LONDON/FRANKFURT (Reuters) – German households are paying for ever cheaper wholesale power supplies to industry as the government uses money from soaring domestic bills to subsidize renewable energy, in turn creating overcapacity on the country’s grid.
Chancellor Angela Merkel accelerated the exit from nuclear in 2011, speeding the path towards a power sector that is increasingly dominated by renewables in a move that has been criticized as costly, hasty and damaging.
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.
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.
FRANKFURT, April 26 (Reuters) – Trading volumes in Europe’s
major wholesale power markets dropped 12 percent in 2012, and
nearly four months into 2013 the direction of the market is too
uncertain to predict, research company Prospex said on Friday.
Trading volumes dropped to 8,534 terawatt hours (TWh) in
2012 in France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, Britain
and the Nordic region from 9,645 TWh in 2011, according to
estimates in a Prospex study due to be published on April 29.
FRANKFURT, April 18 (Reuters) – Germany’s energy network
regulator has stepped in in an attempt to keep two gas power
units open to ensure reliable power supply in the wake of the
deep upheaval caused by the nation’s strategic shift away from
The Federal Network Agency said on Thursday that talks were
underway with utility E.ON on how to keep its two unprofitable
blocks in Bavaria state online, as the need to maintain grid
stability makes their further operation a public issue.
DUESSELDORF, Germany, April 17 (Reuters) – German utility
E.ON SE will seek more energy trading opportunities
out of the United States and Asia from its soon-to-be created
Merchant Trading unit, aiming for growth in an increasingly
“We will be taking our European business further because
energy markets are globalising,” Klaus Schaefer, head of the
unit, told a briefing on Wednesday at the company’s Duesseldorf
FRANKFURT/LONDON, April 15 (Reuters) – Germany’s neighbours
enjoy cheap imported power subsidised by Berlin’s green energy
policy and paid for by German households, analysts say.
Generous subsidies have boosted renewable electricity
generation, and created a German green power glut. But Germans
themselves do not see lower prices, which are restricted to the
wholesale market – in fact the opposite. Instead it is their
neighbours whose bills benefit thanks to cheap imports from
FRANKFURT, March 18 (Reuters) – Eastern German gas
distributor VNG, part-owned by Russia’s Gazprom
which has long sought a greater share of Europe’s gas
retail market, said on Monday it acquired gas retailing company
Gazprom, which has a 10.52 percent stake in VNG, inched
closer to its target of better access to lucrative nearby
European markets when it bought small retailer Envacom in late
2011 after failing to link up with RWE.
FRANKFURT, March 14 (Reuters) – Weak demand and generating
losses have forced Norwegian power firm Statkraft to
shut down another German gas plant, the company said on
The move is more bad news for gas-fired generation, once
feted for its relatively low carbon dioxide emissions but now
struggling in a market heavily distorted by subsidies for
renewables plants. Other utilities face the same problem.
DUESSELDORF, Germany, March 13 (Reuters) – German utility
E.ON said it expected demand for electricity and gas
in its core European region to be so weak in 2013 that it might
have to mothball some of its most modern power stations.
Power demand in Germany, Europe’s biggest economy and energy
market, fell 1.4 percent in 2012 to 552.3 billion kilowatt hours
(kWh), according to industry data.