Senior Power Correspondent
Vera's Feed
Jun 2, 2013

Analysis: 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.

May 27, 2013

Germany’s Vaillant sees growing sales of energy-efficient boilers

FRANKFURT, May 27 (Reuters) – Germany’s Vaillant sees sales
rising two to three percent this year as it wins market share in
crisis-hit Europe, while demand for energy-efficient heating
systems that cut fuel bills also grows in emerging economies.

The 140-year old company is a household name in Europe for
products such as condensing boilers, which extract heat from
otherwise wasted flue gases; for heat pumps, which draw heat
from external air and the ground; and for solar collectors that
combine heating and hot water supply.

May 24, 2013

Germany must curb runaway retail prices for sake of green power -IEA

FRANKFURT, May 24 (Reuters) – Germany must rein in runaway
retail prices for electricity or risk a consumer backlash that
could undermine support for a massive shift toward green energy,
the International Energy Agency (IEA) said on Friday.

The Western world’s energy watchdog pointed to weaknesses in
Germany’s effort to move away from nuclear and fossil-fuel
energy towards a low-carbon economy, a move that was accelerated
by Chancellor Angela Merkel’s decision in 2011 to exit nuclear
power altogether.

May 21, 2013

Analysis: German households pay for lower industrial power prices

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.

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.

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.

Apr 26, 2013

European power trade volume outlook uncertain after 2012 drop

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.

Apr 18, 2013

German regulator steps in on E.ON Bavaria gas plants

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
nuclear.

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.

Apr 17, 2013

E.ON trading unit to seek U.S., Asia growth

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
globalised sector.

“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
headquarters.

Apr 15, 2013

Germany subsidises cheap electricity for its neighbours

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
Germany.

    • 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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