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New study: EWI analyses the potential development of gas demand and supply

23 May 2019 | On behalf of INEOS in Cologne, a large chemical producer and a significant player in the gas market, EWI analysed the potential development of gas demand – in case the current level of ambition concerning the expansion of renewable energies and the reduction of energy consumption cannot be increased.

The study identifies three key mechanisms for achieving climate targets. First, energy consumption could be decreased by sufficiency and efficiency. Second, electrification of the final energy consumption – either directly (e-mobility or heat pumps) or indirectly (synthetic fuels) – reduces the emission intensity of energy consumption if, third, emission intensity of electricity generation decreases by increasing the share of renewable energies.

In the next step, a meta-study of normative scenarios reaching national climate targets is performed. Normative scenarios sketch how a pathway towards a target might look like, assuming all necessary steps could be accomplished. Unfortunately, barriers like rebound effects, slow technology adaption rates and acceptance issues are often neglected. Energy demand could thus be underestimated in normative scenarios. Therefore, a thought experiment on future energy demand is conducted. Main assumptions are a continuation of the historical trend of reducing energy consumption, a limited expansion of renewable energies as well as a coal phase-out in Germany. This would result in a rising demand for natural gas and an increasing import share, since national exploration is declining. Also, the national climate target for 2030 will most likely be missed.

When it comes to commodity procurement options, a theoretical alternative to gas imports would be the exploration of unconventional gas sources (“fracking”) in Germany, as it can currently be observed in the USA. However, the study concludes that the exploration of unconventional gas sources in Germany is unlikely due to environmental risks, public concerns and its geographical location close to cheap and abundant gas reserves. In case a higher diversification of the German gas supply is desired in order to decrease bargaining power of suppliers, increasing LNG import capacities might be a more feasible option than the exploration of unconventional gas sources. [Press release EWI] [Study for download]

150 students from 9 European universities negotiating on climate protection

20 May 2019 | A few days ago, the 11th CEMS Model UNFCCC came to an end at the University of Cologne, COP25 Cologne for short. EWI Director Prof. Dr. Marc Oliver Bettzüge hosted the climate negotiations, which attracted more than 150 students from 9 European universities. After two labor-intensive days with plenary sessions, working groups and unofficial negotiations, the 48 visiting delegations decided on the "Cologne Agreement" (see here for download). Compared with the Paris Agreement, the CO2 reduction targets are even more ambitious. Global emissions are expected to reach their peak in 2025 at the latest. Furthermore, global warming is expected to rise to a maximum of 1.5 degrees Celsius.

Nevertheless, how these goals can be achieved remains unclear in the model negotiations. For example, the delegates included CCS (Carbon Capture and Storage) technologies in the Sustainable Development Mechanism (SDM). Also, technology transfers to developing countries should be expanded. However, the delegates could not agree on other important issues. Challenges such as the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions from international aviation and maritime transport, the financing of the Green Climate Fund or the development of a global compliance mechanism remained unsolved.

Please find more information here.

EWI investigates the effects of an increase in electricity prices on the non-ferrous metal industry

13. May 2019 | On behalf of the WirtschaftsVereinigung Metalle e.V., EWI analysed the effects of an increase in electricity prices on the gross value added of exemplary companies in the non-ferrous metal industry. In 2017, the electricity procurement prices of companies in the non-ferrous metal industry fluctuated between 3.6 ct/kWh for an aluminium electrolysis plant and 14.0 ct/kWh for a small copper rolling mill. The large differences are mainly due to the deviating relief regulations. Compared to other branches of the manufacturing industry, the electricity cost intensity is highest in the metal industry with an average of 14.5 %, an electricity price increase therefore has comparatively strong effects.An increase in electricity procurement prices by 1.0 ct/kWh would reduce the gross value added of the metal industry by 439 million Euro (2.3 %). This would affect aluminium electrolysis in particular by 15 million Euro (24 %). The same electricity price increase would reduce the gross value added of the large aluminium rolling mill by 6 million Euro (3.5 %), while it would lead to a reduction of 4 million Euro (2.1 %) in the large copper rolling mill. The gross value added of the small copper rolling mill would fall by 199 thousand Euro (0.5 %).[Press release EWI] [Study for download]

Living Energy Conference 2019: No limits or boundaries for port systems

30 April 2019 | Addressing practical challenges of electrification and smart energy for port systems – and the research challenges that they present – were identified during the 2019 Living Energy Conference in Rotterdam on Friday 12 April at World Port Centre, Rotterdam. The ‘Connected Port Deep Dive’ is the second of a series of Living Energy Conferences organised by Institute of Energy Economics at the University of Cologne (EWI), and the Erasmus Centre for Future Energy Business at Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University (RSM). During the conference it became clear that the energy transition and digital transformation are not simultaneous, but rather complementary, and offer tremendous opportunities that cross geographic boundaries as well as organisational limits.

Nico van Dooren, Director Energy and Industry, Port of Rotterdam (PoR) said: “Three steps have been defined by the Port of Rotterdam to be able limit global warming to 1.5-2.0C in 2050. These steps seem chronological, but given the complexity of this transformation that the Port and society is facing, they are all interconnected. We need CCUS storage, we need huge wind power from sea power hubs, we need waste-to-chemicals projects, and we need make our transport and logistics supply chains sustainable. In order to achieve the goal within all the sectors and markets, the Port is working in a multidisciplinary way and welcomes new applications and digital opportunities – and the research opportunities they present.”

Shell has changed its business portfolio in recent decades. Stijn van Els, former CEO Shell Germany and recently appointed as member of the Supervisory Board at electricity transmission system operator (TSO) TenneT, explained how Shell is transitioning within the German market. “Shell’s assets for oil, gas and hydrogen in Germany are very valuable, however its customer connections are even more so. Shell is investing widely in making new connections and building on the existing ones. For example, the recent takeover from Sonnen, New Motion and First Utility along with the build out of the H2 Mobility Deutschland Joint Venture [a hydrogen refuelling network for fuel cell electric vehicles].”

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Coal in global energy: Looking back at the EWI Energy Debate

9 April 2019 | In germany and other European countries, the elimination of coal-fired generation is an important climate policy goal. However, it is still the main energy source for global electricity generation, helping to drive economic growth in emerging markets. This year's EWI Energy Debate addressed instruments to reduce the dependency on coal and discussed the German coal phase out in the context of global market developments. More than 100 people were interested in the debate.

After EWI director - and moderator of the evening - Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Ketter had welcomed the guests, Max Schönfisch and Max Gierkink presented institute's research results: By a comparative scenario analysis, EWI studied effects of the German coal phase out, as proposed by the commission "Growth, structural change and employment". One aspect became very clear: Whereas in the reference scenario, the national climate target in the energy sector for 2030 is clearly missed, reducing national emissions by phasing out coal will enable the energy sector to achieve its 2030 greenhouse gas target [see presentation for download].

After that, Dr. Mark C. Thurber, Associate Director of the Program on Energy and Sustainable Development at Stanford University, presented his new book "Coal", about why coal has thus far remained the preeminent fuel for electricity generation around the world, despite its negative impacts on local air quality and the global climate. He emphasized the role of emerging economies in global climate policy [see presentation for download].

Prof. Dr. Axel Ockenfels (University of Cologne) identified the failure of international climate cooperation as biggest problem. He stated that reciprocity is the key, and carbon pricing would be the best instrument to promote it. In the following panel discussion, Prof. Dr. Marc Oliver Bettzüge, also EWI director, emphasized that there is way too few discussion about the distribution of costs of the energy transition and the social dimension behind.


EWI receives new organizational structure and new funding

19 February 2019 | The Institute of Energy Economics at the University of Cologne (EWI) further develops its academic and organizational installation. Since fall 2018, EWI forms a new gemeinnützige GmbH that will further proceed as well as develop all activities of ewi Energy Research & Scenarios gGmbh (ewi ER&S). The new legal structure enables an institutional funding of the renowned institute by the Ministry of Economic Affairs, Innovation, Digitalization and Energy of the State of North Rhine-Westphalia (MWIDE) from 2019 on. The state’s support helps secure the institute’s basic funding and can amount up to 800,000 euro per year.

One main new focus will be the technical, economic and regulatory future challenges of a decentralized, digitalized energy industry. All current activities will be carried on at the known, high level. The new EWI gGmbH is currently lead by its temporary Managing Director, Prof. Marc Oliver Bettzüge. Dr. Christina Elberg, previous Managing Director of ewi ER&S, moved to Innogy in Essen at 1st January 2019 – at her own request and in mutual amicable agreement. [Press release EWI] [Press release NRW (in German)]

EWI trauert um Prof. Dr. Felix Höffler

Prof. Dr. Felix Höffler

12 Februar 2019 | Das EWI trauert um seinen Direktor Prof. Dr. Felix Höffler, der am 4. Februar 2019 nach längerer, schwerer Krankheit verstorben ist. 

Felix Höffler wurde im Jahr 2011 zum Professor für wirtschaftliche Staatswissenschaften an der Universität zu Köln und zum Direktor des EWI ernannt. Im Jahr 2016 übernahm er zusätzlich noch das Amt des Direktors des Instituts für Wirtschaftspolitik (iwp) an unserer Universität. Er hat diese Ämter mit höchstem wissenschaftlichen Anspruch, persönlicher Geradlinigkeit und ausgeprägter Orientierung am jeweiligen Wohl des Ganzen ausgeübt. Sein Wirken am EWI hat das Ansehen des Instituts sowie dessen wissenschaftliche Leistungsfähigkeit in hohem Maße gemehrt. Insbesondere seine vielen erfolgreichen Doktorandinnen und Doktoranden sind ihm zu großem Dank verpflichtet. 

Seine schwere Erkrankung hat Felix Höffler mit einer bewundernswerten Haltung getragen, und er hat sich mit größtem Verantwortungsbewusstsein bis zuletzt in die Aktivitäten des Instituts eingebracht. 

Wir verlieren einen herausragenden Ökonomen, einen großartigen Kollegen und Mentor und einen einzigartigen Menschen. Wir werden ihn vermissen und ihm stets ein ehrendes Angedenken bewahren. Unser tief empfundenes Mitgefühl gilt seiner Familie, die nach einem Leidensweg nun viel zu früh auf ihn verzichten muss.

Prof. Dr. Marc Oliver Bettzüge, Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Ketter als Direktoren des EWI mit allen Mitarbeiterinnen und Mitarbeitern