20 Jul 2018, 13:18
Luke Sherman Julian Wettengel

2030 climate goal "very, very challenging" - Merkel / EU sues Germany

Clean Energy Wire

The German government will introduce a climate protection law to ensure the country reaches its 2030 climate targets, but achieving these goals will be “very, very challenging”, said Chancellor Angela Merkel during her annual summer press conference. The government recently officially confirmed that Germany’s 2020 emissions reduction target has already slipped out of reach. Asked about her 2017 campaign promise to find ways to still reach it, Merkel said: “We made our projections on the basis of the assumptions that were also used in the Climate Action Plan by former environment minister Barbara Hendricks. During the government formation process, we suddenly had new assumptions that made the gap to reaching the 2020 climate target seem bigger.” Merkel said her government coalition had now acted by setting up the new coal-exit commission, and that its approach to first resolve the prospects for workers in the lignite regions “and then talk about which lignite power plants we can shut down” was right. “That’s politically reasonable and why the commission will work very fast,” she added. Merkel also said that her government would find a joint stance on possible mandatory hardware retrofits for old diesel cars by the end of September. Whereas environment minister Svenja Schulze supports these retrofits, transport minister Andreas Scheuer opposes them.

For background, read the articles First 100 days - German government in disarray neglects energy policy and Germany on track to widely miss 2020 climate target – government.

European Commission

The European Commission is taking Germany to court for its alleged failure to properly implement the Electricity and Gas Directives of the Third Energy Package, according to a Commission press release. The package, in effect since 2009, establishes the rules for regulation of the internal gas and electricity markets within the EU. According to the Commission, Germany’s Federal Network Agency (Bundesnetzagentur) is not free to set its own network tariffs “and other terms and conditions for access to networks and balancing services,” which it considers a violation of EU law.

Read the press release in English here.

A coal phase-out is unnecessary and threatens energy security, the Coal Importer Association writes in a press release. Coal-fired power plants are needed to supply electricity to the grid during times when renewable energies cannot meet total power demand, according to the release. Instead of scheduling a coal-exit date, policymakers should focus on other sectors of the economy where emission reductions are needed, such as industry and transport, the association writes. In 2017, the use of hard coal for power generation in Germany fell by 17 percent and is expected to fall by more than 20 percent in 2018, according to the association.

Read the press release in English here.

For background, read the article Renewables overtake coal and the factsheets Coal in Germany and Germany’s coal exit commission.

Frankfurter Rundschau

The German federal government is struggling to implement an effective carbon pricing mechanism despite a consensus among climate experts about the need for such a scheme, writes Joachim Wille in the Frankfurter Rundschau. However, the recent call by Green ministers from nine federal states for a minimum CO2 price may push economy minister Peter Altmaier, who is sceptical of a CO2 tax, to advocate the importance of carbon pricing at the next global climate change conference, to be held in Poland in December, Wille writes.

Read the article (behind paywall) in German here.

For background, read the article Energy minister rejects idea of changing fees and taxes on energy and the factsheet German federalism: In 16 states of mind over the Energiewende.

Mechanical Engineering Industry Association (VDMA)

The German federal government must implement the promised additional tenders for offshore wind energy without delay and must also rapidly increase the expansion paths for all renewable energy sources, the Mechanical Engineering Industry Association (VDMA) writes in a press release. To meet the government’s goal of increasing the share of renewable energy to 65 percent of Germany’s electricity consumption by 2030, an expansion of at least 20 gigawatts is required for offshore wind energy by the end of the next decade, according to the association. “The standstill in energy policy of the recent months must be stopped,” the association writes.

Read the press release in English here.

For background, read the dossier Offshore wind power in Germany and the factsheet Climate, energy and transport in Germany’s coalition treaty.


Higher prices for emissions allowances and rising gas and coal prices squeezed Vattenfall in the second quarter of 2018, news agency Reuters reports. The company reported a drop in its core business’s operating profit by about 366 million euros, according to the agency.

Read the article in German here.

For background, read the factsheet Germany’s largest utilities at a glance.

Federal Environment Agency (UBA)

Low-carbon economy roadmaps for the years until 2050 conceived by industry and the EU differ significantly in their level of ambition, according to a report published by the German Federal Environment Agency (UBA). The UBA compared the abatement potentials, assumptions made, and initial results of different paths to reaching the EU’s goal of near-zero emissions by mid-century. Although carbon capture and storage is a critical technology in both industry-sponsored and policy studies, its technological uncertainty remains high, threatening the roadmaps’ viability, according to the report.

Read the report in English here.

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