Chinese investor becomes top Daimler shareholder / Gas imports up 15%


Chinese investor becomes top shareholder in Daimler

Li Shufu, chairman and owner of Chinese car company Zheijang Geely Holding Group, has acquired a 9.7 percent stake of Daimler AG, which represents the biggest investment by a Chinese company in an overseas automaker, reports Bloomberg. It is a deal “right in the nerve centres of the global automotive world”, Bloomberg adds. “I am particularly pleased to accompany Daimler on its way to becoming the world’s leading electro-mobility provider,” said Li Shufu in a press release. The billionaire accumulated a stake worth about 7.3 billion euros. 

Read the article in English here and the Geely press release in English here.

For background, read the CLEW factsheet Reluctant Daimler plans “radical” push into new mobility world and the dossier The Energiewende and German carmakers.



Investor Geely opportunity for Daimler to “develop new path” to Chinese market

Chinese carmaker Geely chairman Li Shufu’s investment in Daimler should be seen as an opportunity for the German company to “develop a new path” into the Chinese market – despite the "justifiable cautiousness", writes Kirsten Ludowig in an opinion piece in Handelsblatt. “However: trust is based on mutuality”, and China needs to open up its economy and stop putting foreign companies at a disadvantage, for example by lifting the joint venture provision, writes Ludowig.

Find the opinion piece in German here.

For background, read the CLEW factsheet Reluctant Daimler plans “radical” push into new mobility world and the dossier The Energiewende and German carmakers.


Federal Office for Economic Affairs and Export Control (BAFA)

German natural gas imports up 15 percent in 2017

Germany imported 4,778,136 terajoules of natural gas in 2017, a 15 percent increase compared to the previous year, writes the Federal Office for Economic Affairs and Export Control (BAFA) in a statement. The average cross-border price was 4,729.42 euros per terajoule – a 10.6 percent increase on 2016 – bringing the total value to 22.6 billion euros.

Read the statement in German here.

For background, read the CLEW factsheet Germany’s dependence on imported fossil fuels.



Cars remain Germany’s most important export good in 2017

Germany exported cars and car components worth 234.4 billion euros in 2017, the highest figure of any industry, Germany’s Federal Statistical Office (Destatis) said in a press release. Machinery and chemical products rank second and third, with 183.6 billion and 114.7 billion euros in export receipts respectively. Cars and car components were also Germany’s most important import good in that year, with products worth 114.6 billion euros coming into the country.

Read the press release in German here.

See the CLEW factsheet The Energiewende and German carmakers for more information.


Welt Online

Municipalities reject transport ministry’s proposal to allow selective driving bans

Germany’s municipalities have criticised proposals by the transport ministry (BMVI) to allow cities to introduce selective driving bans for certain route sections in inner cities that grapple with high air pollution levels, Welt Online reports. “If some routes are closed, car drivers will find other routes to reach their destination,” a spokesperson of the German Association of Towns and Municipalities (DStGB) told the newspaper. Driving bans for polluting diesel cars that are only valid in certain areas “create a patchwork of rules across the country, which we want to avoid,” the spokesperson said. The BMVI said it works on a new legal framework to protect citizens from harmful nitrogen oxide (NOx) stemming from diesel exhaust fumes. Germany’s administrative court has said it will decide on 27 February whether German cities are allowed to impose driving bans on diesel cars themselves.

Read the article in German here.

Read the CLEW factsheet Diesel driving bans in Germany – The Q&A and the CLEW article German top court postpones ruling on diesel driving bans for background.



TenneT to invest 28 billion euros over next ten years in power grid to cope with renewables feed-in

Dutch-German transmission system operator TenneT will invest 28 billion euros in new power grid infrastructure over the next ten years because of energy transition targets in Germany and the Netherlands which will lead to an increase in renewable power, the company said in a press release. TenneT will significantly expand the cross-border electricity connections (interconnectors) between the Netherlands, Germany and other countries, “adding flexibility to the electricity system”, the company announced. “We need to develop a more flexible system with sufficient capacity for the storage of electricity in hydrogen form and in batteries. […] The balancing role of conventional power plants will be partially taken over by consumers with electric vehicles, solar panels or home batteries,” said TenneT CEO Mel Kroon.

Find the press release in English here.

For background, read the CLEW dossier The energy transition and Germany’s power grid.



Germany needs Nord Stream 2 pipeline – guest commentary

Germany needs the new Russian-German natural gas pipeline project Nord Stream 2 because ambitious climate targets make gas “an even more important energy source” and reserves in Germany and the Netherlands are decreasing, write Christian Democratic (CDU) members of parliament Christian Hirte and Manfred Grund in a guest commentary in Handelsblatt. “Only seeing a Russian instrument of foreign policy power in the pipeline fails to recognise the dependable energy policy relation with Russian energy suppliers over decades,” they write.

Find the guest commentary (behind paywall) in German here.

For background, read the CLEW news digest item Nord Stream 2: green light for 55-kilometre section in German territorial waters and the factsheet Germany’s dependence on imported fossil fuels.


Frankfurter Rundschau

Increasing efficiency of power-to-gas

The announcement by the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) that its researchers had significantly increased the efficiency of power-to-gas facilities does not automatically mean the technology’s breakthrough, writes Benjamin von Brackel in Frankfurter Rundschau. The new process, which works at much higher temperatures, is much more expensive and investors would rather accept less efficiency if costs were significantly lower, Michael Sterner, professor at OTH Regensburg, told the newspaper.

Read the article in German here.

For background, read the CLEW dossier New technologies for the Energiewende.


Brandenburg State Ministry for the Economy and Energy

German coal-mining state Brandenburg presents structural economic change projects at EU forum

The German coal-mining state Brandenburg will present fellow EU regions a variety of different projects aimed at steering the regional economy away from fossil power generation. As part of the Europe-wide “coal platform”, Brandenburg will show possible future scenarios for the coal region Lusatia, such as turning it into a cluster for low-carbon shipping as the region’s many lakes resulting from shut down coal mines offer ample opportunities for testing such technology, the ministry says in a press release. In the entire EU, 42 regions in 11 member states are affected by structural economic changes in the coal industry. The coal platform is aimed at pooling their experiences and contributing to the achievement of European climate targets in a socially acceptable manner, the press release says.

See the CLEW factsheet Coal in Germany for background.


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