14 Jun 2017, 00:00
Benjamin Wehrmann Julian Wettengel

CDU forges state coalitions/ Coal region calls for restructuring funds

Clean Energy Wire

The leadership of the Christian Democrats (CDU), the Green Party and the Free Democrats (FDP) in Schleswig-Holstein have agreed on forming a government, said CDU frontrunner Daniel Günther in a press conference. The agreement “shows how ecology can be linked to economy”, said Günther, who would lead the so-called Jamaica-Coalition – named after the parties’ colours of black, green and yellow. All three parties want to "successfully implement" the energy transition, and the leadership found a compromise for future wind power development, said Günther. Repowering old turbines in wind-rich areas on the state’s west coast would allow larger distances between wind turbines and the next village in other parts of the state. The Green Party will continue to lead the state energy and environment ministry. Party leaders will present the coalition agreement to their parties for approval.

For background read the CLEW article Wind power course at stake in election in "cradle of Energiewende" and the CLEW dossier Vote2017 - German elections and the Energiewende.

Find the coalition agreement in German here.

dpa / WDR

The Christian Democrats (CDU) and Free Democrats (FDP) in the state of North Rhine-Westphalia will form a government coalition, state chairmen Armin Laschet (CDU) and Christian Lindner (FDP) told news agency dpa. “We have a coalition agreement” and the leadership will meet for final edits in the coming days, said Laschet, according to an article by public broadcaster WDR. Details on energy policy were not yet public. The parties will present the coalition agreement to the public this Friday, writes WDR. If both parties approve the agreement, Laschet could be elected state premier on 27 June.

Find the article in German here.

Find background in the CLEW factsheet Facts on the German state elections in North Rhine-Westphalia,  and the article Coal exit: elephant in the room at vote in German industry heartland.

FDP North Rhine-Westphalia

“We will correct the ideological, much too fast expansion of wind energy” in North Rhine-Westphalia, said the Free Democrats’ (FDP) state chairman Christian Lindner in a video on Twitter, talking about coalition negotiations. His comments came just hours before the announcement that Christian Democrats (CDU) and FDP had agreed to form a government coalition in Germany’s industry heartland North Rhine-Westphalia. “We will introduce a minimum distance – we think 1,500 metres [distance from the nearest village] are legally possible.” This would “significantly decrease the areas available for wind turbines”, but would not make expansion impossible. But the state would take the “needs of citizens” into account and “balance the ecological with the physically possible and the economically reasonable”, said Lindner.

Find the Twitter post in German here.

See the CLEW factsheet Facts on the German state elections in North Rhine-Westphalia, articles Coal exit: elephant in the room at vote in German industry heartland.

Federal Network Agency

An expansion of the available area for solar power plants has led to “a significant drop of the price level” in the latest round of PV auctions in Germany, the Federal Network Agency (BNetzA) has said in a press release. The average support rate for new installations dropped by 0.9 cents per kilowatt hour (kWh) to 5.66 ct/kWh, the BNetzA said. The agency’s vice president Peter Franke said newly included agricultural and grassed areas in “deprived regions” in Bavaria and Baden-Wuerttemberg were responsible for the “unprecedented” price drop. The BNetzA issued support licences for a total of 32 bids with a combined capacity of 201 megawatt.

Read the press release in German here.

Environmental Action Germany (DUH)

Germany will miss its climate targets unless the next federal government steps up its efforts, according to non-profit environmental and consumer protection association Environmental Action Germany (DUH). In a list of 85 measures for the energy, heating and transport transitions, DUH called for the introduction of an EU CO₂ floor price and a federal climate protection law with sector emissions targets, and creating a regulatory framework for a swift coal exit.

Find the press release in German here and the paper in German here.

For background read the CLEW dossier Vote2017 - German elections and the Energiewende.

Federal German government / Reuters

Germany and the rest of Europe should redouble their efforts to fight climate change after the United States’ decision to leave the Paris Climate Agreement, Chancellor Angela Merkel said at the annual meeting of the Christian Democratic Union group in Thuringia’s state parliament. “I want to say very clearly: Almost my entire political career has been connected to these kinds of accords. […] Finally, in 2015, we succeeded in uniting the world. That’s why I will continue to fight for the implementation of the Paris Agreement,” said Merkel.

Read a Reuters article on the topic in English here.

See the CLEW article International climate community pins hopes on Merkel to sway Trump for more information.

Berliner Zeitung

Eastern German states Saxony and Brandenburg demand at least 1.2 billion euros in federal funds to finance the economic transformation of their shared coal-mining region Lusatia, Jens Blankennagel writes in Berliner Zeitung. “The end of coal mining there has finally come in sight,” Blankennagel says. In a joint letter to Chancellor Angela Merkel, Saxony’s state premier Stanislav Tillich and his Brandenburg colleague Dietmar Woidke called for the sum to be paid over five years from 2019 to 2024 to fund “structural development projects that go beyond what has already been agreed”, he writes. Both prime ministers emphasised that Lusatia needed to remain an industrial region after the last coal mine shut its doors. Blankennagel says planned tourism projects are unlikely to absorb the 24,000 industry jobs associated with lignite mining in Lusatia.

Read the article in German here.

See the CLEW factsheet When will Germany finally ditch coal? for background.

Dresdner Neueste Nachrichten

Germany will be able to fulfil its Paris Climate Agreement obligations as well as the EU’s 2030 climate targets with a continued use of coal-fired power production, trade union IG BCE’s head Michael Vassiliadis said in an interview with Dresdner Neueste Nachrichten. “This is not a problem at all,” Vassiliadis said. He said that proponents of a coal exit did not specify how Germany would bridge the supply gap after the nuclear exit in 2022. Because of this gap, any talk about a coal exit was “a virtual debate” and “reality will catch up with us in five years’ time”, said Vassiliadis.  

See the CLEW dossier The energy transition and climate change and the CLEW factsheet When will Germany finally ditch coal? for background.

Süddeutsche Zeitung

The mayor of BMW hometown Munich is considering a ban on diesel cars to curb emission levels in the south German metropolis, Nina Bovensiepen writes in Süddeutsche Zeitung. “As much as I’d be happy to do without this kind of bans, I don’t see how we will cope without them in the future,” mayor Dieter Reiter said. Up to 170,000 cars would be affected by the ban, depending on the emissions threshold, according to the newspaper. Cars which fulfil the Euro 6 emissions norm could be exempt, Bovensiepen writes. Emissions limits in Munich are regularly exceeded, according to Süddeutsche Zeitung. A sweeping driving ban for diesel cars would be “a drastic measure” and the most far-reaching restriction in any major German city, Bovensiepen says.

Read the article in German here

For background, read the factsheet Early e-car starter BMW plans new mobility sprint.

B20 / C20 / L20 / T20 / W20 / Y20 / F20

The United States' “short-sighted and irresponsible” withdrawal from the Paris Agreement has prompted the G20 engagement groups to call on the remaining G19 member states to “convincingly show their willingness to implement the deal” at the upcoming summit in Hamburg, just like six countries did at the G7 summit in Italy. The engagement groups include business, civil society, trade unions, scientific and research community, think tanks, women and youth. The groups welcomed the continued commitment of subnational actors – like states and cities – in the US “absent leadership at the federal level”.

Find the statement in English here.

For background, read the CLEW articles German reactions to US decision to withdraw from Paris Agreement

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