28 Aug 2017 | Julian Wettengel

Combustion engine ban an election issue / Peaceful coal protests

Funke Mediengruppe / ZDF

Combustion engine ban to figure in coalition talks after elections?

For the Bavarian Christian Social Union (CSU), a combustion engine ban is a no-go in coalition talks after the September elections, CSU head Horst Seehofer said in an interview with Funke Mediengruppe. It would “strike at the roots of our prosperity,” said Seehofer. Political goals should not be achieved with bans. "The British can do that, they've made several such mistakes before. The de-industrialisation of the market economy is a British invention," said Seehofer. A quota for e-cars was “similar nonsense,” said Seehofer.
In a separate interview with Funke Mediengruppe, Green ‘Spitzenkandidat’ Cem Özdemir said: “The Greens will not enter a coalition that doesn’t initiate the end of the fossil combustion engine era and sets the stage for emission-free transport.”
In an interview with public broadcaster ZDF, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said that the diesel engine was needed to adhere to climate targets. “We need the bridging technology [combustion engines] not for years, but decades, I’d say,” she said. She also noted that “it would be wrong to decide on a specific date now” for a combustion engine phase-out. While she took the Greens' announcement seriously, the election campaign was not about coalition-building and she didn’t “believe in saying day after day what one will introduce in the coalition negotiations.”

Read the Seehofer interview in German here, an article on Özdemir in German here and watch the ZDF interview in German here.

For background, read the CLEW factsheet The debate over an end to combustion engines in Germany, and the CLEW news digest entry Merkel signals support for eventual ban of combustion engine.

 

Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung

“UBA questions effective retrofitting of diesel cars”

Even technical retrofitting of “a significant share” of German diesel cars would hardly reduce the nitrogen oxide concentration in cities, say internal documents of the Federal Environment Agency (UBA), reports Morton Freidel in the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung. This would be in contradiction to statements by environment minister Barbara Hendricks who has called for technical retrofitting in addition to software updates, writes Freidel. The documents were written after discussions in the UBA in 2016, writes Freidel.

Read the article in German here.

See a CLEW article on the Diesel Summit’s results and a CLEW timeline of the dieselgate affair for background.

 

Deutsche Welle / Neue Westfälische

“European climate protesters take on German coal”

Around 6,000 European climate change activists aiming to "block coal infrastructure, to call for an immediate phase-out" of lignite mining,  have gathered in Germany's coal districts, writes Chase Winter in an article for Deutsche Welle. The gathering is taking place from 18 to 29 August, he writes. Over the weekend, protesters blocked rail tracks and formed a human chain at a controversial open cast mine in western Germany. In addition to Friends of the Earth Germany (BUND) and regular citizens, politicians from Germany's Green Party also joined the chain, as did members of Greenpeace and the German Environmental Alliance (Umwelt-Allianz Deutschland), writes Winter.
In a separate article in the Neue Westfälische newspaper, Florian Pfitzner writes that the protests were peaceful. Ahead of the protests, police had voiced concerns that they could turn violent.

Read the DW article in English here and the NW article in German here.

See the CLEW factsheet When will Germany finally ditch coal? for more information.

 

MCC / Nature Energy / Washington Post

“Importance of solar energy underestimated by a factor of three”

The growth of solar energy has been grossly underestimated in the results of the models of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), writes Mercator Research Institute on Global Commons and Climate Change (MCC) in a press release. A new MCC study, published in the journal Nature Energy, showed that in 2050, the percentage of photovoltaics in the global power supply could be three times higher than previously projected.
This could be a big problem, writes Chelsea Harvey in an article on the study in Washington Post: “If policymakers believe solar is growing more slowly than it actually is, they may be less likely to prioritise the kinds of research and development that will help better integrate renewables onto the grid, such as improving battery storage technology,” writes Harvey.

Read the press release in English here, the Nature Energy article (behind paywall) in English here, and a Washington Post article on the topic in English here.

 

Federal Network Agency (BNetzA)

“Almost ninety percent of solar PV bids realised”

Almost 90 percent of bids from Germany’s second round of auctions for ground-mounted solar PV projects – which was carried-out in 2015 – have successfully been realised and will receive support, writes Federal Network Agency (BNetzA) in a press release. “Again, the high rate of realisation shows that the auctions work,” said BNetzA president Jochen Homann. Four of the 37 projects were not realised, triggering a mandatory penalty payment.

Read the press release in German here.

 

TenneT

“North Sea ‘wind harvest’ in the first half of 2017 exceeds the first half of 2016 by 50 percent”

At 7.77 terawatt hours (TWh) in the first half of 2017, North Sea offshore wind power transferred by system operator (TSO) TenneT exceeded that of the same period last year (5.18 TWh) by 50 percent, TenneT said in a press release. “The flow of energy from the North Sea has now reached a significant 16.5 percent share of overall wind energy generation in Germany and thus represents almost a sixth of the total wind power output,” said Lex Hartman, Member of the TenneT management board, in a press release.

Read the press release in English here.

For background, read the CLEW article Operators to build offshore wind farms without support payments.

 

Der Spiegel / Institute for Applied Ecology

“Wind and sun cheaper than coal”

The construction of new wind and solar power facilities is more economic than the construction of new coal and gas power plants, says an information paper by the Institute for Applied Ecology (Öko Institut), writes Gerald Traufetter in German weekly Der Spiegel. Full costs for renewables installations in Germany were at 40 - 70 euros per megawatt hour, while full costs for fossil installations were at 70 – 100 euros per megawatt hour, says the paper. Öko-Institut had written the paper as a fact check for German broadcaster ZDF, and references a study from January 2017, in which it had compared electricity systems based on renewables with those based on fossil sources.

Read an online version of the article in German here and download the paper in German here.

For background, read the CLEW news digest item “Renewable vs fossil power systems: a cost comparison”.

 

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