Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung
“Support for wind power in windless locations”
Current proposals for the reform of the Renewable Energy Act (EEG) from Economy and Energy Minister Sigmar Gabriel could increase financial support for wind turbines in regions with little wind, writes Andreas Mihm in Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung. In order to avoid turbines being built exclusively in the windy north of the country, a draft paper suggests support in coastal regions might be cut, while inland locations might receive a premium of up to around 10 percent.
In a separate commentary on the proposals, Mihm argues that reform along those lines would be a regulative and tactical mistake. He says Gabriel’s professed aim of injecting more market forces into the system rings hollow. “Gabriel’s market is called the state,” concludes Mihm.
Find the article in German here.
“Plan for coal exit could endanger electricity supply”
It’s not surprising that operators of coal-fired power plants oppose a coal exit as proposed by think tank Agora Energiewende*, writes Daniel Wetzel in Die Welt. Steag, a utility that operates nine hard-coal plants, has calculated that Agora’s exit plans would lead to a shortfall in power-generating capacity by 2025. Independent capacity would be reduced to 50 gigawatts (GW), while Germany’s power demand amounts to 85 GW at peak times, Steag warns. This gap cannot be filled by power imports or electricity storage, according to the utility. And shutting down coal-fired combined heat and power plants (CHP) would put an end to a very efficient form of heat generation, Steag says. Agora’s suggestion for deleting EU emission allowances from 2020 is “without any chance of getting political majority on the EU level”, Wetzel quotes the utility as saying.
Responding to Steag’s criticism, Agora said secured capacity in their exit plan would amount to 78 GW (not 50 GW) and that the European power market would secure electricity supply. Coal CHP would be substituted by new gas-fired CHP, the think tank said.
Steag is among the bidders for Vattenfall's German lignite operations.
Read the article in German here.
“China’s solar capacity overtook Germany in 2015, industry data show”
China’s solar photovoltaic capacity likely surpassed Germany’s last year, reports Reuters. China's installed photovoltaic solar capacity stood at 43 gigawatt (GW) by the end of the year, up about 15 GW from 2014, the China Photovoltaic Industry Association (CPIA) said, according to the official Xinhua news agency. The figure for Germany is roughly 40 GW, according to data from the German Federal Network Agency and Fraunhofer ISE.
China's National Energy Administration has said China will add 15 GW of solar capacity in 2016, according to the article. Germany’s current target for annual solar installations is about 2.5 GW.
Find the article here.
Green Budget Germany
“A few more cents on petrol could effectively support e-mobility”
Supporting e-car development with a premium to buyers of electric vehicles will only make sense for climate protection if it’s not paid for out of the state budget but by charging more for particularly heavy CO2 emitters, Green Budget Germany (FÖS) says. Cars with high emissions should finance the e-car expansion, for example through a moderately higher tax on petrol and diesel fuels. Raising the price of petrol by 1 cent and of diesel by 2.5 cents per litre would pay for the 2.5 billion euro e-car incentive programme that the energy ministry has suggested, the researchers say.
“Putting an end to cheating”
Growth in the important car industry cannot be an end in itself, Elzbieta Bienkowska, EU commissioner for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs, writes in a guest article for the Frankfurter Rundschau. Volkswagen’s malpractice shows that something has to change in the industry. Car manufacturers should drive innovation in the fields of automatic driving and see CO2 emission reduction as an opportunity. The EU commission should fix loopholes and tighten provisions and tests on emissions like NOx, Bienkowska writes.