18 Oct 2016, 00:00
Sören Amelang Julian Wettengel

Car ban to block green innovation? / Call to stop Nord Stream 2 plans

Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung

The German car industry has warned against banning new conventional car registrations in 2030, claiming it would block vital innovations to make combustion engines more efficient, reports Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung. Major industry suppliers ZF Friedrichshafen and Mahle said politicians should leave it to the industry to find the best way to achieve climate targets. The metalworkers’ union (IG Metall) warned that e-cars will not be emission-free even if there is a surge in demand because there was not enough renewable electricity to power them. 

For further information, read the CLEW article German states - New cars in EU should be emission-free by 2030.

For background, read the CLEW dossier The Energiewende and German carmakers.

Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung

The debate about banning new conventional car registrations in 2030 seems detached from technical obstacles, writes Holger Appel in a commentary for Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung. Appel wonders how 40 million cars in Germany alone could be powered by wind and solar power without the necessary powerlines, and how e-cars can become a mass product given how expensive they are. But if the transition really materialises, the industry and its employees will face dramatic changes, according to Appel. “Job descriptions will shift. Engine works will disappear. As will gearbox plants, as e-cars do not have gears. Anyone naming engineering as a dream job should think again.”

Zeit Online

German climate and energy policy should be combined to overcome bitter fights between the environment ministry and the economics ministry after next year’s parliamentary election, argues sustainability expert Reinhard Loske from the University Witten/Herdecke, in a contribution for Zeit Online. “Instead of today’s one-sided fixation on renewables, an equal focus would have to be set on energy saving and efficiency strategies. The government has already defined the new ministry’s target: to reduce climate-damaging emissions by 90 percent by 2050.”

Read the contribution in German here.

For background, read the new CLEW factsheet German elections ahead: The road to the next Energiewende government.

University of Stuttgart / University of Münster / Fraunhofer ISI, ISE

A majority of the German population generally supports the Energiewende, but there are different “acceptance groups” to be made out, according to a report on a survey conducted in 2015 by the Universities of Stuttgart and Münster in cooperation with Fraunhofer ISI and ISE. 29 percent of participants could be classified as energy transition “supporters”, 29 percent as having ambivalent opinions (“undecided”), another 27 percent as “critics” and 15 percent as NIMBYs. Four factors were central to how people viewed the energy transition and how willing they were to invest in the project: trust in actors like utilities or the federal government, benefit-risk calculations, acceptance of the relevant technology, and fairness.

Find the press release in German here and the survey report in German here.

For a collection of survey results check out the CLEW factsheet Polls reveal citizens' support for Energiewende.

RedaktionsNetzwerk Deutschland

Norbert Röttgen (Christian Democratic Union), chairman of the foreign affairs committee in the German Bundestag, demands that the federal government stop plans to construct the contentious gas pipeline Nord Stream 2 between Germany and Russia, according to a report by news agency RedaktionsNetzwerk Deutschland. “The project is wrong in terms of energy and foreign policy,” Röttgen said. Nord Stream 2 is not just a business project, but also a political one, as “Poland, the Baltic states and the Ukraine see themselves threatened in their security”, according to Röttgen.

Read the report in German here.

For background read the CLEW dossier The Energiewende and its implications for international security.

The average German household (consumption of 3,500 kilowatt hours/year) will have to pay 23 euros more (10 percent) in 2017 for grid fees with their electricity bill, according to an analysis by renewable energy provider LichtBlick. “The grid fees for consumers increase significantly more than the renewables surcharge,” LichtBlick says in a press release. The high fees could not only be explained with ongoing grid expansion and the Energiewende. “Power lines are the cash-cow for companies and the utilities,” said Gero Lücking, managing director at LichtBlick. The provider analysed the fees of 25 large regional grid operators and found that households in Bavaria, northern Germany, the Rhine-Main area, and eastern Germany would see the highest increases.

Read the press release in German here.

For background on the renewables surcharge read the CLEW article Germany debates form of renewables support as levy rises.


Germany’s transition to an auction-based system to stabilise renewable development is the right way forward, writes David Wortmann, head of renewable consultancy DWR eco, in an op-ed in Wirtschaftswoche. But the government gets in the way of the planning security required by investors who want to try new business models, he argues. This is because it already plans additional changes, and a further reform of the Renewable Energy Act after the federal election 2017. The next reform will centre on the costs of the energy transition and their distribution, writes Wortmann. He argues the government will have to increase auction volumes for the cheapest renewable technologies to achieve climate targets, while keeping costs under control.

Read the commentary in German here.

For background, read the CLEW dossier The reform of the Renewable Energy Act.

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