27 Apr 2017, 00:00
Sören Amelang Benjamin Wehrmann

Tenant power splits opinions / 'End of a black smoker'

Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung

The tenant electricity draft law introduced by Germany’s economy ministry (BMWi) is an “utterly wrong” policy approach that turns the principle of “competition instead of allocation” upside down, Andreas Mihm writes in an opinion piece for Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung. Paying tenants a premium for buying home-generated solar power ultimately constituted “special support for the pv industry”, Mihm says. And since tenants who bought power from their roofs no longer had to pay fees for the public grid, “these costs will have to be split between fewer users”. The draft law therefore was “an outright erosion of solidarity” which parliament should reject, Mihm argues.

tageszeitung (taz)

The tenant electricity draft law by the German economy ministry (BMWi) is “an overdue step towards more equality” among the country’s power consumers, Bernward Janzing writes in a commentary for taz. It allowed tenants not to pay the entire renewable energy surcharge if they buy electricity directly from solar panels their landlords have installed on the building’s roof – much in the same way as house owners with pv installations already do, Janzing says. But it does not make sense to only allow tenants to purchase power that comes from their own roof – “it would make more sense to expand the concept to entire districts”, Janzing argues. This would make new solar projects more profitable and motivate apartment building owners to invest in the expansion of solar power, he writes.

Read the commentary in German here.


Nowhere in Germany are the effects of the energy transition more visible than in the Northwest, the centre of the country’s wind power industry, writes Volker Kühn in Nordwest-Zeitung. “With wind power’s stormy expansion on and offshore, the region has become the Energiewende’s centre, in a good and in a bad sense,” Kühn says. Wind power creates jobs, bolsters the local municipalities’ budgets, and provides clean energy – “thereby blemishing the nature it is supposed to rescue” he argues. But a cap on wind power expansion in the region due to lagging grid adjustment and the switch to auctions for the support of new projects could turn the tide in the Northwest. The job boom might only be sustained if German wind power companies manage to expand their activities abroad, Kühn writes.


The German environment ministry (BMUB) has called suggestions by U.S. energy secretary Rick Perry to renegotiate the Paris Climate Agreement ‘absurd’, report Joe Ryan and Brian Parkin for Bloomberg. The agreement already lets nations adjust their own emissions targets, making it pointless for the U.S. to reopen talks in hopes of winning more favourable terms, ministry spokesman Michael Schroeren told Bloomberg. “That is, in the first place absurd, and secondly from the U.S. point of view, completely unnecessary,” Schroeren said.

Read the report in English here.


Germany’s approval of Vattenfalls Moorburg coal-fired power plant was in breach of EU environmental rules because its cooling system endangers protected fish species, according to a ruling by the European Court of Justice, reports Montel.

Find the Montel report in English here.

Find background on the plant in the CLEW article  Moorburg power plant – Last of a dying breed, or the future of coal in Germany?

Die Welt

The Moorburg ruling by the European Court of Justice probably implies that “Germany’s most important economic hub” is powered by a plant which is operated illegally, writes Olaf Preuß in a commentary in Die Welt. If the plant has to go offline for legal or economic reasons, Hamburg would have to be supplied with lignite or nuclear power. But no established political party in Hamburg is prepared to stick up for the plant, writes Preuß. The local government coalition of Social Democrats and Greens hopes to win time so Hamburg can be supplied mainly with wind power in the coming decade, according to Preuß. “No one considers any longer the possibility of integrating Moorburg in an ecologically optimised way into the structural transformation of the German energy system.”

Read the Welt commentary in German here.

tageszeitung (taz)

The Moorburg ruling means the plant will have to stop using river water for cooling, and instead run with its cooling tower only - making it dirtier and less efficient, writes Sven-Michael Veit in a commentary for left-wing newspaper tageszeitung (taz). “This would turn the fossil climate killer conclusively into a prime example of how to use the maximum amount of money and resources to generate as little power as possible, and a lot of dirt,” writes Veit. “There is a chance that the ruling will hasten the closure of this coal monster from primeval times.”

Read the commentary in German here.

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