22 May 2018, 00:00
Sören Amelang Kerstine Appunn Benjamin Wehrmann

Coal task force postponed yet again - source / A fracking commission?

Clean Energy Wire / tageszeitung

The official launch of Germany's so-called coal exit commission has been postponed for a second time, a source told the Clean Energy Wire. The issue will likely be dealt with at a cabinet meeting on 30 May, according to the source. Tageszeitung journalist Malte Kreutzfeld wrote on Twitter there was still no agreement on the commission's personnel, nor its remit.

For background, read the CLEW article Germany gears up for official talks on coal phase-out.

dpa / Focus Online / rbb24

Germany’s upcoming coal phase-out commission must not be “dominated” by climate action and should instead focus on supply security and economic considerations in the affected regions, conservative (CDU) energy politician Joachim Pfeiffer told the news agency dpa in an article carried by Focus Online. Pfeiffer cautioned that putting climate action and environmental concerns at the heart of the commission’s work could compromise Germany’s international competitiveness.
Green Party co-leader Annalena Baerbock told dpa the commission “needs more climate action, not less.” She said a quick and socially acceptable coal exit was a “necessity” from a climate perspective, and should not be hampered by “backward-looking concerns.” Baerbock said the commission’s outlined strategy is not in line with Germany’s necessary contribution to the Paris Climate Agreement.
In a separate dpa article carried by the public broadcaster rbb24, Jörg Steinbach, head of the Technical University of Cottbus in the eastern coal region of Lusatia, said that it was important to focus on the economic aspects in order to convince residents in the affected regions of the need for Germany to exit coal energy. If people in Lusatia and elsewhere feel that “their personal situation is none of the government’s concern, no result brokered by the commission will be accepted,” he said. 

Read the article carried by Focus Online in German here, and the rbb24 article in German here.

For background, read the CLEW article Germany gears up for official talks on coal phase-out.

Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung / Federal Network Agency (BNetzA)

Germany can decommission half of its coal power plants by 2030 without endangering supply security, according to the Federal Network Agency (BNetzA). “But this hinges on the precondition that the necessary grid extensions are finished by then, and that the planned gas power plants will be built as replacements,” agency head Jochen Hohmann told the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung. “The coal commission will have to deal with this issue as well.” He added that opinions differ on whether temporary spikes in the power price will be enough to stimulate the construction of new gas power plants. “Much depends on whether one believes in it, regardless of the uncertainties in the market.”

Find the interview in German (behind paywall) here.


The German government is planning to establish an expert commission charged with monitoring fracking (hydraulic fracturing) projects in the country, ntv reports. Although no application has yet been filed to test drill, Green MP Julia Verlinden warned in the article that the government was clearly considering approving the use of fracking technology. “Instead of banning fracking for gas resources, the government wants to expand this dangerous kind of extraction method,” Verlinden said. For now, only the government of Lower Saxony is publicly thinking about starting a pilot project for unconventional fracking, the article says.

Read the article in German here.

Financial Times

The locations for battery cell production will shape the geography of the auto sector for decades to come, because the choice will determine in large part where the cars of the future will be built, writes Nick Butler in an opinion piece in the Financial Times. Its research base with a deep understanding of the technology would qualify Germany, but the country “may not yet be ready to accept that the technology of the internal combustion engine, which goes back to Karl Benz and Gottlieb Daimler, is being superseded,” writes Butler.

Read the commentary in English here.

For background, read the dossier The Energiewende and German carmakers.

Institute for Applied Ecology (Öko-Institut)

If Germany contributed to reaching the Paris Climate Agreement’s 1.5°C temperature target in accordance with its share of the global population, the country would have to stop all CO2 emissions now, according to calculations provided by the Institute for Applied Ecology (Öko-Institut). “To limit global warming to a maximum of 2°C, the following applies: if emissions in Germany remain unchanged, the country’s share of global emissions per capita would be used up by 2027,” write emission experts Charlotte Loreck and Lukas Emele in the institute’s blog.

Read the blog in German here.

Federal Environment Agency (UBA)

The generation of one kilowatt-hour of electricity has produced an average of 489 g of CO2 in 2017, which is 36 percent less than in 1990, the Federal Environment Agency has calculated in a new publication on CO2 emissions trends in the power sector in Germany. A growing share of CO2 emissions is associated with energy exports, the UBA said. In 2017, electricity exports rose to an all-time high of 55 terawatt-hours (TWh). Between 2012 and 2017, the increase in power exports was higher (32 billion kWh) than the increase in net power production (25 billion kWh), the UBA added. If Germany cut its net power exports to zero, this would reduce emissions by 25 million tonnes, the researchers found.

Read the publication in German here.

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