18 Jan 2016, 00:00
Sören Amelang Kerstine Appunn

A unique record for offshore wind / Expensive blackout defense

WindGuard / VDMA

2015 record year for offshore wind power installation

Offshore wind capacity of 2,282.4 megawatt (MW) was connected to the German grid in 2015, Deutsche WindGuard has calculated. However, this record will remain a single event, since it was triggered by many offshore wind parks that had been completed in 2014 but were only connected to the grid in 2015. By the end of 2015, 3,294.9 MW offshore wind power (792 turbines) were connected to the grid in Germany’s North Sea and Baltic Sea. For the years 2016 to 2020, the sector expects some 800-900 MW to be built annually, according to Norbert Giese, from industry association VDMA. He said cutting costs for offshore wind power by 30 percent would be possible in the future, provided that a continuous development was enabled by politics and grid development was keeping pace. The sector’s representatives warned that interim arrangements would be needed to make sure that a change from feed-in tariffs to an auction system did not cause dents in offshore development.

Read the press release in German here.


Die Linke/EnKliP

“Government favours offshore wind and large investors in new Renewable Energy Act”

Government plans for the reform of the Renewable Energy Act will make the Energiewende unnecessarily expensive, according to a study by consultancy EnKliP commissioned by left-wing opposition party Die Linke. “The government’s current plans limit cheap onshore wind energy in favour of relatively expensive offshore turbines,” the study says. It is still possible to achieve a target of an average feed-in tariff of 12 cents per kWh, but it would require faster expansion of cheap onshore wind and solar energy. “This would imply abolishing the lid on renewable development of 45 percent of power consumption by 2025.”

See the Linke’s press release in German here.

Find the EnKliP study in German here.


dpa/Spiegel Online

“Defence against blackouts cost one billion euros in 2015”

The costs to stabilise the German power grid rose to a record one billion euros last year, according to a report by press agency dpa on Spiegel Online. “The tensions in the grid rise, and faster than expected,” Urban Keussen, CEO of grid operator TenneT, told the agency. TenneT alone spent around 700 million euros on those measures, while operator 50 Hertz recently said it had spent 300 million euros, according to the article. The costs to stabilise the grid are passed on to consumers in the form of grid fees. TenneT spent 225 million euros on switching power plants on and off, compared to 74 million euros in 2014. It also spent 152 million  euros (2014: 92 million euros) on drawing on the emergency grid reserve and 329 million euros (2014: 128 million euros) on switching off wind turbines.

Find the article in German here.



“Home batteries seen cutting cost of Germany’s power grid renewal”

Household batteries to store power from rooftop solar systems may cut the cost of renewing Germany’s power grid, according to a new study, report Brian Parkin and Weixin Zha for Bloomberg. “Growing installations of solar batteries will bring benefits to all power consumers, according to independent researchers Prognos AG”, write the authors. Power generated and used at home will reduce the strains on the national grid. “As much as 100 billion euros a year could be shaved from the costs of expanding the grid in southern Germany alone.”

Read the Bloomberg article in English here.

Find the study in German here.



“Fight about coal”

Energy minister Sigmar Gabriel will have to make a choice in 2016: Does he sacrifice coal power plants and leave them to die a slow death, or does he organise a controlled exit, write Jürgen Flauger and Klaus Stratmann in the Handelsblatt. But North-Rhine Westphalia’s state premier Hannelore Kraft, like Gabriel a Social Democrat, told the Handelsblatt that “fossil power stations are essential” in the coming years and that she was against timelines for a coal exit.



“Survey – Majority of Germans against financial support for e-cars”

About 65 percent of Germans are against state subsidies for the purchase of e-cars, according to a survey by pollster YouGov commissioned by environmental NGO Nature and Biodiversity Conservation Union (Nabu). “Only 17 percent support this kind of incentive,” according to the Nabu press release. Nabu said the government should instead finance the measure with an instrument that makes the whole car sector more environmentally friendly – such as an additional tax on cars that need a lot of petrol to run, or an additional tax of two cents on petrol.

Find the Nabu press release in German here.


Bloomberg New Energy Finance

German renewable investments drop 42 percent to 10.6bn dollars in 2015

German renewable investments totalled 10.6 billion dollars last year, a drop of 42 percent compared to 2014, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance. The drop was due to “less generous support for solar and, in wind, uncertainty about how a new auction system will work from 2017,” according to the press release. On a global scale, investments rose to a record 329 billion dollars. The biggest market was China with 110.5 billion dollars, followed by the US with 56 billion dollars.

Find the BNEF press release here.

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