18 Jun 2018, 13:43
Luke Sherman Benjamin Wehrmann Julian Wettengel

Record 1.4 bln euros to stabilise power grid/ Renewables goal in peril

Federal Network Agency (BNetzA)

The costs for power grid stabilising measures rose to a record 1.4 billion euros in 2017 (880 million euros in 2016), says the Federal Network Agency (BNetzA) in its report on grid and system security measures. This was due to lagging grid expansion, a Europe-wide cold spell at the beginning of 2017 and a record feed-in of wind power, among other things. “Only the grid expansion can lower the high costs for grid and system security in the long run,” said BNetzA president Jochen Homann in a press release. Costs include re-dispatch measures, the use of power plants in the reserve, and power feed-in management.

Find the press release in German here and the report in German here.

For background, read the CLEW factsheet Re-dispatch costs in the German power grid and the dossier The energy transition and Germany’s power grid.

Clean Energy Wire

A socially just transition of all economic sectors should be the guiding principal for modern climate policy, German environment minister Svenja Schulze told more than 30 ministers at the opening of the Petersberg Climate Dialogue in Berlin. According to Samantha Smith of the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC), Germany’s newly set-up coal exit commission could be a model for other countries on how to bring down greenhouse gas emissions and deal with the economic consequences in affected regions at the same time. The two days of informal climate talks, which Germany co-hosts with upcoming UN climate conference president Poland, are seen as an opportunity to openly discuss political issues and prepare official negotiations in Katowice in December. German Chancellor Angela Merkel is scheduled to speak at the Dialogue on 19 June.

For background, read the article Germany starts coal exit talks in bid to improve patchy climate record and Merkel calls for honouring Paris deal as German climate action falters.

Note: The Clean Energy Wire will publish an article on this topic later today.

Renewable Energy Federation

Due to the sluggish advance of its energy transition in the heating and transport sectors, Germany is set to miss the EU target of covering 18-percent of final energy consumption with renewables by 2020, lobby group the Renewable Energy Federation (BEE) says in a press release. According to BEE, Germany will reach a share of 16.4 percent in the target year, contributing to the country also missing its national 2020 emissions reduction target. BEE president Simone Peter said this made it even more difficult to understand why the promise of special renewables auctions made in the government’s coalition treaty was “being delayed or called into question.” Without these special auctions, the gap to reaching our target will be even greater.” Germany not only risks being fined by the EU but is gambling away a much of its political credibility abroad if it breaches agreements and does not pull its weight on climate action, Peter said.

Read the press release in German here.

See the CLEW article Germany on track to widely miss 2020 climate target – government for more information.

Federal Network Agency / Tennet

The Federal Network Agency (BNetzA) has released its 2030 grid development scenarios, including a “substantially altered” scenario based on a 65 percent share of renewables in the power mix, and on the additional auctions for wind and solar power promised in the government’s coalition treaty. "The transmission grid operators must now come up with concrete expansion plans," BNetzA president Jochen Homann said in a press release. Homann said the operators had to use “innovative grid technology and management concepts” in their plans and ensure that optimised use of the existing grid “reduces the need for grid expansion to an inevitable minimum.” The agency’s various expansion scenarios differ on the number of electric cars on German roads, the degree of sector coupling in the energy system and the use of efficient technology and storage in the power sector. Grid operators have to submit their plans by April 2019, the BNetzA added.

Read the press release in German here.

For background, read the dossier The energy transition and Germany’s power grid.

Climate Action Network Europe

Germany scores poorly in a new ranking of EU member states’ ambition and progress on slowing global warming, according to a press release from Climate Action Network Europe, an umbrella organisation of European civil society groups working to fight climate change. The group criticized Germany for its predicted failure to meet its 2020 climate targets and for postponing clear pathways for emissions reductions in the transport and energy sectors. It said the country must set a clear deadline to phase out coal and support more ambitious energy and climate policies at the EU level. Germany scored 7th of the 28 countries in the EU, behind Sweden, Portugal, and France.

Read the press release in English here and find the ranking in English here.


German environment minister Svenja Schulze has called on the country’s energy-intensive industries to present plans to reduce their carbon emissions, Handelsblatt reports. At a meeting in early July, the Social Democrat (SPD) will meet representatives of the chemical, steel and metal industries to discuss how companies can be incentivised to reduce their CO2 output. The environment ministry will financially support companies willing to invest in more efficient technology with a programme called “Decarbonisation in the industry sector”, scheduled to begin in 2020 at the latest.

See the CLEW dossier The energy transition’s effect on the economy for background.

German Parliament / Free Democratic Party

The German Free Democratic Party (FDP) has proposed doing away with EU emissions limits for passenger cars and freight vehicles and instead including the transport sector in the European Emissions Trading System (ETS), the German parliament says in a press release. The FDP parliamentary group submitted its law proposal to the parliament for debate, saying current emissions limits are “obviously a useless tool of climate policy” as the sector’s CO2 output is rising rather than falling.
FDP climate politician Lukas Köhler said tighter limits would be unlikely to reduce emissions and could threaten jobs in the car industry.

Find Köhler’s press release in German here.

See the CLEW article Germany’s environment minister pushes for tougher EU car emissions rules for more information.

Financial Times

Audi CEO Rupert Stadler has been arrested over allegations that he played a role in Volkswagen (VW) Group’s diesel emissions cheating scandal, the Financial Times reports, a week after Munich prosecutors raided his private residence. Stadler has served as Audi CEO since 2007 and has been on the board of VW group since 2010.

Read the article in English here.

For background, read the factsheet “Dieselgate” – a timeline of Germany’s car emissions fraud scandal.

Federal Statistical Office of Germany

Approximately 976 tonnes of sulphur hexafluoride (SF6) were emitted in Germany in 2017, a roughly 15-percent decline (equivalent to 166 tonnes) from the previous year, the Federal Statistical Office of Germany (Destatis) says in a press release. SF6 is the most powerful known greenhouse gas – 22,800 times more potent than carbon dioxide. The gas is mainly emitted during the manufacture of heavy equipment and production processes in the electronics industry.

Read the press release in German here.

The Guardian

German industrial giant Siemens will open a pilot project converting renewable power into ammonia in the UK next week, the Guardian reports. Normally used to increase crop yields, ammonia could be a tool to manage fluctuating renewable power generation. The company hopes to prove that the compound can store energy as efficiently as more established technologies like lithium-ion batteries, the article says.

Read the article in English here.

For background, read the dossier New technologies for the Energiewende and the factsheet Germany’s Siemens: a case study in Energiewende industry upheaval.

Zeit Online

As renewable energy facilities supply a growing share of Germany’s electricity, the power grid is struggling to cope with their fluctuating output, Peter Ilg writes for Zeit Online. On very sunny or windy days, too much electricity surges into the network, meaning wind turbines have to be disconnected to stabilise the grid. Electric vehicles could instead store the excess electricity, according to German power grid operators. “Electric vehicles provide flexibility to the energy system because they allow renewable energies to better organise themselves,” Thomas Raffeiner, CEO of energy storage company The Mobility House, said.

Read the article in German here.

For background, read the factsheet Germany’s electricity grid stable amid energy transition.

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