23 Oct 2017, 00:00
Kerstine Appunn Julian Wettengel

Quick coal exit constitutional - legal opinion / "Eyes on Uniper"

Agora Energiewende / BeckerBüttnerHeld (BBH)

The German government could introduce a speedy coal exit without having to pay compensation to power plant operators, think tank Agora Energiewende* writes in a press release. Law firm BeckerBüttnerHeld (BBH) analysed last year’s nuclear phase-out decision by Germany’s constitutional court and compared it to a possible quick coal-exit scenario. The state could order the shut-down of coal-fired power stations older than 25 years, BeckerBüttnerHeld found, as these are usually written off by then. However, it would have to give early notice to guarantee a transition period of about a year. For the shut-down of open-pit coal mines, longer transition periods would be necessary to avoid compensation payments.

Read the press release in German here and the opinion in German here.

For background, read the CLEW factsheet

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

dpa / BNetzA

Last year, German households had their power cut off due to unpaid bills around 330,000 times, according to the draft of the Federal Network Agency's (BNetzA) annual monitoring report, seen by news agency dpa. This represents a small year-on-year decrease (from 331,000 in 2015 and 351,802 in 2014). Suppliers have the right to stop supplying power to customers who owe more than 100 euros. A total of 6.6 million power supply connections were under threat of cut-off in 2016, dpa reports. Germany counts more than 40 million households.

Read the article in German here.

For background read the CLEW dossiers Utilities and the energy transition and The energy transition and Germany’s power grid.

Frankfurter Rundschau

The next federal government should help low-income households afford electricity, through measures such as special rates or free basic volumes that cannot be cut off, Timot Szent-Ivanyi says in an opinion piece for Frankfurter Rundschau. Szent-Ivanyi says one had to assume that this was not due to consumers being forgetful or rebellious. Most of the approximately 300,000 households whose power was cut off in 2016 could not afford to pay their bills, due to low incomes, high power prices, and the fact that poorer people cannot afford energy-saving household appliances, he writes.

For background read the CLEW dossiers Utilities and the energy transition and The energy transition and Germany’s power grid.

Rheinische Post

Ahead of the next round of coalition talks, Anton Hofreiter, head of the Green Party parliamentary group, has called for a “concrete schedule” to allow Germany to reach its 2020 climate targets, Rheinische Post reports. “The coming four years will be decisive for climate protection. Clearly setting the course is essential for us [Greens],” Hofreiter said.

Read the article in German here.

For background, read CLEW’s coverage of the election and coalition talks.

Handelsblatt Global

German energy utility RWE might be considering a partial takeover of its rival Uniper, Jürgen Flauger reports for the Handelsblatt. RWE refused to comment but Flauger points out it has previously been interested in buying gas and coal-fired power plants. Finnish energy company Fortum is currently pursuing a takeover of Uniper but has denied it would sell on parts of the company if its approach was successful.

Read the article (behind paywall) in English here.

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

European Energy Exchange (EEX)

The European Energy Exchange (EEX) and China Beijing Environment Exchange (CBEEX) will form a strategic partnership to jointly develop the world’s largest carbon market in China, German-based EEX writes in a press release. EEX and CBEEX will evaluate how access to the Chinese emissions trading system can be facilitated for international companies and vice versa, writes EEX.

Find the press release in English here.

For background, read the CLEW factsheet Understanding the European Union’s Emissions Trading System.

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