Senior Power Correspondent
Vera's Feed
Sep 11, 2013

German cartel chief maps out power market reform after election

MUNICH (Reuters) – Germany’s power market needs a quick jolt to become competitive again after September’s national elections, the country’s cartel office chief said on Wednesday, proposing a reformed marketing and funding system for renewables.

Energy policy has long been on hold ahead of the polls while the rapid growth of subsidized green power has undermined prices of conventional power and triggered plant closures, leaving the sector in urgent need of consolidation.

Aug 28, 2013

Ballooning costs threaten Merkel’s bold energy overhaul

BERLIN/FRANKFURT (Reuters) – Angela Merkel’s “green revolution” risks becoming a victim of its own success.

Seduced by generous subsidies, Germans are embracing the ambitious project with such fervor – installing solar panels on church roofs and converting sewage into heat – that instead of benefiting from a rise in green energy, they are straining under the subsidies’ cost and from surcharges.

Aug 6, 2013

German utilities attack green squeeze on profits, hint at leaving

FRANKFURT, Aug 6 (Reuters) – Germany utilities are heaping
pressure on the government before September polls to soften
green policies that are hurting their profits, with one company
hinting it could even move gas or coal plants to countries where
it can still make money.

Germany’s 550 billion euro ($728 billion) plan to upgrade
and diversify its energy system, following a decision to abandon
nuclear power, has brought about a boom in wind and solar power.

Jul 12, 2013

Offshore wind sector at the mercy of subsidy whims

BRUSSELS/FRANKFURT, July 12 (Reuters) – Bremerhaven, the
bleak, windswept home to high unemployment and the remnants of a
once-mighty shipping industry, is striving to reinvent itself as
an offshore wind hub.

It seems logical for the north German port to redeploy
skills common to building ships and giant turbines, but success
depends on guarantees of the green subsidies that are stoking
fierce debate across Europe.

Jun 27, 2013

Gazprom dealt pricing blow as loses court case to RWE

FRANKFURT, June 27 (Reuters) – Russian gas export monopoly
Gazprom’s efforts to keep a link between the price it
sells gas and costlier oil were dealt a blow on Thursday, when a
court ruled it had to include market pricing in the rates it
charged Germany’s RWE.

Gazprom must also reimburse Germany’s second-largest utility
for overpayments it made on gas purchases, RWE said on Thursday,
adding to pressure on the Russian firm from European clients who
say they have lost billions of dollars on long-term supply deals
agreed at higher prices than current market spot rates.

Jun 25, 2013

German scientists see scope for ‘greener’ fracking

HANOVER, Germany, June 25 (Reuters) – German geologists plan
to campaign for greater public acceptance of hydraulic fracking
in Europe’s biggest economy, saying there is scope to make the
shale gas industry more environmentally friendly.

While German consumers are unhappy about the cost of their
energy bills, there is widespread public distrust of fracking
and Chancellor Angela Merkel has put legislation on the issue on
hold pending a September general election.

Jun 12, 2013

Amprion plans Germany’s first direct current power line by 2019

BERLIN, June 12 (Reuters) – Network operator Amprion aims to
seek planning permission this year for Germany’s first direct
current power line, which could carry electricity long distances
without losing much of it, and begin using the link by 2019, a
board member said.

The project, named Ultranet, will initially transport power
from the western German industrial heartland to the country’s
southwest, helping to meet a need created by Germany’s policy of
phasing out nuclear power stations by 2022.

Jun 12, 2013

Merkel vows to rein in renewable subsidies

BERLIN (Reuters) – German Chancellor Angela Merkel promised on Wednesday to scale back Germany’s generous system of subsidies to the renewables sector if she is re-elected in September, a move that would reduce the costs of her green revolution on consumers.

Merkel’s policy to wean Europe’s biggest power market off fossil fuels and to embrace renewables has led to a boom in green energy sources, but ballooning costs have led to calls for cuts to feed-in tariffs and for industry to pay more.

Jun 5, 2013

EU heat metering rules open new markets for Germany’s Ista

FRANKFURT, June 5 (Reuters) – New EU regulations imposing
individualised charges for heating in apartment buildings are a
boon for meter specialist Ista, which hopes to build
on its strong presence in Germany to win European market share.

German apartment dwellers have long taken for granted they
will be billed only for the heat they actually use, determined
by accurate meter readings. Yet elsewhere across the continent,
landlords usually charge flat fees for heating, based on surface
area or family size.

Jun 3, 2013

How energy efficiency firms are eating utilities’ lunch

PARIS/FRANKFURT (Reuters) – With better insulation, triple glazing and frugal boilers, new houses can cut energy use by up to 90 percent, which is good news for consumers but bad for utilities that vie with energy services firms for their efficiency euros.

An unstoppable efficiency drive spurred by EU regulations and national targets poses a dilemma for utilities.

    • About Vera

      "I report on German power and gas markets in liaison with a team of other specialists in European bureaus. I am based in Frankfurt and previously covered commodities out of Hamburg and London. My aim is to identify market and industry trends and to produce high quality copy which is accessible to expert subscribers as well as to energy and business audiences, and to help shape our energy products."
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