15 Feb 2017, 00:00
Benjamin Wehrmann Julian Wettengel

Efficiency law stalled - reports / Coal exit no problem - utility CEO

Der Tagesspiegel / dena

Germany’s governing conservative parties CDU and CSU risk undermining one of the country’s key climate protection targets by postponing the adoption of a planned law on energy efficiency in public buildings, Jens Tartler writes in Der Tagesspiegel. Several members of the conservative parties lamented that the efficiency standard for buildings contained in the law violated principles of economic viability and could drive up prices for new housing space, Tartler explains. The conservative politicians said they had “significant doubts” whether the efforts associated with the law are commensurate with the resulting emissions reduction, he writes. The Green Party criticised the conservatives’ decision, saying the efficiency standards had long been established and were well received by Germany’s business development bank KfW, he adds.
The German Energy Agency (dena) called for a swift adoption of the law. In a press release, dena’s director Andreas Kuhlmann said he regretted the postponement since the implementation of efficiency standards in public buildings was a chance for public authorities to lead by example. Kuhlmann called the new efficiency standard “ambitious but feasible” and said he hoped the law was not going to fail “on the home stretch".

Read the article in German here and the press release in German here.

For more information, see the CLEW factsheet The Energiewende and Efficiency.

Greenpeace Magazin

German utility EnBW’s CEO, Frank Mastiaux, said a coal exit decided by Germany’s next government would “not be an existential problem" for the company. In an interview with Greenpeace Magazin, Mastiaux said his company had “already included” a gradual coal exit into its strategy. He said he believed that coal plants were “on target for their politically intended demise". Mastiaux added that EnBW today already earned more with its grid operations than with its conventional energy generation. The company will further expand its renewable capacities, he said. He said Germany’s nuclear exit, despite the “enormous financial burden” it meant, positively forced EnBW to come up with “concrete alternatives for the future".

Read a press release by Greenpeace in German here.

For background, read the CLEW factsheet When will Germany finally ditch coal?

Federal Ministry for the Environment

Russia and Germany have pledged to intensify their cooperation on implementing the Paris Agreement’s climate protection targets, Germany’s Federal Ministry for the Environment (BMUB) said in a press release. Jochen Flasbarth, state secretary in the BMUB, said Berlin cooperated with Moscow “to identify potentials, highlight risks and develop concepts for a climate-friendly economic development". Implementing ambitious climate protection measures was also “an important message we want to send out in the context of our G20-presidency", Flasbarth added.

Find the press release in German here.

For background, see the CLEW factsheet Germany’s dependence on imported fossil fuels.


French multinational utility Engie reviews its investments in one of the world’s most modern coal-fired power plants in the northern German town of Wilhelmshaven, Gerd Abeldt writes in Nordwest-Zeitung. “Today, nobody would build a coal plant anymore,” Jeroen Schaafsma, director of the plant constructed in 2008, told the newspaper. The plant in Wilhelmshaven was projected to be allowed to run at full capacity on so-called “Dunkelflaute” days - during which renewables fail to deliver sufficient amounts of electricity due to little wind and sunlight - but the priority grid access of wind and PV power put its cost effectiveness into question, Abeldt explains. Asked whether the plant was ever going to provide electricity at a profit, Schaafsma replied: “We will know in 30 years.”

For background, read the CLEW factsheet How can Germany keep the lights on in a renewable energy future?

German Farmer’s Association (DBV)

Landowners should receive “better compensation” if power transmission lines are built on their premises, the German Farmers' Association (DBV) said in a press release. They should be eligible for recurring compensation payments instead of receiving a one-time reimbursement in order to ensure a swift grid expansion in line with Energiewende targets, the DBV said. Landowners must benefit too if grid operators generated revenues “on someone else’s property",  especially with respect to the major high-voltage transmission lines traversing Germany from north to south.

Read the press release in German here.

For more information, see the CLEW dossier The energy transition and Germany’s power grid.


The EU Emissions Trading System (EU ETS) is far too complex - and current reform efforts seem unlikely to lead to the necessary changes, writes Klaus Stratmann in an opinion piece for Handelsblatt. “The complex system of free allocation, product benchmarks, market stability reserve, linear reduction factor, cross-sector correction factor, and carbon leakage lists turns out to be uncontrollable,” writes Stratmann. An alternative could be a CO₂ tax, he adds.

For background information read the CLEW factsheet Understanding the European Union’s Emissions Trading System.

Federal Ministry of Finance

The federal cabinet approved reform drafts for the energy and electricity tax laws to adapt regulation on national tax exemptions to EU state aid law, the finance ministry writes in a press release. The draft would extend tax exemptions for natural gas fuels (CNG/LNG) until 2026, but phase out exemptions for liquefied petroleum gas (LPG). Tax exemptions for power from small-scale facilities and from renewable sources remain in place.
Stefan Kapferer, head of German utility association BDEW, welcomed the cabinet decision in a separate press release: “The tedious discussions paid off: The federal government will not impose unnecessary tax increases. This is especially true for tax exemptions for small power generation facilities, as well as power from renewable sources.”

Find the press release in German here and the draft in German here. Find the BDEW press release in German here.

For background read the CLEW factsheets What German households pay for power and The role of biofuel and hydrogen in Germany's transport Energiewende.

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