13 May 2016, 00:00
Sören Amelang Ellen Thalman Julian Wettengel

State premiers postpone renewables reform decision / Utility split

Bundesregierung / dpa-AFX

“Federal and state governments stall on green electricity reform”

Chancellor Angela Merkel and the state premiers postponed a decision on contentious issues of the upcoming reform of the Renewable Energy Act (EEG) at last night’s summit in Berlin. The meeting ended “without tangible results“, reports dpa-AFX. “We succeeded, I think, very well in naming and also discussing the parameters that we need to work on to correctly fulfil all components,” said Merkel in a press conference following the meeting. With the reform, the federal government plans to lower the cost of the Energiewende, mainly by switching to auctions for renewables. It also plans to limit the share of renewables in electricity consumption to 40-45 percent by 2025. Federal and state governments, as well as the political parties continue to disagree most on limiting onshore wind power development, writes dpa-AFX. Chancellor Merkel and state premiers will meet again on 31 May.

Read the government's press release in German here.

Find more information in the CLEW factsheet EEG reform 2016 – switching to auctions for renewables.



“Why the renewable support has to end at last”

German consumers and businesses have to pay up to 24 billion euros a year to finance renewables roll-out, writes Angela Hennersdorf in Wirtschaftswoche. But it would be possible to do it much more cheaply, as onshore wind is becoming a cheaper power source than coal or nuclear. A reform is overdue, argues Hennersdorf. “Companies like (wind turbine maker) Enercon have benefitted for years from the sweet poison of public subsidies, even though their business has been ready for the market for some time.”

Read the commentary in German here.



“Splitting atoms”

Despite their initial front rejecting the German nuclear commission’s proposal for financing the nuclear exit, the big German utilities now appear split, writes Jürgen Flauger in the Handelsblatt. Tuesday, Eon’s CEO Johannes Teyssen suggested he would accept the offer, writes Flauger, adding that sources inside EnBW and Vattenfall are leaning in the same direction. RWE remains “isolated”, he writes. The concept calls for the companies to continue to take financial responsibility for the dismantling of reactors, but a public fund will take over the medium and long-term storage requirements. For this the nuclear companies should pay 23.3 billion euros, 6 billion more than they have already put aside.

Read the CLEW Factsheet Securing utility payments for the nuclear clean-up.

“Vattenfall is blocking the way”

Ahead of the planned protest against lignite coal in eastern German Lusatia, the police are gearing up for a de-escalation of tensions, writes the taz. “Our most important goal is that no-one is hurt,” the head of police in Cottbus told the paper. Around 2,000 demonstrators are planning to occupy the open cast mines run by Vattenfall in Welzow. Vattenfall wants to prevent the demonstrators from entering the property, but the police have said they do not plan to set up barricades. Politicians from the Greens and the Left parties have said they will attend and negotiate if needed, according to the paper. Journalists will also not be allowed in, writes the taz.

Read the article in German here.

Read the CLEW Article Czech utility takes over Vattenfall’s German lignite.

Read a CLEW factsheet on Coal in Germany.



“Push for energy efficiency”

The German Industry Initiative for Energy Efficiency (DENFF) praised the government for calling public attention to the issue of energy efficiency with its new campaign announced on Thursday, according to business daily Handelsblatt. “But of course colourful posters won’t be enough to recover the ground lost in the past years,” said managing director Christian Noll. Green party energy spokesperson Julia Verlinden also said the campaign came very late, given the government lagged behind its efficiency goals.
The German government launched an advertising campaign on energy efficiency on Thursday and said it will spend a total of 17 billion euros to increase efficiency from 2016 to 2020.

Read a CLEW report on the government initiative in Thursdays News Digest.

Find the press release in German here. See the campaign website in German here.

For background, read CLEW's Dossier The Energiewende and Efficiency: Taming the appetite for energy



Electricity price slump eats into profits at utility EnBW

Earnings at utility EnBW collapsed at the start of the year due to slumping electricity prices. Net profits fell 93 percent to 51 million euros in the first quarter, the company said in a press release on Friday. Sales fell 12 percent to 5.2 billion euros. A new offshore wind farm sharply pushed up earnings at EnBW’s renewables segment.

Read the press release in English here.

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