04 Dec 2015, 00:00
Ellen Thalman

Rules on underground cables / Push for renewables is 'paying off'

Federal Network Agency / TenneT

New law on underground cables in the transmission grid

German parliament has passed a law detailing that new direct current transmission lines will be put underground – this will be the default setting while overland lines will become the exception. The Federal Network Agency said it welcomed the parliament’s decision to give priority to underground cables. This “can help to overcome blockades hindering the expansion of the network, because buried cables generally are associated with less intrusion in the residential environment,” said Jochen Homann, president of the Federal Network Agency.
Separately, grid operator Tennet said the new law lays the path for rapid planning of direct current underground cables like the SuedLink project. Tennet said it wants to use its previous experience with 1,800 kilometres of underground cables to contribute to the project.

Read the press Network Agency press release in German here.

Read the Tennet press release in German here.

See a CLEW dossier on the German grid expansion here.


DUH Deutsche Umwelthilfe / Handelsblatt

“German government is missing out on energy efficiency in the building sector”

The non-profit environmental and consumer protection group Deutsche Umwelthilfe (DUH) said in a press release that the German government is doing too little to promote energy efficiency gains in the building sector, especially in view of the government’s 2014 commitment to reduce emissions in the sector. Since passing the NAPE national action plan for energy efficiency, “there have hardly been any advances in the area of efficiency,” the group said. DUH said it would like to see “effective measures that would further climate protection measures in building renovation,” discussed at the UN climate conference in Paris.
Separately, in an article in the Handelsblatt, Klaus Stratmann cites the German industry association BDI as also saying the German government needs to increase its efforts in the field. “There is no movement in this area that would free up the enormous potential in the building sector,” Stratmann quotes the BDI as saying.

Read the press release in German here



“Germany Joins Global Group to Encourage Zero-Emission Vehicles”

Germany has joined the International Zero-emission Vehicle Alliance (ZEV), which is committed to achieving zero-emissions in passenger cars in the regions of its members by 2050, reports BloombergBusiness. The ZEV was formed in August by California, the Netherlands and Quebec. Norway, the UK, Germany and seven other US states are now also members according to the report. “If we are to achieve our climate targets, the transport sector must make a greater contribution than it has to date,” it quotes German Deputy Environment Minister Jochen Flasbarth as saying in a statement. “We see electric mobility as the key to making passenger transport climate friendly.”

Read the article in English here.


New York Times

“Germany may offer model for reining in fossil fuel use”

Germany’s Energiewende could offer other countries ideas for fulfilling their climate protection pledges after the COP21 climate summit, currently underway in Paris, writes Melissa Eddy in The New York Times. Germany “has claimed some success in diversifying its energy sources and balancing economic growth with environmental concerns,” the newspaper says. The feature goes on to describe how Germany has expanded renewable energy and some of the obstacles it still faces in the project.

Read the article in English here.


Frankfurter Rundschau

“Successful overture: The Energiewende has already created 370,000 jobs and lots of international prestige”

The Energiewende is a huge and ongoing economic impetus in Germany, writes Frank-Thomas Wenzel in the Frankfurter Rundschau. Since its inception 15 years ago, “much has been criticized, some rules have been overhauled. At the same time, it has been above all a success,” he says.  Wenzel cites the 150 million tonnes of CO2 that have been avoided through the Energiewende and the 370,000 jobs that have been created.

Read the commentary in German here.


Futurity / Stanford University

“Germany’s big push for renewables is paying off”

A study by the Stanford University Steyer-Taylor Center for Energy Policy and Finance concludes that the secret to success of Germany’s Energiewende has been the favourable treatment of “soft-cost” factors like financing, permitting, installation and grid access, writes the online science research aggregator Futurity. Also, it says that more renewables don’t necessarily mean higher electricity bills for consumers, and says that raising the amount of fluctuating power in the grid won’t necessarily destabilise the system, Futurity writes. The study, “A tale of three markets: Comparing solar and wind deployment experiences in California, Texas and Germany”, compares the experience of renewable energy build-up in three markets: Germany, the world’s fourth-largest economy, Texas, the 12th largest, and California, the 8th largest.

Download the study in English here.

Read an abstract of the study here.

Read the Futurity article in English here.


Energy Research & Social Science

“Putting an energy system transformation into practice: The case of the German Energiewende”

Researchers Eva Schmid, Brigitte Knopf and Anna Pechan have analysed the Energiewende in terms of not only technology, but also actors and institutions, in a new study “Putting an energy system transformation into practice: The case of the German Energiewende”, published in Energy Research & Social Science. They apply the theory of strategic action fields to The German electricity system and identify and characterise actors who can carry out the Energiewende. The study also groups these actors into those that favour centralised and decentralised visions, concluding that these visions are more contradictory in an institutional than a technological view.

Read an abstract or buy the study here.

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