Clean Energy Wire
The draft of a coalition treaty agreed by Germany’s negotiating parties suggests that Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservative CDU/CSU alliance and the Social Democrats (SPD) have found common ground on energy and climate policy, mirroring several aspects that had already been included in the first coalition blueprint. In excerpts seen by the Clean Energy Wire, the potential grand coalition partners say they will enact legislation to ensure that the country’s 2030 climate protection goal is met “by all means.” However, the target of reducing emissions by 2020 has been watered down to lowering greenhouse gas output “as much as possible.” The internationally binding 2030 goal stipulates a reduction by 55 percent compared to 1990 levels, and the national 2020 goal a reduction by 40 percent.
See CLEW's Coalition Watch for more details on the draft.
Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung / Reuters
In a surprise move, Siemens CEO Joe Kaeser has proposed a large-scale project to transform Germany’s eastern lignite mining region into a hub for future technologies, such as e-mobility, reports Rüdiger Köhn in the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung. “We have to ask ourselves what will happen to the region given its structural challenges,” Kaeser told reporters on the sidelines of the company’s annual general meeting.
The eastern German region of Lusatia faces economic upheaval in the short term because of the potential closure of a struggling Siemens plant producing turbines for fossil power plants, and in the longer term due to the coal exit. Kaeser said the Siemens turbine plant could remain in business for two to five years to ease the transition to a new technology cluster, which could focus on storage technologies, such as battery production, where Siemens could put its experience as a supplier to Tesla’s US battery production to use.
Kaeser added that such an “industrial concept Upper Lusatia” required the participation of industry, as well as subsidies from the regional and federal governments. Siemens has posted a 14 percent drop in quarterly profits caused by low demand from the power and gas sectors, reports Reuters newswire.
Read an online version of the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung article in German here. Find the Reuters report on Siemens’ quarterly earnings in English here. Find the Siemens press release in English here.
Find background in the factsheet When will Germany finally ditch coal?
dpa / Reuters / State energy ministry of Mecklenburg-West Pomerania
The contentious Nord Stream 2 Russian-German natural gas pipeline project has cleared an important hurdle, reports the news agency dpa. Mining authority Bergamt Stralsund has granted a permit for the construction and operation of a 55-kilometre section of the pipeline in German territorial waters and the landfall area around eastern Germany’s Lubmin, writes the Ministry of Energy, Infrastructure and Digitalisation of the state of Mecklenburg-West Pomerania in a press release. Construction is planned to start immediately, says the ministry. The authorities had paid special attention to make sure that the project’s negative environmental impact would be compensated, said the state’s Energy Minister, Christian Pegel. Nord Stream 2 welcomed the decision as “an important milestone in a multi-layered permit process,” according to dpa. The permit to build the 31-km pipeline section in Germany’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ) has not yet been granted by the Federal Maritime and Hydrographic Agency (BSH), and permits by Denmark, Sweden, Finland, and Russia are also still outstanding.
For background, read the news digest entry German authorities issue first partial permit for Nord Stream 2 pipeline and the CLEW factsheet Germany’s dependence on imported fossil fuels.
Federal Environment Agency (UBA)
Seventy German municipalities exceeded nitrogen oxide air pollution limits in 2017, down from 90 the previous year, writes the Federal Environment Agency (UBA). This development points in “the right direction,” said UBA President Maria Krautzberger, “but we’re nowhere near our goal.” The main reason for high NO2 levels was diesel car emissions, writes the UBA. The agency says that the decreasing levels indicated that measures initiated because of the diesel emissions fraud scandal were taking effect, such as speed limits and software upgrades for diesel cars. However, Krautzberger argued that hardware engine retrofitting of diesel vehicles was “the only way to alleviate health problems caused by nitrogen oxides in a fast and lasting manner.”
Find the press release in German here.
Find background on the diesel technology’s impact on clean air and climate in the CLEW article Why the German diesel summit matters for climate and energy.
NGOs / European Commission
German NGOs, including Germanwatch and WWF, say the recommendations contained in the final report by the EU’s High-Level Expert Group on Sustainable Finance (HLEG) are a “key step toward using the finance market’s leverage effects for climate protection.” The HLEG report has sent an “important signal to the coalition negotiators”, as the blueprint for the talks between Angela Merkel’s CDU/CSU alliance and the Social Democrats (SPD) had “completely missed out on” integrating aspects of sustainability in finance policy, the NGOs say in a statement.
Also read the CLEW article Private climate finance under scrutiny on eve of Paris summit.
Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi) / Pentalateral Energy Forum
The security of electricity supply in Germany continues to be at a high level, also thanks to the integration of the country’s power grid with neighbouring countries, writes the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi) in a press release. A report by the Pentalateral Energy Forum showed that the probability that Germany can fully meet demand at any moment in the analysed periods (2018-2019 and 2023-2024) was nearly 100 percent. The report underlined that supply security had to be evaluated from a cross-border perspective, said Rainer Baake, state secretary in the BMWi. The Pentalateral Energy Forum is the framework for regional cooperation in central western Europe (AT-BE-DE-FR-LU-NL-CH) towards improved electricity market integration and security of supply.
For background, read the factsheet Germany's electricity grid stable amid energy transition.
Carmakers risk damaging “valuable ‘Made in Germany’ label” – parliamentary transport committee chairman
Banking on the combustion engine technology in Germany would be a “dangerous obstacle to innovation for an industry that largely depends on exports to future international markets,” Cem Özdemir, Green politician and new chair of the transport committee in the German parliament, told the Rheinische Post in an interview. The people responsible for the controversial diesel fume tests on monkeys and humans “thoughtlessly risk damaging the valuable ‘Made in Germany’ label,” said Özdemir. The federal government had not reacted appropriately and thus harmed Germany’s economy and reputation, he said.
Read the interview in German here.
See CLEW’s Dieselgate timeline for more information.