11 May 2018, 00:00
Sören Amelang Julian Wettengel

Coal commission leadership "bad omen" / Bonn climate talks disappoint

Clean Energy Wire

Energy transition pioneer Germany is about to launch a highly anticipated task force on phasing out coal power, the most prominent blemish on the country’s climate record. The government will likely nominate the coal exit commission next Tuesday. There was intense fighting over its makeup in the run-up to the announcement, because it is considered crucial to the path Germany will take to ditch the extremely CO2-intensive fossil fuel. Environmental NGOs called reports on the commission’s likely leadership a bad omen for climate protection.
A well-connected coal industry expert in favour of ambitious climate protection, who did not want to be named, told the Clean Energy Wire: “The more details I hear about the commission’s makeup and mode of operation, the more pessimistic I get that climate protection will be a priority.”

Read the full article here.

For plenty of background, read the factsheets When will Germany finally ditch coal? and Coal in Germany.

Clean Energy Wire

Eleven days of climate negotiations in the city of Bonn have failed to deliver a draft text for the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement implementation guidelines. While the different text proposals had become more concrete and short, and the process of creating the so-called rulebook was “on the right track”, the process needed to “clearly pick up speed”, according to state secretary in the German environment ministry Jochen Flasbarth. Negotiators scheduled an extra session for Bangkok in September to provide more time to discuss the mass of technical details. The German government said it was “moderately optimistic” that outstanding political issues could be dealt with at additional government meetings ahead of the final deadline at COP24 in Katowice, Poland, in December. The German and Polish governments will jointly host a group of ministers at the Petersberg Climate Dialogue in Berlin in June as a first step toward creating the political backing necessary for a successful conference in Poland.

For background, read the CLEW article Germany wants transparent global climate reporting to ensure trust and the dossier COP23 climate summit – All eyes on Germany.

Note: The Clean Energy Wire will publish an article on this topic later today.

Reuters / Uniper

German utility Uniper has launched a pilot scheme to produce methane gas from wind power as the country seeks wider uses for renewable energy, reports Vera Eckert for Reuters. The plant, set up five years ago in Germany’s wind-swept Brandenburg state, already produces green hydrogen by running wind power through water to split it into oxygen and hydrogen. “This is an important step for a successful energy transition,” Uniper said in a statement after the company opened a new facility at the site for the scheme. “Green methane, in contrast to green hydrogen, can be used in a wider variety of ways.”

Read the article in English here.

Find the Uniper press release in English here.

Find background in the CLEW factsheet Sector coupling – Shaping an integrated renewable energy system.

Reuters / Innogy

Innogy is holding off supporting a 4.9-billion-euro bid by German rival E.ON, arguing it was not clear if the far-reaching asset swap with its parent RWE was fair for workers or minority shareholders. “Irrespective of the offer price, we are extremely concerned that the job cuts planned by E.ON will be unilaterally pursued to the disadvantage of the Innogy employees,” Innogy Chief Executive Uwe Tigges said. E.ON and RWE, which holds a 76.8 percent stake in Innogy, revealed plans to break up the networks and renewables business and divide its assets in March.

Read the Reuters article in English here.

Find the Innogy press release in English here.

For background, read the CLEW article RWE and E.ON overhaul power sector - German reactions to innogy deal.


Germany will need to reduce transport emissions without prescribing particular technologies, according to transport minister Andreas Scheuer. “In some instances, it will be an electric car, and in other cases a hydrogen engine or synthetic fuels,” Scheuer told business daily Handelsblatt. Scheuer added these issues will be debated in the future mobility platform he will coordinate. “Who else but we Germans should develop tomorrow’s mobility? Mobility ‘made in Germany’ can become an export success,” Scheuer said, echoing earlier comments that Germany’s clean air programmes can become “export hits.” Following similar comments from Chancellor Angela Merkel earlier this week, Scheuer also said it was important Europe produces modern batteries. “I hope that we will soon see more engagement for new battery technologies.”

Read the interview in German (behind paywall) here.

For background, read the CLEW article Germany’s car-loving transport minister faces clean mobility challenge.

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