17 Nov 2015, 00:00
Ruby Russell

Utilities want shared nuclear responsibility / No political will for Paris?


“Can E.ON survive alone?”

Writing for WitschaftsWoche, Christof Schürmann says there are doubts over whether the new E.ON, which will split from its fossil-fuel business in a few weeks, will be able to survive. E.ON will retain its renewables business and grids, while its conventional power assets will be spun off into a new company called Uniper. But the company posted a record net loss last week and because the E.ON group will now retain the company’s nuclear power assets, its future looks uncertain, writes Schürmann.

See the article in German here.

See CLEW's dossier on the utilities and the Energiewende here.


Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung

“E.ON and RWE don’t want sole responsibility”

Utilities E.ON and RWE have submitted a study to the government commission for nuclear decommissioning, in support of their position that the state should carry responsibility for the financial burden of the nuclear phase-out, the FAZ reports. The study by law firm Freshfield Bruckhaus Deringer says legal and historical analysis indicates that the responsibility for decommissioning of nuclear waste should be shared between the utilities and the state, with the state responsible for nuclear waste management. The report says the utilities’ provisions are adequate.

See CLEW's factsheet on paying for the nuclear clean-up here



“Doubts over the benefits of smart meters”

Government plans to roll out the use of smart meters are meeting resistance from local utilities and consumer advocates, the Handelsblatt reports. In line with EU regulations, the cabinet approved a law this month requiring large industrial consumers must upgrade to smart meters by 2017, and households using more than 6,000 kilowatt-hours to do the same by 2020. But the German Federation of Consumer Organisations complains that the meters are too expensive. The cost of installation is more than the money an average consumer would save on their power bills. There are also concerns about the privacy of data gathered through smart metering. Meanwhile, the German Association of Local Utilities (VKU) has also objected that the law requires them to provide network operators with detailed data on their consumption but only receives it back in aggregated form.

See the article in German here.


PV Magazine / RWE

“Siemens and RWE plan a virtual power plant of the next generation”

German utility RWE has announced plans to develop a “virtual power plant” in collaboration with Siemens. The project will use IT solutions for a decentralised, “low-cost, mass market solution to the integration of producers, consumers and energy storage.” RWE’s chief technology officer Joachim Schneider said in a press release: “Many innovative steps are needed for the successful implementation of the Energiewende. The collaboration with Siemens allows us to expand the use of technical IT systems and provide customers and network operators with efficient business solutions.”

See the PV magazine article in German here.

See the RWE press release in German here.


Die Welt

“The time-travelling mayor: Scholz opens Moorburg power plant”

Writing for Die Welt, Eckart Gienke reports that Hamburg’s mayor, Olaf Scholz, will be in attendance for the official opening of the coal-fired Moorburg power plant – even though it has already been in operation for several months. The pant will emit up to 8.5 million tonnes of CO2 annually, Gienke writes. This seems out of step with the federal or state energy policy, with power needs increasingly covered by renewables. The article says that the plant is too big and will not be fully utilised. Still, Gienke writes, industry demand huge amounts of power around the clock. The plant will provide half of the city’s power needs for decades to come, and will still be required to make up the difference once 80 percent of electricity demand is covered by renewables in 2050.

See the article in German here.



“Two against Brussels”

Economy and energy minister Sigmar Gabriel is siding with Vladimir Putin over the a planned extension of the Nord Stream gas pipeline, to the annoyance of the European Commission, the Tagesspiegel reports. Details of a meeting between Gabrial and Putin three weeks ago have been released, Albrecht Meier writes, in which Gabriel said the project would be legally viable for the German authorities, implying that Brussels should not interfere with the project. The European Commission is concerned that the new pipeline would increase dependency on Russian gas exports. Chancellor Angela Merkel has expressed more scepticism over the project than her energy minster, the article says.

See the article in German here.


IASS Potsdam/KIT   

“Crack It! New Technology Produces Energy from a Fossil Fuel without Carbon Dioxide”

The Institute for Advanced Sustainability Studies and the Karlsruhe Institute for Technology have developed a method to produce hydrogen from methane without CO2 emissions, the research institutes have announced. After two years of experiments, a test reactor is now running “reliably and continuously,” they said in a press release.

See the press release in English here.


COP21 - Road to Paris


“There is no political will”

In an interview with Handelsblatt, Greenpeace director Kumi Naidoo says he has low expectations for the Paris climate conference because there is a lack of political will to exit from fossil fuels. He told the paper that while the Energiewende has provided inspiration, there is a contradiction between what Merkel says internationally and the reality in Germany. “Merkel has without doubt negotiated hard to make Paris a success,” he told the paper. “But in Germany itself, CO2 emissions are stagnating, because the chancellor has delayed the exit from coal.”

See the interview in German here.


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Sven Egenter

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