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May 15, 2013

RWE gas trading improves, sees boost from Gazprom deal

FRANKFURT, May 15 (Reuters) – Reduced losses at its gas
trading business helped RWE to post a
smaller-than-expected fall in quarterly earnings and Germany’s
No.2 utility predicted “significant” benefits from a new deal
with main supplier Gazprom by mid-year.

The group, Europe’s biggest polluter thanks to its extensive
use of lignite, or brown coal, said quarterly earnings before
interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) fell 3
percent to 3.04 billion euros ($3.95 billion), hit by sluggish
energy prices and falling margins in power generation.

May 10, 2013

The solar paradox: boom, bust or both?

FRANKFURT, May 10 (Reuters) – Planned European levies on
Chinese solar panels will only go some way to halt a rout among
equipment makers who face the paradox of a booming market but
falling revenues – and could suffer even more if a trade war
erupts.

Huge European subsidies for solar power helped create
hundreds of start-ups building solar equipment. Those subsidies
are being phased out faster than expected, while greater
competition within Europe and the United States as well as from
China have pushed down prices and forced panel manufacturers to
the wall.

Apr 26, 2013

Germany’s clean energy drive fails to curb dirty brown coal

FRANKFURT, April 26 (Reuters) – Germany’s green energy drive
is proving surprisingly good for dirty brown coal as utilities
squeezed by rival renewables and low wholesale gas prices use
more of it.

East Germany was a huge user of brown coal, or lignite, and
Germany remains the world’s biggest producer, but its use poses
a problem for Berlin’s environmental plans.

Mar 28, 2013

Allianz, Borealis to buy RWE’s Net4Gas for $2 bln

FRANKFURT, March 28 (Reuters) – German insurer Allianz SE
and a Canadian investor agreed to pay some 1.6 billion
euros ($2 billion) including debt for a Czech gas pipeline
operator, as financial investors flock to such assets in search
of safe returns.

The purchase of RWE AG’s Net4Gas unit is the
latest in a string of acquisitions in the field of power and gas
grids, which are attracting pension funds and insurers due the
promise of steady returns amid low bond yields and volatile
equities.

Mar 27, 2013

SMA Solar’s profit plunges as industry crisis spreads

FRANKFURT, March 27 (Reuters) – SMA Solar’s
profits and dividend more than halved last year, hit by plunging
prices that have led to a wave of insolvencies in the solar
industry.

The world’s largest maker of solar inverters – a key
component in solar installations needed to feed solar power into
the electricity grid – on Wednesday reported a 58-percent drop
in 2012 operating earnings to 102 million euros ($131 million).

Mar 26, 2013

German village offers blueprint for rural green energy

FELDHEIM, Germany (Reuters) – Nations as diverse as North Korea and the United States have sent delegations to visit a tiny village in former East Germany to see how it has transformed the way it uses energy.

A 60-minute drive south of Berlin and home to about 125 people, Feldheim is Germany’s first and only energy self-sufficient village and attracts both international energy experts and politicians.

Mar 14, 2013

Solar woes hit Wacker Chemie’s core profit, dividend

FRANKFURT/MUNICH, Germany, March 14 (Reuters) – Germany’s
Wacker Chemie, the world’s No. 2 maker of polysilicon,
cut its dividend for 2012 by nearly three quarters as profits
tumbled and forecast falling earnings this year, blaming
consolidation in the solar sector.

Prices of polysilicon, a key ingredient needed to make solar
cells, plunged 47 percent last year due to global oversupply
triggered by years of government incentives in Germany and other
countries to encourage consumers to shift to solar energy. Those
incentives are now being scaled back.

Mar 13, 2013

E.ON to divest Urenco stake this year or next

DUESSELDORF, Germany, March 13 (Reuters) – E.ON
said it wanted to close the sale of its stake in uranium
enrichment firm Urenco this year or next, as part of a drive to
shed assets and cut its massive debts.

The utility, hit by Germany’s decision to pull out of
nuclear power, stagnating energy demand in Europe and high
borrowings, plans to offload up to 20 billion euros worth of
operations, including non-core nuclear businesses.

Mar 8, 2013

Solar batteries could be utilities’ next headache

FRANKFURT/MILAN, March 8 (Reuters) – Renewable energy is
constantly evolving and challenging traditional utilities but
one growing sector could make home-generated power much easier
to use and cut customers’ dependence on energy companies
dramatically – solar batteries.

A major conundrum with solar panels has always been how to
keep the lights on when the sun isn’t shining.

Mar 5, 2013

RWE to sell oil and gas exploration unit to cut debt

ESSEN, Germany, March 5 (Reuters) – Germany’s No. 2 utility
RWE has put its oil and gas exploration unit up for
sale in a move that could raise about 4.6 billion euros ($6
billion) for its drive to cut debt.

RWE had previously said it only wanted to sell parts of the
unit, called DEA, which accounted for 23 percent of the group’s
operating profit in 2012.

    • About Christoph

      "I'm responsible for the coverage of German renewable companies, mainly solar, at Reuters News. Previously, I have worked as a correspondent at Thomson Financial News, covering German technology and construction companies."
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