German government major conclusions of a review of energy policy in its Energiekonzept.
On 14 September 2010 09:42, Matt Phillips
In case you have not studied the German Energiekonzept document, below are some informal notes on what it says.
Last week the German government released its major conclusions of a review of energy policy in its Energiekonzept. If your German is up to scratch, here it is: http://www.bmu.de/files/pdfs/allgemein/application/pdf/entw_energiekonzept_kf.pdf . At the bottom of this email I have pasted the copy from Spiegel online’s analysis.
Some major highlights of interest in the UK are:
1 CO2 targets affirmed: Germany firmly commits to a 40% by 2020 CO2 reduction target.
2 Grid and 80% RES: Germany now commits to very high levels of RES and much greater integration of Germany into the European grid. Germany’s RE electricity targets are now: 35% by 2020, 50% by 2030, 65% by 2040, 80% by 2050. It also has a very substantial set of plans around grid expansion and integration in Europe. This would have implications for the rest of the European grid – as if Germany looks for greater integration this would have a major impact on grid across Northern Europe. Germany sees offshore wind as a major growth area with a substantial investment/incentives plan to make it so. The Energiekonzept proposes a €5bn loan scheme for the first ten German offshore wind projects, guarantees to cover losses, support to build specialist vessels, special offshore FIT design and improvements in permitting arrangements. The loan scheme will be financed by KfW – the government bank (equivalent of the Green Investment Bank proposed in the UK – but with major question marks at the moment over the extent of its capitalisation).
3 Financing: Germany has committed to recycling its €2bn ETS auction revenues for energy efficiency, renewable innovation and climate adaptation. In addition, the proposed life extension of existing nuclear will be accompanied by a windfall tax on the utilities that will benefit as a result. This €2.3bn tax will also be used explicitly for advancing renewables.
4 Energy Efficiency It calls for halving Germany’s primary energy consumption until 2050 (base year 2008), for doubling the yearly rate of modernisation of buildings (1% to 2%) and for an emissions standard for ALL buildings. And it proposes some instruments in order to reach these targets: An efficiency fund (€500m per year), tax exemptions, monetary incentives for energy management systems for industry, a pilot programme on white certificates, investment incentives for house owners, etc
Much of the media and political focus in Germany is the row over nuclear life-extension which has overwhelmed the rest of the content. But it is worth noting that in terms of the reaction, many on the renewable industry side fear nuclear life extension will chill new investment in RES. However it is also important to note the situation with new coal projects in Germany. Ten projects were given permissions more than three years ago and most of those are now under construction. There were 25 other projects in planning. In the last two years 15 of those have been abandoned. It is quite likely that the 10 in the planning pipeline would be affected by nuclear life extension. All of these are anyway are facing substantial public opposition.
On coal/CCS the Energiekonzept suggests there will be three commercial scale CCS projects by 2020 – two on coal plants and one on industrial emissions. It is worth noting that progress on this has proved very hard in Germany and the obstacles may not have been overcome just through this declaration of intent. In addition there is a proposal for a regulation to phase out inefficient coal. On the whole the ECF analysis is that the Energiekonzept has not delivered a coal/CCS policy that is sustainable as it does not grapple with the challenges of having a firm pathway for CCS on the plants being built now and nor does it remove the risk of unabated-coal-lock-in. But it is a helpful policy direction to open up the timetable for phasing out ‘old’ coal. As a footnote to this issue, you may not have seen recent comments by RWE that it is pulling out of all new coal projects as coal is uneconomic. While this was only announced in Germany, last week RWE pulled out of a new coal project in Poland.
The Energiekonzept is a proposal. It is perceived in Germany as a ‘centre right’ positioning on the issues. But it is important to understand that the mainstream consensus in Germany is now that the future is large scale RES. There is no political constituency in Germany calling for new nuclear plants. The Energiekonzept will almost certainly be subject to legal challenge and the proposals underneath it will be introduced in legislation or policy and so controversial measures will face political challenge.
Merkel’s Masterplan for a German Energy Revolution
A German wind farm in the North Sea.
Giant windparks, insulated buildings, electric cars and a European supergrid: the German government on Monday unveiled an ambitious but vague blueprint to launch a new era of green energy for Europe’s largest economy. SPIEGEL ONLINE has analyzed the plans.
The debate about the German government’s energy policy has centered on the extension of nuclear reactor lifespans. Opposition parties, analysts and environmentalists have heaped criticism on the decision of the center-right coalition on Sunday to postpone the phase-out of the country’s 17 nuclear power stations by 12 years on average beyond 2021, the date by which the last of the reactors had originally been due to close under legislation brought in by a previous center-left government in 2002.
It is true that the big power companies will profit from the lifespan extension. But the draft energy plan presented by Chancellor Angela Merkel on Monday isn’t just about nuclear power. It also provides a blueprint of how Germany is to manage the transition to a new age of green energy. The nuclear reactors are only significant for one of three sectors of the energy economy — power generation. They are irrelevant for the heating industry and transport. Besides, nuclear energy accounts for just a fifth of household energy needs — coal-fired power generation still makes up half. Nuclear power correspondingly fills just one of the 39 pages of the energy plan.