Wind powers to new record / The utilities' "green power meltdown"
Energy Transition/Fraunhofer ISE
“Wind power #1 electricity source in November”
Stormy weather pushed Germany’s wind power production to a new record in November, covering a full quarter of domestic demand. It makes it the most important power source if hard coal and lignite are counted separately, reports Craig Morris on energytransition.de. “Until this year, wind power production in Germany had never topped 10 TWh within a single month, but 2015 started off with 10.4 TWh in January. November brought that level up to 11.4 TWh according to the latest figures from Fraunhofer IS,” writes Morris.
Read the article in English here.
“Germany’s green power meltdown”
Germany’s utilities could have taken advantage of the move toward renewables, but instead put their heads in the sand, writes Matthew Karnitschnig in Politico. “With decades of experience in managing Germany’s power needs, the utilities were perfectly placed to seize the commercial opportunity that the green energy revolution presented. Instead, they fell asleep at the switch.” The companies blame their problems on government interventions, but that is only part of the story, argues Karnitschnig. “A combination of management shortsightedness, hubris and a dash of bad luck contributed to one of the most dramatic declines in Germany’s industrial history.”
Read the article in English here.
Read a CLEW article on RWE’s strategy reversal here.
Find a CLEW dossier on utilities in the energy transition here.
“Unions agree to Terium’s plans”
Unions agree with RWE’s plans to spin off renewables, according to a Reuters report. Andreas Scheidt, member of the federal steering committee at services union Verdi, told the news agency the move was necessary, but jobs had to be secured in the long term. RWE’s supervisory board will decide on the management’s plans on 11 December. Half of the supervisory board members represent employees.
Read the article in German here.
“Exit the climate trap”
The RWE split is good news for the Paris Climate Summit, argues Michael Bauchmüller in Süddeutsche Zeitung. “The company is initiating the liquidation of its lignite business. This is the meaning of the announcement that the new renewables subsidiary is to get money from financial markets, but not the old business,” writes Bauchmüller. “Lignite is being phased out, pulverised between climate protection and green power.” He laments that this is not the case beyond Europe, as there are plans to build 2,000 additional coal-fired plants around the globe. Only a price on carbon will stop these plans turning into reality, Bauchmüller argues. “This will artificially increase the price of coal. That is the language that investors understand. The world over.”
“Ambition grows on the way”
International climate policy slowly makes the transition from knowledge to action, writes Dagmar Dehmer in a commentary in Tagesspiegel. “But even if the way is obvious: The fight between the old economy, which destroys the climate, and the new, which can stabilise it, is not yet decided.” She says World Climate Summits are, above all, world economic forums. “Every country attempts to preserve its old and well-tried business model for as long as possible.” Still, Paris might be a unique opportunity because of the large amount of goodwill present. “The chances to establish a self-learning agreement are good. If the architecture is right, ambition can continue to grow.”
“Can we have it one size smaller?”
The rhetoric and alarmism at the Paris Climate Summit is exaggerated and counterproductive, warns former economy minister Wolfgang Clement in a guest column for Handelsblatt. It invites sceptics to ask how many apocalypses we have survived already. Clement argues it is indeed an enormously important task to agree on a multilateral climate policy. But he says Germany needs to watch out it does not spend billions on today’s green technologies as if there was no tomorrow. “Is it really ‘five to midnight’, like every other speaker says? For technology, definitely not.”
Clement used to be a member of Gabriel's Social Democrats (SPD). He left the party in 2008 after a quarrel over energy policy, in which he opposed the exit from nuclear and coal.
Find the commentary in German here.