15 Jun 2018, 00:00
Sören Amelang Luke Sherman Benjamin Wehrmann Julian Wettengel

Conservatives' quarrel halts energy policy/ "Ultimate" carmaker crisis

Die Welt

A fight over immigration policy between Germany’s two conservative sister parties paralyses the work of conservative ministers in charge of energy transition policies, Nikolaus Doll, Michael Fabricius and Daniel Wetzel write in Die Welt. Energy and economy minister Peter Altmaier from Chancellor Angela Merkel’s CDU and his colleagues from the Bavarian CSU, transport minister Andreas Scheuer and interior minister Horst Seehofer, who is also responsible for construction policy, "can hardly do their job due to all of the quarrels and crisis meetings,” the authors say. Shortly before parliament’s summer break, “unsolved tasks in transport, energy, and construction policy are piling up – all areas that require immediate action”. The resurging dieselgate scandal, inner-city driving bans, sluggish building modernisation and a housing shortage as well as questions over renewables expansion pose challenges that need to be addressed, but the conservatives “seem to be focused on immigration”.

Read the article in German here.

See the CLEW profiles of Altmaier and Scheuer for more information.

Tagesspiegel Background

The far-right party Alternative for Germany (Alternative für Deutschland, AfD) may be largely focusing on immigration and not playing a direct role in German federal policy, but its influence can be seen even in energy and climate policy, writes Tagesspiegel Background. Fear of losses to the far right over immigration policy in the October state election is pushing the Bavarian Christian Socialists (CSU) towards a confrontational course with its conservative alliance partner, Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democrats (CDU). Thus, economy and energy minister Peter Altmaier (CDU) is blocking key energy transition projects and emphasising that citizens must not be burdened further because he “wants to protect the energy policy from the right flank – even for the price of his reliability”, writes Tagesspiegel. The situation could be different after the elections, when Altmaier might “rediscover the reformer in himself” – or the AfD may then have succeeded in “shifting the coordinates for good”.

Find the article (behind paywall) in German here.

For background, read the CLEW dossier The new German government and the energy transition.

Die Welt

The self-inflicted emissions scandal alone is a huge challenge for Daimler, BMW, Volkswagen and Porsche, write Nikolaus Doll and Philipp Vetter for Die Welt. But the carmakers are also struggling with the shift to electric mobility, the conflict over US tariffs and Brexit, which are slowly amounting to serious problems. “It appears that Germany’s showcase industry is under extreme pressure from all sides.”  

Read the article in German here.

For background, read the dossier BMW, Daimler, and VW vow to fight in green transport revolution.

Sono Motors

Munich-based start-up Sono Motors has crossed the threshold of 5,000 reservations for a small electric car that generates power with solar cells spread all over the vehicle. Sono presented the car, named Sion, less than a year ago and plans to start production in the second half of 2019 “in cooperation with a European contract manufacturer”. The present tally of orders is equivalent to sales of more than 100 million euros, according to the company.

Find the press release in English here.

For background, read the dossier BMW, Daimler, and VW vow to fight in green transport revolution.

Zeit Online

Germany will only be able to reach its 2030 climate targets with the help of ambitious EU car emission rules, writes Christian Hochfeld, head of mobility think tank Agora Verkehrswende*, in a guest article for Zeit Online. The current EU Commission proposal for the coming decade would merely reduce German transport emissions by 4 million tonnes, but the sector must cut 50 million tonnes according to government plans. Environment minister Svenja Schulze has already called for more ambitious targets, but transport minister Andreas Scheuer has warned that these might “destroy the industry”.

Read the guest article in German here.

For background, read the article German environment ministry pushes for tougher EU car emission rules.

*Like Agora Energiewende and the Clean Energy Wire, Agora Verkehrswende is funded by the Stiftung Mercator and the European Climate Foundation.

Frankfurter Rundschau

The European Union agreeing on a more ambitious renewables target than the German government had pushed for shows that the Energiewende country is increasingly struggling when it comes to climate protection, writes Thorsten Knuf in an opinion piece in Frankfurter Rundschau. “Fear of overtaxing the domestic power plant operators, steel producers and car manufacturers is the biggest concern in this country. Climate pioneer, that’s over,” writes Knuf.

For background, read the CLEW the article Clear steps must underpin EU renewables goal - German energy minister and the news piece EU strikes deal on 32 percent renewables target after all-night session.

dpa /

Convening in Argentina, ministers from the G20 – a group of both developing and developed countries, including Germany – are discussing fossil fuel extraction, the digitalisation of energy markets, and the transparent handling of data, according to dpa in an article carried by Negotiators hope to adopt a joint statement on Friday that can serve as a template for the G20 summit in Buenos Aires at the end of November. Thorsten Herdan, general director of energy policy at the German federal energy and economy ministry, is participating in the discussions.

Find the article in German here.

See the CLEW interview with Argentina’s environment minister Bergman for more information.

The German wind power industry generated turnover of 17.7 billion euros in 2016, making it “the most important pillar in the green economy”, Germany’s Federal Statistical Office (Destatis) says in a press release. Manufacturing, installation and maintenance of wind turbines accounted for over a quarter of total revenue made with goods and services for environmental protection, Destatis says. With a share of 83 percent, the bulk of German wind power business is generated by onshore wind turbines, with the offshore wind industry accounting for a turnover of 3 billion euros in that year. More than 70 percent of all German business took place domestically, the statistical office says.

Find the press release in German here.

See the CLEW factsheets on Onshore wind power and Offshore wind power in Germany for background.

ThinkGeoEnergy / Leibniz Institute for Applied Geophysics

Germany could exploit its significant geothermal potential to meet one-sixth of its heating needs by 2050, writes Alexander Richter in ThinkGeoEnergy. Developing a scenario in which Germany uses renewable energies to satisfy 60 percent of its heating requirements by mid-century, researchers at the Leibniz Institute for Applied Geophysics found that both northern and southern German regions possess significant geothermal potential. Failing to take advantage of the potential offered by geothermal energy would be bad for both the environment and the economy, Richter writes.

Find the article in English here and the position paper from the Leibniz Institute here.

Süddeutsche Zeitung

A resident from the German coal mining state of North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW) demands 80 billion euros for a piece of land that energy company RWE needs for lignite mining, arguing that the sum equals the revenues the company intends to make with the local lignite mine, Benedikt Müller writes in Süddeutsche Zeitung. “That price is negotiable,” accountant Kurt Classen says. He knows that the field he owns near the Hambach Forest, which is a battle ground between anti-coal activists and RWE, is not worth that much money but he calls it “a big symbol of resistance”. RWE initially offered 12,500 euros for the land but now has decided to try expropriate Classen, saying, “there has never been a financial claim like that”. Classen argues that the former argument of coal companies that their product serves a basic need of society is no longer valid as more renewables mean the inevitable end of coal-fired power production.

Read the article in German here.

See the CLEW article Germany starts coal exit talks in bid to improve patchy climate record for more information.

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.
« previous news next news »


Researching a story? Drop CLEW a line or give us a call for background material and contacts.

+49 30 62858 497

Journalism for the energy transition

Get our Newsletter
Join our Network
Find an interviewee