Concrete measures to improve air quality in Germany’s most polluted cities are one of her new government’s first tasks, German Chancellor Angela Merkel told Klaus Kleber in an interview with broadcaster ZDF. “The new transport minister – but I myself will also contribute very strongly here – will now have to determine very quickly how to build a bridge to the mobility of the future,” Merkel said. She told Kleber diesel hardware retrofits were “of no use” if they took three years and used up funds needed for “investment in the future”. The chancellor said she was pleased about Volkswagen’s large 2017 profits, as “maybe money can also be invested in the future. Nonetheless, I was amazed there were very high raises of certain salaries.” VW CEO Matthias Müller was awarded a total compensation of 10.14 million euros, an increase of almost 40 percent.
Find the interview in German here.
For background, read the CLEW dossier on the new government, the profile on the new transport minister Germany's car-loving transport minister faces clean mobility challenge and the factsheet Diesel driving bans in Germany – The Q&A.
The German Solar Industry Association BSW and the German Wind Energy Association BWE say joint auctions for solar and wind power capacity won’t achieve a well-balanced mix of renewables, Sandra Enkhardt reports for pv magazine. While prices are currently roughly equal, joint auctions would not be able to ensure a “healthy mix of technologies” in the long term, because of “different cost structures”, Carsten Körnig, head of BSW Solar said. The first joint tender launched in February. Results are expected in early April.
Read the article in German here.
For background, read the CLEW news digest item Germany launches joint onshore wind and solar tender, including “grid component”.
The European Union should do more to reduce natural gas consumption, rather than focusing on finding new suppliers and preventing the construction of the Russian-German pipeline Nord Stream 2, Green Party member and former environment minister Jürgen Trittin told Süddeutsche Zeitung in an interview. “One could let Gazprom starve by cutting gas use in Europe through better insulated buildings and energy efficiency,” he said. Trittin described EU natural gas policy as “erratic” for trying to block Nord Stream 2 pipeline while supporting the southern corridor connecting Europe with Azerbaijan. “Good autocrat, bad autocrat – this game is unwise,” he told the paper.
Find the interview 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.
Deutsche Bank Research
The conflict between citizens’ right to clean air and car owners' right to protection from depreciation on diesel vehicles could be solved by introducing a “blue badge” with a transition period for older cars, Eric Heymann, analyst at Deutsche Bank Research, writes. The badge would allow only cleaner cars to enter inner cities. As older cars are more likely to be used by low-income households, a driving ban would have social policy implications. A “reasonable transition period” for older diesel cars could help, Heymann argues.
Find the analysis in German here.
See the CLEW factsheet Diesel driving bans in Germany – The Q & A for background.
Märkische Allgemeine Zeitung
Germany’s coal exit is “already happening, step-by-step”, but the country still needs coal power plants, Helmar Rendez, head of Lusatian energy company Leag, told Märkische Allgemeine Zeitung in an interview. “Anyone calling for the immediate shutdown of 3, 5 or 7 megawatts of capacity is ignoring supply security. As long as there is no adequate, cost effective storage for renewable power, we are the ones ensuring a power supply from the plug,” Rendez said.
Read the interview in German here.
For background, read the CLEW factsheet When will Germany finally ditch coal?