'Two giants turn into four gnomes' / A forgotten revolution
'Frohe Weihnachten' from the Clean Energy Wire newsroom
Our best wishes for a joyous holiday season. We will publish our next News Digest on 28 December and take another short break from 31 December - 3 January. We hope you have a restful and enjoyable time.
Sven, Sören and Kerstine
“Two giants turn into four gnomes”
The pending split of E.ON and RWE means that in one year’s time there will no longer be only two major energy players listed on Germany’s stockmarket, but four, writes Jürgen Flauger in Handelsblatt. “The classic business model of integrated utilities, dealing with everything from power production in large plants and renewables to sales, is history,” writes Flauger. He argues the companies’ split might come too late: “All four companies face a Herculean task.” The new fossil-based companies will have to save what is left of their business, while the new green companies face mighty competition, including from Google, Apple, and Tesla, who are creating smart electricity technologies and battery storage devices.
Find the article in German (behind paywall) here.
“Brand new RWE plant is latest victim of Merkel’s energy shift”
The Energiewende is turning newly built power plants into white elephants that will never produce electricity, report Tino Andresen and Weixin Zha for Bloomberg. “Coal and gas plants are being marginalised in a new world where solar and wind are all the rage,” write the authors, with reference to RWE’s recent decision to pull the plug on a one-billion-euro coal plant and E.ON’s application to close two new but unprofitable gas-fired units. “Chancellor Angela Merkel’s relentless push to increase the nation’s share of renewables” made RWE and E.ON the biggest losers on Germany’s DAX share index this year, write Andresen and Zha. Conventional power plants may be threatened with extinction once the cost of storing power becomes commercially viable, fund manager Thomas Deser from Union Investment told the authors.
Read the article in English here.
Find a CLEW dossier on the utilities’ fight for survival here.
“The forgotten energy revolution”
Germany’s energy transition made remarkable progress this year, but the public was caught up in the refugee crisis and barely noticed, writes Richard Fuchs for Deutsche Welle. “It’s a generational project that is not talked about in its fifth year of implementation,” writes Fuchs. He says a lot remains to be done. Despite the record share of renewable power, Germany risks missing its climate targets.
Read the article in German here.
Read a CLEW article about this year’s rise in CO2 emissions here.
“We need a jump-start for e-cars”
Countries like Norway and the Netherlands show that the right policy framework can stimulate demand for electric vehicles, argues Matthias Wissmann, president of carmakers’ association VDA, in an interview in Die Welt. “We need a jump-start now, which is limited to a few years,” said Wissmann. He says new policies must address both the purchasing of e-cars, and the infrastructure for charging them. “Industry is doing everything it can to make the breakthrough of electric mobility possible," Wissmann says.
Read the interview in German here.
Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists
“A surprising success at Paris”
William Sweet describes in an article for the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists what was different in Paris compared to Copenhagen and other climate summits and how the new climate agreement was decided. Germany’s diplomats and scientists did everything to advance the goal of a binding, fair and effective treaty, Sweet writes. “True to form, Angela Merkel made only a brief appearance on the first day and never sought the limelight, and yet her fingerprints were everywhere.”
Read the article in English here.