Library filed under Energy Policy from Germany
Michael Fuchs, deputy chairman of the Christian Democrat party, joined fellow lawmakers in calling on the government to employ flexibility as early as this year in setting targets for clean energy growth, according to a three-page note dated Jan. 18 and sent to the chancellery.
Rich Western countries are more culpable than they think. They have transformed their rural landscapes with wind farms and pushed up electricity prices for consumers, yet have managed to drive surprisingly little carbon out of the energy system. The record would look even worse if Western countries had not simultaneously exported much of their heavy industry, and thus much of their pollution, to China and other emerging countries.
A surcharge levied on German consumers to support renewable power will rise 3 percent next year, despite government efforts to scale back support for green power, a statement from the country's network operators (TSOs) showed on Thursday. ...A household using 3,500 kWh per year would have to pay 222.39 euros towards the EEG alone in 2016, 3 percent more than this year, retail portal Toptarif said.
To put an end to the often unexpected power flows from Germany — so-called loop flows — the countries are taking the matter into their own hands. Concerned about the stability of their own grids, additional costs and the ability to export their own power, the Czechs, for example, are installing devices to block the power from 2016 onwards.
The output of DOE's models are easy to promote but reality paints a very different picture. DOE's Vision assumes 7 GW of wind built per year between 2014 and 2020, followed by 12 gigawatts per year between 2020 and 2030, and 17 GW every year after until 2050. The Agency points to the progress since 2009 as proof that a more aggressive wind roll-out is possible. But in many ways, the success of U.S. wind in those years is the very reason wind development will not grow, but continue to slow.
With the share of electricity generated by renewables rising, Berlin must work out how to safeguard permanent electricity supply to avert blackouts when there is a lull in variable wind or solar energy. ...But government members have spoken out against what they call "aid" for power plants, requesting prices should be allowed to peak wildly at times of real scarcity.
But at the same time, the flood of solar and wind energy on the grid has caused wholesale electricity prices to collapse — all while retail rates have skyrocketed. But the collapse in wholesale prices are cutting into the profitability of coal and gas plant operators that don’t get the generous subsidies that green energy does.
A German energy industry association survey found that 53% of investors in power plants scheduled to come online in the next decade had frozen their involvement in the projects because of political uncertainty. “If politicians carry on as they do now then there will be no new, modern power stations. There are no incentives whatsoever for investments, despite politicians emphasising all the time that they aim to change this. It is also likely that further closures will follow.”
Power companies in Germany are increasingly questioning whether to construction new power plants because of the energy revolution. Roughly half of the planned facilities now lack a concrete investment commitment, said Hildegard Müller, General Manager of the current lobby group BDEW on Monday at the Hannover Messe.
In a growing spat that is undermining the European Union’s 150 billion euro ($160 billion) program to strengthen the bloc’s electricity links, leaders in Bavaria and other German regions are turning down wind power from the north. Their biggest objection is the aesthetics of it all: New transmission lines would have to be put up across centuries-old German towns to bring in more of the electricity.
German taxpayers could end up spending billions of euros to help close the country's nuclear plants as current funding plans involving utilities risk falling short, a report commissioned by the government and seen by Reuters showed on Friday.
The government is working towards a way to safeguard permanent electricity supply, with cash for loss-making plants at one end of the spectrum of possible solutions and letting markets decide with price spikes in low supply periods the other. Utilities argue the latter solution could cause more mass closures and leave the market under-invested too long.
RWE Innogy is slashing investment in renewable energies to €1 billion over the three years 2015-2017 ...RWE spent the same amount on renewables in 2014 alone. With parent company RWE weighed down by heavy debts, RWE Innogy continues to pursue the strategy it begun in 2014.
This is an error with ugly consequences. The energy revolution, as it is now applied, results in dirtier air. It ensures that Germany fails at its self-imposed climate goals. The energy revolution inadvertently promotes the use of dirty coal plants and destroys the relatively clean gas power plants. "In retrospect, it all makes sense," says Graichen.
The German coalition government is planning to withdraw from its 2020 climate change goals. Notwithstanding public protest, Federal Economics Minister Sigmar Gabriel (SPD) has abandoned the requirement of cutting 40 percent of CO2 emissions compared to 1990 levels by 2020.
Germany as a whole was a huge country which was doing very well, especially in the auto sector, said Henri Proglio, EDF’s chairman and chief executive. “But when it comes to energy they are in a disaster,” he told reporters in London. “The two major companies, Eon and RWE are under huge pressure. One is more or less dead, the other is in a very difficult situation.”
France's economy may be doing badly but Germany's energy sector is a "disaster", the head of French state-owned energy company EDF has said. Henri Proglio, EDF chief executive, acknowledged his country was "in a poor situation" and "under pressure".
Ordinary Germans foot the bill for these market distortions, having ponied up an estimated €100 billion ($129 billion) extra on their electricity bills since 2000 to fund the renewable drive. The government estimates this revolution could cost a total of €1 trillion by 2040.
In reality, economists and some government officials acknowledge, there are deeper reasons for the recent downturn. ...They start at home, where Chancellor Angela Merkel's abrupt exit from nuclear energy after the Fukushima disaster in Japan and aggressive push into renewables has unnerved German industry. A recent overhaul of the country's complex renewable energy law has done little to alleviate uncertainty over future policy or assuage fears about German energy competitiveness.
This important paper prepared for the benefit of the Edison Electric Institute (EEI) and Finadvice’s European clients examine the risks and failures of Germany's national plan to rely on renewable energy. Portions of the executive summary and conclusions are provided below. The full paper can be accessed by clicking the links on this page.