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Thursday December 1st, 2022

German wind power left spinning by angry residents, subsidy cut

AFP – Wind power is a key pillar in Germany’s ambitious renewables transition plan, but the sector has struck strong resistance, forcing the Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government to open talks on the crisis on Thursday.

After years of breakneck growth in capacity and uptake that has seen wind power delivering a fifth of Germany’s total energy production, vocal “not-in-my-backyard” opposition by residents and a lack of government support have seen investments shrink in the sector.

More than 600 citizen initiatives have sprung up against the giant installations, with a district called Saale-Orla even offering 2,000 euros to anyone taking action to get expert opinions opposing wind farms.

The far-right AfD party, branding itself as the climate-sceptic outfit, had seized on the topic during state elections in Brandenburg, saying it stands by residents steamrollered by wind energy corporations.

Against the backdrop of bitter division, expansion in Germany’s wind power production capacity plunged in 2018 to half that in 2017 as companies struggled to obtain permission to build.

And only a few dozen new turbines were installed since the beginning of this year, down 82 percent from a year ago, said Germany’s Wind Energy Association (BWE).

And repeatedly every quarter, official tenders for electricity production have returned undersubscribed — a “worrying” trend, said the Federal Network Agency.

“With regard to the expansion of onshore wind power, Germany has moved from the fast to the breakdown lane,” said Achim Derck, president of the German Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry (DIHK).

For BWE president Hermann Albers, the implication is clear — “this development calls into question the success of Germany’s energy transition.”

– Ending subsidies –

Market players said the tipping point came in 2016 when Germany amended its Renewable Energy Act.

After almost two decades of providing subsidies to prop up the nascent sector, Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government decided that the industry was now sufficiently mature and began withdrawing support.

With obtaining building permits often taking years thanks to stubborn local opposition, projects took even longer to recoup costs, also shifting the calculation by firms whether to invest.

In the months following the 2016 amendment, the wind power sector shed 26,000 jobs in Germany, more than in the dwindling coal industry, according to figures provided by the Bundestag, Germany’s lower parliament.

“We have sounded the alarm, but why the German government has chosen to go down this path remains a mystery to this day,” said BWE head Albers, who feels that Berlin had put too much “emphasis on costs” in the transition to green energy.

– ‘Tip of the iceberg’ –

But the crisis in the sector has now shot back up to the top of the political agenda as youths took on the climate emergency with their vocal Fridays for Future protests.

In order to meet the government’s target of sourcing 65 percent of Germany’s energy from renewables by 2030, the proportion of wind power will have to grow from around 20 percent currently to replace coal, which still makes up close to a quarter of the mix.

Ahead of a broader government announcement on September 20 on its climate strategy, Economy Minister Peter Altmaier (CDU) will host crisis talks on Thursday in Berlin with key players in the wind energy sector.

With 5,000 first generation wind turbines also up for renovation, the stakes are high.

For some however, the political attention has come too late.

“We’ve been asking for help for months. I don’t think the government understands that it is destroying an economic ecosystem that is a source of cutting-edge engineering and innovation, that has taken time to create and has made Germany famous,” Yves Rannou, head of the German wind turbine manufacturer Senvion, told AFP.

The company said last week that it is closing down, as its German revenues, which once represented 60 percent of its revenues, have shrunk to just 20 percent.

“We are only the tip of the iceberg, the first to get down on our knees, but not the last,” Rannou warned.

Comments (1)

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  1. ronnie says:

    This is a self inflicted crisis.
    Simply calling it a crisis has created the crisis.
    Prophecies of climate doom are not supported in the scientific literature .

    A future with more carbon dioxide in the air is not guaranteed to be apocalyptic.

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Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  1. ronnie says:

    This is a self inflicted crisis.
    Simply calling it a crisis has created the crisis.
    Prophecies of climate doom are not supported in the scientific literature .

    A future with more carbon dioxide in the air is not guaranteed to be apocalyptic.

Sri Lanka China-backed port to welcome second cruise ship

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s China-backed Hambantota Port said it was getting ready to welcome MV Azamara Quest, a cruise ship, as another passenger vessel departed.

Mein Schiff 5, operated by TUI had departed Hambantota International Port for Pulau Penang Island, Malaysia on November.

“As well as being her maiden call at the port, Mein Schiff 5 is the first passenger cruise ship to call at the port since the pandemic began,” said Johnson Liu, CEO of Hambantota International Port Group (HIPG) said in a statement.

“It was undoubtedly a great boost for the tourist economy in the south when the vessel called at the Hambantota International Port.”

Mein Schiff 5’s passengers had also visited the Bundala National Park, Hambantota Botanical Gardens, Galle and Kataragama.

Passengers had explored Hambantota by tuk-tuk, while others had enjoyed the beaches in the Shangri La Hotel, the port said.

MV Azamara Quest will arrive in Hambanota on on December 05. (Colombo/Dec01/2022)

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Sri Lanka’s shares gain in mid market trade

EXONOMYNEXT- Sri Lanka’s shares gained in mid market trade on Thursday (1), pushed up by strong positive sentiments on interest rates easing in line with inflation and speculation on government to hold talks with multilateral creditors ADB and World Bank for a possible loan facility.

Market has continued to gain for the past four sessions.

“Shares were moving on positive strong sentiments flowing in from yesterday (30), we are seeing a rally in the hotels, while the retail favorites such as LIOC and Expolanka,” analysts said.

Positive investor sentiments have been established, from positive comments from the Governor of the Central Bank over market rates eventually seeing an ease despite the fears of a domestic debt restructuring as inflation falls, increased liquidity in dollar markets, and the inter-bank liquidity improves.

Analysts further stated that, Treasury related stocks are also activated due to downward movements in yield.

All Share Price Index (ASPI) gained by 1.4 percent or 123.41 points to 8,774.64, while the most liquid share gained by 1.31% or 35.68 points to 2,765.

The market generated a turnover of 1.6 billion rupees at 1130 hours. (Colombo/Dec1/2022)

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Sri Lanka electricity losses from overpriced fuel, no tariff hike considered: regulator

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s state-run Ceylon Electricity Board’s high operating costs are partly due to excessive prices paid for fuel and no tariff hike is being considered, Chairman of the Public Utilities Commission of Sri Lanka, Janaka Ratnayake said.

The CEB itself does not buy fuel but depends on state-run Ceylon Petroleum Corporation and Lanka Coal, another state firm to buy fuel. Both firms are periodically caught in procurement scandals.

“They are paying about 385 plus rupees per litre for furnace oil,” Ratnayaka told EconomyNext.

“That is too much. From the global market we can buy it to much lower price. It can be imported below 200 rupees,”

“I ask the government to take the necessary steps to create a system to import furnace oil, like they did for fuel, to be imported at the lower price levels. If that happens, we can go without going for a price hike.”

Sri Lanka’s CEB generally gets furnace oil and residual oil from the domestic refinery and usually do not import furnace oil.

The refinery however is not regularly operating due to inability to get crude amidst the worst currency crisis in the history of the island’s intermediate regime central bank.

Ratnayake had earlier brought to light import costs of the CPC.

Pushing for operations efficiency of the CEB is a role of the regulator. Regulating costs based on global benchmark prices to push for procurement efficiencies is a standard practice. However the PUCSL is not the official regulator of the petroleum sector.

Related

Sri Lanka power tariff revisions sought in Jan and July: Minister

Power and Energy Minister Kanchana Wijesekera told parliament that cabinet approval was sought to twice yearly tariff hikes in January and July of each year.

No Electricity tariff hikes are being considered yet, Ratnayake said.

Wijesekera blamed the regulator as well as successive administrations for not regularly revising power prices and pushing the sector into crisis.

In Sri Lanka activists had also blocked cheap coal power. (Colombo/Dec01/2022)

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