05 Jun 2018, 00:00
Sören Amelang Kerstine Appunn Benjamin Wehrmann Julian Wettengel

Coal task force complete - report / Daimler e-cars in trouble?

Please note: The original version of the news digest item "German coal commission‘s member list complete – report" erroneously stated that the commission's inaugural meeting will take place on 31 June. The correct date is 26 June. We apologise for the mistake.

Spiegel Online / energate messenger

The list of members of Germany’s coal commission is complete, Spiegel Online reports. Gerda Hasselfeldt, the former parliamentary group leader of the CSU, the Bavarian sister party of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservative CDU, will reportedly join the body officially known as the “Commission on Growth, Structural Economic Change and Employment” and tasked with planning the phaseout of coal-fired power production in the country. According to the energate website, her appointment might have been the reason for the commission being delayed a week earlier. The commission now has 31 members, and its inaugural meeting is scheduled for 26 June, Spiegel Online says. Three members of parliament will also join the commission without voting rights, namely Andreas Lämmel from the CDU, Andreas Lenz from the CSU, and Matthias Miersch from the Social Democrats (SPD). The commission’s leaders will be Deutsche Bahn board member and former Chancellery chief Ronald Pofalla(conservative); former Saxony state premier Stanislaw Tillich(conservative); former Brandenburg state premier Matthias Platzeck (social democrat); and climate economist Barbara Praetorius, the article says. Green Party co-leader Annalena Baerbock has criticised the commission’s composition for not including any politician from the opposition in the federal parliament.

Read the Spiegel article in German here, and the energate article in German here.

See the CLEW factsheet on Germany’s coal exit commission for background.

dpa / Berliner Morgenpost

The planned commission that will prepare the end of coal-fired power production in Germany does not include enough representatives from eastern Germany, the Left Party was quoted as saying in an article written by the news agency dpa and carried by the Berliner Morgenpost. “It doesn’t help if the energy transition and the coal exit are perceived as imposed decisions in the eastern German regions,” said the party’s energy policy spokesman, Lorenz Gösta Beutin. Difficult political decisions like those facing the eastern coal region of Lusatia “need to give special attention to the eastern German concerns and interests, which is best done by people who have experienced the German reunification” and the upheavals it caused in the east, he said. Two of the commission’s leaders - former Saxony state premier Stanislaw Tillich, a conservative, and former Brandenburg state premier Matthias Platzeck, a social democrat - are from eastern Germany, but the region is underrepresented in the rest of the commission, the article says.

Read the article in German here.

See the CLEW factsheets on Coal in Germany and on Germany’s coal exit commission for background.


Daimler’s ambitious e-mobility plans are in trouble, according to the business daily Handelsblatt. The maker of Mercedes cars has postponed the launch of its electric sub-brand “EQ” citing technical problems and battery-related bottlenecks, write Markus Fasse, Franz Hubik, and Martin Murphy in an unsourced three-page report. Sales of the “EQC” SUV model will not start before June 2019, a few months later than planned. The electrification of Mercedes’ top-of-the-range “S Class” will also take longer than expected, according to the report. However, the carmaker told Reuters newswire that the planned launches were on schedule.
Spiegel magazine reported on 1 June that German transport minister Andreas Scheuer has threatened to fine Daimler 3.75 billion euros over the diesel emissions scandal after a regulator found illegal software in one of its models. 

Find the article in German here, and the Reuters articles in English here and here.

For background, read the factsheet Reluctant Daimler plans “radical” push into new mobility world and the dossier BMW, Daimler, and VW vow to fight in green transport revolution.


The northern German city of Hamburg has begun to enforce the diesel driving ban it introduced as the country’s first city last week, the public broadcaster NDR reports. The ban that affects short stretches of two major roads in the port city and include several exemptions was not enforced on the first day and was largely ignored by diesel drivers, according to media reports. Citizens need time to get used to the ban first, Karsten Wegge of Hamburg’s transport authority told NDR. Police will not issue fines right away but rather give warnings and advice to diesel drivers, the article says.

Read the article in German here.

For background, read the factsheet Diesel driving bans in Germany – The Q&A.

German Council for Sustainable Development / German government

Germany is prepared as much as any other country to steer its own and the global community’s development onto a more sustainable path, but it has to increase its ambitions and efforts to tap into this potential, government advisors affiliated with the German Council for Sustainable Development (RNE) say in a peer review of the country’s Sustainable Development Strategy. According to this council’s report, key elements of sustainable development are so “deeply rooted” in German society, its political system, and its institutions that there appears to be every reason to pose the question: “If Germany can’t pull out all the stops, who could?” Yet, “substantial change is needed” to bring this potential to fruition, the council says. The transformation of “consumption, production, ethics, and behaviour in line with the needs of sustainability has been too limited,” the RNE says, recommending that the power to make decisions should rest with a central coordinating executive, and that the parliamentary scrutiny of the federal government should be ramped up. The council’s head, former New Zealand state premier Helen Clark, has praised the German government for inviting foreign advisors to evaluate the country’s strategy, and encouraged other countries to follow suit.

Find the peer review in English here.

For background, read the CLEW factsheets How much does Germany’s energy transition cost? and Germany’s greenhouse gas emissions and climate targets

Clean Energy Wire / G7 Research Group

According to a government official, Germany wants the 8-9 June G7 summit, to be held in the Charlevoix region of Quebec, Canada, to issue a joint communiqué that also covers climate and energy-related issues. In light of the US’ position, agreeing on a joint declaration – which usually includes a commitment to free and fair trade – “is not going to be easier this time than in past years,” said the official in Berlin. Under the German G20 presidency in 2017, a joint declaration was agreed, but the US opted out of provisions supporting the Paris Climate Agreement. One of the main working sessions at the Canadian summit is dedicated to climate change and clean energy, where topics such as the Paris Agreement will be discussed. The Group of Seven is a “community of values, which stands for multilateralism, free and fair trade, and of course also for responsibility in the area of climate,” said the official. “We feel committed to this community.” Having a joint communiqué laying out policy priorities makes sense, because it helps the public assess the extent to which the G7 members fulfil their commitments in the future, said the official. Germany complied with 82 percent of last year’s summit commitments, according to a new report published by the Toronto-based G7 Research Group.

Find the G7 Taormina Summit Compliance Report in English here.

For background, read the CLEW articles Isolating Trump, 19 G20-members say Paris climate deal "irreversible,"  and Merkel calls for honouring Paris Agreement as climate action at home falters calls fo as well as the factsheet The story of "Climate Chancellor" Angela Merkel.


German-Spanish wind turbine maker Siemens Gamesa is optimistic that it has overcome the troubles following its merger last year, report Kathrin Witsch and Sandra Louven in Handelsblatt. Company CEO Markus Tacke told the business daily that the price erosion in the sector appeared to have come to an end, adding that he was confident his company can overtake Danish rival Vestas to become the global market leader in 2020. He said that orders had been very strong in the past three quarters. German industry conglomerate Siemens merged its wind power business with Spain’s Gamesa in 2017, and now holds 59 percent in the joint venture.

Read the interview in German here.

Find plenty of background in the factsheets Germany’s Siemens: a case study in Energiewende industry upheaval and German offshore wind power.

Heating systems that use renewable energies were installed in 65 percent of the just under 110,100 new residential buildings completed in Germany in 2017, writes the Federal Statistical Office in a press release. Forty-three percent of new buildings used renewables as their main energy source, ranking renewables the second most used primary energy source after gas (47 percent).

Find the press release in English here, and a longer version in German here.

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

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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