Energy policy in the summer hole

The energy and climate newsreel: of falling cucumber and CO2 certificate prices and unconvincing energy policy

To start with, we serve up a little number salad with the cucumber surplus reported in the taz on friday: cucumber production in the spreewald is up to 80% above the usual level, so that the processing companies can no longer keep up with the production of sour cucumbers and the harvest surplus has to be destroyed.

Energy policy in the summer slump

Image: USDA ARS

The weather is of course to blame for the fulfillment of the plan, which also causes economic damage, which, according to the taz article, cannot be quantified in more detail. While cucumbers do quite well in thundery weather, the german weather service has ied severe weather warnings on 36 of 66 summer days so far (severe weather is becoming more frequent).

Although a drop in the price of cucumbers can be inferred from the rough weather in central europe, the drop in the price of CO2 emission certificates remains puzzling. "Neither the economic recession nor the expansion of renewable energies are – as often amed – the main causes of the massive price drop in the european emissions trading scheme (EU ETS): they can only explain ten percent of the drop in the price of CO2 certificates", according to the mercator research institute on global commons and climate change (MCC). "Instead, 90 percent of CO2 pricing in europe continues to give riddles", says MCC researcher nikolas koch. "We believe it is likely that investor uncertainty about whether or not policy announcements on long-term climate targets will actually be implemented will have a gross impact on the low price."

You could also put it this way: companies rely on lax climate policies and have the foresight not to purchase emissions allowances because they ame they will get them thrown at them anyway. However, the MCC wants to explore the unexplained 90% of pricing further.

809.039.35 euros will be spent this year by the federal ministry of economics and technology to promote the new EEG, equivalent to about a quarter of its public relations budget. More than half a million of this is spent on advertisements in daily newspapers and consumer magazines. This is the result of a small inquiry by the consumer policy spokeswoman of the left party, caren lay. Unfortunately, the bmwi also deleted the following from this advertisement: credible information.

Advertising from the bmwi

About the exact amount of "affordable", how the energy turnaround should be in the future according to the bmwi ad is debatable, as is well known. After all, it is forecast that the EEG levy could be reduced to 6.0 cents per kilowatt hour in 2015. It currently amounts to 6.24 cents per kilowatt hour. This is the result of a study by the institute for future energy systems (IZES) commissioned by the green parliamentary group in the bundestag. However, the relief can hardly be attributed to the cap on expansion in the EEG 2014, but to a plus of more than one billion euros that has accumulated in the EEG compensation account within the last 12 months. First and foremost, electricity customers have already paid in advance here. However, a future reduction in the EEG surcharge does not necessarily mean lower electricity prices for consumers; that depends on the pricing policy of the electricity suppliers.

Energy efficiency, electric cars, grid expansion

This brings us to what the federal government is currently doing and failing to do. For example, it has failed to transpose the EU energy efficiency directive into german law. This came into force in december 2012 and had to be incorporated into the legislation of the individual EU countries by 5 june 2014. June 2014 into the legislation of the individual EU countries. The energy efficiency directive provides for a 20% reduction in energy consumption by 2020, which in absolute terms for the EU means a primary energy consumption of no more than 1483 million tons of raw energy units or no more than 1086 million tons of raw energy units of final energy. Each individual EU country must submit corresponding figures, which the german government has also done.

In order to fully implement the EU directive, the first step must be to introduce the "national energy efficiency action plan" which is to be drawn up before the end of the year. Meanwhile, the EU commission has initiated infringement proceedings against the federal republic of germany.

There are laws against this, which apparently no one wants except the german government. Far from its goal of putting one million electric cars on the road by 2020, it wants to help with an electromobility law. At present, fewer than 25.000 electric vehicles are registered. However, the ministry of transport and the ministry of the environment expect the number of registrations to increase disproportionately over the next few years. Privileges in road traffic, such as the opening of bus lanes and the installation of special, free parking spaces with charging points, are expected to contribute to this.

Municipalities will have the final say, as the draft law only allows them to set up corresponding privileges. For the time being, however, there will be no purchase premiums. Criticism of the draft law comes from the german transport club (VCD), among others. "No more space should be taken away from local public transport and the sustainable bicycle as a means of transport. Additional vehicles, regardless of how they are driven, clog bus lanes and subsequently discourage people from using environmentally friendly local public transport or bicycles", says VCD spokesman gerd lottsiepen. The association of german transport companies has also spoken out against free bus lanes.

The VCD also criticizes the establishment of free parking spaces. This has always been rejected by the ministry of transport for car-sharing projects, even though these make much more sense in urban traffic. Of course, electric cars can also be used for car sharing, and they should be, since their intensive use improves the eco-balance. "Even if an electric car is always charged with green electricity, it needs 20.000 to 30.000 kilometers of driving until the climate gas emissions from battery production are balanced out", writes the VCD.

As the draft law currently stands, however, it does not seem to be about more environmentally friendly traffic, but solely about giving the german automotive industry a helping hand in the marketing of electric cars. As early as 2011, the german government declared that germany should become the lead market and lead supplier for electromobility.

Disagreement over the south-east power line

In some cases, people don’t really know what the federal government is doing, for example with the planned south-east power line, which is to run from bad lauchstadt in saxony-anhalt to meitingen near augsburg. Due to the ongoing protests against the DC power line, the route of the line was changed and the end point will no longer be in the coal-mining region of saxony-anhalt, but in wind- and wind-energy-rich mecklenburg-western pomerania, thus once again being legitimized as an energy turnaround project (power line will bypass coal-fired power plants).

At the end of july, minister of economics and energy sigmar gabriel publicly declared: "of course, the current corridor will not come. If the state were to try to enforce this by legal means, we would have years of theater and lawsuits before the federal constitutional court." thuringia’s minister president christine lieberknecht took this as a reason to hope that the route would no longer run through her state. But according to a report in the frankfurter rundschau, gabriel wants nothing to do with this.

Rainer baake, state secretary in the bmwi contradicts the political intervention of his minister on inquiry of the grunen bundestag delegate oliver krischer again. The federal government is supporting the preparation of the network development plan by the network operators and is not intervening with its own considerations. The sud-east route was already enshrined in the federal requirements plan act in 2013. The approval process for the project was supposed to start this year, but in view of the political back and forth, this is hardly likely to happen now.

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