20 Sep 2018, 10:56
Kerstine Appunn Julian Wettengel

Police halts eviction of anti-coal activists after fatality

Tagesspiegel / Polizei Aachen

The government of the state of North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW) has stopped the clearing of anti-coal activist camps in Hambach Forest “until further notice” after a journalist fell to his death, writes Der Tagesspiegel. “We cannot simply return to business as usual,” said NRW interior minister Herbert Reul. According to the police, a journalist broke through a suspension bridge between two trees and fell 15 metres. He later died from his injuries. There was no police operation ongoing near the scene of the accident, according to a police statement. Clearing of the activist camps in the embattled Hambach Forest – which energy company RWE wants to cut down for the expansion of a nearby lignite mine – began on 13 September, and has overshadowed the ongoing talks in Germany’s coal exit commission

Find the article in German here and the police press release in German here.

For background, read the CLEW article Germany’s coal commission insists no decision yet on exit date and the coal commission watch.

Clean Energy Wire

Germany’s energy minister Peter Altmaier (CDU) wants to “make a pact with the states” and present a law to accelerate the building of new power lines, he told Funke Mediengruppe ahead of today’s Grid Summit with the states’ energy ministers in Berlin. Altmaier is under pressure to streamline Germany’s grid expansion, which is needed to transport renewable power from the north to the south of the country - but which is facing resistance by citizen initiatives and farmers. Lower Saxony’s energy minister Olaf Lies (SPD) said in a press release that, apart from new power grids, other measures – such as making conventional power plants more flexible – would have to be established to avoid curbing renewables growth.

See a CLEW dossier on Germany’s energy transition and the grid expansion here.

Please note: CLEW will publish an article on this subject later today.

BNetzA / Bioenergy associations

Seventy-nine projects with a total capacity of around 77 megawatt have been successful in Germany’s second round of tenders for biomass plant, the Federal Network Agency (BNetzA) said in a press release. This represents a significant increase of awarded capacity compared to the previous round, but it was still much less than the 226 megawatt BNetzA had aimed for. Most of the successful projects are existing plants, which were allowed to take part in the auction. The average support rate reached in the tender is 14.73 cents per kilowatt-hour. As unused auction volumes will be transferred to upcoming auctions, BNetzA does not expect intensive competition in the future.
Bioenergy lobby groups have said in a joint statement that the low turnout was to be expected, because of the prescribed low maximum bid value. “Only few facility categories and sizes are able to continue to be profitable after such drastic support reductions,” they write. The associations call for a reform of the Renewable Energy Act (EEG).

Find the BNetzA press release in German here and the joint bioenergy lobby groups statement in German here.

For background, read the CLEW dossier Bioenergy in Germany.

German Solar Association

Germany will have generated as much solar power in the first three quarters of 2018 as in all of 2017, writes the German Solar Association (BSW) in a press release. “2018 will be a record year for solar power,” writes the association. BSW managing director Carsten Körnig called for an accelerated expansion of solar technology in Germany.

Find the press release in German here.

For background, read the CLEW factsheet Germany’s energy consumption and power mix in charts.

Buildings Performance Institute Europe (BPIE) / Regulatory Assistance Project (RAP)

Minimum energy performance standards for rental buildings can help increase the rate of deep renovations, and they can be an important instrument for combating energy poverty, according to a paper by the Buildings Performance Institute Europe (BPIE) and the Regulatory Assistance Project (RAP). “The people who suffer most from the problems ensuing from energy poverty […] have the least ability to trigger change or implement energy renovations to address the problem at hand,” BPIE and RAP write. Minimum standards, accompanied by a financing model could lead to a fairer energy transition. The paper summarises an evaluation of relevant literature.

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

For background, read the CLEW dossier The Energiewende and Efficiency.

Süddeutsche Zeitung

Germany needs a clear phase-out plan for combustion engine vehicles to increase pressure on carmakers to heavily invest in the development of e-cars and batteries, writes Jan Schmidbauer in an opinion piece in Süddeutsche Zeitung. “Unfortunately, the federal government currently does the opposite. It holds fuel-soaked debates and calls for new premiums for cars, which are based on a more-than a century old technology,” writes Schmidbauer. A phase-out plan would “create awareness among car drivers that the days of the internal combustion engine are numbered in the long term, also in the country of Carl Benz and Ferdinand Porsche”.

Find the opinion piece in German here.

For background, read the article Germany launches task force to kickstart shift to sustainable mobility and the factsheet The debate over an end to combustion engines in Germany.

Guardian / DLR / Greenpeace

The European Union will have to prohibit new petrol and diesel cars by 2030 to ensure that the continent meets its emissions reduction obligations under the Paris Climate Agreement, a study commissioned by Greenpeace and conducted by the German Aerospace Center (DLR) has shown. The researchers investigated how Europe's car fleet must develop in order to achieve the objective of limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius. They found that the EU's passenger car carbon budget would be completely depleted in 5-10 years' time, if Europe's car fleet continues to develop as it did in the past.

Find a press release in English here and an article in the Guardian in English here.

For background, read the article Germany launches task force to kickstart shift to sustainable mobility and the factsheet The debate over an end to combustion engines in Germany.


German wind power "will see a brief decline in 2019", but growth of the onshore sector is expected to normalise from 2020, writes the Commerzbank in its market assessments of the wind energy market. “We continue to observe a robust global expansion in renewable energies with a further decrease in production costs”, says Berthold Bonanni, head of the Energy unit at Commerzbank AG. Commerzbank has financed about 15 percent of the wind capacity in Germany to date, says the press release.

Find the press release in English here.  

For background, read the CLEW dossiers Offshore wind power in Germany and Onshore wind power in Germany.


The vast scale at which ‘negative emissions technologies’ that suck carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere would need to be implemented raises ethical concerns, writes a group of researchers from the Mercator Research Institute on Global Commons and Climate Change (MCC) in an article in nature. The authors call for an ethical evaluation of carbon removal methods in the context of climate policy pathways. “Negative emissions technologies could be a valuable way to avoid dangerous climate change. But they might become an unjust gamble that uses future generations as collateral.”

Find the article in English 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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