Contrary to many expectations, the German Liberal-Democratic Party (FDP) got a from their perspective massive 10% of the vote in today’s state elections in Lower Saxony, an increase of about 1.5% from the last election. It’s not yet clear whether the conservative-liberal camp or the Social Democrats and Greens will have a majority in the next parliament. Many had expected that the FDP would get less than 5% and thus be voted out of the state parliament. And some had speculated that such a defeat would lead to the resignation of Germany’s economy minister and FDP chief Philip Rösler, who has so far been adamantly opposed to fixing the EU ETS. But there have also been some rumours that Rösler and environment minister Altmaier have already agreed on a joint position but decided to only unveil it after the Lower Saxony election. We shall see, the EU Climate Change Committee will meet on 23 January. No vote on the backloading is scheduled but the tone at this meeting will largely shape the further process.
In other German news, according to Bloomberg, wholesale power prices in Germany and France continue to tumble due to rising solar power output.
Positive news from the US for a change, they installed a record 13.2 GW of wind power in 2012. Driven by falling prices and the looming expiry of the production tax credit, the 5.5 GW were installed in December alone. The total is now 60 GW, accounting for 6% of total generating capacity. Wind power prices have fallen by 21% since 2010 and in some parts of the country wind is now competitive with gas power plants. However, due to the late renewal of the tax credit, the pipeline has largely dried up so that the 2012 record is unlikely to be repeated this year.
The UK offshore wind pipeline is all the more impressive, 12.8 GW according to a list on renewableuk.com.