Reams of ideas for govt climate action / Coal tussle picks up steam

Reuters / EnBW

“Germany's EnBW cuts dividend, sees lower profits in 2016”

Germany’s third largest utility EnBW posted a 125-million-euro net profit in 2015, but the adjusted operating result (EBITDA) decreased by 2.7 percent from the previous year. Core earnings are expected to decrease further in 2016, the utility warned, due to the ongoing decline in electricity prices. EnBW proposed a dividend of 0.55 euros per share for 2015, down from 0.69 euros in 2014. CEO Frank Mastiaux said that the company had made progress with its growth and efficiency measures. The segment renewable energies saw 50.2 percent growth in adjusted core earnings to 287.4 million euros. 23.6 percent of EnBW’s installed capacity is renewable.

Read the press release in English here.

Read a Reuters report in English here.

 

Ministry for the Environment

Ideas for the Climate Action Plan 2050

The first round of consultations on the Climate Action Plan 2050, the environment ministry’s long term climate and energy policy plan, includes over 90 measures for climate protection. The plan aims to bring about a climate-neutral economy, in line with the Paris Agreement. The suggestions come from associations, states and communities. The 345-page document will be used by the ministry to develop the actual Climate Action Plan 2050, ready for government approval in summer 2016. The measures range from different ways to phase out coal to support for electric cars, the recultivation of moorlands or changing animal feed to reduce methane emissions.

See the measurement catalogue in German here.

 

Die Welt

“German economy fears 'eco dictatorship'”

The government plans a radical set of rules on climate protection 2050, writes Daniel Wetzel in Die Welt. This will lead to rising rents, higher taxes, forced insulation for home owners, speed limits on the motorway and “massive” cost increases for industry, Wetzel predicts. In a hectic frenzy, before the parliamentary recess in summer, the environment ministry wants to write a plan that sets the framework for Germany’s future climate policy, Wetzel says. But industry representatives regard it more as a plan to deindustrialise Germany, if the measures suggested so far come into effect. Industry associations BDI and DIHK told environment minister Hendricks in a letter that amid all the climate protection, Germany needed to survive as an industrial economy. Representatives of the heating industry warned against an “eco or climate dictatorship”.

Read the article in German here.

 

Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy

Key points on solar PV tenders open for other EU countries

The energy ministry has published key points on how tenders for solar PV installations under the German Renewable Energy Act (EEG) could be extended to projects in other EU countries. The ministry had agreed with the European Commission that by 2017 it would open five percent of the annually tendered capacity to bids from other member states. A pilot scheme for cross-border tenders with Denmark and Luxembourg will start this year. The concept only applies if the other country also opens its auctions for German projects and if the power generated in the installations can be physically imported to Germany.

Read the press release and the key points in German here.

Read a CLEW factsheet on auctions for renewables under the new EEG here.

 

Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung

“Premium for electric car”

44 percent of Germans believe that a 5000-euro buyer’s premium for electric cars would be a good idea, the Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung and pollster Institut für Demoskopie Allensbach found in a survey. 32 percent said that they don’t think such an incentive should be introduced.

Read a CLEW factsheet about polls on the Energiewende here.

 

Süddeutsche Zeitung

“Vattenfall’s price”

It is becoming less likely that Vattenfall’s lignite assets in eastern Germany will be transferred into a foundation, as utility Steag had suggested, the Süddeutsche Zeitung reports. Vattenfall chairman of the board Lars Nordström said his company would not enter into a “bad deal just to get rid of the brown coal sector,” Varinia Bernau writes. There are still other investors who would be paying Vattenfall money for its lignite assets – Czech energy company EPH said it would take on the responsibility of recultivating the mines in the future without demanding up-front compensation from Vattenfall, Bernau says.

Read a CLEW facstheet on Vattenfall's coal assets in Germany here.

 

taz – die tageszeitung

“Burned out”

Germany’s lignite operations, both in eastern Lusatia and in the western German coal mining regions are under immense pressure, writes the taz. With a power price below 20 euros, none of the lignite plants can earn money. Researcher Felix Matthes from the Insititute for Applied Ecology (Öko-Institut) says that low coal and gas prices on the global market are to blame, as well as very low prices for emissions allowances in Europe. It turns out that Greenpeace had it right when it suggested to utility Vattenfall that it would take over its lignite operations if Vattenfall paid it a 2-billion-euro premium, the authors say.

Read the article in German here.

 

Frankfurter Rundschau / ver.di

“Exit coal as soon as possible”

Trade union ver.di has tightened its position on a coal phase-out, Joachim Wille reports in the Frankfurter Rundschau. The union leaders agreed that exiting fossil fuels should be undertaken “as soon as possible.” Power, heating and transport had to be run on renewable energies in the future, they said, but for a transitional period, flexible power from fossil stations would be needed. It would be necessary to phase out the coal sector in a socially acceptable fashion and the state had to guarantee an affordable and secure energy supply.

Read the ver.di press release in German here.

 

Zeit Online

“The coal company boss”

German trade unionist Michael Vassiliadis is up against mounting political forces that want to see the highly polluting lignite coal industry shut down in Germany, Claus Hecking and Petra Pinzler write in Zeit Online. Around 20,000 people still make their living in the brown coal industry, most of them union members, say the authors. Last week, the head of the IG BCE mining, chemicals and energy union presented a plan for phasing out coal, calling for producers and power plant operators to pay into a fund as long as they still earn money from lignite. He reckons this would be around 15 years, the authors write. The savings would then be paid out to subsidise the industry for a subsequent 15 years, they say. Vassiliadis argues that this would give planning security to industry, including for the dismantling of power plants and recultivation of land, even though it would delay the coal exit.

Read the article in German here.

Read a CLEW factsheet on coal here.

 

Frankfurter Rundschau

“A tax on CO2

Climate economist Ottmar Edenhofer of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research told the Frankfurter Rundschau in an interview that low oil prices provide the opportunity for a tax on CO2. Few politicians dare to suggest such controversial tax, the newspaper writes, but Edenhofer says now is the time. Such a tax would raise the price of petrol for car drivers by around 5 cents per litre, he predicts. To unburden poor households, the government could consider a rebate on the tax takings, he suggests.

Read the article in German here.                   

 

Süddeutsche Zeitung

“South-east power passage will be finished earliest in 2025”

Power network operator TenneT expects the controversial south-east power line expansion won’t be finished until 2025, executive board member Lex Hartman told the Süddeutsche Zeitung. Christian Sebald writes that the company will start a dialogue with citizens in several regions in the south, as in the past such expansion plans led to huge protests. He stressed that the lines will be almost entirely underground, according to a compromise reached last year. The lines will bring wind power from Germany’s north to the industrial south.

Read the article in German here.

 

Klimaretter.info

“Töpfer: Energiewende brings peace”

Only sustainable climate policies will help curb the tide of refugees to Europe in the long run, said the former German environment minister Klaus Töpfer in an interview with Austrian news agency PTE, according to the website Klimaretter.info. The International Organisation for Migration (IOM) predicts 200 million climate refugees by 2050, which Töpfer says is only the level predicted “if nothing happens.” He criticised the slow pace of the Energiewende in Germany, noting that the big culprit for the high per-capita emissions levels in Germany was lignite coal.

Read the article in German here.

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