Renewables growth in 2015 - 'normal' slowing or year of 'disillusionment'?

dpa/Frankfurter Rundschau

“Growth of wind power sluggish in 2015”

2015 will enter the history of German renewables as a year of disillusionment, according to a report by press agency dpa. Especially the growth of onshore wind slowed significantly, according to renewables association BEE. The association estimated capacity was expanded by 3600 MW in 2015, compared to 4750 MW in 2014. Solar association BSW said solar capacity grew by around 1400 MW, a drop of around 30 percent and clearly below the government targets. Government plans to put a lid on renewables development is impeding the Energiewende, the BEE claims.

Read the article in German here.

 

Handelsblatt

“Excessive complaining”

A third of Germany’s generated power comes from wind, sun, hydropower or biomass, but the renewables sector is still unhappy and claims the government is putting the brakes on renewables development, writes Klaus Stratmann in an op-ed for the Handelsblatt. “This is an astonishing view,” he says. With newly installed wind power capacity of 3600 megawatts (MW), 2015 could become the year with the third largest added capacity after 2012 and 2014, he writes. This is normal, Stratmann argues. And as long as there are not enough grid connections to transport power from north to south in Germany, it would be irresponsible to go chasing after new renewables installation records, he says.

 

dpa / Die Welt

“Berlin hinders better climate protection”

Germany’s coalition government is hindering the development of renewable energies, says Schleswig-Holstein's energy transition minister Robert Habeck (Green Party) in an article on the news service dpa. However, compared to the transition in the efficiency, heating, industry and transport sectors, renewables development is one of the more successful parts of the energy transition, Habeck says. Capping renewables development as the coalition government has decided, was basically preventing Germany from getting better at climate protection – “this is a fatal error,” he says.

Read the article in German here.

 

Süddeusche Zeitung

Wind power and a political bird

Wind turbines are forbidden in areas where red kites breed and a new study underlines how turbines impact the endangered species in Germany, writes Renate Meinhof in a feature for the Süddeutsche Zeitung. In order to prevent the construction of new wind parks, opponents often try to find red kites or other birds of prey, she reports. Planning officials and scientists who consider the presence of the birds a criterion for exclusion have even received death threats, she says.

 

Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung

“Immigration makes it harder to achieve climate targets”

The increased number of refugees moving to Germany is putting pressure on the government’s climate targets. More inhabitants use more energy and emit more greenhouse gases, says an article in the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung. Expert Andreas Löschel told the paper that a larger population will require more efforts in climate action. This is an issue for the government because all scenarios for lower energy consumption, higher efficiency and fewer CO2 emissions assume a shrinking population. Instead emissions could be 14 million tonnes of CO2 higher in 2020 compared to the current projections.

 

pv magazine

“New incentives for solar storage a long time coming”

Incentives for small solar power storage systems expired at the end of the year and the government is working on a new programme, which it says will start “as soon as possible in early 2016,” writes Sandra Enkhardt in pv magazine. The government first wanted to stop the support entirely, but parliament forced it to change course. Green politician Oliver Krischer told the magazine the current insecurity was poison for investments in the sector.

Find the article in German here.

 

Recharge

“German tenders monitored across Europe”

Germany’s move to renewables tenders is under close scrutiny even beyond the country’s borders, reports Bernd Radowitz for Recharge magazine. "Germany’s plans to change the way it authorises and pays for wind and solar power will have lasting repercussions in Europe’s largest renewables market — and across the continent," writes Radowitz.

Read the article in English (behind paywall) here.

Read a CLEW article about the tender debate here.

 

Reuters

“CEZ mandates Aquila Capital to build German wind portfolio”

Czech utility CEZ has mandated investment firm Aquila Capital to help build wind farms in Germany, reports Jason Hovet for Reuters. The companies said they had plans to invest hundreds of millions of euros over the next five years. “We see great potential in the German market,” said CEZ board member Tomas Pleskac. CEZ is among the leading contenders to buy Vattenfall's eastern German lignite operations.

Find a CLEW factsheet on the Vattenfall sale here.

 

Handelsblatt

“Uniper, a difficult birth”

After the split of Germany’s largest utility, the ability of the new E.ON to develop products and services for the green and digital energy world of the future will be decisive for its success, writes Jürgen Flauger  in Handelsblatt. “But in this area, new and powerful competitors lurk: US giants like Tesla and Google,” he says. The new conventional power company Uniper also faces a very uncertain future given rock-bottom electricity prices, writes Flauger.

Find the article in German here.

 

German Institute for Economic Research (DIW)

“'Self-supply with solar power' - a driver for the energy transition?”

The share of solar power in German electricity supply has increased from less than one percent in 2008 to 5.7 percent in 2014, write Karsten Neuhoff and Nils May from the climate policy team at DIW. Households using solar power for own consumption, and also with battery storage, can benefit the general public by boosting acceptance of the energy transition and reducing the load on the grid, the researchers write in the DIW Roundup. However, the current rules for self-supply households don’t support the optimal economic use of solar power panels and batteries, and currently do not help alleviate pressure on the general grid. Such distortions have to be examined, the researchers say.

Read the article in German here.

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