Strong solar tender competition / Activists announce coal protests
Federal Grid Agency (BNetzA)
There was “strong competition” in the first solar tender following this year’s changes in Germany’s Renewable Energy Law, according to the Federal Grid Agency (BNetzA). Winning bids for arrays with a capacity of more than 750 kilowatts averaged 6.58 cents/KWh, compared to 6.90 cents/KWh in the previous auction. Bids totalled 488 megawatts, more than twice the auction volume of 200 megawatts. Of the 38 winning bids, 9 were for projects on buildings and structures that could participate in the tender for the first time.
Read the press release in German here.
Find background in the CLEW dossier The reform of the Renewable Energy Act.
Climate activist group Ende Gelände has announced it will hold at least two major protests against coal-fired power production in Germany this year. The activists said they would “block the production of coal in the Rhineland lignite fields - as long as possible” in a first protest scheduled for late August, with further action planned in November to coincide with the UN Climate Conference in Bonn. “We will show that opposition to coal is broad and diverse,” Ende Gelände said in the press release, adding that there was “little time left” if the international community wants to limit global warming in line with the Paris Agreement targets.
Find the group’s website in English here.
For background, read the CLEW dossier The energy transition and climate change.
Dow Jones Newswires
Germany’s biggest federal state, North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW), must do its bit for climate protection without losing its status as leading industrial location, NRW’s state premier Hannelore Kraft said at Germany’s largest energy trade-fair E-World in Essen, Dow Jones Newswires reports. According to Social Democrat Kraft, energy transition efforts in Germany are futile if industry migrates to countries with lower environmental standards. Around 10 percent of NRW’s power consumption comes from renewable energy sources, below the national average of more than 30 percent, the report says.
Read an article on the topic in German here.
For more information, see the CLEW dossier The energy transition’s effect on jobs and businesses.
Germany is following a “proactive strategy in developing comprehensive environmental policies” but should make greater efforts to improve air quality for the sake of its citizens’ health and quality of life, the European Commission said in a country report on the implementation of environmental standards. Germany is doing particularly well on establishing “a circular economy” with high recycling rates and pursues an “advanced approach regarding Green infrastructure”. Yet it lags behind on reducing the impact of nitrogen oxide (NOx) and particulate matter (PM10), the Commission said. Reducing “environmentally harmful subsidies” is a “main opportunity” in order for Germany to tackle this shortcoming, it added.
Read the Commission’s report in English here.
Handelsblatt Global Edition
German business leaders, trade unions and government officials are presenting a common front against US president Donald Trump’s protectionism, Klaus Stratmann writes in Handelsblatt Global Edition. In a joint statement, Germany’s new economy minister Brigitte Zypries and the leaders of key business federations and trade unions called for a halt to “efforts at political and economic renationalisation,” Stratmann writes. “Protectionism is nothing short of a horror scenario for a nation as reliant on exports as Germany,” he says, adding that Trump’s German critics could “rely on support from Chancellor Angela Merkel,” who already criticised the Trump administration’s economic policy agenda. According to Stratmann, the statement, which stopped short of addressing the US government directly, is also directed at China. China is being criticised for, among other things, giving “domestic makers of electric vehicles preferential treatment over foreign companies,” Stratmann writes.
Read the article in English here (behind paywall).
innogy's CEO Peter Terium expects the renewables spin-off to pay a “generous dividend” to its parent company RWE this year, news agency Reuters reports. "Generous means dividend multiplied by the number of shares. RWE has a lot of shares so what they will get is going to be generous overall," Terium said. This could help RWE put up the roughly 7 billion euros it must find to finance radioactive waste storage, Reuters says. RWE still owns 76.8 percent of innogy’s shares following the split in 2016. Speaking at Germany’s largest energy trade fair, E-World in Essen, Terium said he did not believe RWE would need to sell innogy shares to make the payment. Innogy will publish its 2016 results on 13 March; RWE on 14 March.
Find the Reuters article in English here.
Federal Agency for Nature Conservation (BfN)
Germany’s Federal Agency for Nature Conservation (BfN) has published recommendations to protect bats when constructing and operating wind parks in forests. Identifying which bat species live in the area is important for tailor-made preventive action, according to the report. “This is the only way nature-friendly wind energy development is possible,” BfN president Beate Jessel said in a press release. For certain species, BfN proposes a distance of at least 50 metres between the tree canopy and the lower edge of the turbine’s rotors. For others, it suggests shutting turbines off at certain times.
German experts say the global carbon floor price proposed by government advisors in a paper for the German economy ministry is unlikely to be agreed, Dagmar Dehmer writes in Tagesspiegel. “Implementing a sufficiently high floor price seems unrealistic in light of the current political climate,” WWF board member Christoph Heinrich told Tagesspiegel.
German utility E.ON and Danish e-mobility provider CLEVER have agreed to jointly build a network of ultra-fast e-car charging stations along major European motorways, according to an E.ON press release. “The joint ambition of the partners is to now establish several hundred ultra-fast charging locations across Europe. The sites will be placed every 120 - 180 kilometres along motorways. E.ON and CLEVER invite more partners with the same ambitions to join this effort.” Construction of this “game-changer for the growth of EV demand” will begin this year, and the partners are already in dialogue with a number of other parties, according to the release.
Read the press release in English here.
For background, read the CLEW dossier The Energiewende and German carmakers.
Handelsblatt Global Edition
German electric carmakers have shied away from producing their own battery cells because of competition from Asia, report Franz Hubik, Lukas Bay and Stephan Scheuer for Handelsblatt Global Edition. China plans to take a leading role in the e-car battery market, but lower quality and safety standards may prevent German carmakers from using cheaper Chinese cells. Daimler and others are making their own battery systems using cells from Japanese and South Korean companies.
Read the article in English (behind paywall) here.
For background, read the CLEW factsheet Reluctant Daimler plans “radical” push into new mobility world.
An extensive underground thermal heat storage system proposed in Hamburg could supply roughly a quarter of the city’s heating needs with waste heat from industrial and power plants, Jeffrey Michel reports for energypost.eu. “If successful, it would make Vattenfall’s plans to realise a CO2-neutral district heating network superfluous,” Michel writes. The Hamburg Institut, a local ecological planning office, and Consulaqua, a subsidiary of the municipal waterworks Hamburg Wasser, propose storing heat in a saltwater aquifer under the city, which has around 1.7 million inhabitants. The city aims to make its heat operations climate-neutral by 2050.
Read the article in English here.