08 Dec 2017, 00:00
Sören Amelang

Closing coal plants would save billions– report/ New speed rail link

Bloomberg / Carbon Tracker

Almost all coal plants in the EU will make losses by 2030, according to a Carbon Tracker analysis, Jess Shankleman and Rachel Morison report for Bloomberg. Because battery storage will increasingly provide power at times of peak demand, and because the EU plans to end payments to power stations to back up supply, “coal is going to be put into a death spiral,” Carbon Tracker analyst Matthew Gray said. German utilities would save 12 billion euros by retiring coal early, according to the analysis. 

Find the Bloomberg article in English here.

Read the Carbon Tracker analysis in English here.

Find plenty of background in the CLEW dossier Utilities and the energy transition and the factsheet When will Germany finally ditch coal?

Pro-Rail Alliance / Süddeutsche Zeitung

A new high-speed train link opening this weekend cuts the travel time between Berlin and Munich to less than four hours, which means flying will no longer be quicker, according to Pro-Rail alliance, a lobby group consisting of non-profit organisations and railway companies. It said the new line could double trains’ market share, boosting it to 40 percent, on the important connection between two of Germany’s major urban areas. That would translate to 3.6 million passengers per year. 
But the project costing around ten billion euros does not herald a new era for German rail operator Deutsche Bahn, writes Markus Balser in the Süddeutsche Zeitung. Mobility experts told the author car transport will continue to grow faster than rail transport, and that the electrification of vehicles will erode the trains’ environmental advantage. Balser writes Deutsche Bahn is much too slow in its adoption of new mobility concepts, such as door-to-door services that can be booked by mobile app. Entirely new ideas such as battery-powered planes could spell even more radical changes in the future, according to the article. 

Read the Süddeutsche Zeitung article in German here.

Find the Pro-Rail Alliance press release in German here.

The CLEW dossier The energy transition and Germany’s transport sector provides plenty of background.

Financial Times

Fossil utility Uniper has promised to raise its dividend by 25 percent every year until 2020 in its battle to remain independent, reports Tobias Buck in the Financial Times. The E.ON spin-off needs to win over shareholders to fend off a hostile takeover bid from Finnish rival Fortum.

Read the article in English here.

The CLEW dossier Utilities and the energy transition carries a lot of background information.


The German car industry continues to lobby hard to soften EU emission limits, but its foot-dragging in the shift to electric mobility has alienated EU policymakers, writes Silke Wettach in the business magazine Wirtschaftswoche. The carmakers want to postpone the transition for as long as possible in order to squeeze profits out of the combustion engine, she writes. “They’ve all got plans in the drawer,” the author quotes a high-ranking civil servant as saying. “But for cost reasons, they are postponing the shift to electric mobility.” 

Find background in the dossier The Energiewende and German carmakers and the factsheet "Dieselgate" - a timeline of Germany's car emissions fraud scandal.

Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung

A majority of French people would like to reduce the share of nuclear power in their country and they applaud the roll-out of renewables in Germany, according to an online survey by Green think tank Heinrich Böll Foundation and French foundation La Fabrique Ecologique, reports the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung. Around 80 percent of respondents said France relies too much on old nuclear power stations and does too little to save energy, while 55 percent said German energy policy is a positive example. The article says the survey results are important because both countries want to increase their cooperation in energy policy despite having many opposing interests.

Read the article in German here.

Find background in the CLEW dossier The challenges of Germany’s nuclear phase-out.

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