24 May 2016, 00:00
Sören Amelang

Protest against taxing renewable self-supply / Wind power pushback

Süddeutsche Zeitung

“People with their own power supply will have to pay”

Changes in power taxation planned by the German finance ministry could finish off business models based on renewable power production to supply local residents and businesses, writes Michael Bauchmüller in Süddeutsche Zeitung. The ministry plans to tax renewable power used for self-supply above a threshold of 20 megawatt-hours per year, which means most single family homes would be exempt. But the tax of 2.05 cents per kilowatt-hour would hit apartment buildings and businesses. Opponents argue the plans would spoil huge renewable potential, especially in inner city districts. The Green party says the plans would constitute a “backward roll for a decentralised Energiewende”.

Read the article in German here.



“Nothing but harassment”

The finance ministry’s power tax proposals are absurd and do not make sense because the government offers other incentives for renewable self-supply, writes Malte Kretzfeld in a commentary in tageszeitung. He argues that self-supply is a relief for grids and the public because producers do not receive a feed-in tariff, which is paid by consumers. The only beneficiaries of the proposal would be some conservative politicians who would like to stop the Energiewende, according to Kreutzfeld.

Read the commentary in German here.

“Pushback against onshore wind power in Germany gets real”

Public support for wind power has been strong in Germany but the transfer of powers from the national to the state level has encouraged local opposition groups, writes Craig Morris on “Hardly a wind farm is built now in Germany without public resistance,” an industry insider told the author.

Read the article in English here.


Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists

“Germany’s Energiewende: The intermittency problem remains”

The energy transition is much discussed in the American press, and many believe the German experience shows that total decarbonisation is technically feasible and affordable, writes Christine Sturm for the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists. But the integration of intermittent power sources into the existing energy system remains a huge challenge, according to Sturm. “Despite what some op-ed writers may have said, Germany’s energy-turnaround is most assuredly neither cheap nor a done deal, technologically speaking. There are still many issues to be sorted out, and we have more work to do,” writes Sturm.

Read the article in English here.



“Wrong calculation”

Recent calculations suggesting that a coal exit would cost Germany 72 billion euros by 2040 are misleading, writes Patrick Graichen, head of energy think-tank Agora Energiewende*, in a guest commentary in Handelsblatt. He argues that adding up costs over 25 years always results in numbers that appear to be huge. Secondly, the study by ewi Energy Research & Scenarios assumes a steep rise in gas prices, whereas they are currently falling. Most importantly, the authors compare a coal exit to a scenario with no additional efforts to protect the climate, “as if the Paris Climate Conference didn’t happen,” according to Graichen.

Find an item on the ewi calculations in CLEW’s News Digest from 9 May here.


Die Welt

“A lot of movement through e-mobility”

The German government has decided to push e-cars with a buyer’s premium, but many suppliers to the car industry are unprepared for the transition to renewable mobility, writes Jürgen Bröker in Die Welt. A recent study by the Institute of the Automobile Industry (IFA) and a business consultancy found that up to 30 percent of small and medium-sized German suppliers will be at risk of bankruptcy in the next five to eight years. “They might not survive the transition to entirely digitalised production processes, new materials, the e-car, and automated driving,” writes Bröker.

Read the article in German here.

Find more information in CLEW’s Dossier The energy transition and Germany’s transport sector.



“German companies earn money with South Africa’s coal power”

German companies are involved in building new coal-fired power plants in South Africa, with government-backed orders worth hundreds of millions of euros, reports Ralph Weihermann for Deutschlandfunk. Some plants do great damage to impoverished local residents’ health and the environment. “It’s totally unfair that the Germans exit coal at home and repair their environment, while doing the exact opposite here,” Victor Munnik from Rhodes University told the author.

Read the article in German here.


Die Welt

“Additional millions from the government and states”

Germany has more global leaders in environmental technologies than any other country, but the country’s industry wastes 30 million megawatt-hours of energy, according to an article by Michael Posch in Die Welt. This is why the government has decided to offer additional incentives to switch to renewable technologies for heating and cooling. The corresponding programs, mainly tailored to medium and small businesses, are worth 300 million euros per year, according to the energy ministry.

Read the article in German here.

For background, read CLEW’s Dossier The Energiewende and Efficiency.



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

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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