Yesterday the government announced what it called a milestone decision for the ManyElectronics 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.
Archive for the 'Nuclear' Category
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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.
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. if you would like to get the slides (in English).
On 12 June 2015 Bundestag (Parliament) adopted a bill for an IT Security Act (IT-Sicherheitsgesetz, ref. no. 18/4096) as amended by the Bundestag’s interior committee (ref. no. 18/5121). The bills aims at counteracting the increasing number of cyber attacks and improving the IT security of public authorities and the private sector. It contains new provisions for so-called critical infrastructure, including the energy sector.
Today the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) issued a judgement that declared the German nuclear fuel rod tax (KernbrStG) compatible with EU law. The judgement did not come as much of a surprise as Advocate General Maciej Szpunar had already delivered a similar opinion in February. For the German nuclear power operators, however, it is another setback, leaving them only the hope that the pending lawsuit with the Federal Constitutional Court in Karlsruhe will have a favourable outcome.
The discussion on transferring provisions created by German nuclear power operators for nuclear power decommission liabilities to a state-owned foundation (Atomstiftung) is gathering momentum. Today’s Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (FAZ) has an article with the headline “RWE on the way to becoming a state-owned group”, covering an upcoming presentation by Werner Müller. He is a former Federal Minister for Economics and Technology and since 2012 head of RAG Stiftung – which will finance perpetual mine management obligations related to coal mining.
On 29 April 2015 the European Commission launched its first sector inquiry under EU state aid rules into national capacity mechanisms. The aim is to collect information that will allow the Commission to detect potential distortions of competition or trade in the EU single market and devise appropriate legislative iniatives for an electricity market design in line with the EU’s Energy Union Strategy. The inquiry is broader than many may think: It is by no means restricted to what has been discussed under the “capacity market” heading in Germany recently, but for example also covers key elements of the “electricity market 2.0” option as it also contains important capacity reserve elements. As the inquiry may also provide the basis for future state aid actions and policy decisions of the Commission (which may also include repayment of unlawful state aid), the inquiry should not be underestimated.
As of 1 January 2016 E.ON spin-off Uniper will start operations at the current E.ON headquarters in managed by long-term E.ON manager and CFO Klaus Schäfer. The new company will encompass conventional power generation, energy trading, and exploration and production. E.ON CEO Johannes Teyssen will continue to head the company that wants to focus on renewables, energy networks, and customer solutions. Michael Sen, currently CFO of Siemens Healthcare, will become E.ON’s CFO effective June 1, 2015. Headquarters will be in Essen.
BDEW has published its 2015 list of German new build power plants. 53% of the power plants projects with a net capacity of 20 MW or more and high availability (conventional and offshore power plants) are uncertain, the Federal Association of the Energy and Water Industry (BDEW) said, when presenting its annual update for the so-called BDEW Kraftwerksliste. If the energy turnaround and the transition to renewable energies as the main pillar of the energy supply was to succeed, reliable back-up by new efficient and climate-friendly (highly available) power plants was needed, Hildegard Müller, chairwoman of the energy trade association BDEW, stressed.