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BMI View: From this quarter BMI’s Power service will focus chiefly on thermal sources, hydropower
and nuclear electricity, while developments pertinent to the green segment will be discussed in depth by
our Renewables service. That said, we continue to provide a detailed overview of the dynamics affecting
the power sector. Despite a year having passed since the German government’s U-turn on nuclear power,
the country is still looking for an appropriate strategy that will provide sufficient electricity. Such a
strategy must also allow the country to respect its carbon emissions commitments and limit price rises.
While natural gas appears likely to be the replacement fuel from an environmental perspective, cheap
coal remains the most profitable way to produce electricity. On the greener side of the power spectrum,
Germany has retained its position as Europe’s bellwether for renewable energy, but not without
controversy – owing primarily to the high costs associated with the deployment of these technologies.
The key trends and developments in the German electricity market are:
?? News that consumers, utilities and members of the German government are beginning to voice
concerns about the associated costs of Germany’s energy U-turn reconfirms our view that the
new energy agenda presents a significant financial burden to the country. With the nuclear
phase-out already weakening German utilities, the enormous cost of incorporating renewable
energy into the electricity mix is unsustainable, unless domestic electricity prices are increased
?? We have revised our forecast to take into account larger-than-expected coal usage. While natural
gas appears to be the most likely replacement fuel from an environmental perspective, cheap
coal remains a more profitable way to produce electricity in the country. On June 28 2012, the
Bundestag approved cuts to incentives for the solar power industry that were milder and more
watered down than expected. Following an agreement reached with the help of a mediation
committee, plans to introduce a 90% limit on incentives for larger solar power plants of over 10
kilowatts (KW) were dropped, and will instead be introduced in 2014.
?? Delays in connecting wind farms to the power grid – as well as grid outages after the plants have
started operations – are jeopardising Germany’s ambitious offshore wind target. Whilst the quick
implementation of new liability regulations could play a role in restoring economic viability in
the short-term, we remain of the opinion that a more comprehensive plan of investment in the
country’s grid will be key for the successful integration of offshore wind power into the mix.