“Several companies dig for Vattenfall's brown coal”
The timing of the sale of Vattenfall’s lignite operations, only days after the end of the Paris Climate Summit, could hardly be worse, writes Jürgen Flauger in Handelsblatt. He says the good news for Vattenfall’s management is that several companies placed non-binding offers. The bad news is that some offers are quite low. German utility Steag only offered “a few hundred million euros” and asked for political clarification about how long the mines and plants can be operated, Flauger says. In addition, three Czech bidders also made an offer, he reports. Vattenfall told Flauger a decision on the sale could probably be made in mid-2016. “But even some bidders question whether Vattenfall will manage this. They said the offers won’t satisfy the Swedes,” writes Flauger.
“The consequences of cheap oil”
Oil prices will likely remain low and this will increase demand for petrol-guzzling SUVs, writes Frank-Thomas Wenzel in a commentary for the Frankfurter Rundschau. “No-one needs thrifty cars from a cost perspective. But we need thrifty cars to protect the environment and climate”, Wenzel says. This is why policy makers need to weigh in now with a decisive push, including a buyer’s premium of at least 5,000 euros per car, and even more importantly, to advance research and development of battery technology, he writes. “Only if German carmakers are right at the forefront will they be able to compete in ten years’ time, when e-cars cost as much as vehicles with combustion engines.”
“Mobility can be electrified on a global scale by 2050 – with optimised lithium-ion batteries”
Lithium-ion battery technology still has great potential for improvement and can play a decisive role in future mobility, according to a series of ‘roadmaps’ by research institute Fraunhofer ISI. “A complete transition to an entirely electrified mobility can be managed between 2030 and 2050, from a technical point of view – solely on the basis of an optimised lithium-ion battery technology,” states the release. “The future development of an optimised lithium-ion battery technology will be decisive for the timing of the implementation,” conclude the authors. The findings aim to help develop scenarios and policy options for potential difficulties, such as possible supply shortages of critical raw materials.
Read the press release in German here.
Find a project description in English here.
“Grid costs a burden on power consumers”
Grid fees will be the main culprit pushing up power prices for millions of households in the new year, writes Frank-Thomas Wenzel in Frankfurter Rundschau. Consumers can’t choose their grid operators because they are local monopolies, and fees vary dramatically - from 2.55 to 9.91 cents per kWh. Patrick Graichen, head of energy think tank Agora Energiewende*, told Wenzel that the fees lack transparency and urgently require fundamental reform. Otherwise the cost of local grid extensions, which are needed to transport green energy, will overburden small local operators and their clients, according to the article.
148 out of 900 suppliers increase power prices
Around 6.7 million German households will be affected by rising power prices in early 2016, according to price comparison website Check24. According to a press release, 148 out of a total of 900 suppliers of local basic tariffs have announced a price rise of 2.8 percent on average.
Find the press release in German here.
*Like the Clean Energy Wire, Agora Energiewende is a project funded by Stiftung Mercator and the European Climate Foundation.