Vattenfall to invest billions in Germany / Benefits of Dieselgate
Vattenfall will invest about three billion euros in Germany over the coming years, said the company’s president and CEO Magnus Hall in an interview with Handelsblatt. “There is significant growth potential in cities like Berlin or Hamburg, for example in the operation of district heating systems […]. Added to that is the wind power sector, which will grow in Germany over the coming years,” said Hall. However, there will be job cuts in the country, said Hall. Asked about criticism over possible consequences of Vattenfall’s decision to sell its German lignite business to Czech investor EPH, Hall said: “We don’t have any reason to doubt that EPH will use the reserves we have built for the recultivation – and that will be passed over to EPH – exactly for that purpose.” The Swedish government is expected to decide on the takeover by EPH this week.
Read the interview (behind paywall) in German here.
The VW emissions scandal has plunged the entire German car industry into its worst post-war crisis, writes Caspar Busse in a commentary for Süddeutsche Zeitung. “But something good comes out of it, because it finally leads to a fundamental rethink. The change of mind comes late - but better late than never. The diesel scandal was a wake-up call for many car managers,” according to Busse. Pointing to recent announcements by VW and Daimler, he says alternative engines are suddenly in vogue everywhere in the entire industry.
Daimler CEO Dieter Zetsche has announced dramatic changes to move the carmaker into the future of mobility, reports Cerstin Gemmelin in Süddeutsche Zeitung. “Daimler will radically develop into a different company within the next ten years,” Zetsche told an audience of prominent politicians, including Chancellor Angela Merkel. “The fundamental change has begun.” Daimler will become a service provider and plans its own sub-brand for e-cars, Zetsche said, confirming a report in yesterday’s Handelsblatt.
Find the report in German here.
Protect the planet / Handelsblatt
An alliance of climate activists and renewable proponents has published an advert in business daily Handelsblatt urging politicians to stop the reform of the Renewable Energy Act (EEG) in parliament in order to “save the Energiewende”. “Anybody who wants to stick to climate protection and the nuclear exit must stop the EEG reform and restart negotiations, in order to force the roll-out of renewable energies with storage solutions, instead of massively reducing it,” according to the advert signed by Green politician Hans-Josef Fell, who is considered to be one of the “fathers” of the original EEG, and others. The German parliament is to debate the reform on Friday.
Find the advert in German here.
Find more background in the factsheet EEG reform 2016 – switching to auctions for renewables.
German Institute for Economic Research (DIW)
There are no regions in Germany where power grid bottlenecks justify the government’s plan to slow down renewable development with the reform of the Renewable Energy Act (EEG), according to a study by the German Institute for Economic Research (DIW) commissioned by the environmental Herrmann-Scheer-Foundation. “The necessity of extensive grid extensions identified by transmission grid operators is above all due to the current market design, with a feed-in guarantee for fossil power even at times of high overcapacity,” according to the study. Neither do storage technologies constitute a bottleneck for the energy transition in the power sector, write the authors. “Technical issues for a power system based on 80 to 100 percent renewables are considered to be solved.”
Find the study in German here.
The compromise restricting hydraulic fracturing in Germany is a big success for the technique’s critics, writes Malte Kreutzfeldt in an opinion piece in die tageszeitung. “A complete ban of all kinds of fracturing, as the opponents demand, was politically hopeless – and without an agreement for a new law, companies could have forced any form of fracturing in court,” writes Kreutzfeldt. Now, the “really harmful” type of fracturing was stopped and the less harmful conventional fracturing allowed only under much stricter regulations.
German wind turbine manufacturer Siemens has announced that it will provide offshore wind farms capable of generating power at levelled costs of below 8 cents per kilowatt-hour (kWh) as of 2025. These costs would include the grid connection to the shore, a Siemens press release states. By 2020, Siemens wants to generate offshore wind power for under 10 euro cents/kWh. A large share of the price reduction can be attributed to technical improvements, new grid connection technologies and logistics, the company said.
Read the press release in English here.
Nature Climate Change / Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK)
A team of scientists from the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) have published a comment in Nature Climate Change entitled “Why the right climate target was agreed in Paris”. It highlights that the Paris goal of reducing the temperature increase to under 2°C will be achievable with a large scale technological transformation to renewable energy systems which would see fossil industries “implode”. The Paris target was simple enough to create worldwide political momentum, the researchers say.
Declining prices for power storage systems will prompt a “new wave of investment” in the PV sector over the coming years, according to German Solar Association managing director Carsten Körnig, writes Recharge. "More and more people are utilising solar storage technology to supply themselves with as much solar power as possible," said Körnig at the opening of the trade fair Intersolar Europe. This was possible due to a fall in prices of around a third within the past two years.
Read the article in English here.