City of Berlin exits coal / Siemens may cut fossil power jobs
dpa / Handelsblatt
The city of Berlin has decided to exit coal power generation by 2030 to protect the climate. The state coalition of Social Democrats (SPD), the Left Party, and the Greens has passed a corresponding law, according to a news report by press agency dpa carried by Handelsblatt. The city has already stopped using brown coal for power production a few months ago, but it still operates three hard coal power plants. “Coal must be reserved for BBQs in Berlin”, commented the Greens’ climate spokesperson, Georg Kössler.
According to the Berlin daily taz, the new emission limits could lead to an even earlier coal phase-out.
Read the report in German here.
For background, read the CLEW factsheet When will Germany finally ditch coal?
Siemens mulls axing thousands of jobs in its power turbine business because the global growth of renewable energies dampens demand for coal and gas plants, according to a source familiar with the matter, Irene Preisinger reports for Reuters. The company’s division reported a 41 percent drop in orders in the quarter that ended in June.
Read the article in English here.
Clean Energy Wire
The upcoming UN climate conference (COP23) in Bonn will be an important milestone on the way to creating a rulebook for the implementation of the Paris Climate Agreement, Germany’s chief UNFCCC negotiator Karsten Sach said at a briefing in Berlin. “If Paris was the constitution," Sach said, the conference held in Bonn "is about the fine print." Germany now had to do its part and strengthen last year’s Climate Action Plan 2050 – the country’s long-term decarbonisation roadmap – with concrete measures. “This is sure to become one of the core topics for the negotiations” to form a new federal coalition government, said Sach. The talks began on 18 October and will likely last until the end of the year. However, this will not impede the German COP negotiators’ ability to act in Bonn, said Walter Lindner, state secretary in the foreign ministry. “The change of government has nothing to do with Bonn”, as all the parties promote climate protection, said Lindner. “We all pull in the same direction”, he added.
See the CLEW article COP23 – Heartland of coal and renewables hosts climate summit for more information.
The shift to electric mobility has become unstoppable even if e-car sales are still low, writes Michael Gerster in an analysis for the car industry publication Automobilwoche. He argues that major car companies are now so committed to the technology that “the era of diesel and petrol cars is nearing its end. It’s almost impossible to imagine a return”. Half a million orders for the Tesla Model 3 are an impressive proof that demand is picking up; the range of e-cars on offer grows quickly while prices fall; charging infrastructure is growing rapidly; efforts to improve local air quality and the climate are on the rise; and e-cars are more fun to drive, writes Gerster. The question ‘Why should I buy an e-car?’ is about to turn into ‘Why should I not buy an e-car?’, Gerster quotes John Gartner, senior analyst at Navigant Research, as saying.
Read the article in German here.
The pro-business FDP and the environmentalist Green Party have held their first meeting on forming Germany’s next coalition government together with the conservative CDU/CSU alliance, Markus Decker reports in the Frankfurter Rundschau. The two smaller partners to what could become a so-called ‘Jamaica coalition’ agreed on not wanting “to follow the trodden path of the conservatives”, who have governed the country in varying constellations for the past twelve years, Green party secretary Michael Kellner says. Both parties see common ground in areas such as civil rights, but differences persist especially with regard to energy and Europe policy, Decker writes.
See the CLEW factsheets Climate & energy stumbling blocks for Jamaica coalition talks and Campaign quotes on the Energiewende by the FDP & Greens.
Westdeutsche Allgemeine Zeitung
The Prime Minister of Germany’s most populous federal state North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW), Armin Laschet, will represent Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservative CDU party in the areas of climate, energy, and transport in the ‘Jamaica coalition’ talks, the Westdeutsche Allgemeine Zeitung (WAZ) reports. In the talks with the pro-business FDP, the environmentalist Green Party, and the CDU’s Bavarian sister party CSU, Laschet is expected to particularly advocate for NRW’s interests. The economy of his state is greatly dependent on heavy, energy intensive industries, and on coal-fired power production. According to the article, in the past Laschet has repeatedly lashed out against a “banning mentality” with regard to coal and combustion engines - policies that the Green Party adamantly pursues.
Laschet’s government in NRW has recently caused a stir among renewable energy proponents by passing legislation that makes wind power expansion in the federal state much more difficult.
Find the article in German here.
See the CLEW factsheet The long road to a new government coalition in Germany for background.
The federal state of Saxony deliberately blocks the expansion of wind power on its territory, the German Wind Energy Association (BWE) says in a press release. “The sole focus of Saxony’s energy policy is on romanticising lignite in Lusatia, and this needs to stop”, says regional BWE head Martin Maslaton. Wind power expansion was being made “impossible by false and aggressive planning” in Saxony’s interior ministry, the lobby group head said. According to the BWE, neighbouring states Saxony-Anhalt and Thuringia are far more engaged in boosting the share of wind power than the government in Dresden.
Read the article in German here.
See the CLEW dossier Onshore wind power in Germany for background.
The eastern German coal mining region of Lusatia should receive 100 million euros in public funds per year from 2019 on to facilitate the “structural development” of the local economy that is currently centred on lignite production, think tank Agora Energiewende* says in a press release. Lusatia’s economy, civil society, infrastructure, and research institutions ought to be “assisted in a gradual phase-out of lignite” by providing each access to a quarter of the annual sum, which the respective representatives could then use for whatever purpose they deem appropriate, the think tank says. “The ultimate aim is to promote 21st century structural development” in a region more affected by the shift to renewable energies than others, Agora Energiewende head Patrick Graichen says.
Find the press release in German here.
See the CLEW factsheet When will Germany finally ditch coal? for background.
*Like the Clean Energy Wire, Agora Energiewende is a project funded by Stiftung Mercator and the European Climate Foundation.
The four parties that currently negotiate whether to form Germany’s next coalition government must adopt a programme designed to break the “vicious cycle” of energy prices, Michael Bauchmüller writes in an op-ed for the Süddeutsche Zeitung. A drop in demand for fossil fuels caused by an increased use of renewable energy sources and electric cars is likely to lead to falling oil prices, – with in turn could have grave consequences on ambitions to decrease the use of oil, Bauchmüller says. A new German ‘Jamaica coalition’government of the conservative CDU/CSU alliance, the pro-business FDP, and the environmentalist Green Party could counter this trend “by reducing power taxes and increasing the taxation of climate-damaging transport and heating fuels”, he argues. “If markets fail to give the signal as a low oil price cements the status quo, it will fall on policy to change the course”, Bauchmüller says.
Read the article in German here.
See the CLEW factsheets Germany’s dependence on imported fossil fuels and Germany ponders how to finance renewables expansion in the future for more information.