Decision on e-car support postponed
The German government has postponed the decision about how to boost e-cars until March after a high-level meeting with representatives of the country’s carmakers failed to reach an agreement, writes Markus Balser for the Süddeutsche Zeitung. While parts of the governing coalition backs a subsidy of 5,000 euros for the purchase of new e-cars, the finance ministry has so far rejected the plans.
Find a dossier on the state of Germany’s attempt to decarbonise the mobility sector here.
Supporting electric cars without subsidies
Incentives for electric cars should start with cost benefits for e-car drivers through their integration into the power system, rather than with buyers’ premiums, power provider LichtBlick suggests. Existing provisions for heat pumps and night storage heatings could be applied to e-cars which – if charged during the night - would be exempt from grid fees, the company proposed. In return, grid operators are permitted to briefly cut supply to these chargers to keep the grid stable if needed. A buyer’s premium would only make sense if coupled with a “grid friendly” charging arrangement and with an obligation to charge with renewable power only when at home, Gero Lücking, managing director of LichtBlick, said. In the future, e-cars should be used to provide controlling power to the grid, by enabling the batteries to be both charged and discharged when connected, he said. But this technology is not yet available from German car manufacturers, Lücking added. LichtBlick further argues for a public network of charging stations to be installed by grid operators and usable by all consumers through their various supply companies.
No subsidies for profitable industries
The government should avoid subsidies for e-cars and focus on implementing existing legal restrictions on emissions in order to support e-mobility effectively, writes Markus Fasse in a commentary for Handelsblatt. “It’s the state’s job to enforce statute and law, not to hand out subsidies to industries that are earning well,” he argues. Cities must ensure that limits on nitric oxide and fine particles are taken seriously. “If that means in the end that cars with a combustion engine can drive less often, then politics has supported e-mobility more effectively than with any premium for a purchase.”
“Raise taxes on diesel”
The German government should raise the tax on diesel fuel as part of an effective strategy to decarbonise the mobility sector, Energiewende expert Claudia Kemfert told the taz newspaper in an interview. Plans to subsidise the purchase of e-cars were “short-sighted” and not sustainable without a strategy that should also include stricter EU emission standards, support for rail transport and alternative fuels such as natural gas.
“Nuclear energy remains an option – despite Energiewende”
Germany’s Energiewende does not have to mean the end of all nuclear power generation, writes Norbert Lossau in a commentary in Die Welt. Nuclear fusion could provide a clean and safe option without the waste problems of traditional reactors, Lossau claims. Commenting on Chancellor Angela Merkel’s launch of the experimental fusion reactor Wendelstein 7-X, at the Max Planck Institute in Greifswald, Lossau says it was good to see the country embarking on a promising scientific special route.
Read the commentary in German here.
Read an article about the launch of the reactor in the Guardian here.
Read a dossier about the challenges of Germany’s nuclear exit here.
“Legal action against nuclear phase-out has little chance of success”
Utility EnBW wants 261 million euros because of the nuclear exit decision of 2011 - but the court in Bonn is sceptical if the company’s legal action is going to hold up, dpa reports. EnBW did not challenge the exit decision straight away - which could mean they are not eligible to sue now, one of the judges said at a hearing. The court also quoted from an EnBW press release that stated it would accept the government’s phase-out decision. RWE, E.ON and Vattenfall, whose nuclear plants were also affected by the exit also have court cases pending.
Researchers expect only 1.4 gigawatt new solar in 2016
Researchers at market intelligence firm EuPD expect new pv installations to fall short of the government’s planned corridor of 2.4 – 2.6 gigawatt for a third year running in 2016, Sandra Enkhardt writes for pv magazine. EuPD expects new installations with a capacity of 1.4 gigawatt after 1.46 gigawatt in 2015.
Read the article in German here.
Read the article in German here.