Cabinet approves climate plan / Greens call for coal exit 2025
Federal Ministry for the Environment
The German federal cabinet finally approved the government’s Climate Action Plan 2050 as the basic framework on how Germany is to become largely greenhouse gas neutral in 2050. In a press release, environment minister Barbara Hendricks pointed out that this was the first time Germany set specific emission reduction targets for individual economic sectors. “From today on, no one can talk her- or himself into believing that climate protection affects only the others. […] With the Climate Action Plan, we provide individual economic sectors with a concrete framework for strategic decisions in the coming years. I am sure that these prospects will trigger enormous ingenuity and creative power,” said Hendricks.
Read a CLEW article on last Friday’s government agreement: Germany finally sets specific CO₂ targets in climate roadmap, as well as Reactions to Germany's Climate Action Plan 2050.
PLEASE NOTE: The Clean Energy Wire will publish a factsheet on the Climate Action Plan 2050 later today.
Clean Energy Wire
Banning combustion engines in new cars by 2030 and exiting coal-fired power production as early as 2025 are likely to be two key Green Party demands in the general elections in autumn 2017, the party decided at its convention. But controversy over inviting Daimler CEO Dieter Zetsche to speak at the convention revealed deep policy disagreements within the party.
Read the CLEW article here.
The fact that a major figure from Germany's car industry, Daimler CEO Dieter Zetsche, was invited to the Green Party convention shows that the Greens are a force to be reckoned with, writes Holger Möhle in a commentary in the General-Anzeiger. The Greens were the first party to recognise environmental protection as a topic and were decisive for Germany’s nuclear exit, but they had to learn the hard way that their founding years’ convictions must be sacrificed for government participation, says Möhle. Almost twenty years ago, they scared off car drivers with demands for a drastic rise in petrol prices, “Now, both the Greens and society have moved on," he writes. "The necessity of an energy and transport transition is no longer questioned.”
Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung
There will be great upheaval in individual economic sectors from decisions made in the latest Climate Action Plan 2050 agreement, writes Andreas Mihm in an opinion piece for the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung. He says that many of the demands that have been watered-down or deleted from the plan would resurface in coalition negotiations after the federal elections in autumn 2017.
For background read the CLEW article Germany finally sets specific CO₂ targets in climate roadmap.
The government's difficulty finding agreement on Germany’s Climate Action Plan 2050 was a preview of similar negotiations in the future, writes Theo Geers in an opinion piece for Deutschlandfunk. “Every saved tonne of CO₂ will have to be seized from those blocking it. The only consolation: this climate plan de facto implies a coal exit, an end to the combustion engine and a path to a more climate-friendly agriculture, even though you need a magnifying glass to find the word “coal-exit” in the document,” writes Geers.
Read the opinion piece in German here.
The energy transition remains the German government coalition’s “largest construction site,” due to its gigantic regulatory needs, writes Die Welt. “The goal of cutting CO₂ emissions by 40 percent by 2020 will clearly be missed. […] Grid expansion was sped up, but lags far behind what is necessary,” and the significance of a possible Climate Action Plan 2050, is unclear, writes Die Welt in a long story about the work of the grand coalition of conservatives (CDU) and social democrats (SPD).
Long-term feed-in tariffs set by the government for wind power in Germany lead to comparably high electricity prices, which could turn out to be a regional handicap in light of fast-falling wind power prices in Europe, writes Klaus Stratmann in the Handelsblatt. “The result of a lack of competition: Electricity consumers in Germany have to pay billions over the coming years, so that wind parks can earn double-digit profits,” writes Stratmann.
In a separate opinion piece, Stratmann writes: “Germany has changed the support mechanisms [away from set feed-in tariffs to an auction-based system for renewables] much too slowly and much too timidly. One result is that Renewable Energy Act (EEG) costs rise year after year. Unfortunately, this will continue to be the case far into the next decade.”
Read the article (behind paywall) in German here.
For background read the CLEW dossier The reform of the Renewable Energy Act.
Germany might have to discontinue a central instrument of the Energiewende in light of EU Commission plans to remove priority dispatch for renewable electricity, writes Stefan Schultz for Spiegel Online. In countries where renewables facilities produce a share of at least 15 percent of total power generation, grid priority is to be removed completely, according to a regulation draft, seen by Spiegel Online. Exceptions to this rule are possible, but only if other EU member states agree. The German government said it would try to avoid such a reform. “We will massively campaign for renewables priority in Brussels,” state secretary in the federal economy ministry Rainer Baake told Spiegel Online.
Read the article in German here.
German utility RWE saw a 13 percent earnings drop in the first nine months of the year, reflecting tough conditions in conventional power generation in Germany, reports Guy Chazan for the Financial Times. Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation stood at 3.8 billion euros, and RWE called the result “respectable … in view of the difficult conditions.” Both RWE and rival E.ON have responded to Germany’s shift to renewable energy by splitting themselves into two separate companies. RWE spun off its renewable and grid business into the subsidiary Innogy.
Read the article in English here.
Find background in the CLEW factsheet RWE’s plans for new renewable subsidiary.