09 Nov 2016, 00:00
Sören Amelang Benjamin Wehrmann Julian Wettengel

Economy minister blocks Climate Plan / “E.ON at rock bottom”


With a surprise last-minute veto, federal economy minister Sigmar Gabriel blocked a tentative agreement on Germany’s Climate Action Plan 2050, writes Markus Wacket for news agency Reuters. German mining, chemicals and energy trade union IG BCE and the Federation of German Industries (BDI) had “worked hard to block the plan” over the past days, raising concerns about provisions on the role of the country’s coal. These groups “could play a large role” in the federal elections next year and Gabriel discussed the future of lignite with Chancellor Angela Merkel on Tuesday evening, writes Wacket. Most ministers had already approved the climate plan, paving the way for a government cabinet approval ahead of environment minister Barbara Hendricks’ departure to the climate summit in Marrakesh. It is unclear when the draft plan could be presented to the cabinet again. According to a ministry spokesperson, Gabriel wants the cabinet to approve it next week.

Read the articles in English here and here.

PLEASE NOTE: The Clean Energy Wire will publish an article on the government’s failure to approve the Climate Plan later today.

Die Welt

Social Democrat state premier of Brandenburg Dietmar Woidke warns that certain coal related provisions in a late draft of the environment ministry’s climate plan could endanger power supply security in Germany, reports Daniel Wetzel in Die Welt. In a letter to Chancellor Angela Merkel, economy minister Sigmar Gabriel and environment minister Barbara Hendricks, seen by Die Welt, Woidke wrote: “The wording on coal-fired power generation is unacceptable both in terms of industry and energy policy. […] Until now, renewable energies are not able to supply the industry location Germany with more secure and cheaper energy” than lignite. Woidke demands that provisions excluding investments in new coal-fired power plants and expansions of existing open pit mines be removed from the draft, as well as calls for an EU carbon certificate floor price.

Read the article in German here.


Spinning off its fossil operations into Uniper is costing German utility E.ON dear, reports Jürgen Flauger in business daily Handelsblatt. Because Uniper’s market capitalisation is much lower than the figure on E.ON’s books, the company had to post a net loss of 9.3 billion euros for the first nine months of the year. Things are going well in E.ON’s new core renewables, grids and retail business, where the company increased operating profit by 13 percent to 1.9 billion euros, writes Flauger. But the nuclear deal with the government will cost the company more money, making a fresh start even more difficult for E.ON.

Read the article in German here.

Find E.ON’s press release in English here.  


The automotive industry is headed towards a seminal transition to “emission-free and also autonomously driving” vehicles, writes Baden-Württemberg’s Green state premier Winfried Kretschmann together with his transport minister Winfried Hermann in an opinion piece for Handelsblatt. “We are moving towards a true change of systems” that bears “a great opportunity” for Germany, the authors say. Changing customer preferences will push carmakers to developing new business models that offer the chance to make mobility greener and safer, Kretschmann and Hermann write. They add, however, that this change can be “disruptive” for an economy that still depends on the export of vehicles with combustion engines and urge carmakers and political decision makers to embrace the transition with innovative approaches, flanking regulatory measures and clear legal guidelines

Read the article in German (behind paywall) here.

For a closer look on the changes in transportation in Germany see the CLEW dossier The energy transition and Germany’s transport sector.

Frankfurter Rundschau

A study commissioned by the federal environment ministry (BMUB) has found that Germany can achieve the transition towards an emission-free transportation sector, Frank-Thomas Wenzel writes in Frankfurter Rundschau. The study’s authors regard e-mobility as the key for a successful transition and predict that “individual mobility will become noticeably more expensive”, Wenzel writes. The “most important tool” for energy transition is said to be a “drastic tightening of exhaust emission limits”, the scientists say, according to Wenzel.

See a press release in German on the study on Renewbility’s website.

For more information on the current stance of Germany’s automotive industry towards decarbonised transportation see the CLEW dossier The Energiewende and German carmakers.

Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung

Germany’s largest labour union, IG Metall, has called for “strict but achievable” emission limits which take concerns of the car industry into account, writes Holger Appel in Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (FAZ). Constantly tightened limit values would “overstrain carmakers” and “disregard physical realities”, the union argues, according to Appel. In a five-point plan that IG Metall plans to present in Brussels, the union calls for a lower annual reduction factor for emission limits and makes a case for “clean diesel” technology that is “more climate-friendly than petrol engines”, Appel writes.

For background on the shift to decarbonised mobility in Germany see the CLEW factsheet Energiewende in transportation: Vague goals, modest strides.

Süddeutsche Zeitung

Experts of the governing Social Democrats (SPD) call for a rapid expansion of railway traffic in Germany, writes Markus Balser in Süddeutsche Zeitung. “We want to achieve a doubling of capacities of the railway network by 2030”, Balser quotes an SPD position paper that lists 19 measures aimed at increasing the railway’s contribution to more climate-friendly transportation. Among the tasks the SPD regards necessary to make the German railway system more capable are a support programme for refurbishing hundreds of railway stations, the nationwide connection of larger cities to the ICE-highspeed-train-network and the elimination of bottlenecks on the routes, Balser writes. According to the author, the SPD also advocates abolishing the electricity tax and lowering fees for the network while at the same time keeping the “entrepreneurial independence” of the German Railways (Deutsche Bahn) intact.

Read the article in German here.


The takeover of German engineering company Grohmann, a supplier of automated systems for the automotive and other industries, by US e-car pioneer Tesla will be the cornerstone for an automated production site in Germany, writes Lukas Bay in business daily Handelsblatt. Tesla announced that the takeover will create about 1,000 jobs at Grohmann’s headquarters and plans to develop the “factory of the future” there in which “machines will build machines”, writes Bay. The purchase showed that “Tesla is under enormous pressure to ramp up production”, Stefan Bratzel, head of the Center for Automotive Management at the Bergisch-Gladbach University for Applied Sciences, said. According to the author, Grohmann’s technology is supposed to help Tesla increase its production of e-cars to half a million per year.


Read the article in German here.

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