12 Oct 2017, 00:00
Sören Amelang Benjamin Wehrmann

Renewables surcharge said to fall slightly / COP23 as coalition boost?

Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung

Germany’s renewable support levy paid by consumers as part of their power bills will fall slightly below 6.8 cents from the current 6.88 cents per kilowatt-hour in 2018, the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung has learned from an industry source. Nevertheless, consumers’ power bills are unlikely to shrink because of rising grid fees, writes Andreas Mihm. The levy will be officially announced on Monday.

Read the report in German here.

Find background in the factsheets What German households pay for power and Germany ponders how to finance renewables expansion in the future.

Die Zeit

The COP23 climate conference in Bonn could be more important than ever for the “self-proclaimed climate champion” Germany, writes Petra Pinzler in a commentary for Die Zeit. Because the November summit will likely coincide with negotiations to form a new German government, the international attention could provide the necessary nudge to advance climate protection at home, for example by advancing the coal exit, writes Pinzler.

Read the commentary in German here.

See the CLEW articles Coalition watch – the making of a new German government and German Greens confident pro-climate government coalition possible for background.

Operating wind turbines in Germany will only be profitable for a small fraction of the installations once their 20-year support period via the Renewable Energy Act (EEG) has ended, consultancy Energy Brainpool says in a white paper. The first turbines in Germany will lose eligibility for support from the renewables surcharge that customers pay with their power bill in 2021 and “at the current [wholesale power] price level, only a few installations can be operated at a profit” after that due to maintenance costs, the consultancy says. Energy Brainpool uses two different scenarios with varying CO2 price levels, which is expected to rise over the course of the coming decade. “Yield rates are too low to operate the bulk of installations at a profit,” the consultancy says, but adds that “a continued operation can become economically viable quickly” by the middle of the 2020s if the prices for electricity and carbon emissions rise accordingly. 

Find a blog entry on the white paper in German here and the white paper in German here.

For background, see the CLEW dossier Onshore wind power in Germany and the CLEW article Booming German wind power sector fears 2019 cliff.

Deutsche Bank

The incoming German government has two options to replace coal power with cleaner sources to reach climate targets, writes analyst Martin Brough in a Deutsche Bank Research paper. The first is to use natural gas as a bridge fuel, while the second is to leap straight to renewables. “For all the political attention to top-down targets, investors want certainty about the details,” writes Brough. “Encouraging the appropriate deployment of fresh capital to get German emission reductions back on track requires the new government to clarify its intended policy mechanisms as well as its top-down decarbonisation targets,” he concludes.

Find the paper in English here.

Deutsche Welle

Digital technology that interconnects renewable power sources with vehicles, household appliances and other devices that use electricity is becoming an increasingly important component of Germany’s Energiewende, the shift away from fossil and nuclear power sources, Jess Smee writes for Deutsche Welle. “Fossil fuel and nuclear power are still used as a backup for energy from intermittent and unpredictable sun and wind,” she says, adding that innovative smart tech solutions that include storage facilities make it possible to gradually reduce the need for conventional power reserves.

Read the article in English here.

See the CLEW dossier The digitalisation of the Energiewende for more information.

Die Presse

Christian Lindner, the head of German free-market liberal party FDP, has said his party and the German Greens are especially at odds over their approaches to energy policy. In an interview with Austrian newspaper Die Presse, Lindner said the Greens were proposing “subsidies, bans and quotas”, whereas the FDP aimed to reach the Paris Agreement’s climate goals through market-based measures. However, in some areas, such as education, the free-market liberals had more in common with the environmentalist Green Party than with their traditional coalition partner, the conservative CDU/CSU alliance, Lindner added.

Read the interview in German here.

See the CLEW factsheet Climate & energy stumbling blocks for Jamaica coalition talks and the CLEW article German Greens confident pro-climate government coalition possible for background.

Stuttgarter Nachrichten

Stuttgart-based utility EnBW has cancelled a large pumped hydropower project in the Black Forest opposed by environmentalists, according to a dpa report carried by Stuttgarter Nachrichten. The project in Atdorf with a capacity of 1,400 megawatts and a projected total cost of 1.6 billion euros would require too much preparatory work with uncertain success, the company said. EnBW now wants to set new priorities in storage technologies, for example by cooperating with Bosch on a battery project.

Read the article in German here.

Frankfurter Rundschau

With its reaction to reports on Germany missing its own 2020 emissions reduction goals, Germany’s environment ministry (BMUB) has given a prime example of political opportunism, Thorsten Knuf writes in a commentary for Frankfurter Rundschau. In early September, only shortly before the federal elections, think tank Agora Energiewende* published a report which stated that Germany was headed for a clear miss of its 2020 goals, an assessment that the BMUB, under the leadership of the Social Democrats (SPD), downplayed as being “extremely negative” at the time, Knuf says. Now, after the elections saw the SPD losing government participation, the ministry suddenly comes up with a projection similar to that of Agora Energiewende to urge the SPD’s successors to step up efforts on climate protection. “Such behaviour is just sleazy,” Knuf says.

*Like the Clean Energy Wire, Agora Energiewende is a project funded by Stiftung Mercator and the European Climate Foundation.

See the CLEW article Germany set to widely miss climate targets, env ministry warns for background.

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.
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