Wind power gets cheaper / Electricity consumption up
Costs for wind power reduced
Power from wind turbines in 2016/2017 will be 12 percent cheaper than in 2012/2013, according to a study commissioned by the German Engineering Federation (VDMA) and the German Wind Energy Association (BWE). A kilowatt-hour of wind power will cost between 5.3 and 9.6 cent in 2016/2017, depending on the location, according to the study. Investment costs for wind turbines fell by 7 percent between 2012 and 2015.
Read the study in German here.
“Gas consumption rises by 5 percent, power consumption rises 0.7 percent”
Germany consumed five percent more gas this year, while power consumption went up 0.7 percent, according to preliminary calculations by utility association BDEW. The main reason for the rise in gas demand was colder temperatures at the beginning of this year, compared to extremely mild temperatures in 2014, the association said in a press release. The amount of gas used for power production fell around seven percent. Power consumption in 2015 is likely to total almost 552 billion kWh, according to the calculations. The main reasons for the slight rise were weather conditions and strong economic growth.
Read the press release in German here.
“Exemptions for German industry hangs in the balance”
Some German industrial companies have become so efficient that they are not considered “energy intensive” anymore, writes Martin Greive in Die Welt. This means that under current rules they would have to pay the full renewables surcharge which energy-intensive industries are normally exempt from. Energy and economy minister Sigmar Gabriel wants to make sure that the companies are not punished for becoming more efficient. In order to extent the exemption scheme in the next Renewable Energy Act, he will have to talk to the EU commission, Gabriel writes in a letter seen by Die Welt. The Green Party criticised Gabriel’s approach, saying that the EU commission would perhaps not agree to further subsidies for energy-intensive industries.
Read the article in German here.
“The result is what matters”
Angela Merkel may have highly praised the Paris climate agreement but this is in contrast to her actions in Brussels, where her government has lobbied for years to keep emission limits for vehicles weak, Ulrich Schäfer writes in a commentary for the Süddeutsche Zeitung. The car industry is Germany’s most important economic sector and has a lot of influence on the government, the author says. But if Merkel and the other EU governments want to take the Paris agreement seriously, they must accept the consequences of the VW diesel scandal, strengthen emission limits in the EU and push the development of electric mobility.
Read the op-ed in German here.
“Germany’s faltering coal-exit ambitions”
Environment Minister Barbara Hendricks’ promises about a coal exit have become more restrained since her initial optimism because the issue is unpopular with too many people, writes Nicole Sagener on EurActiv.com. “A fierce debate is likely to be had on the issue and a consensus will be hard to achieve.”
Read the article in English here.
Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi)
A good year for the Energiewende
State secretary Rainer Baake explains the ministry’s energy transition policies in 2015 in an interview on the website of the BMWi. Renewables have become the most important power source in Germany he said. This meant that the time of technology support was over. All sectors have to become more energy efficient in order to decarbonise the German economy in the coming decades. In 2016, the ministry will focus on the reform of the renewable energy law, in which they plan to switch from feed-in tariffs to tenders for renewable capacity.
Watch the interview in German here.
E.ON / Reuters
Major utility E.ON is partnering with South Korean battery producer Samsung to run energy storage projects, focusing on grid stabilisation, industrial customers and appropriate energy systems. “The expansion of renewables, together with customers’ demands for decentralized solutions are driving the need for flexibility across the entire energy system. Lithium-Ion batteries are well suited to provide part of this flexibility,” said Bernhard Reutersberg, E.ON’s Chief Markets Officer, in a press release. The two companies will run battery projects in the US, Germany, the UK and the Czech Republic first and said they planned to extend the initiative to other countries.
According to a Reuters report, the firms aim to take advantage of an expected boom in battery demand following Tesla’s push into the market. Traditional utilities like E.ON need to tap new revenue streams following the demise of conventional fossil fuel-based power generation, reports Christoph Steitz. Tesla launched its sleek residential storage system, “Powerwall”, earlier this year.
Read the press release in English here.
Read the Reuters report in English here.
Find a CLEW dossier on the traditional utilities’ fight for survival here.
Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi)
Ministry presents proposals to improve gas supply security
The Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi) aims to increase the security of gas supply with market-based instruments. The aim is to increase reserves as an insurance against extraordinary regional bottlenecks, and to provide more businesses with incentives to cut demand.
Read the ministry’s proposals in German here.