Library filed under Energy Policy from Europe
Ministers, NGOs, unions, industries, parliamentarians and consumers will converge for conference to agree on how to conduct a six-month national debate that will reshape the way energy is produced, consumed and taxed in France. Its new Socialist government is expected to announce immediate measures to help the crisis-hit renewable energy sector.
Incumbent Minister Tory Jon Hayes has been quoted as saying that wind farms are a "terrible intrusion" and "renewable energy needs to pass the twin tests of environmental and economic sustainability and wind power fails on both counts".
The draft bill endorsed by Chancellor Angela Merkel's Cabinet of Ministers would make power consumers pay as much as 0.25 euro cents a kilowatt-hour if wind farm owners can't sell their electricity because of delays in connecting turbines to the grid. The plan is aimed at raising investments after utilities threatened to halt projects.
At issue is the German Renewable Energy Act, which requires power companies to buy wind and solar energy from producers at fixed prices, which are much higher than electricity produced by traditional methods such as coal- and natural gas-fired power plants. At the same time, power-hungry industries receive generous subsidies ...German consumers have to cough up the difference.
Grid operators are reluctant to build power lines at sea because they have to pay compensation should they break down. So many wind farms could lack the means to transfer the power they are generating back to the mainland. The government is trying to pass on those costs to power consumers to reduce the risk for investors.
Germany's largest utilities RWE and EON AG (EOAN) are shunning cleaner-burning natural gas because it's more costly, while the collapsing cost of carbon permits means there's little penalty for burning coal. Wind and solar projects, central to Germany's plans to reduce nuclear energy and cut the release of heat- trapping gases, can't produce electricity around the clock.
Sudden fluctuations in Germany's power grid are causing major damage to a number of industrial companies. While many of them have responded by getting their own power generators and regulators to help minimize the risks, they warn that companies might be forced to leave if the government doesn't deal with the issues fast.
Anyone impressed by the efficient way in which Britain has organised the Olympic Games might consider the stark contrast provided by the shambles of our national energy policy - wholly focused as it is on the belief that we can somehow keep our lights on by building tens of thousands more wind turbines within eight years.
In an interview with German weekly newspaper Die Zeit, Altmaier said “with 35 percent of power from renewable sources, that still leaves 65 percent to be covered. It makes sense to replace old brown and black coal-fired plants which aren't good for the environment with modern and efficient coal and gas-fired power plants.”
German plans to cut carbon emissions with renewable energy are ambitious, but they are also risky.
Mr Osborne said he was “content” to accept a reduction in subsidies of just 10 per cent in the short term. ...some in the Treasury had been pressing for cuts of up to 25%. ...But the compromise offer came with a list of demands aimed at securing a big role for natural gas in Britain’s energy mix.
Ms Wallace's departure comes at a time when the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) is involved in fighting the Treasury over reductions in subsidies for on-shore wind farms.
The chancellor fears overgenerous support for wind power and other renewable sources will deter investment in gas-fired power stations, which he believes offer businesses and consumers the prospect of lower bills in future.
Germany's revolutionary switch to renewable energies is stalling and the country's new environment minister has now admitted as much by casting doubt on the ambitious goals set last year. Media commentators say that he and the rest of Chancellor Merkel's government must do more.
The think tanks also urge ministers to "stop building wind-farms and repeal (or suspend) the Climate Change Act", and abandon the multi-billion pound high speed rail link between London and Birmingham.
According to various reports, the Treasury has been demanding a 25 per cent cut to the subsidies, following pressure from Conservative backbenchers who are mounting an increasingly vocal campaign against wind farms and renewable energy subsidies.
Solar subsidies cost German consumers billions of dollars a year and are widely regarded as inefficient. Even environmentalists are concerned that Berlin's focus on solar comes at the detriment of other renewables. But the solar industry has a powerful lobby, and politicians have proven powerless to resist.
With Nick Clegg, deputy prime minister, representing Britain at the Rio environmental summit this week, Mr Davey is fighting to maintain the government's green credentials in the face of determined Conservative lobbying against onshore wind farms.
Almost a year after Germany decided to shift away from nuclear power and sharply raise production from renewable sources, critics doubt that the move will go ahead as scheduled. The government has so far failed to present a plan for filling the gap in its future energy capacity, as the switch has proven more difficult than initially thought.
"They destroyed the Spanish market overnight with the moratorium," European Wind Energy Association Chief Executive Officer Christian Kjaer said in an interview. "The wider implication of this is that if Spanish politicians can do that, probably most European politicians can do that."