too high, which is why a supplementation of 30 to 100 percent of the 17.3 billion euros in provisions would be needed. The commission will give its recommendation on how to finance the nuclear clean-up in Germany to the government on 13 April.
Read a CLEW factsheet on securing payments for the nuclear clean-up from utilities here.
“Shock to the power market”
The managers of the largest German utilities, E.ON and RWE, are currently watching their business models implode, write Jürgen Flauger and Franz Hubik in the Handelsblatt. Falling power prices have seen gas-fired plants, followed by hard-coal fired and now even lignite plants and nuclear power stations, being pushed out of the market. On the futures market the power price fell under 20 euros per megawatt-hour. Five years ago, it was around 60 euros at times. Consumers are not profiting from the development because high taxes, levies and grid fees keep the prices up for them, the authors say. Market researchers have calculated that the capacity utilisation of the conventional power station fleet is falling – down by 17 percent compared to what utilities were planning.
Handelsblatt Global Edition
“Leading RWE’s Exit from Brown Coal”
Rolf Martin Schmitz will become the new CEO of RWE’s conventional power branch when the renewable division is spun-off in April. His goal will be to minimise the burden imposed on the company by the federal government, be it the funding of the handling of nuclear waste or the phase-out of brown coal, Angela Hennersdorf writes in Handelsblatt Global Edition. Schmitz is working on a foundation solution, mirroring the RAG foundation that is in charge of phasing out Germany’s hard coal mining operations.
Read the article in English here (behind pay-wall).
“Senvion above offer price in Frankfurt market debut”
German wind turbine maker Senvion has launched its stock market debut. The shares started trading at 16 euros, Reuters reports. Senvion had pulled its planned debut last week after failing to attract sufficient investor demand. It then lowered initial asking prices and reduced the volume of shares. Senvion works mainly in Europe, the US, Australia and Canada. In Europe, the company is facing large competition from Spain’s Gamesa and Germany’s Nordex, Reuters writes.
“Coal clings on as Germany lays ground for 2050 climate goals”
An extensive German energy transition in all sectors involves profound changes for society in general - and therefore needs cross-party support. Carbon Pulse’s Ben Garside reports from a trip to Berlin and Lusatia, Germany’s second biggest lignite mining region, where it became clear that a coal phase-out is “a question of when, not if”, he writes. The environment ministry asked state, regional and local governments, as well as civil society, to contribute ideas to its Climate Action Plan 2050, in order to include all stakeholders in the discussion.
Read the feature in English here.
Oliver Wyman / K.GROUP
Data protection and cyber security will become hot topics for grid operators
Hot issues for gas and power grid operators will in the future shift from security of supply and efficiency to data protection and cyber security, a study by consultancies Oliver Wyman and K.GROUP says. The majority of the 50 German grid operators polled by researchers expects massive changes to the market and grid structures because of falling storage costs, intelligent generation and smart users.
Read the press release in German here.
“Stop the perception of CO2 simply as a pollutant”
The right-wing populist political party Alternative for Germany (AfD), founded in 2013, fundamentally questions climate change in the current draft of its first federal party program, writes Fabian Leder in Der Tagesspiegel. In the already toned-down 80-page draft, the AfD questions the German nuclear phase-out and writes of the “positive effect” of CO2 on “plant growth and the global food supply”. The AfD claims this information is withheld from the public by the German government and the IPCC. “We will stop the perception of CO2 simply as a pollutant.”
Read the article in German here.
“Solar cell produces hydrogen instead of electricity”
Scientists from the Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin developed a new kind of solar cell that could convert 12 percent of sunlight directly into hydrogen. The team solved the biggest challenge in the development of such cells and found the right composition for a layer that guarantees the required amount of light transmission, as well as the protection of the cell itself, writes pv magazine.
Read the article in German here.
Read a CLEW dossier on technologies in the Energiewende here.
Windkraft-Journal / World Wind Energy Association (WWEA)
“Citizens’ wind energy threatened by discriminating policy”
The move away from feed-in tariffs towards an auction system for wind energy is expected to put small, community-based projects at a competitive disadvantage, according to a study by the World Wind Energy Association (WWEA) and the Renewable Energy Association of the German state North-Rhine Westfalia (LEE NRW). “Community Wind brings high levels of much needed acceptance and contributes to local added value,” the study points out. In contrast, the planned policy changes have “the potential for an adverse ‘non-involved’ reaction,” according to WWEA president Peter Rae.
Read the Windkraft-Journal article in English here.
Read the full study “Headwind and Tailwind for Community Power” in English here.
Read a CLEW dossier on citizens' energy here.
It is not only for ethical or ecological reasons that companies, foundations and churches are divesting from fossil fuels and technologies – it also makes economical sense, because the prices for coal and gas have plummeted in recent years, writes the Cologne Institute for Economic Research (IW Köln). This effects the value of the shares of many large oil and coal companies. The implementation of the Paris climate deal will also see the prospects for these companies deteriorate further and turn their resources into stranded assets, or even toxic assets, the article says.
Read the article in German here.