Yesterday the government announced what it called a milestone decision for the German energy transition towards renewables and its CO2 savings goal. The government agreed to scrap its controversial (in our view unlawful) plans to impose a climate levy for conventional power plants to save CO2. Instead some of the oldest coal-fired plants with a capacity of 2.7 GW shall become back-up plants. Besides the government wants to promote energy efficiency, speed up grid expansion and ensure that the decommissioning provisions made by the nuclear power operators cover Germany’s nuclear exit costs. Costs for consumers still remain largely unclear. Information regarding state aid implications was also not provided.
With a total of 101,483 MWp, new PV capacity installed in May 2015 in Germany basically remained on the same level as in the previous months. Solar capacity eligible for support under the Renewable Energy Sources Act (EEG) reached a total of 38,754 MWp by the end of May. The monthly reduction of financial support for new PV installations has been reduced to 0.25% each month in the period from 1 July to 1 September 2015, the regulator, the Federal Network Agency (BNetzA) informed.
The debate about a legislative package regulating the controversial fracking technology seems to become an never ending story. The ruling coalition government composed of Conservatives (CDU/CSU) and Social Democrats (SPD) has withdrawn bills concerning the controversial fracking technology. Parliament (Bundestag) was supposed to debate this Friday. The withdrawal is due to concern from within the parties, in particular against the involvement of an expert commission. The bill shall now be submitted to Parliament in autumn media sources say.
Citing from a not yet published answer to a minor interpellation by the Green Party, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung says that the government is not to decide about a state-owned foundation into which the German power plant operators transfer provisions made for nuclear power decommission liabilities and the storage of nuclear waste.
On Saturday 27 June 2015 at 23:59 p.m. E.ON shut down its nuclear power plant in Grafenrheinfeld in Bavaria. This was more than six months before the company was required to do so pursuant to the 2011 amendment of the Atomic Energy Act (AtG) that mandates a complete nuclear phase-out in Germany by the end of 2022.
Ten companies and research institutions, including Infineon, BMW and Daimler, have joined forces to develop a modular system for electric cars in a project sponsored by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research worth EUR 7.5 billion. The project will run until 31 December 2017. It is lead by Infineon.
Reports are increasing about an alternative proposal for the controversial climate levy. A a number of coal-fired power plants shall allegedly be made part of a pool of back-up power plants, for which the operators would receive a remuneration. The government is to decide on 1 July, various media sources say.
On 18 June 2015 I gave a presentation at Freie Universität Berlin (FU Berlin) on “Current Events in Energy Law” for the Master of Business, Competition and Regulatory Law Programme. Please let me know if you would like to get the slides (in English).
Renewable energy auctions are increasingly becoming a policy tool of choice to support renewable energy deployment. They are meant to decrease costs, attract investment and drive global renewable energy deployment, the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) said on the occasion of the publication of a best-pratice guidebook on auctions. The guide provides case studies from around the world and guidelines for renewable energy tendering processes.
Mainly due to colder weather energy consumption in Germany rose by almost 5% in Q1 2015, compared with the same period last year, Arbeitsgemeinschaft Energiebilanzen (Working Group Energy Balances – AGEB) reported. Heating fuels like natural gas and mineral oil benefitted in particular. Wind power gained even more, while solar power lost against the trend.