German Chancellor Angela Merkel has said the country’s renewable reform is a profound paradigm shift. “We can’t feel it yet […] but it will change the landscape considerably,” Merkel said with reference to the transition from pre-fixed feed-in tariffs to an auction system. At a Federation of German Industries (BDI) event on Thursday, she added that progress was urgently needed in grid extensions. With regard to the Climate Action Plan, Merkel said industry’s participation was planned once a presentable result was available. “We will talk about the Climate Action Plan in constructive cooperation.” She added that a “soft nudge” from policy framework conditions was sometimes important to spur innovation, which was crucial for German export success.
For background, read the CLEW dossier The reform of the Renewable Energy Act.
The stock market launch of innogy could make RWE’s green subsidiary Germany’s most valuable utility, writes Antje Höning in Rheinische Post. If the stock price of 36 euros - determined by auction - remains unchanged, innogy will be worth around 20 billion euros at tomorrow’s launch, according to Höning. The spin-off that takes over RWE’s renewables, grids and retail operations, would then be worth more than twice as much as its parent company, currently valued at around nine billion euros. Innogy’s popularity with investors could thus become a “lifebuoy” for financially stricken RWE, which is already floating more shares of its subsidiary than initially planned, writes Höning.
Read the article in German here.
For background information read the CLEW-Factsheet on RWE’s plans for new renewable subsidiary.
Federation of German Industries (BDI)
The Federation of German Industries (BDI) has called on the government to get the costs of the country’s energy transition under control. “The brake on costs promised by the economics ministry has turned out to be no more than wishful thinking,” said BDI president Ulrich Grillo on Thursday at an event in Berlin. “The renewables surcharge and grid costs continue to rise – a grave competitive disadvantage for our companies,” Grillo said. He criticised German industry was not sufficiently consulted on the environment ministry’s proposal for a Climate Action Plan. “Now is not the time to tighten already ambitious EU and national targets. A national solo will not lead us to success.”
For background, read the CLEW factsheet Industrial power prices and the Energiewende, and the article Ministry avoids concrete targets in weakened Climate Action Plan.
From 2019 on, Volkswagen (VW) will use two liquefied natural gas (LNG)-fuelled charter vessels for vehicle shipments between Europe and North America “to significantly improve the environmental balance of its marine transport fleet”, the company announced in a press release. The ships will have a capacity of about 4,500 vehicles and replace two of the nine conventional freighters powered by heavy fuel oil. Alternative LNG drive systems for ships reduce air pollutant emissions significantly – CO2 by up to 25% and NOx by up to 30%, writes VW.
Read the press release in English here.
For background on VW’s green mobility strategy read the CLEW factsheet Dieselgate forces VW to embrace green mobility.
The German energy transition does not serve as a role model, as the cost for “early renewables” is a heavy burden for consumers while the country was unable to significantly lower emissions and did not cut back on using coal, British economist Dieter Helm writes in a guest commentary in Handelsblatt. “The harsh reality is that Germany has carried out a transition towards coal since 2000 […]. At the same time, the country shuts down a significant part of its low-emission generation capacity with the nuclear phase-out,” writes Helm. “No wonder hardly anyone wants to follow the German example.”
For background on Germany’s climate targets read the CLEW factsheet Germany’s greenhouse gas emissions and climate targets.
Amprion / Rheinische Post
German grid operator Amprion has started an early public consultation process on possible routes for a 300 km direct current underground power line to transport electricity “from the wind-rich north to the consumption centres in western and southern Germany”, the company announced in a press release. The public dialogue that will last until early 2018 is thought to prevent possible opposition from local residents, writes Rheinische Post in a separate article. Last week, grid operators TenneT and TransnetBW had published route suggestions for the controversial power line SuedLink.
For background, read the CLEW dossier The energy transition and Germany’s power grid.
Association of German Chambers of Commerce and Industry
German companies on average evaluate the influence of the energy transition on their competitiveness as marginally positive, according to an online survey of German businesses conducted by Association of German Chambers of Commerce and Industry (DIHK). “The assessment of the energy transition on the whole is less critical than a year ago. However, many possibilities for Energiewende investments lie fallow due to regulatory and market conditions,” says the survey report “IHK-Energiewende-Barometer 2016”. DIHK sees the main reason in stable and sometimes sinking electricity prices.
The prospects of permanently increasing energy prices due to the renewables development have caused a dispute between Germany’s governing coalition partners from the Social Democratic Party (SPD) and the Christian Democratic Union (CDU), writes Tobias Schmidt in Nordwest-Zeitung. Michael Fuchs, vice chairman of the CDU’s parliamentary group in the Bundestag, criticised Social Democratic economy minister Sigmar Gabriel for having done nothing “to stop the excessive expansion of onshore and offshore wind energy”, writes Schmidt. Fuchs said it was “high time energy policy got disengaged from the renewables lobby and that affordability of power supply becomes the top priority”, according to Schmidt.
Read the article in German here.
For more information on the renewables’ effect on power prices read the CLEW-Dossier on German industry and its competitive edge in times of the Energiewende.
Handelsblatt / ExxonMobil
Oil and natural gas will continue to play a crucial role in Germany’s energy consumption in the coming decades, writes Regine Palm in Handelsblatt. The two fossil combustibles will contribute about 60 percent to the country’s energy mix in 2040, according to a prognosis by the German branch of US-oil and gas corporation ExxonMobil. While gas will replace oil as Germany’s number one overall energy source, oil will continue to be the most important source in the transport sector, the prognosis says. According to Exxon, “two-thirds of German passenger cars will run on petrol or diesel” in 2040.
Read the prognosis in German here.
For background information read the CLEW-Dossier on The energy transition and Germany’s transport sector.
Institute for Applied Ecology
On 14 October, German grid operators will announce the renewables surcharge (EEG-Umlage) for 2017. For this occasion, the Institute for Applied Ecology (Öko-Institut) has put together a paper that discusses important legal changes to the EEG made over the past months and offers an outlook on where the German levy on clean energy is headed.
See the paper in German here.