Renewables reform clears further hurdle / Anti-wind petition fails

Federal Parliament / pv magazine

Parliament energy committee agrees to contested renewables reform

The federal parliament’s committee for economics and energy has agreed to the reform of the Renewable Energy Act (EEG), including many last-minute changes, according to a press release. The government coalition parties, economy minister Sigmar Gabriel’s Social Democrats and Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservative Christian Democrats, added changes to help citizen projects compete in the new auction system, to boost local use of PV power, as well as combined auctions for PV and onshore wind with an annual volume of 400 megawatts, starting in 2018.
On Friday, both chambers of parliament are to vote on the reform, which is likely to pass in its current amended form due to the large majority of the government coalition.

Read parliament’s report in German here.

Read the article in PV magazine in German here.

For background on the reform, read the new CLEW dossier The reform of the Renewable Energy Act and the factsheet EEG reform 2016 – switching to auctions for renewables.

 

Handelsblatt

“Regulator cuts grid yields”

The Federal Network Agency (BNetzA) has suggested lowering the equity interest rate for operators of power grids and gas networks as of 2018/19, it said on Wednesday. The lower rates mirror current low interest rates on financial markets, BNetzA president Jochen Homann said. 1,600 network operators will face reduced earnings of hundreds of millions annually, Klaus Stratmann writes in the Handelsblatt. Utility association VKU told the Handelsblatt that lower interest rates were making investments in new grid connections less interesting – at a time when Germany was in need of a massive power grid expansion. Consumers would benefit from the new rules since they are paying for the grid via their power bills, Stratmann says. The BNetzA suggestions will be consulted until August, a final decision is expected in September.

Read the article in German (behind paywall) here.

 

rbb

“Wind power petition failed”

A petition by the initiative “Save Brandenburg” aimed at throttling construction of new wind turbines has failed, Radio Berlin Brandenburg (rbb) reports. Instead of the necessary 80,000 signatures, the wind power opponents only gathered 45,000 signatures. Their aim was to get the state parliament to debate a new, extended, minimum distance rule between places where people live and the location of wind turbines, and to ban wind parks in forests.

Read the article in German here.

 

taz – die tageszeitung

“Headwind for new course”

Germany’s northern most state Schleswig-Holstein will be the ninth of 16 states to have a climate protection law, taz reports. The state cabinet passed the draft law on Wednesday, now parliament has to approve it. Targets established in the law are doubling the production of renewable electricity from 18 terawatt-hours (TWh) annually to 37 TWh in 2025. By 2030 the state wants to produce 44 TWh from renewable sources. It already covers more than 100 percent of its power consumption from renewables, the article says. 22 percent of heating energy are to come from renewables by 2025 – in 2014 the share was at 13.5 percent. By 2040, greenhouse gas emissions shall be reduced by 70 percent compared to 1990 emissions, the draft law states.

Read the article in German here.

 

Climate Home

“Banks urged to blacklist Czech coal guzzler EPH”

After campaigners’ hopes were dashed that the Swedish government would veto the sale of state-owned utility Vattenfall’s German lignite coal assets to Czech investor EPH, a number of NGOs have called on German and international banks to stop funding the firm's coal business, Megan Darby writes on Climate Home. BankTrack, E3G, urgewald and Sandbag are making the appeal at a time when a number of banks are looking to reduce their exposure to risky investments into fossil fuel businesses.

Read the article in English here.

 

PV magazine

“Large battery in Brandenburg starts operations”

A 5-megawatt storage battery has started regular operations in Brandenburg, after a 1-year test run was completed successfully, PV magazine reports. The battery is among the biggest of its kind in Europe and has the prequalification as a network stabilising facility. The facility could substitute the balancing power provided by a 100-megawatt thermal power plant, thereby saving 20,000 tonnes of CO2 annually, operator Upside Group said.

Read the article in German here.

 

DIW

“Steel, cement, aluminium: European emissions trading could send effective stimulus to reduce CO2 emissions in raw materials”

A reform of the European Emissions Trading System (EU ETS) could make the scheme more effective without endangering the competitiveness of the European raw materials industry, a report by international researchers, including the German Institute for Economy Research (DIW) has found. A combination of “dynamic free allocation” and an additional consumption charge on carbon-intensive products like steel, cement and aluminium could be the necessary incentives for these industries to cut more CO2 emissions.

Read the press release in German here and the paper (with English abstract) here.

 

Deutschlandradio

“EnBW aims to become a ‘green giant’”

Germany’s third largest utility EnBW hopes investments in wind power and digital services will help it shed the image of a climate-damaging coal and nuclear company, reports Richard Fuchs for broadcaster Deutschlandradio. EnBW is using new management ideas to create a start-up culture, in what amounts to “shock therapy” for a rather traditional and sedate company with 20,000 employees, which is 90 percent publicly owned.  But despite strong investments in offshore wind parks, EnBW’s renewables share is only 13.8 percent, much of which is generated in old hydropower stations. Activists claim EnBW’s new strategic direction consists mainly of ‘greenwashing’, reports Fuchs.

Read or listen to the report in German here.

For background on the crisis of Germany’s largest utilities, consult the CLEW factsheets RWE’s plans for new renewable subsidiary and E.ON shareholders ratify energy giant’s split.

 

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