11 Jul 2016
Sören Amelang Julian Wettengel

Renewables reform: "Return of reason" or "Step on the break"?

Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung

With the reform of the Renewable Energy Act “reason has returned to ecology” in Germany, writes Jasper von Altenbockum in an opinion piece in the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung. The reform was about “wringing out a quantum of market economy” from the subsidy system by way of auctions, writes Altenbockum.

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.

For more details, read the factsheet Defining features of the Renewable Energy Act (EEG) and the article Auctions to set the price for wind and solar - the debate).


The switch to auctions in the reformed Renewable Energy Act is reasonable, but the reform effectively puts the breaks on the amount of renewable development, writes Georg Ehring in a commentary for public broadcaster Deutschlandfunk. He argues a limit of 45 percent renewable share 2025 is much too low because coal and nuclear power must be phased out. “Germany once had a pioneering role and now, of all countries, steps on the brake.”

Read the commentary in German here.

pv magazine

Citizen energy projects and the development of wind power will suffer most from the Renewable Energy Act (EEG) reform passed by both chambers of the German parliament, writes Hans-Josef Fell in a guest commentary for pv magazine. “The wind sector will largely collapse” as the planned deployment corridor of 2.8 gigawatts of additional onshore capacity might be undercut, writes Fell, one of the authors of the original EEG.

Read the guest commentary in German here.

Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung

The first truly fundamental reform of the Renewable Energy Act (EEG) was long overdue, writes Andreas Mihm in a commentary for Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung. The law has long fulfilled its purpose of making green power competitive and has become too expensive, Mihm says. “But even after the reform, however laudable its aims, nothing will be good,” writes Mihm, arguing that special support for turbines in low-wind locations, as well as biogas, will push up costs. He says renewable lobby claims that the reforms will destroy the Energiewende are “nonsense” because so far, both green power development and have risen after every reform. “Why should it be different this time?”


The Paris Climate Agreement clearly implies speeding up the Energiewende, but the Renewable Energy Act reform will have the opposite effect, writes Werner Eckert in a commentary for public broadcaster SWR. Instead of trying to solve the problems associated with the Energiewende, the reform is used as a pretext to paralyse the energy transition and climate protection, according to Eckert. “This law has a fundamental flaw, and all the hard-fought little compromises don’t help at all. There simply isn’t enough determination to finish off the old energies.”

Read the commentary in German here.

Frankfurter Rundschau

The federal government’s “climate rhetoric” runs contrary to recent plans and regulatory reforms, writes Joachim Wille in an opinion piece for Frankfurter Rundschau. Cabinet decided on a draft law to ratify the Paris Climate Agreement and Chancellor Angela Merkel emphasised the importance if climate targets at the Petersberg Climate Dialogue. But the reform of the Renewable Energy Act will slow down the energy transition and endanger Paris’ 1.5-degree target, writes Wille. Meanwhile, environment minister Barbara Hendricks' once-ambitious Climate Action Plan 2050 is being torn apart by the economy, transport and agriculture ministries, meaning the final draft slated for September “won’t be much more than climate rhetoric,” writes Wille.

Read the opinion piece in German here.

Greenpeace / Spiegel Online

Current plans for a Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) between the EU and the USA could threaten central instruments of Germany’s the energy transition, Greenpeace says in a press release. According to a leaked EU Commission draft, third-party access to each contract party’s energy transport infrastructure would be granted on “commercial terms that are reasonable, transparent and non-discriminatory (including as between types of energy)”. This could threaten the German feed-in tariffs, as well as priority grid access for renewables, as they could be seen as commercially unreasonable and discriminatory respectively, writes Greenpeace. However, Spiegel Online points out that the Commission’s proposal includes a paragraph that would allow each contract party a “limited list of derogations from the right to third party access based on objective criteria set out in legislation, provided that they are necessary to fulfil a legitimate policy objective”.

Find the press release by Greenpeace in German here and the leaked Commission documents in English here.

Read the Spiegel Online article in German here and a Guardian article on the TTIP leak in English here.

WAZ / dpa

E.ON CEO Johannes Teyssen has warned that right-wing populists might campaign against Germany’s energy transition if power prices do not fall. The anti-immigrant AfD already has discovered the Energiewende as topic, Teyssen told regional newspaper WAZ. “The people were always promised the energy transition would lower power prices. If we can’t keep to that, and smother the countryside with wind turbines, it will take its toll.”

Find a short report on the interview by news agency dpa in German here and the original interview here.

Bild / Süddeutsche Zeitung

The transport ministry has instructed a commission to determine ethical principles for driverless cars, according to a report in Süddeutsche Zeitung. Transport minister Alexander Dobrindt told mass daily Bild two of the fundamental ideas guiding the work of the commission must be that the cars must always prioritise damage to property instead of damage to persons, and that vehicles must not classify people, for example by size or age. He also said a change of law will ensure that in case of an accident where the driver uses autopilot correctly, the manufacturer rather than the driver will be liable.

Read an article about the interview in German here and find the original interview here.


A pilot study suggests wind turbines attract bats, reports science news service idw. “They seem to appear particularly appealing to female noctule bats in early summer,” the report says. A researcher said the bats might mistake turbines for dead trees, which make ideal homes for the bats. Small changes to the operation of existing wind farms would be sufficient to minimise bat fatalities, according to the report.

Read the report in English here.

All texts created by the Clean Energy Wire are available under a “Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Licence (CC BY 4.0)” . They can be copied, shared and made publicly accessible by users so long as they give appropriate credit, provide a link to the license, and indicate if changes were made.
« previous news next news »


Sören Amelang

Researching a story? Drop CLEW a line or give us a call for background material and contacts.

+49 30 700 1435 212

Journalism for the energy transition

Get our Newsletter
Join our Network
Find an interviewee