10 Oct 2017, 00:00
Benjamin Wehrmann Julian Wettengel

CDU, Greens at odds over coal exit / Industry worries about CO2 price

Clean Energy Wire

The approach to phasing out coal-fired power production in Germany has become a bone of contention between the prospective coalition partners, the conservative CDU and the environmentalist Green Party, as remarks made by both parties’ energy politicians at a conference organised by the Tagesspiegel newspaper in Berlin have shown. CDU politician Thomas Bareiß conceded that a German coal exit was inevitable in the long run, but added that its speed and shape still needed to be clarified. Nevertheless, he said he was confident a coalition agreement could be hammered out between his CDU party, its conservative Bavarian sister party CSU, the market liberal FDP, and the Green Party. On the other hand, his Green counterpart, Julia Verlinden, said she was less certain that the talks, which are scheduled to start on 18 October, would lead to a coalition government. “Very difficult talks lie ahead”, Verlinden said, arguing that the speed and shape of a coal exit could not be the subject of a prolonged debate if Germany took its climate protection targets seriously. An eventual coalition agreement had to include a clear roadmap for an accelerated phase out and for a corresponding expansion of renewable energy sources.

For background, read the CLEW article German Greens confident pro-climate government coalition possible and the factsheet Climate & energy stumbling blocks for Jamaica-coalition talks.

The Clean Energy Wire will publish an article on this topic later today.

Reuters / CDU

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said her conservative CDU/CSU bloc would begin exploratory talks on forming a so-called ‘Jamaica’ coalition on 18 October, reports Reuters. That day, the CDU/CSU would hold separate talks with the Free Democrats (FDP) and the Green Party. “Then on Friday, 20 October, we will have a first round of exploratory talks with all partners”, Merkel told a joint news conference with CSU leader Horst Seehofer on 9 October. The CDU and CSU have agreed a compromise position on refugee policy, removing a major obstacle to pursuing coalition talks with other parties, reports Reuters.

See the Reuters articles in English here and here, and find a CDU press release in German here.

For background, read the CLEW article Coalition watch – The making of a new German government and the factsheets The long road to a new government coalition in Germany and Climate & energy stumbling blocks for Jamaica-coalition talks.

Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung

Ahead of the government coalition talks, industry representatives have voiced concern over recent proposals on CO₂ pricing by German experts or French President Emmanuel Macron, writes Andreas Mihm in Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung. “The German industry needs reliefs, not additional burdens through a CO₂ tax”, Eric Schweitzer, president of the Association of German Chambers of Commerce and Industry (DIHK), told the newspaper. A CO₂ pricing mechanism already existed within the EU Emissions Trading System (ETS), and a national tax would be a double burden for German companies. Holger Lösch, deputy director general of the Federation of German Industries (BDI), said: “At best, the French nuclear power plants would profit, but not Germany as an industrial location.”

Read the article in German here.

For background, read the CLEW article Experts call for CO2 price to retain Energiewende’s credibility.

German Renewable Energy Federation (BEE)

For 2018, the German Renewable Energy Federation (BEE) projects a slight decrease in the country’s levy to finance renewables expansion, the organisation says in a press release. The Renewable Energy Act (EEG) surcharge will drop to about 6.71 euro cents per kilowatt hour (ct/kWh), from the current 6.88 ct/kWh, writes BEE. Rising wholesale power prices would lower the support payments to renewable power producers. Furthermore, Germany’s “green energy account” has had a large surplus, which could be used to lower the levy on consumers. BEE calls for a CO₂ price to lower total electricity prices for consumers further. Back in September, the think tank Agora Energiewende* projected a similar figure – 6.74 ct/kWh - for the 2018 levy.

Find the press release in German here.

For background, read the CLEW factsheets Defining features of the Renewable Energy Act (EEG) and What German households pay for power, and the news digest entry Renewables levy to decrease slightly in 2018 – think tank.

*Like the Clean Energy Wire, Agora Energiewende is a project funded by Stiftung Mercator and the European Climate Foundation.


This year’s projected slight decrease in Germany’s renewables levy (EEG surcharge) is not a turning point in the country’s energy transition, writes Klaus Stratmann in an opinion piece in Handelsblatt. Support payments for existing wind and solar power installations, guaranteed for 20 years, as well as those for new offshore wind parks would “ruin all hope for a turning point”. “The next federal government will have a lot of work to do in making the Energiewende financing more efficient”, writes Stratmann. The proposed CO₂ price might seem logical, but it might also “throw the overall structure off-balance” if introduced parallel to the Renewable Energy Act (EEG) and the EU ETS, writes Stratmann.

Find the opinion piece (behind paywall) in German here.

For background, read the CLEW factsheets Defining features of the Renewable Energy Act (EEG) and What German households pay for power, and the news digest entry Renewables levy to decrease slightly in 2018 – think tank.

German Energy Agency (dena)

Germany can lower its CO₂ emissions by 90 percent by 2050 if current technologies are used in the most efficient way for an ambitious transformation of the country’s energy system, writes the German Energy Agency (dena) in a press release. The next federal government must ensure that these technologies can compete in a market economy. “The energy transition is feasible if we approach it determinedly, in a technology-neutral way, and in the context of a wide dialogue with stakeholders”, said dena head Andreas Kuhlmann at a presentation of the interim results of a study the agency is currently working on with numerous energy transition actors. The study is meant to identify solutions and frameworks for a sustainable energy system by 2050. Technology-neutral scenarios prove better than those that, for example, focused too much on a high degree of electrification, writes dena. The sector-specific emission reduction targets set out in the Climate Action Plan 2050 have to be readjusted, says dena.

Find the press release in German here, and the interim results in German here.

All texts created by the Clean Energy Wire are available under a “Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Licence (CC BY 4.0)” . They can be copied, shared and made publicly accessible by users so long as they give appropriate credit, provide a link to the license, and indicate if changes were made.
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