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No additional import charges at delivery! This item will be shipped through the Global Shipping Program and includes international tracking. And the expected commissioning dates of 40 percent of reported projects had been postponed—this despite the passage of laws to increase the speed of planning and permission procedures. The critical challenge that policy makers face in advancing grid extension is overcoming local resistance among communities and even among senior municipal and state-level policy makers.

The challenge is a thorny one. Consider some of the effects already evident. Surging supplies of electricity from German renewables have driven down regional wholesale prices, weighing on the finances of power plants in neighboring countries. As a result of German exports, generation capacity is now in oversupply in a number of countries, most notably Austria; ironically, German transmission-system operators have contracted with old Austrian plants to provide backup power. Wind generation in northern Germany, for example, regularly exceeds local demand for power.

Poland, for example, remains heavily reliant on hard coal and plans to develop a nuclear program; France continues to rely heavily on nuclear generation. At a minimum, countries will likely have to align on carbon-emissions targets, which could be problematic. Continued Dependence on Gas Imports. Hence, the Energiewende alone will not free Germany from its reliance on Russian gas.

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Instead, the country will need to consider alternatives, such as importing liquefied natural gas from Qatar or, potentially, North America. This will likely spur government intervention and lead to a restructuring of the industry. It may also spell the end of power market liberalization in Germany and possibly beyond. That model—tailored to a world of large-scale assets, large capital expenditures, long investment cycles, and high barriers to market entry—is increasingly ill suited to an energy landscape evolving toward small- and medium-size assets, shorter lead times, and the lower barriers to entry implied by decentralized generation technologies, such as wind farms, rooftop solar-PV panels, and micro combined heat and power systems.

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This basic challenge has been greatly exacerbated by regulatory action and subsidy-driven distortions. Incumbent utilities are thus under severe pressure. Their power-generation business is suffering from the effects of the phaseout of nuclear energy and an unviable business model for their hard-coal and gas power plants. Their margins in energy trading, especially in forward markets, are under increasing pressure. Utilities have divested a significant percentage of their grid assets because of regulatory pressure to unbundle energy assets and—partly—the belief that return-regulated businesses are unattractive.

In , utilities owned only 12 percent of installed capacity of onshore wind and solar-PV assets up from 6 percent in ; the rest was owned by private individuals, farmers, banks, project developers, and other parties. ON, and RWE standing 55 to 70 percent lower than early levels. First, the commercial viability of conventional power generation will not improve, as wholesale power prices seem likely to stagnate and load hours unlikely to improve. Second, utilities will be challenged to find alternative, sufficiently sizable sources of revenue and profits.

Third, the development of a broad capacity mechanism, which could help utilities, is unlikely to happen over the next several years. The government will likely feel compelled to intervene to mitigate the crisis, just as many national governments attempted to stem the global banking crisis, though the role of the state will likely be different in this case.

See the exhibit below. A significant commonality between the two situations is their broad scope and the specter of collateral damage. The banking crisis was felt worldwide, with its direct and peripheral effects including credit shortages, falling asset prices, and job losses spanning many industries and segments of society.

A major difference between the two crises is their respective causes. The global financial crisis was driven to a large extent by risk taking—in particular, by excessive investment in U. Assuming German politicians do, indeed, choose to intervene, they will likely draw on lessons learned from the banking crisis. Key lessons might include the following:. We see at least eight options, falling into two categories: changes in regulation and changes in ownership structure.

The measures are not mutually exclusive and represent a gradual increase in the depth and breadth of intervention and in the degree of resulting change. See Exhibit Policy makers continue to confirm that security of supply is of critical importance; the banking crisis suggests that system efficiency and the viability of any business model introduced by intervention should also be high-priority objectives. None of the proposed changes in ownership structure, for example, would do anything to ensure sufficient new capacity to replace decommissioned plants; for that, some form of regulatory change will be necessary.

Thus, as was the case with government intervention in the banking crisis, German policy makers will likely need to employ a combination of measures. We believe that a capacity mechanism and centralized dispatch are among the most broadly potent levers and should be part of whatever course the government chooses.

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But the government will be constrained in its choices by public and legal hurdles, at least to a degree. A direct rescue of distressed utilities, for example, would meet both public resistance and legal challenges from European regulators. And the specter of additional state intervention will remain. This triggers a fundamental question: Will we see the end of power market liberalization, a key pillar of German and European policy making, in Germany—and, potentially, beyond? Several things. It sends price signals that are grossly inadequate to spur sufficient investment in new capacity of either renewable or conventional generation.

It thus does not ensure security of supply or provide sufficient financial returns for all market participants. Second, continued re-regulation of the power market, both to achieve the integration of renewables and to ensure sufficient capacity of conventional generation, is inevitable. In fact, regulation or re-regulation now represents a significant share of the power market. The trend will likely continue, especially given that more and more conventional capacity is being kept alive through grid reserve regulation.

It seems likely.

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The simultaneous pursuit of increased power generation from renewables; decarbonization; security of supply; affordability; phaseout of nuclear energy; competition; and market liberalization, to name just the key ambitions of German policy makers, may simply be too ambitious if not overdetermined for a liberalized market. Given the acknowledged importance of security of supply, and the lessons learned from the California power crisis of and and other power-market crises, competition and liberalization may well be relegated by German policy makers to a lower priority. So we may well see the curtain drawn on deregulation and liberalization and the start of a new wave of power market regulation.

In Germany and possibly beyond, the role of the merit order could be reduced to that of a dispatching tool. Large-scale power generation could revert to a return-regulated business as renewable generation and the grid are today. As part of so-called capacity markets, tenders, power purchase agreements, and similar mechanisms might well see a revival.

Below are considerations for policy makers as they attempt to strike a balance. The country has several options to try to remedy this, but none is particularly promising or appetizing. Germany could, for example, exert its influence to try to raise carbon prices. A price increase below those levels would raise current wholesale power prices but would not have a meaningful impact on carbon emissions in power generation.

Other potential measures to foster emissions reduction have their own stumbling blocks. Germany could introduce emissions standards for power plants—setting a limit on the number of grams of CO 2 emissions allowed per kilowatt hour produced, for example, or on the total tonnage of emissions per year per megawatt installed.

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Doing this would indeed lead to the intended reductions in output from power plants. But it might also speed the need for additional new conventional capacity and lead to further increases in power prices. Finally, Germany could extend the lifetime of nuclear power plants—but this would be a nonstarter politically, given that the German public sees the phaseout of nuclear energy as a higher priority than emissions reduction. None of these options is particularly appealing, obviously. Hence the challenge of driving down emissions will remain problematic.

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As discussed earlier, we believe that the most viable means of limiting increases in power prices is government budgets. To gain the necessary public approval, the government must position emissions reduction and increased energy independence as public services comparable to national defense or highway infrastructure, for example that must be paid for by the public, not just by the power sector. Stabilization of residential power prices should not be driven by additional subsidies but rather by tax relief, such as a reduction of the current 2.

Were this measure implemented, the increase in residential power prices from to would be 5 to 10 percent, compared with the 10 to 20 percent increase likely without tax relief 9. Policy makers should keep three things in mind. First, pursued simultaneously, the phaseout of nuclear energy and an increased emphasis on renewable generation could spell the de facto end of power market liberalization in Germany and likely beyond.

Second, as noted, if Germany continues on its current path, the energy-only market will no longer send the price signals necessary to drive investment, and the merit order will be relegated to serving primarily as a dispatching tool. Steps will need to be taken for example, the reinstitution of power purchase agreements and similar mechanisms to address capacity directly.

Third, the longer the country delays in completing the necessary grid extension, the greater the need in certain regions for mechanisms that spur the construction of new power plants. We expect Germany to maintain its commitment to a full withdrawal from nuclear energy. We also expect the country to do its best to adhere to its emissions-reduction aims, the many challenges notwithstanding. Over the past several years, international support for emissions reduction has been far from uniform. On the contrary, a number of countries, including Australia, the UK, and Spain, have actively turned away from their abatement ambitions.

Should this trend continue, the real-world costs to Germany of pursuing its existing targets, especially those related to reduced industrial competitiveness, would rise further, potentially to levels that cause public commitment to waver. Recent proposed policy initiatives and statements from both the U. Indeed, we see the potential for a quite strong global refocusing on climate change after Can, or will, Germany stay the course until then? All things considered, we believe it is possible, if not likely, that Germany will choose to postpone or will simply miss some of its emissions targets.

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Philipp Gerbert. Harald Rubner. Patrick Herhold.

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Decoding Digital Talent What 27, digital experts in countries tell us about their mobility and work preferences. Choose your location to get a site experience tailored for you. Notes: 1. Notes: basis for earlier publications. Our analysis is based to a significant degree on work conducted by BCG with and for the German Industry Association in Notes: partly subject to the renewables levy. By the end of the decade, decentralized solar PV could be economically viable for homeowners irrespective of feed-in tariffs.

Solar PV with storage could be viable from and beyond, regardless of whether own consumption is subject to the levy. Note, however, that these business cases are dependent on other regulatory variables, such as usage-driven grid-access fees. Notes: targeted 40 percent. Updated policies, especially for the heat, transportation, and industry sectors, are currently being defined by the German government. Notes: 5.

These projections assume the avoidance of excessive costs from the uncontrolled growth of solar PV. The problem of uncontrolled PV growth was first addressed in a cap policy introduced in Security of Supply: Challenges on Multiple Fronts Ensuring a sufficient supply of power while pursuing the Energiewende , and doing so in a cost-efficient manner, will present major challenges to Germany. Notes: plant shutdowns. The list of announced plant closings even includes a nuclear plant, Grafenrheinfeld, located in southern Germany. ON said that continued operation of the plant would have been economically unviable because of a certain fuel-rod tax.

Priority will be given to maintaining sufficient capacity in southern Germany. The region is home to a large number of nuclear plants and thus stands to be significantly affected by the nuclear phaseout. The region also has strong power demand from industry. Re-regulation: The End of Liberalization? Key lessons might include the following: An array of measures will likely be necessary. Governments took a broad assortment of actions to stanch the financial crisis. These included actions that had an immediate financial impact, such as the nationalization of banks, as well as measures that had an indirect or a deferred impact on state budgets, such as regulatory changes and financial guarantees.

The EC assumed responsibility for approving state aid for troubled banks, for example, a role that rapidly increased in importance as the crisis unfolded and major national banks needed state assistance. Over time, the EC defined increasingly sophisticated criteria that had to be met concerning the effects on competition within the industry and the sustainability of the business models of rescued entities.

Gaining public approval is critical. The banking crisis and its resolution revealed that winning a certain amount of public acceptance for proposed state aid to market participants is vital. The potential changes in regulation are the following: Extension of Regulatory Approval for Plant Shutdowns Beyond As discussed earlier, the permanent shutdown of any conventional power plant requires regulatory approval. If approval is denied, the plant owner is reimbursed for its fixed costs. Such regulation, instituted in July , is scheduled to remain in place through the end of and could be extended.

Selective Auctioning of New Plants. The government would selectively—in specific regions, for example—auction the right to build new plants that are deemed crucial for the security of the power supply. Remuneration would be regulated: owners could be guaranteed a fixed return on investment, for example, or compensated based on the relative efficiency of their operations. Current grid-reserve regulation already permits plant auctioning and regulated compensation as a means of reimbursement.