21 Oct 2016 | Julian Wettengel

Earning money again with Lusatia lignite? / Dieselgate responsibility

BILD

“Earn money with lignite”

Lignite mining and power generation in eastern German region Lusatia could be profitable, Helmar Rendez, CEO of Germany’s newest lignite company Lausitz Energie Bergbau AG (LEAG) told German daily BILD in an interview. “We assume that we can earn money again with lignite,” Rendez said. He pointed out that LEAG had a responsibility for “a time after coal”: “We must ensure that safe and usable post-mining landscapes emerge.” LEAG was established to manage Vattenfall’s former German lignite operations after the takeover by Czech company EPH earlier this year.

Read the interview in German here.

For more information on Vattenfall’s decision to give up lignite mining in Lusatia see the CLEW-Factsheet Vattenfall's German brown coal: what's being sold and who wants to buy.

 

EurActiv

“German transport minister refuses to shoulder blame for Dieselgate”

The German government bears no responsibility for the diesel emissions scandal, according to federal transport minister Alexander Dobrindt, writes Samuel Morgan for EurActiv. “Volkswagen cheated, so Volkswagen is responsible,” Dobrindt said at a hearing of a European Parliament (EP) committee of inquiry. Because tests that could have detected the manipulation had not been legally required, they were not carried out, the transport minister argued. Members of the EP criticised his stance. “Minister Dobrindt is trying to avoid responsibility. The German authorities allowed emission limits to be exceeded for years,” said German Green politician Rebecca Harms.

Read the article in English here.

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

 

Bundestag

“Environment ministry did not know about illegal defeat devices”

As early as 2007-08, there were suspicions within the federal environment ministry about the possibility of manipulating emissions control systems, but representatives denied knowledge of illegal defeat devices, according to the German federal parliament (Bundestag). In a hearing of a Bundestag inquiry committee, Jochen Flasbarth, former president of the Federal Environment Agency (UBA) said that he had not known about manipulating software until Volkswagen’s confession in 2015.

Read the article in German here.

 

Handelsblatt

Climate Action Plan - “danger to the economy and prosperity”

Members of the conservative Christian Democratic Union (CDU) group in the Bundestag have strongly criticised the current draft of federal environment minister Barbara Hendricks’ Climate Action Plan 2050, Silke Kersting and Klaus Stratmann write in Handelsblatt. The draft was “a danger to the economy, prosperity and the social cohesion in our country,” the group wrote in a seven-page paper sent to Peter Altmaier, Chief of the German Chancellery, in early October. Among other things, the politicians demand that every climate policy measure was checked for its effects on cost of living for citizens. The Climate Action Plan 2050 is currently being coordinated with other relevant ministries, and Hendricks plans to have it approved by the cabinet before the COP22 in Marrakech in mid-November.

Read the article in German here.

For background read the CLEW factsheet Germany’s trimmed-down Climate Action Plan and the CLEW article Ministry avoids concrete targets in weakened Climate Action Plan.

 

Yale Environment 360

“For European wind industry, offshore projects are booming”

The European offshore wind industry is booming, but lagging grid expansion and a lack of major storage sites could hold back further rapid expansion of the sector, writes Christian Schwägerl for Yale Environment 360. The problem of too little progress in electricity grid extension was especially big in Germany, ,Schwägerl argues, where the recent reform of the Renewable Energy Act (EEG) put the brakes on wind power development. Henrik Stiesdal, a Danish wind power pioneer, has a more positive attitude: "Once these problems are solved, wind will be able to cover the greatest part of the world's electricity needs," he told Yale Environment 360.

Read the article in English here.

For background read the CLEW dossier The reform of the Renewable Energy Act.

 

EurActiv

“German solar power and its struggles on the global market”

The German solar industry needs free trade and new concepts to prevail as an important part of the energy transition, writes Ama Lorenz for EurActiv. Competition from the Asian markets has been met with antidumping regulations by the EU. This has led to “artificially high” PV module prices that “put the brakes on the global competition for the most efficient technologies and best prices,” according to Christian Westermeier, member of the board of directors at industry association Solar Power Europe. If the prices in Germany and Europe did not follow global market prices, growth would not be possible, warned Westermeier.

Read the article in English here and the original in German here.

Also read the CLEW article PV auctions: More competition, but critics warn of target shortfalls.

 

Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung

“Electricity contract from the petrol station”

As more and more electricity suppliers are established and comparison websites recommend changing contracts to save money, traditional utilities need to find new ways to compete in the market, writes Michael Ashelm in Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung. More and more, electricity would often be just one part of a “comprehensive offer catalogue,” including topics like Smart City, sustainable mobility and Industry 4.0, Ashelm argues. Shell PrivatEnergie already offered power and gas contracts at Shell’s petrol stations, notes Ashelm, and utility EnBW has a cooperation with car manufacturer Hyundai for e-car charging stations.

Read the article in German here.

 

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