"Significant slowdown for the energy turnaround"

Munich, February 26, 2014.  The energy project planners GP JOULE and the manufacturer of wind energy plants ENERCON today discussed the consequences of the planned EEG reform as well as the new minimum distance regulation for wind energy plants in Bavaria, planned by Minister President Horst Seehofer, with representatives from politics, associations and ministries. The significant loss in planning security for companies and municipalities, the price increase of running wind energy projects and the threat of standstill in planning of plants and the necessary storage technology  were the central criticisms of the industry representatives.

"With the envisaged cuts, the EEG reform will not have the anticipated impact on energy cost reduction, however, it will cause a significant slowdown of the expansion of wind power in Germany and thus for the whole energy turnaround", noticed the founder and managing director of GP JOULE, Heiner Gärtner. "Moreover, with the uncertainty regarding the timeframe, all planning comes to nothing. Municipalities, project planners and investors now definitely need a clear and reliable timing instead of another lack of planning." Running projects which were calculated on the basis of the full EEG subsidy rates will get financially uninteresting if the deadline is advanced. The industry considers a great number of projects in planning as condemned to failure: Priority areas for wind power plants become invalid and the financial commitments of the banks would be at disposal –the end for a lot of investments already carried out and not least for new jobs and revenues for the communities. Joachim Keuerleber, head of sales Southern Germany of ENERCON adds: "It cannot be ignored that the energy turnaround up to know has largely been financed by private financial means of the local citizens, which freed enormous financial means to the government for other important projects! Due to the current developments, this cannot be expected any longer."

Seehofer's distance regulation: Billions of investment and energy turnaround in Bavaria jeopardized

More specifically, the projects of the Bavarian Prime Minister Seehofer regarding the distance regulation for wind energy plants gave rise to discussions in Bavaria. At present, about 60% of the Bavarian energy supply is based on nuclear power.  “Renewable energies such as wind energy are necessary to fill this gap in a climate-friendly way by 2022 and to reduce Bavaria's dependence on imported energy significantly ", said Joachim Keuerleber of ENERCON. “With regard to the advancing climate change and the energy demand of the Southern Federal States as industrial locations there is no viable alternative to decentralized production of renewable energies. The energy turnaround and the development of wind energy are of central importance for Bavaria." Seehofer's project of increasing the distance between wind turbine and existing buildings up to 2 km would make the construction of new wind energy plants in our region extremely difficult and lead to an important bottleneck for the future energy supply. "Herewith, the Prime Minister would choke off the energy turnaround in Bavaria", said Heinrich Gärtner. "Especially with regard to the costs, it seems strange: Wind energy is one of the most cost-effective and efficient form of renewable energy." Seehofer's approach also questions the concept of decentralized energy supply.  "Instead of producing energy close to the place of consumption, which causes significantly lower transmitting losses, the new distance regulation will mainly support the construction of kilometers of new electric lines throughout Germany", continued Heinrich Gärnter. "This requires unnecessary investments and furthermore transports ecologically harmful and expensive energy made of coal to Bavaria." However, a decentralized energy production is necessary not only in order to implement the local energy turnaround as for example by public wind energy parks.  It could also guarantee a solid energy supply in Bavaria and create jobs and public revenues. If investments are not undertaken, the municipalities will not receive business taxes and significant orders with local companies will not be placed.

Urgent need of development of energy stores thwarted by law:

In order to turn the energy supply at a long run to 100% renewable energy, load fluctuations in the grid have to be compensated. The development of profitable storage technologies is necessary for it. However, current legislation impedes it unnecessarily. "Current out of energy stores is unreasonably taxed twice", criticized Heinrich Gärtner. “Energy stores have to pay final consumers’ duties like network charges, EEG apportionment and taxes for current which they purchase from the public distribution grid. If they inject the current later into the grid again, the final consumer has to pay the duties again. If the legislation continues limiting the further development of storage technology by unreasonable tax schemes, innovative storage solutions can never be used profitably.” GP JOULE has developed a pilot project for a combined power-to-gas-to-power plant which could be used all over Germany within the next few years. The “energy-gap-filler” stores hydrogen made of renewable energy surplus and as needed generates electric energy again by the aid of a CHP plant.

Photo:
Heinrich Gärtner, Managing Director GP JOULE GmbH

Photo:
Joachim Keuerleber, Sales Manager Southern Germany ENERCON

PR contact:

Mr. Timo Bovi
Director Governmental Relations and Public Affairs
GP JOULE GmbH
Tel.:    +49-30-520 00 57-806
Fax:    +49-30-520 00 57-877
E-mail:    t.bovi(at)gp-joule.de

The company:

Simply energy – according to this slogan GP JOULE develops, engineers and implements projects for the promising utilization of renewable energies. Co-founders and agricultural engineers, Ove Petersen and Heiner Gärtner together with André Hirsch, diploma in business administration,  aim to combine the interests of land use and profitability in order to create exciting and profitable opportunities for investors. Besides the business fields of solar, wind and biomass energy, with their future strategies division they have established a knowledge pool that integrates the know-how of all their specialist departments and allows them to create comprehensive energy solutions. At the same time they are focusing on the research of new technologies. GP JOULE has got four locations in Germany and two international locations in the USA and Canada. The headquarters is in Reußenköge in Northern Germany.

ENERCON:

ENERCON has been setting new standards in innovative technological design and production of wind energy plants for 30 years now. With more than 22,000 wind turbines installed in over 30 countries, ENERCON is also recognized as one of the leading manufacturers in Germany and at the international level.