Autobahn remains 'backbone' of German mobility / Blockchain as an opportunity
Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure (BMVI)
The cabinet of the government today passed the Transport Infrastructure Plan 2030 with a total volume of 269.6 billion euros. The largest part of 132.8 billion euros are marked for Germany’s roads, 112.3 billion euros for rail transport and 24.5 billion euros for waterways. At a press conference, federal transport minister Alexander Dobrindt presented the scheme as a “plan that also puts a lot of emphasis on the development of rail transport”, while also saying that the German Autobahn (motorway) was the “backbone of mobility in Germany”.
Dobrindt’s plan had faced criticism in recent days. Several members of the Green group in the Bundestag had said that the plan “ignores almost everything that has ever been agreed upon in terms of climate and environment protection”. Maria Krautzberger, president of the Federal Environment Agency (UBA), had asked for more focus on rail transport. But Dobrindt told the press conference that the Paris climate agreement played a role in the plan’s negotiations: “We are very interested in furthering climate protection through the expansion of our transport routes. And we succeeded with this transport infrastructure plan.” Dobrindt said that rail transport was much more considered than in the previous plan and that investments in roads were necessary to avoid traffic jams as “possibly the largest economic and ecologic damage that we experience every day”.
Find the press release and the infrastructure plan in German here.
Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung / Verbraucherzentrale Nordrhein-Westfalen
A pilot project from New York could become a threat to traditional energy suppliers, writes Andreas Mihm in the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung. The so-called blockchain technology which is used to encrypt and secure data that is transmitted between users could be key to the energy transition because it can connect producers of renewable energy with consumers without the need for power suppliers as a facilitators. A direct and automated billing system between producers and consumers could also apply to the charging of e-cars, heating or warm water, Mihm writes. The consumer organisation of North Rhine-Westphalia has called the blockchain technology a chance for power and gas consumers to get more achievable energy.
Rhineland-Westphalia Institute for Economic Research (RWI)
If petrol prices were increased by one euro per litre, private households would use their bikes 14.4 percent more – but only in urban centres, a study by RWI researchers has found. The rise in petrol prices in more rural areas would have no significant effect, the authors found after looking at mobility data of German households between 1999 and 2013. This is most likely because of distances being greater in these areas. It would make sense to increase petrol prices to incentivise cycling, the authors conclude.
Read the study in English here.
The government cabinet has approved a new regulation on how grid operators are paid for investments into the extension of the distribution network. This is important to make sure the energy transition in the distribution grid is making progress, state secretary Rainer Baake said in a press release. The distribution grid had to be extended and modernised without increasing the financial burden on consumers too much in order to take up more renewable power from decentral sources in the coming years, the government said. The most efficiently-investing grid operators will receive a bonus.
Read the press release in German here.
Handelsblatt Global Edition
With the world’s largest production plant for lithium-ion batteries in Nevada, Tesla is forcing German car manufacturers to decide if they need their own fuel-cell factory, writes Handelsblatt Global Edition. “A battery triumph by Mr Musk would leave German carmakers further behind in the e-car race,” writes Handelsblatt. German companies either continue to buy batteries from abroad, or they enter production themselves to not leave “control of the electric car’s core component” in the hands of Tesla.
Read the article (behind paywall) in English here.
taz – die Tageszeitung
Utilities like E.ON once thought that they could meticulously plan the decommissioning and dismantling of their nuclear power plants - but the reality is proving this approach wrong, writes Bernward Janzing in the taz. E.ON found “unexpected contamination” in its reactor buildings in Stade and is no longer giving a specific end date for the dismantling of the plant. The deadline at the GDR reactors of Lubmin and Rheinsberg was once set for 2010 but the operators now think they will be finished between 2025 and 2028, Janzing says. Citizens are angry that they are not consulted when it comes to the decision how the plants are dismantled.
Read the article in German here.
Read a CLEW dossier on Germany’s nuclear clean-up issues.
Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (FAZ)
Despite opposition for geostrategic, budgetary, economic and environmental reasons, the EU should go ahead with the Baltic natural gas pipeline project with Russia ‘Nord Stream 2’, writes Andreas Mihm in an opinion piece for FAZ. Imposing a construction embargo “wouldn’t help European consumers. Nord Stream 2 benefits the supply. It’s not a foregone conclusion that the pipeline increases the dependence on Russian gas”.
Read the opinion piece in German here.
The federal government thinks Germany will increasingly be vulnerable to the consequences of climate change, writes Spiegel Online. Trade would be especially affected, according to the economy ministry’s reply to a parliamentary enquiry by the Green group. Exports could be endangered if the demand by other regions in the world went down as a result of climate change, and imports such as energy from Russia could also be at risk, writes Spiegel Online. The government sees additional risks for the German infrastructure through extreme events like floods and heatwaves.
Read the article in German here.
Inter Press Service
Many countries in Latin America have started their own energy transition plans but they should incorporate lessons, such as citizens’ participation, from the German Energiewende, writes Emilio Godoy for Inter Press Service (IPS). “Germany’s transition shows the importance of bottom-up decision-making and listening to the public’s concerns. It was not imposed; society pushed for changes in the energy model,” Sophia Schönborn, of the German energy transition lobby organisation Klimadiskurs NRW, told IPS.
Read the article in English here.