Ministry for the Environment (BMUB)
Climate Action Plan 2050 delayed
The Climate Action Plan 2050 that is to describe a pathway and policy measures for Germany to cut its greenhouse gas emissions by 95 percent by 2050 will not be published before the government summer recess, an environment ministry official said yesterday in Berlin. Speaking at a “Forum for Future Energies” event, Berthold Goeke of the BMUB said the plan would lay out a modernisation strategy for the entire economy, to support new technologies and efficiency measures and avoid investments in fossil fuels. The Climate Action Plan was originally supposed to be decided upon by the cabinet before the summer break but Goeke said more work was needed before inter-departmental coordination between the ministries could begin.
See a CLEW factsheet on the Climate Action Plan 2050.
“Volkswagen is more than diesel“
New investments in developing diesel motors will become questionable at a certain point, said VW CEO Matthias Müller in an interview with Handelsblatt. “It is foreseeable that controlling diesel emissions will become enormously costly and laborious. At the same time, e-mobility is getting cheaper,” said Müller. He announced that VW is to launch a concrete strategy for switching from combustion engines to electric motors. “Volkswagen is more than diesel,” Müller said.
Read the article (behind paywall) in German here.
See more on VW and e-cars here.
For background, read the CLEW dossier The energy transition and Germany’s transport sector.
European Environment Agency
“EU greenhouse gas emissions at lowest level since 1990”
Greenhouse gas emissions from the European Union have decreased by 24.4 percent between 1990 and 2014, the European Environment Agency said today. In 2014 they fell by 4.1 percent compared to the levels of the previous year. Reasons for the decrease since 1990 were improvements in energy efficiency, structural changes in the economy and economic recession, the growing share of renewable energies and milder winters, the agency said in an analysis linked to the EU’s annual greenhouse gas inventory. The fall in CO2 emissions was accompanied by a 47 percent increase in gross domestic product. While emissions decreased from the majority of sectors, pollution from road transport, aviation and shipping increased since 1990.
Read the press release and get the report here.
Neue Züricher Zeitung (NZZ)
“Don’t preserve the past”
Responding to an article in the NZZ about “de-mystifying the Energiewende” energy economist Claudia Kemfert from the Hertie School of Governance in Berlin writes in the same newspaper that the energy transition has successfully initiated a transformation of the energy system. Despite continued heavy use of coal power, Germany was saving 140 million tonnes of CO2 equivalents per year – equivalent to three times Switzerland's annual emissions. “The era of fossil energy usage is over. […] Those who are trying to uphold an old system based on conventional energies are investing in a sinking ship,” Kemfert writes.
Read the op-ed in German here.
“Tax breaks for e-mobility”
The federal government has proposed a law on tax breaks for electric cars. Buyers of e-cars are currently exempt from the general vehicles tax for five years. The government wants to extend this period to ten years, coming into effect retroactively from 1 January 2016.
See the draft law in German here.
“The treasurers' grief”
The small utilities operating Germany's 1600 distribution grids are opposing a change to the way that new grid installations are paid for, Dagmar Dehmer writes in the Tagesspiegel. With a law reform in 2016, the Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy aimed to improve investment conditions for these companies and encourage them to build more grid connections for the energy transition, saying they would get their investment back “immediately” via grid fees. But the utilities argue that the new rules will cost them around 450 million euros per year because of long delays on the return on the investments.
Read the article in German here.
“Fresh start with a legacy”
Energy company E.ON has successfully split off its fossil fuel business into a new company, Uniper. But E.ON remains responsible for its nuclear power plants, a legacy that keeps analysts from predicting good growth scenarios for the company, Jürgen Flauger writes in the Handelsblatt. Investment firm Berenberg advises selling the company’s shares and Credit Suisse calls insecurity over how much E.ON will have to pay for the nuclear clean up a “sword of Damocles”.
Read a CLEW article about the split of E.ON.
German Energy Agency
“Bavaria leads the way on demand side management”
A pilot project on demand side management (DSM) by the German Energy Agency (dena) has found huge potential for companies to organise their electricity demand more flexibly. “Intelligent load management can make a valuable contribution to integrating the fluctuating production of renewable energy into our electricity system,” said Bavarian economy minister Ilse Aigner at the presentation of the ‘Roadmap DSM’. DSM describes the control of power demand by turning additional loads on or off, for example as a result of price signals in the electricity market. The Roadmap calls for the government to “create the framework for companies to be able to market their flexible power demand as a service.”