Energie & Management
Due to the end of their 20-year life span of guaranteed support payments, about 20 gigawatt (GW) of wind power capacity in Germany will be retired by 2023 as their operation is no longer profitable, Simone Peter, head of Germany’s Renewable Energy Federation (BEE), says in an interview with Energie & Management magazine. “This will have substantial consequences,” Peter says, arguing that the special auctions for wind and solar power promised in the government’s coalition treaty should be carried out urgently. This is necessary for Germany to achieve its 2030 climate goals, and to increase the share of renewables in its overall power consumption to 65 percent by that year, the former Green Party head argues. According to Peter, Germany needs a national CO2 price to make the cost of fossil energy sources visible and improve social participation in the planning of renewable power expansion, and must not mull changing the feed-in priority for renewables to better manage grid bottlenecks.
Read the interview in German here (paywall).
See the CLEW factsheet German onshore wind power for more information.
Four German carmakers have each dismantled a Tesla Model 3 after buying them on the grey market, Stefan Hajek reports in the business magazine WirtschaftsWoche. Hajek does not name the carmakers, but hints at Daimler, BMW, Audi, and VW. The engineers reportedly found that Tesla will be able to make money even with the basic version of the Model 3 that costs 35,000 US dollars if it can overcome its problems associated with mass production. “Our analysis shows that the total cost of all parts is around 18,000 US dollars,” an engineer told the author, adding that production costs were estimated at around 10,000 US dollars. Overall, the engineers were impressed by many of the Model 3’s technical details, and also found that a German premium carmaker “would currently not manage to build a technically similar battery-powered car for this price.”
Find the article in German (behind paywall) here.
Find plenty of background in the dossier BMW, Daimler, and VW vow to fight in green transport revolution.
Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung
Germany’s first diesel driving ban on two thoroughfares in Hamburg is no more than “gesture politics,” because numerous exceptions are granted to residents, suppliers, and many others, writes Martin Gropp in a commentary for the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung. The central challenge for many cities is not limiting nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions, but rather preventing total traffic chaos. “Even if it is a horror scenario for many car owners: waving good-bye to some parts of motorised individual transport will be part of the solution,” writes Gropp. He argues that more public space will have to be dedicated to alternative means of transport, and that digitalisation will help reduce traffic caused by people trying to find parking spaces, and thereby ease congestion.
For background, read the factsheet Diesel driving bans in Germany – The Q&A and the dossier The energy transition and Germany’s transport sector.
The Green state premier of the southern German federal state of Baden-Wurttemberg, Winfried Kretschmann, will try to evade diesel driving bans that could be imposed to improve air quality in Stuttgart, the state’s capital, the newspaper Stuttgarter Zeitung reports. “I hope I can avoid them,” Kretschmann said, adding that there are numerous measures to reduce air pollution levels without banning diesel cars from entering the city’s busy roads. “Air quality already is improving. Every year. It just doesn’t happen fast enough,” Kretschmann said. The premier of carmaker Daimler’s home state criticised the German car industry for its sluggish reaction to the dieselgate scandal, which revealed that companies had sold millions of diesel cars with manipulated nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions values. “Dear car industry, wake up already!,” the Green politician said, adding that the federal government also played a questionable role in the scandal’s settlement. Kretschmann said he privately drives a diesel car that meets the latest Euro 6 emissions standard, and would only consider buying an e-car once their range has been expanded.
Germany’s first driving bans had recently been imposed in the northern city of Hamburg, following a ruling by the country’s administrative court that allows imposing such bans to comply with EU air quality standards.
Read the article in German here.
See CLEW’s diesel bans Q&A for background.
World Energy Council
A new study published by the World Energy Council Germany (WEC) on the climate impact of the country’s transport sector says that policymakers fail to base their decisions on a “coherent big picture.” “The current regulatory framework is tied to the emissions of new vehicles in a standardised environment, namely to the purely theoretical emissions potential of a small part of the vehicle fleet,” the report says. The regulators omit many important aspects, such as the existing infrastructure, traffic jams, kilometres driven by each car, or the crucial concept of sector coupling, when deciding on transport policy. The report adds that the declining share of diesel cars in the German car fleet is likely to increase emissions as diesel engines produce up to 15 percent less CO2 per kilometre than petrol cars.
Find the report in German here.
The German coalition government loves to talk about sustainability, but has shifted all responsibility for the nitty-gritty of climate action onto a commission tasked with managing the country’s coal phaseout, Michael Bauchmüller writes in the Süddeutsche Zeitung. The fact that the commission’s launch has already been delayed several times “says something about the priority level given to climate policy by this government,” he writes. Chancellor Angela Merkel “has not achieved enough at home to hold big speeches about the climate,” while “the former party of progress” – the Social Democrats (SPD), coalition partner of Merkel’s Conservatives - “revels in coal mining nostalgia,” Bauchmüller says. The coal commission is supposed to remedy all this by outlining a coal exit strategy by the end of the year. “But they will hardly have time for this because the [commission’s] structure makes every decision excruciatingly difficult.” However, should the commission turn out to be successful, “it would be in spite of, and not because of, this coalition government.”
Read the commentary in German here.
Find background in the CLEW factsheet on Germany’s coal exit commission and in the CLEW articles Wrangling over German coal exit talks reveals difficult task ahead and Merkel calls for honouring Paris deal as German climate action falters.
The northern German federal state of Lower Saxony will “probably become the number one energy state” in the country thanks to its large installed and potential capacity of onshore and offshore wind power, the state’s Social Democrat (SPD) minister president, Stephan Weil, was quoted by the news website kreiszeitung.de as saying. Weil said the prospects were “a massive opportunity for us,” as the expected further expansion of renewable power sources to bring more economic growth and research activities to the state. Weil made these remarks during a visit to a new research institute of the German Aerospace Centre (DLR), which works on sector coupling procedures that aim to efficiently integrate the power, mobility, and heating sectors.
Read the article in German here.
See the CLEW factsheet on Sector coupling for more information.
NGOs, trade unions, efficiency industry, and others
A broad alliance of actors that includes environmental NGOs, trade unions, and the efficiency industry has urged the German government to honour its coalition pledge to support measures to lower the energy consumption of buildings. The alliance says it is “highly irritated” by the fact that the issue is not mentioned in the government’s current budget draft. “Without a strong impulse for the modernisation of buildings during this legislative period, the 2030 climate targets remain practically out of reach,” states the alliance.
Find the statement in German here.
The small town of Wolfhagen near Frankfurt in central Germany “has taken a big step into the future over the past few years” by becoming one of the country’s first municipalities to cover 100 percent of its power demand from renewable sources, Austin Davis writes on the news website Global Post. “I think that Wolfhagen shows that this energy transition can actually work,” said the mayor, Reinhard Schaake. “With four windmills, a 42,000-panel solar farm, and two biogas facilities that turn waste into energy, the town is able to generate about 106 percent of its electricity needs throughout the year,” Davis writes.
Read the article in English here.
See the CLEW dossier Cities, municipalities and the Energiewende for background.
Fishermen in the Netherlands have protested against the rapid growth of offshore wind power capacity in the North Sea, The Guardian reports. “Dutch, German, and British turbines are pushing us out of the southern part of the North Sea. About half a per cent of our fishing waters are covered by turbines at the moment, but it will be 25% within a decade, and in our prime fishing grounds,” the chairman of activist group Eendracht Maakt Kracht (Unity Brings Strength) said. “They claim that the area around the windfarms creates some kind of paradise of biodiversity,” Schott said, noting that “it is exactly the opposite.” The sound waves resulting from ramming turbine foundations into the seabed “kills everything within six kilometres,” the activist said. According to the article, a recent study conducted by the industry consortium NoordzeeWind says offshore wind farms could in fact have a beneficial impact on local species as it enables them to find new places to hide and settle in formerly open waters.
Read the article in English here.
See the CLEW dossier Offshore wind power in Germany for more information.