Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Off-Shore Wind Powers Confrontations, Lawsuits

News from Germany's push for offshore wind on the day Germany's Environment Minister opens it's latest "lignite"-fired plant.

Norway's Kvaerner is saying alvederzane to working on Merkel's farm no more (recharge):
A spokeswoman for Kvaerner, which was part of Aker Solutions until a 2010 demerger, tells Recharge that the decision mostly comes down to the Oslo-based company’s desire to focus on the “booming” business of building jackets for oil and gas clients.
However, she acknowledges that Kvaerner’s views on offshore wind have not been brightened by its ongoing disagreement with German utility RWE over who should shoulder the burden of cost overruns at Nordsee Ost. The matter is presently in arbitration.
Not Germany's fault - at least that's the rationale behind  the German Grid regulator initiating a case against Dutch firm TenneT on behalf of a German company after "TenneT took no action after it requested a branch line be run from an existing North Sea cable to its Deutsche Bucht wind park." (Scientific American).

The government acting on behalf of individuals is not something that's being contained in Germany.  Shortly after the Toronto Star run a free election advertorial for the Liberal Premier by German politician Jürgen Trittin, Spiegel Online reminded us, "Thanks to former Environment Minister Jürgen Trittin, companies that got their start in garages were able to earn millions upon millions during the years when Germany was run by a Social Democratic Party (SPD) and Green Party coalition government."

Not surprisingly, in the German context, there are reports today that the German consumer will be made to bear the risk of privately owned offshore projects.

A problem in the elite's wealth redistribution schemes (to them) may have arisen in 3 German textile firms taking the green subsidy charge (EEG) to court:
In an opinion for the textile companies, Prof. Dr. Gerrit Manssen, a constitutional law expert at the University of Regensburg, concludes that the EEG surcharge is an unlawful special levy (Sonderabgabe). He compares the EEG surcharge with the so-called “Kohlepfennig”, a surcharge on the electricity price levied until 1995. In 1994 the Federal Constitutional Court (BVerfG) declared this levy, which intended to make hard coal mining in Germany competitive, unconstitutional. The electricity consumers did not have a special responsibility to support the use of hard coal for the generation of electricity, BVerfG held.
In view of the importance of the EEG surcharge as the main tool for financing renewable energy in Germany, the cases are likely to go through all court instances up to BVerfG. Should BVerfG apply the 1994 ruling to the EEG surcharge, another financing scheme would have to be found. This is the intention of the textile companies, who argue that the high energy costs in Germany unfairly affect the business of small and middle-sized companies...

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