Refueling of a us c-5a galaxy. Image: dod
The energy and climate weekly: inconsistencies in the energy system, follow-up costs of lignite, and a strange boll foundation alliance
On thursday, thousands of people took to the streets under the slogan "save energy transition" on the streets. The call was made by the german renewable energy federation (bee), the german farmers’ association (dbv) and ig metall kuste. In addition to climate protection, the industry representatives were primarily concerned with preserving jobs in the renewable energy sector in germany.
"The manufacturers and suppliers along the industrial value chain of renewable energy plant construction are the industrial basis of the energy turnaround. Economic momentum is needed to sustain innovation and jobs in the wind and solar industries. This dynamic is thrown off with the many caps in the new eeg", it says in the press release of the organizers.
There is talk of 350.000 employees in the industry. This means that lignite jobs are now pitted against renewable energy jobs, because power generation from lignite is too rigid to meaningfully supplement the fluctuating power sources of wind and solar power. And the german government has not yet presented a viable shutdown schedule for lignite-fired power plants. Industry associations call for better sector coupling of electricity, heat and transport. "According to an analysis by deutsche bank on 12. May 2016, renewables contributed just 13.7 percent of gross final energy consumption in 2014. Ol and coal still dominate primary energy demand."
Here comes the problem of grid integration, as grid expansion is not progressing. Since wind power from the north has to be increasingly regulated, the german government is now planning different expansion zones, according to a report in der spiegel. According to the report, expansion in schleswig-holstein and large parts of lower saxony will be capped even more than in the rest of germany. In these areas, only one-third less capacity could be added than the average of the last three years; for schleswig-holstein, for example, this was around 600 megawatts.
While the government is putting the brakes on the expansion of onshore wind power, it has reached a cooperation agreement on the expansion of offshore wind power together with 8 other countries bordering the north sea and the eu commission. Although this is primarily a political declaration of intent, the annex also defines concrete tasks for the period 2016 to 2019, including joint grid planning and the development of uniform technical standards as well as the standardization of environmental compatibility requirements.
In the press release on the "energy transition save!"-demonstration, there is one point that could not be undisputed, even against the backdrop of the floods in southern germany. The demand is for reliable regulations for bioenergy, which as a controllable and storable energy carrier could ame a stabilizing function in the energy system. But biomass cultivation, especially corn cultivation, could cause flooding, as u.A. The bund naturschutz in bavaria has been addressing for several years now.
In the compacted soil of the corn fields, the water seeps poorly, the uncovered soil is exposed to strong erosion, which in turn leads to siltation of ditches, creeks and sewers and causes them to overflow quickly. According to a report in the suddeutsche zeitung, the district of rottal-inn, which has been badly affected by flooding, is a center of corn cultivation in bavaria.
Securing post-mining costs
Open pit mining and burning of lignite, as has been described here several times, is not only a problem for climate protection and for the restructuring of the energy system, but above all the open pits leave behind long-term environmental damage, such as the pollution of water bodies (climate change has been concealed for 50 years).
The forum for an ecological-social market economy (fos) and the institute for advanced sustainability studies (iass) have now been commissioned by the climate alliance, friends of the earth germany (bund), the heinrich boll foundation and the rosa luxemburg foundation to investigate the extent to which the operators of the opencast mines are in a position to pay for the follow-up costs. Conclusion: "vattenfall, rwe and mibrag have not adequately secured the financial resources to repair the consequential damage caused by the opencast lignite mines. Without rapid political action, taxpayers and the federal states affected could be left to bear the consequential costs of lignite mining."
The problem is similar to that of the follow-up costs of nuclear energy. For the follow-up costs of lignite, too, the companies merely form provisions that are not separately secured financial resources. This means that in the event of insolvency, the state will probably have to step in.
Since companies like rwe have to pay for the follow-up costs of nuclear energy and mining at the same time, the risk of insolvency increases even further. In addition, the cost estimates of the mining companies are not transparent, according to the study authors: "especially very long-term ecological effects of surface mining, e.G.B. In the area of the water balance, could cause costs in the coming decades that are difficult to foresee in terms of their duration and amount and are therefore not sufficiently taken into account in the provisions."
The federal government is therefore requested to have an independent cost assessment carried out. The state governments should demand security deposits from the mining companies, as the mining act already allows. The federal government could ensure that parent companies can escape responsibility through restructuring by introducing a post-liability law. In addition, companies were obliged to pay into a public fund to cover long-term follow-up costs.