Utilities 'a little greener' / E-Mobility 'in slow lane'

E.ON

Separation of E.ON and Uniper operations completed

Effective 1 January 2016 E.ON has completed separation of operations from its planned spin-off Uniper. E.ON will focus on renewables, energy networks and customer solutions while Uniper will operate independently and focus on conventional generation and energy trading, E.ON announced. “The spinoff of Uniper is expected to take place later in 2016 following the approval of E.ON shareholders,” the press release says.

Read the press release in English here.

Read a CLEW dossier about the big utilities and the Energiewende here.

 

taz

“The big four become greener – a little”

Germany’s four largest utilities E.ON, RWE, EnBW and Vattenfall see their future in renewables, but their prominent announcements are not yet backed up by investments, writes Bernward Janzing in the left-leaning newspaper taz. In 2014, E.ON produced no more than 13.6 percent of its electricity with renewables, and RWE as little as 4.8 percent. “This number is unlikely to change considerably in the near term: RWE plans total investments of 6.5 to 7 billion euros by 2017, but only ‘up to one billion euros’ are earmarked for renewables. Like this, the company will remain stuck to coal for a long time to come.”

 

Strom-Report

Wind power record 2015

German wind turbines generated an unprecedented 85.4 bn kWh of power in 2015, an increase of 66 percent compared to 2014, data outlet Strom Report writes. Nationwide, wind energy accounted for 13.3 percent of German electricity generation in 2015.

Get the Strom-Report graphic in English here.

 

Welt am Sonntag

“Creeping poison”

According to a study commissioned by the Green party, not a single German coal power plant would be allowed to operate under US mercury limits, writes Martin Greive in Welt am Sonntag. “The Greens are now starting the next attack on coal,” writes Greive. According to the study by the institute for ecology and politics (Ökopol), 70 percent of Germany’s mercury emissions are produced by coal plants. For coal plant operators like RWE, E.ON and Vattenfall, demands to retrofit their plants to purify emissions are a "nightmare" due to their strained business situation, writes Greive. “Business fears politics might soon prepare the next blow against coal.”

Read the article in German here.

 

dpa/Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung

“Industry warns of exaggerated plans for coal exit”

Industry association BDI warns current technology does not allow a complete exit from coal, according to news agency dpa. BDI president Ulrich Grillo told the agency Germany must watch out so as not to turn “from a pioneer into a recluse.” He said the environment ministry's Climate Protection Plan 2050, due to be published in mid-2016, was exaggerated. “Germany can’t save the world climate alone.” The longer term plans to reduce CO2 emissions implied a reduced role for coal and gas, and there was no need for other technology-specific plans. The emissions trading system would achieve that goal automatically, argued Grillo.

Read the article in German here.

 

Handelsblatt

“Higher taxes for the transport transition”

OPEC leading power Saudi Arabia has the strategy of making oil so cheap that fracking companies in the US will eventually fold, writes Dirk Heilmann in an opinion piece the Handelsblatt. For the EU this means the energy transition in the transport sector has to happen under very unfavourable market conditions. A Europe-wide increase in mineral oil taxes would make petrol cars less attractive and mobilise money for alternative engines, says Heilmann. Such a step is urgently needed because it is still ten times more expensive to drive 100 km with battery power than it is with diesel, he writes.

 

Der Spiegel

“In the slow lane”

So far there are only 30,000 electric vehicles on Germany’s roads, writes Andreas Wassermann in the weekly news magazine Der Spiegel. A nationwide system of charging stations is lacking but so is the political will to switch from the combustion engine technology of the 19th century to electric mobility. Combustion engines ensure that  German car companies' order books are full, says the author. Meanwhile a concept for sustainably supporting e-mobility (including a 5000-euro subsidy for e-car buyers) is sitting in the drawers of the ministries, Wassermann writes. Experts agree that billions of euros will be needed to wean German car owners off petrol – billions that either the state or the car industry will have to pay.

 

German Energy Agency (Dena)/Der Tagesspiegel

“Electro mobility requires incentives”

E-mobility will be a central topic of the coming years, and more incentives are urgently needed to give the technology a decisive push, writes Andreas Kuhlmann, head of the German Energy Agency (Dena), in an op-ed in the Tagesspiegel. He says what’s needed are tax incentives in the form of accelerated depreciation for company fleets, a program to install 10,000 charging stations, increased use of e-cars in public authorities’ vehicle fleets, a general buyer’s premium, and other measures. “These are all first steps. They will cost money, but the market as it is now will not manage it,” writes Kuhlmann. “The longer we wait, the higher the risk that the future of mobility will be developed elsewhere.”

Read the op-ed in German here.

 

Zeit Online

“Green party wants climate protection  into the constitution”

Germany’s Green party has asked the government to codify climate protection measures in the constitution, Zeit Online reports. Green politician Oliver Krischer said the government had to triple its efforts in climate protection and, in order to ensure planning security for the economy and consumers, it should codify the targets in the constitution. The Greens also want a national climate protection act that would include a coal phase-out over the next 20 years.

Read the article in German here.

 

Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung

High costs for nuclear phase-out decision

RWE is claiming 235 million euros in damages because of the hasty shut-down of nuclear power stations in 2011, writes Corinna Budras in the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung. And this is not the only legal action pending because of the government’s decision to mothball the eight oldest nuclear plants shortly after the Fukushima disaster. E.ON and EnBW could claim another 650 million euros, Budras writes. Law professor Joachim Wieland says that utilities will likely win these cases.

Read the article in German here.

Read a CLEW factsheet on the legal implications of the nuclear phase-out here.

 

Cleantechnica.com

“German energy storage market could decrease due to funding loss”

The end of government incentives for energy storage systems at the end of 2015 has created expectations that market growth will contract this year, writes Jake Richardson on cleantechnica.com. “Surveyed German consumers expressed reservations over the extra cost of energy storage on top of what they would pay for a solar power system,” according to the article. Government-owned bank KfW estimated that up to 16,000 energy storage systems would be installed in 2015, an increase of almost 80 percent compared to 9,000 in 2014. EuPD research estimates growth will drop to 13 percent this year, according to Richardson.

Read the article in English here.

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