Montel News / Daily Telegraph
Amid rising prices for carbon emissions and coal, Germany’s wholesale power price for one-year futures has reached its highest level in six years, Nora Kamprath Buli writes for Montel News. At 50.10 euros per megawatt hour (MWh), prices reached their highest level since 2012 and might go up even further in the near future, she writes. A drop in French nuclear power output, plant curbs due to Europe’s recent heat wave and weak winds helped drive power prices up as well, she writes.
In a separate article in the Daily Telegraph, Ambrose Evans-Pritchard writes that the carbon price hike in the European Emissions Trading System (ETS) has made emissions “the best performing ‘commodity’ in the world,” with contracts having “decoupled completely from energy prices and global raw materials”. Germany’s Berenberg Bank told the newspaper that the carbon price could rise from just over 20 euros per tonne at present to 100 euros by 2020, warning that companies will struggle to keep pace with price developments, though other analysts expect a much slower growth rate.
Clean Energy Wire
A household near Berlin has commissioned Germany’s 100,000th residential battery storage system. At an official ceremony, state secretary Thomas Bareiss called the threshold an “important milestone” for the country’s energy transition. “Storage systems already support power grids and will play an increasingly important role in the future,” he said. “Storage extends the flexibility options for an intelligent demand management.”
Solar business association BSW said the number of home batteries in Germany will reach 200,000 within two years because more than half of new residential solar PV systems are now installed in conjunction with a battery. Home battery maker Solarwatt said German companies had become global technology leaders. Company CEO Detlef Neuhaus added that the industry offered great potential for Germany’s economy and warned that it must not be slowed down by policy.
Read a report by Energy Storage News in English here.
See this CLEW interview on the role of batteries in the energy transition for background.
Transport & Environment
Carmakers' cheating on fuel efficiency has caused millions of tonnes of additional CO2 emissions – NGO
Cheating on fuel efficiency by major carmakers is responsible for 264 million tonnes of additional CO2 emissions between the years 2000 and 2017, an analysis by NGO Transport & Environment has shown. The additional cost of fuel amounted to nearly 150 billion euros, the NGO said in a press release. The additional amount of carbon emissions was “slightly more than the annual CO2 emissions of the Netherlands”, Transport & Environment noted, adding that German car drivers topped the ranking by paying about 36 billion euros more for fuel than they would have with cars that performed as advertised.
Read the press release in English here.
New York Times
Germany’s largest carmaker still has to invest a lot of effort in the US to regain the trust that it lost after it was revealed in 2015 that the company cheated on emissions tests on a large scale, Jack Ewing writes in the New York Times. A report compiled by US lawyer Larry D. Thompson found that Volkswagen still had a lot of work to do to create an adequate whistle-blower programme. “The cultural change is going to be enormous,” Thompson noted.
Read the article in English here.
See the CLEW factsheet Dieselgate forces VW to embrace green mobility and the CLEW article One year after the “diesel summit,” Germany’s air quality challenge remains for more information.
Forest protection has played an important role in the history of Germany’s Energiewende, or energy transition, and the current developments at the Hambach Forest, which is under threat by the expansion of a lignite mine, could end up as another example in which environmental activists prevail over the commercial interests of a corporation, Michael Bauchmüller writes in a commentary in the Süddeutsche Zeitung. Protecting trees from profit-oriented investors has worked for anti-nuclear activists “not only because of the strength of their arguments but also because they had the power of images on their side”, Bauchmüller says. Energy company RWE insists that it is legally entitled to cut down the embattled forest in order to make room for its coal mine, while at the same time the country’s coal commission is debating the end of coal-fired power production in Germany. “If the RWE board takes a close look at what happened in the past, they will abandon their logging plans. They can only lose,” according to Bauchmüller.
Read the commentary in German here.
See the CLEW article Logging row continues to weigh on coal commission’s work for background and CLEW’S Commission watch for constant updates on the body’s work.
The city of Berlin has urged Germany’s coal exit commission to work towards a quick end of coal mining and power production in Lusatia, Jakob Schlandt writes in energy policy newsletter Tagesspiegel Background. In a letter to the commission’s leaders, Berlin’s environment senator, Regine Günther, says coal mining in the region situated some 150 kilometres south of the German capital is polluting the river Spree and therefore also the city’s drinking water supply. “Water management and ecological aspects need to play a concrete role when determining the path towards a coal exit,” Günther said.
Russian gas company Novatek and Belgian group Fluxys, a natural gas transmission system operator, are planning to build a liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal in the German Baltic port city of Rostock, Andreas Meyer writes in the Ostsee-Zeitung. According to Novatek, the terminal would help meet growing LNG demand, especially in the freight and transport industry. The natural gas from Siberia will be transported via pipeline to the Russian port city of Wyborg before it is liquefied and shipped to Rostock, the article says. German-Russian gas trade has come under scrutiny by European countries as well as the US, which worry that the planned Nord Stream 2 pipeline will increase Western Europe’s energy dependence on Russia.
Read the article in German here.
See the CLEW article Putin and Merkel meet to find solution on gas pipeline Nord Stream 2 and the dossier The role of gas in Germany’s energy transition for background.
The construction of wind power plants in the German state of Hesse could upset fans of Grimms' fairy tales as one of their stories’ favourite locations, the Reinhardswald, could become a wind farm location, Güven Purtul writes on Worldcrunch. While the state’s government says that only a tiny fraction of the forest is under consideration for turbine construction, environmentalists say these could threaten endangered species that inhabit the central German region.
Read the article in English here.
Developers of smart meters are complaining that the German state’s licensing of the technology is taking much too long due to security concerns and increasing the risk that the country will fall behind its European neighbours, many of which are much more likely to introduce the devices by 2020, Kathrin Witsch and Klaus Stratmann write in Handelsblatt. “Germany is practically isolated with its approach to the smart meter roll-out” that stipulates a gradual introduction in line with power consumption levels by individual customers, Andreas Gehlhaar of consultancy Accenture told the newspaper. The initially small number of smart meter users, those with a high power consumption of more than 6,000 kilowatt hours (kWh) per year, did not allow the technology’s power flow management potential to be fully exploited, he argued. According to Germany’s energy ministry (BMWi), smart meters are set to play “a key role” in the integration of renewable energy sources and will be fully introduced by 2032.
Read the article in German here.
See the CLEW dossier The digitalisation of the Energiewende for background.
German Institute for International and Security Policy
Germany will have to actively lobby to make climate change and its security policy implications a key feature of its two-year term as a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council, Susanne Dröge writes in a commentary for the German Institute for International and Security Policy (SWP). “Germany’s credibility as a climate policy leader needs to be maintained and engagement needs to be pushed at the highest level possible” to make progress on finding common solutions for this “non-traditional security issue”, she says.
Find the commentary in English here.
See the CLEW dossier The energy transition and climate change for more information.