16 Jan 2017, 00:00
Sören Amelang Benjamin Wehrmann Julian Wettengel

Coal exit debate flares up / Mapping climate plans

Federal Environment Agency

German coal-fired power production needs to be more than halved by 2030 if the country is to reach the climate targets spelled out in its Climate Action Plan 2050, according to the Federal Environment Agency (UBA). This is best achieved by switching off the oldest lignite and hard coal power plants, instead of increasing the price for CO2 emissions, argues a study by the Institute for Applied Ecology (Öko-Institut) commissioned by UBA.
The study compares different strategies to achieve 2030 targets, such as a maximum life span of coal-fired power stations of 40 years, a gradual and complete shutdown of the dirtiest lignite plants, an additional levy of ten euros for every tonne of CO2 produced with fossil fuels, and a limitation of coal plants’ full load hours of 4,000 hours per power station.

Find UBA’s press release in German here and the study in German (with an executive summary in English) here.

For background read the CLEW factsheet When will Germany finally ditch coal?

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

Rheinische Post

A concrete year for a German coal exit can't be specified, because of the many factors involved, according to economy minister Sigmar Gabriel, writes the Rheinische Post. “I don’t think much of this chase for phase-out dates,” which could easily lead to attempts to outdo each other, Gabriel said when visiting the lignite power plant Bergheim-Niederaußem. A coal exit by 2025 [as proposed by the Green party] was “completely illusory”. In any case, 50 percent less lignite would be extracted by 2030 due to the closure of large parts of Germany’s open pit mines, according to Gabriel. It made most sense to check in 2030 how well the creation of job alternatives and the energy transition had progressed and to adjust the exit tempo accordingly.

Read the article in German here.

For background read the CLEW factsheet When will Germany finally ditch coal?

Dow Jones Newswires

The subsidies for natural gas introduced with the new combined heat and power regulation (CHP) put pressure on German hard coal-fired power generation in 2016, according to German Coal Importer Association (VDKi), reports Dow Jones Newswires. Consumption by hard coal power plants fell 6 percent to 36.4 million tonnes of hard coal equivalents, and imports fell 4 percent or 2.5 million tonnes, compared to 2015.

German Development Institute (DIE)

A new online tool by the German Development Institute (DIE) compares national climate action plans submitted under the Paris Agreement. The “NDC Explorer” offers an analysis of 60 different categories like mitigation, adaption, and finance, and visualises the data on an interactive world map and graphs, according to a press release.

Find the NDC explorer in English here.


The German Federal Court of Auditors’ criticism of how the economy ministry has managed the costs of the Energiewende holds true for the past, but not the current legislative period, economy minister Sigmar Gabriel told Frank Capellan in an interview for Deutschlandfunk. “Our main task for this period has been to reduce costs in the area of the Energiewende,” said Gabriel. Germany has not seen continuously rising wholesale power prices or EEG-surcharge, and the government has introduced tenders for renewables support to lower costs, he said. The auditors exaggerated when asking for an analysis of the tax effects of Germany’s transition, said Gabriel. “We wouldn’t be able to calculate these very well. To be honest: This question is impossible to answer.”

Read the interview in German here.

For background, read the CLEW article Government lacks overview of Energiewende costs – auditors and the CLEW factsheet What German households pay for power.


Luxury carmaker BMW aims to increase the share of pure electric vehicles of its total sales to 25 percent by 2025, BMW board member Klaus Fröhlich told Focus magazine. “That is more than half a million vehicles,”  he said. He added that his company will be able to offer a pure electric version in every one of its model classes by 2021. He also said batteries’ increasing energy density will render the “German hype” about e-car ranges obsolete.

Read the interview in German here.

For background, read the CLEW factsheet Early e-car starter BMW plans new mobility sprint.

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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