State ministers propose cap for renewables levy / Transport transition debated
Ilse Aigner and Garrelt Duin, the state economy ministers of Bavaria and North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW) respectively, jointly propose permanently capping the Renewable Energy Act (EEG) surcharge for power consumers at 6.5 cents per kilowatt hour (ct/kWh), according to an article in Rheinische Post. Setting up a federal fund, initially covered via loans, would distribute the renewables support cost over several years. It would be used until about 2028, when levy revenues exceeded the payments to renewable facility operators. “After 2028 surplus revenues from the frozen EEG surcharge could be used to fully repay the loan by 2038,” according to a report by the Institute for Economic Research (Ifo) in Munich. Bavaria and NRW will now advertise their proposal with the other federal states, writes Rheinische Post.
Read the article in German here.
Find the Ifo press release in English here.
Also read the CLEW article Germany debates form of renewables support as levy rises for background.
The renewables surcharge rise is long since decoupled from the expansion of wind and solar power, and is rather a consequence of low wholesale power prices, writes Georg Ehring in an opinion piece for Deutschlandfunk. “The price at the electricity exchange is so low because too many old lignite power plants are still connected to the grid – despite their enormous CO₂-emissions,” writes Ehring. The surcharge would decrease if the plants were removed from the grid – although end-consumers’ prices might increase in turn: “Clean energy doesn’t come for free.”
Read the opinion piece in German here.
Germany suffered as an industrial location because its businesses were affected by the EEG-surcharge, while companies in the important European economies profited from low wholesale power prices, writes Klaus Stratmann in an opinion piece in Handelsblatt. “That doesn’t match federal economy minister Sigmar Gabriel’s goal to strengthen the industrial location. The carelessness with which his house lets things develop is alarming,” writes Stratmann.
For background, read the CLEW dossiers German industry and its competitive edge in times of the Energiewende and The energy transition's effect on jobs and business and the CLEW factsheet What business thinks of the energy transition.
The German Energiewende was expensive and unfair because the project was “poorly crafted”, according to an opinion piece by Richard Fuchs for Deutsche Welle. “The cheaper wind and solar power become, the more private electricity customers pay for power. That’s a paradox and it mustn’t be this way,” writes Fuchs, who also called for a reform of the renewables support system.
Read the opinion piece in German here.
The Green party’s proposed ban on petrol and diesel engines by 2030 is “economically damaging, ecologically questionable, and practically impossible”, writes the head of Germany’s pro-business party FDP, Christian Lindner, in a commentary for Die Welt. He argues that a ban would endanger many thousands of jobs and Germany’s future as an industrial business location because other countries won’t follow the its example.
Read the commentary in German here.
For further information, read the CLEW article German states - New cars in EU should be emission-free by 2030.
It is sad to see politicians such as transport minister Alexander Dobrindt and Bavarian state premier Horst Seehofer try to protect the car industry against calls for a ban on combustion engines from 2030, writes Annina Reimann in a commentary for Wirtschaftswoche. “We don’t need the emission transition in 14 years – we would have needed it the day before yesterday,” writes Reimann with reference to inner city pollution. E-cars alone are not yet the solution because of the power sector’s emissions, so priority should be given to better and cheaper public transport, argues Reimann.
Read the commentary (behind paywall) in German here.
German research centre for biomass (DBFZ)
The German research centre for biomass (Deutsches Biomasseforschungszentrum, DBFZ) has developed an interactive online atlas to visualise national and regional potentials for biomass in the country. Researchers, investors and interested laypeople can use the tool free of charge, according to a press release.
Find the press release and the atlas in German here.
For background on biomass, read the CLEW dossier Bioenergy in Germany – Troubled pillar of the Energiewende.
Alexander von Humboldt Institute for Internet and Society (HIIG)
The Energiewende in Germany is an ambitious political and social project which requires an effective dialogue between all societal actors – political, civil society, economics, science, etc, writes Jonas Kaiser on the HIIG Blog. But a hyperlink network analysis of the Energiewende discourse before the federal elections in 2013 shows that political actors rarely link to others, only mostly within their party communities, according to Kaiser. “Scientific actors received little to no attention in our network.” HIIG was founded by the Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, the University of the Arts Berlin and the Social Science Research Center Berlin.
Find the blog post in English here.
Federal Network Agency (BNetzA)
The Federal Network Agency (BNetzA) has started the sixth round of auctions for large-scale ground-mounted PV arrays. It increased the auction volume to 160 megawatts because a number of winners from previous auctions said they would not realise their projects – meaning the corresponding capacity was added to the current round. Bids must be below 11.09 cents per kilowatt-hour, and the deadline is 1 December. This is the last auction under existing rules because the whole system will shift to the reform of the Renewable Energy Act agreed this year.
Read the press release in German here.
For background, read the CLEW article PV auctions: More competition, but critics warn of target shortfalls, as well as the dossier The reform of the Renewable Energy Act.