Wind to beat nuclear for the first time / States criticise Climate Action Plan
Institute for Renewable Energy (IWR)
“Wind power overtakes nuclear energy for first time in Germany”
Germany’s wind turbines will generate more electricity this year than nuclear power stations for the first time ever, according to projections by the Institute for Renewable Energy (IWR). This development is mainly due to new offshore wind parks, as well as the longer-term outage of several nuclear power stations. Offshore wind turbines alone will produce more than 10 billion kilowatt-hours (kWh) of electricity this year, according to a press release.
Last year, wind turbines generated a total of 88 billion kWh, compared to 91.8 billion kWh from nuclear plants. IWR said it expected nuclear output to drop to well below 90 billion kWh this year, while wind might cross the threshold of 100 billion kWh for the first time.
Find the press release in German here.
“Reservations about Climate Action Plan 2050”
State governments have reservations about the current version of the federal environment ministry’s Climate Action Plan 2050, reports Handelsblatt. Several states signed a motion by the Brandenburg economics ministry for the upcoming Conference of State Economics Ministers (8.-9. June) claiming that current proposals hold “high risks for the business location” Germany. The states say they were not “sufficiently involved” in drafting the plan. The federal environment ministry has rejected the criticism and pointed to the participation of stakeholders in the consultation process.
Updated G7 coal scorecard
Policy makers are increasingly recognising the need for a complete phase-out of coal power generation, according to research by the non-profit organisation E3G. Germany improved its ranking to 6th out of the G7 “as policymakers begin to grapple with the challenge of phasing out coal plants and enabling a just transition for mining regions,” according to an updated version of E3G’s G7 coal scorecard. The scorecard provides a baseline assessment of how G7 countries are addressing the challenge of reducing coal-fired power generation.
German Energy Agency (Dena)
“Energy tax: Natural gas in transport initiative recommends rebates until at least 2026”
The current tax rebates on the use of natural gas and biomethane to power vehicles are not enough to give the technology a decisive push, according to the group Initiative for Natural Gas in Transport. Current finance ministry proposals say rebates should start to decline from 2022, but the initiative says they should be extended until 2026 at the very least. “If we want to make headway with the Energiewende in transportation, we will also have to bet on natural gas and biomethane,” said Andreas Kuhlmann, head of the German Energy Agency (Dena), which coordinates the initiative by carmakers, the gas industry, and car association ADAC.
Read the press release in German here.
For background, read CLEW’s dossier The Energy transition and Germany’s transport sector.
Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung
“Eastern states complain about grid costs”
Grid costs must be divided more fairly in Germany, Saxony state premier Stanislaw Tillich wrote to federal economics minister Sigmar Gabriel in a letter on behalf of eastern state premiers, reports Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung. Tillich blames the funds lost through grid fee exemptions for green electricity suppliers. These were introduced under the false assumption that power from renewables was used regionally and thus additional grid capacity was not needed. Much to the contrary, says Tillich: Most of the grid extension needed to transport electricity from wind produced in Germany’s north to the industrial south is carried out and paid for in eastern states. For the upcoming reform of the Renewable Energy Act (EEG), Tillich wants the immediate abolition of grid fee exemptions for green electricity suppliers.
Find more information in the CLEW dossier ‘The energy transition and Germany’s power grid’.
“No trend towards re-municipalisation of utilities”
There is no general trend towards the re-municipalisation of German energy suppliers, according to the German Institute for Economic Research (DIW). “The number of municipal energy suppliers rose by 17 percent from 2003 to 2012. Yet, the number of private utilities rose by 49 percent in the same time period”, writes DIW in a press release. Contrary to prominent examples like Hamburg, where the city bought back the grid from Vattenfall, “there can be no question of a displacement of private energy suppliers through re-municipalisation,” said Astrid Cullmann, research associate at DIW.
“Favourable times for employee-friendly lignite phase-out”
The times have never been more favourable for structural change and a lignite phase-out in the Lusatia region in eastern Germany, writes research associate Luke Haywood in a commentary for the German Institute for Economic Research (DIW). A slow structural change is always easier on the labour market, and the economic situation with low unemployment, a lack of qualified personnel and low interest rates could be advantageous, writes Haywood. “Politicians and unions should stop upholding the illusion of a future for lignite and work towards a structural change with little sorrow," he says.
Read the commentary in German here.
“Lignite secures the restructuring of power supply”
Lignite will be needed to secure supply and stabilise the grid in a long-term transformation of the German electricity system, according to the Federal German Association for Brown Coal (DEBRIV). To mark this year’s ‘Lignite Day’, Matthias Hartung, chairman of the board of directors of DEBRIV said that lignite is “socially and politically well-anchored” in North Rhine-Westphalia, Saxony and Saxony-Anhalt. “We want to work with politicians, researchers and unions to create conditions for local lignite to continue to play its part for the supply security and the affordability of electricity in light of the planned restructuring of the German power supply,” said Hartung.
Find the press release in German here.
Find more information in a CLEW factsheet on coal in Germany.
“Eon and RWE pursue radical restructuring”
With Germany’s transition towards renewables, the costs associated with a nuclear phase-out and low power prices, utilities have little choice but to shake up their operations, writes Guy Chazan in Financial Times. The Energiewende has upset the industry in ways no one saw coming, he says. “What happened went beyond my worst case [scenario],” said Johannes Teyssen, chief executive of E.ON. But changes are happening on a global scale: “Germany has become an incubator for changes that are now taking hold across the industrialised world,” writes Chazan.
Read the article in English here.
Read more on utilities and the energy transition in this CLEW dossier.
Find more information on RWE’s plans for new renewable subsidiary in this CLEW factsheet.
“We don’t want to implement the Energiewende with a bulldozer”
State environment minister of Schleswig-Holstein and Green politician Robert Habeck wants to slow down wind power development in the northernmost German state, reports shz.de. “I advocate for a slow-down. This gives us the opportunity to advance the Energiewende constantly and as a project related to society as a whole,” said Habeck in an interview. The state’s current plans aim at producing three times more power from renewables than the state consumes by 2020. Habeck plans to stretch this goal to 2030, because the state would need to install more than double the amount of facilities it did in the past years. “We don’t want to implement the Energiewende with a bulldozer,” said Habeck.
Read the article in German here.