16 Feb 2016, 00:00
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Warning against coal exit / No more traffic accidents in 2025?

E-World Essen

State economy minister warns against decreed coal exit

Garrelt Duin, economy minister for Germany’s largest federal state - North-Rhine-Westphalia - warned against a government-decreed exit from coal-fired power generation. Speaking at the E-World energy trade fair in Essen, he said that at this stage, such a policy-led move would risk structural ruptures and threaten supply security. The minister, a Social Democrat, argued that Germany’s ambitious climate targets were compatible with the agreement reached at the global climate summit in Paris, and additional measures unnecessary. He said Germany would continue to need conventional power generation in the future, and quoted North-Rhine-Westphalia's state premier saying plans for a coal exit were “very theoretical”.
At the same event, the head of think-tank Agora Energiewende*, Patrick Graichen, reiterated his organisation’s position that a planned, orderly exit from coal was needed to provide planning security for all involved. At a side-event on Monday, Rainer Baake, state secretary at the federal energy ministry, raised the federal ministry’s plan for a round-table of stakeholders in the issue, which should meet for the first time this autumn.

See a CLEW report on proposals for a coal exit here.


Frankfurter Rundschau

“After brown coal”

Every region must find its own way to cope with the end of lignite mining and power generation, writes Sabrina Schulz, head of the Berlin office of NGO E3G in a guest article for the Frankfurter Rundschau. She points to the eastern German lignite mining region if Lusatia, where people remember the structural changes following German reunification well. It doesn’t make sense to simply promise employees and their families that renewable businesses will replace the big energy companies and coal miners will become wind power engineers. This is an unlikely scenario and it would be more honest if civil society and science came together to develop ideas and concepts for the region.

Read the article in German here.


Die Welt

“Sigmar Gabriel’s strange agenda for wind parks”

Many businesses believe energy minister Sigmar Gabriel's plans to boost the chances of citizens’ cooperatives bidding for wind farm tenders do not make sense, writes Martin Greive in Die Welt. Utility E.ON told the author it was common practice to offer citizens a stake in onshore projects anyway, and that the new rules were unnecessary.
On Monday, Gabriel’s ministry proposed making cooperatives exempt from providing certain costly documents in order to bid under a new system to be introduced with upcoming reform of the Renewable Energy Act.
“The government also wants to balance out lower yields at locations with less wind with higher feed-in tariffs. Power consumers will have to pay for these subsidies for inefficiency,” Greive writes.

Read the article in German here.


Frankfurter Rundschau

“Climate policy’s blind spot”

An energy transition in the transport sector is desperately needed to supplement the Energiewende in the power sector - but not yet in sight, writes Joachim Wille for Frankfurter Rundschau. “Quite the contrary: People step on the gas. The climate balance of transport is a disaster,” writes Wille. “Road traffic is the blind spot of climate policy – and it grows due to cheap petrol,” traffic researcher Helmut Holzapfel told Wille. Wille says the Paris Agreement requires a fundamental change in transport policy. E-mobility alone is not the answer because much of the power to drive electric vehicles still comes from coal, he writes. “It should be the duty of ‘Climate Chancellor’ (Angela Merkel) to push this agenda,” said Holzapfel. “It’s fatal she hasn’t done it yet, despite Paris.”

See CLEW's dossier on the energy transition in the transport sector here



“Mobility 2025: Without accidents and congestion”

New IT systems will completely transform transport infrastructure and could lead to mobility without accidents or congestion by 2025, according to a study by the Association for Electrical, Electronic & Information Technologies (VDE). “New technologies for information and communication will not only revolutionise traffic, but also the present car industry. They will bring together the automobile and communications industries, and might even fuse them together,” said VDE project manager Patrick Ester in a press release.

Find the press release in German here.

Download the study in German here.


Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung

“Germany 8 billion euros short for nuclear phase-out”

German nuclear power station operators have not put aside sufficient funds to cover for the decommissioning of reactors and storage of nuclear waste, Hendrik Kafsack writes for the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung. The report is based on an EU Commission internal paper seen by the newspaper, which says the funds available will cover only 83 percent of the 45.7 billion euros needed for Germany's nuclear clean-up between now and 2050. But Germany is not the only one - aside from the Netherlands and the United Kingdom, all other European countries face even bigger problems covering future nuclear costs, the article says.

Read the article in German here.

Read a CLEW factsheet about nuclear clean-up costs here.


Süddeutsche Zeitung

“In the end citizens will pay”

The expert commission on financing the nuclear clean-up costs has sent a clear signal: The German taxpayer should not have to pay because power station operators put aside insufficient provisions for decommissioning and radioactive waste storage, writes Markus Balser in an opinion piece for Süddeutsche Zeitung. Nonetheless, the government will have to opt for a compromise, because forcing ailing utilities to pay for the whole clean-up likely damage their business to the extent they would be unable to contribute to future waste storage costs. As with bailouts for the financial crisis, Balser says, in the end profits are privatised and losses nationalised.

See a CLEW factsheet on securing utility payments for the nuclear clean-up here.

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