The German coal exit is also about a lot of money. In this regard, poker is played, with horror messages and many numbers. The German industry has also had a major impact on the coal industry. Is she telling the truth?

At the beginning of this week, the Federation of German Industries (BDI), the German Association of Chambers of Industry and Commerce (DIHK) and the Confederation of German Employers’ Associations (BDA) warned in a joint press release about the costs of an early coalition exit .

A politically accelerated decline in coal-fired power generation will cause “significant additional costs of at least 14 to 54 billion euros by 2030”, say the associations. They do not speak of a possible relief for electricity customers and consumers due to premature carbon leakage.

The expected additional costs resulted from electricity price increases that would affect both companies and private households. For this reason, the umbrella organizations called on the federal government to counter the rise in electricity prices with firmly promised electricity price reductions for consumers. “Without compensation for our companies, this politically driven rise in electricity prices would seriously damage Germany as a business location,” warns BDI President Dieter Kempf.

These statements are supported by an analysis by the consulting firm Aurora Energy Research on behalf of BDI and DIHK. So everything serious and correct?

Dieter Kempf (picture-alliance / NurPhoto / A. Pohl)

BDI President warns of costs due to accelerated carbon leakage

Conscious deception of the public with horror numbers?

For Energiewende experts, the figures presented seemed suspect from the start. “The BDI and other strong lobbying associations are acting as scarecomers regarding the electricity price effect of the planned coal withdrawal,” says Hans-Josef Fell, President of the Energy Watch Group. Fell was formerly member of the Bundestag of the Greens and the main author of the first German Energy Feed Act (EEG). Fell thus laid the foundation stone for the German energy transition two decades ago and has accompanied it ever since.

“From the fact that the expansion of renewable energies has greatly dampened wholesale prices in Germany, one can conclude that with a switch to renewable energy will remain so.” It is absurd to call here several billion euros additional costs “says Fell. “The scenario with costs of 54 billion euros is absurd and out of thin air.”

WWEC 2012 Bonn (WWEA / Birresborn)

Hans-Josef Fell, President of the Energy Watch Group, advises and monitors the energy transition worldwide

The energy economist Claudia Kemfert sees the similar and wondered in a first statement to the DW also: “Apparently, one has since made very artificial assumptions,” said Kemfert.

The facts

DW investigated Kemfert and Fell’s allegations about industry and communicated extensively with the author of the analysis, Hanns Koenig, and also with his specialist colleagues, who know him well and the research methodology.

Accordingly, a so-called risk scenario was commissioned by BDI and DIHK at the consulting firm Aurora Energy Research and compared with a political target scenario. A so-called chance scenario was not commissioned and was therefore not desired.

Koenig consequently calculated how the electricity price in Germany could rise under very extreme and unlikely assumptions by 2030 and in a more likely target scenario.

The assumption in the risk scenario was that the expansion of renewable energies in Germany is almost coming to a standstill, rising from today’s 40 percent to only 52 percent by 2030. Moreover, in this assumption, electricity is generated instead of coal with gas. At the same time, the gas price in Europe is rising extremely. Under these guidelines, Koenig calculated the so-called risk scenario and provided the numbers to the contractors. BDI and DIHK use these figures in their published statements.

However, the assigned risk scenario contradicts the requirements of the Federal Government. The goal of the Federal Government is to increase the share of renewable energy in the electricity sector to at least 65 percent by 2030. Since renewable energies are now very cheap  , they have a cost-reducing effect on electricity prices. Also from BDI and DIHK this reduction in costs is seen by renewables and not disputed.

Frank Peter (Florian of Ploetz)

“Accelerated carbon leakage can reduce electricity costs”. Electricity market analyst Frank Peter von Agora reckoned.

Electricity costs could be reduced by accelerated carbon leakage

What would be the result of a positive assumption and development, in a so-called chance scenario?

Frank Peter, electricity market expert at the think tank Agora Energiewende calculated that with the existing data sets and found that an accelerated coal exit by 2030 for the price of electricity can have a sinking effect. The calculation is available to DW. Koenig does not dispute the result of Peter. He knows Peter himself and had prepared a comprehensive electricity market analysis for the coal exitfor Agora .

“It’s always the question of which assumptions you put into such a model,” says Patrick Graichen to the DW. Graichen is head of Agora and does not give much weight to the published BDI risk scenario in substance.

“The study is a composite risk scenario where gas prices in Europe are suddenly very expensive and renewables are not being properly developed, so the price on the power exchange in that model shoots up and you get that high. This scenario does not have much substance, “says Graichen, while at the same time providing the reasons why the associations are working with these numbers. “In the context of the crucial coal commission meeting, this is a classic paper to negotiate as much as possible.”

DW asked BDI, DIHK and BDA for an opinion. We wanted to know from the business associations, why they deal with numbers of very unlikely extreme scenarios and what motivations the associations pursue with it. This question remained unanswered by all three associations.


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