The need for, and costs of, power grid stabilising measures decreased significantly in 2016, mainly due to lower production of wind and solar power and improved grid management, says the Federal Network Agency (BNetzA) in its report on grid and system security measures for 2016. BNetzA estimates the costs of re-dispatch measures – throttling or increasing power production to deal with bottlenecks – in 2016 at 219 million euros (compared to 412 million euros in 2015). Feed-in management – compensation payments to operators of renewable energy facilities that need to throttle production – cost 373 million euros in 2016 (compared to 478 million euros in 2015). The year 2016 also saw fewer marked feed-in peaks of renewable power, which usually elicit stabilising measures, says BNetzA. Almost 75 percent of feed-in management cost was paid in Germany’s northernmost state of Schleswig-Holstein.
Find the full report in German here.
Handelsblatt / German Federal Government / Federation of German Industries
German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s criticism of the current US administration’s stance on the Paris Climate Agreement, as well as her call for greater European assertiveness, have met with broad support from German politicians and business representatives, the business newspaper Handelsblatt reports. Dieter Kempf, president of the Federation of German Industries (BDI), said in a press release that the US had made itself “the odd one out” at the G7 summit in Italy, while innogy CEO Peter Terium called for “a united and strong Europe” capable of “shaping the future with our transatlantic partners on a level playing field”. Other decidedly US-friendly politicians of Merkel’s conservative CDU party, and of its coalition partner SPD, have backed the chancellor’s plea for a more assertive Europe, Handelsblatt writes. Merkel, who is not known for making strong remarks against her political partners, “seems determined to use the G20 summit in Hamburg to issue a public appeal for free trade and climate protection – with or without [US President Donald] Trump,” the newspaper says.
One day after Merkel said Europe and Germany “cannot completely rely” on the US any more, the chancellor repeated her criticism of Washington’s stance on climate protection at a sustainability conference in Berlin. “We are and will be close partners,” she said, but added that the G7 climate talks had been “very unsatisfactory”. Merkel said it was “a good thing that the differences have not been whitewashed”, and that six countries out of the Group of Seven “have shown their determination to back and implement the Paris Agreement”.
See the BDI’s press release in German here
For more information, see the CLEW article International climate community pins hopes on Merkel to sway Trump.
Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung
Chancellor Angela Merkel’s role as host of the upcoming G20 summit in Hamburg will not be easy should the US administration decide to pull out of the Paris Agreement, because other countries – “the eternal laggards” – would “relapse into old blockade positions”, writes Andreas Mihm in an opinion piece for the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung. “Many speak of a European-Chinese axis, but it seems questionable if the weakened EU and China alone are strong enough to pull the climate train against growing opposition,” writes Mihm.
Read the CLEW article International climate community pins hopes on Merkel to sway Trump and an interview with Greenpeace’ Jennifer Morgan: Merkel's experience, credibility make her key in swaying Trump.
WirtschaftsWoche / dpa
The dismantling and recycling of hundreds or even thousands of old wind turbines is set to pose a “huge problem” for Germany’s waste management system, news agency dpa reports in an article also carried by WirtschaftsWoche. The turbines’ large rotor blades made of fibreglass or carbon composite materials are very difficult to recycle due to their high resin adhesive content. “We can’t separate them,” says Michael Schneider of recycling company REMONDIS. The company says 16,000 tonnes of this material will have to be disposed of annually by 2021. According to the article, researchers are looking into ways to separate the blades’ components, but it remains difficult to predict the costs to be shouldered by wind farm operators.
Read the article in German here.
Onshore wind energy will become much cheaper in Germany over the coming years, with power costs dropping to 3 to 4.5 eurocents per kilowatt hour at top sites, according to a new study conducted by the think tank Agora Energiewende.*
For background, read the CLEW article Citizens’ energy projects dominate first onshore wind power auction and the CLEW factsheet High hopes and concerns over onshore wind power auctions.
*Like Clean Energy Wire, Agora Energiewende is a project funded by Stiftung Mercator and the European Climate Foundation.
The German car industry has high hopes for synthetic fuels, but their plans could backfire in light of global efforts to electrify transport, writes Jens Tartler in Tagesspiegel. Synthetic fuels, produced with the help of renewable electricity, could be used in existing motors with little or no need for modifications, but the production costs are high and the German industry might waste time and resources while other countries continue to develop e-cars, writes Tartler.
Read the article in German here.
For background on German manufacturers' struggle to shift to decarbonised mobility, see the CLEW dossier The Energiewende and German carmakers.
Federal Statistical Office
Electric bicycles were present in 1.9 million households across Germany in early 2016, equalling over five percent of all households, the Federal Statistical Office (Destatis) said in a press release. The total number of e-bikes in the country rose from about two million in 2015 to 2.5 million, it added.
Read the press release in German here.