Clean Energy Wire
The German environment ministry has called for much more ambitious EU targets to lower car emissions than those proposed by the EU Commission. In a position paper seen by the Clean Energy Wire, the ministry says car emissions must be halved between 2021 and 2030 if Germany is to reach its climate targets, and to secure the future of the country’s mighty car industry. The EU Commission has only proposed a 30 percent reduction. But the environment ministry’s demands are likely to be watered down in upcoming negotiations with the ministries for transport and the economy.
Read the full article here.
Synthetic fuels will be competitive with conventional liquid fuels by 2050 and replace oil as the primary ingredient for transport and heating fuels by mid-century, a new study by consultancy Prognos, research institute Fraunhofer UMSICHT and the German Biomass Research Centre (DBFZ) says. The study, commissioned by several business associations from the refinery and mineral oil sector, says that by transforming renewable power into liquid fuels with carbon taken out of the air or from biomass, producing almost greenhouse gas-neutral fuels is possible and could significantly reduce the climate impact of the transport and heating sector. While some industries, such as aviation, shipping and chemical production, cannot function without liquid fuels, the synthetically processed power-to-liquid fuels “will compete with other energy carriers, for instance power-based systems” in other sectors, especially individual transport with passenger cars and heating, the researchers write. They note that the existing liquid fuel infrastructure could still be used for synthetic fuels, with “expensive conversions” becoming unnecessary. Liquid fuel production could be done cheaper in many countries with good conditions for renewable energy generation, making imports of synthetics fuels a viable option in the long run, they add. The German state should support the market introduction of power-to-liquid procedures in the same way it facilitated the ascent of renewable energy production to bridge the gap towards profitability, the study recommends.
For background, read the interview Emission-free aviation is technically feasible - DLR Researcher.
The share of renewable fuels in Germany’s heating system took over that of hard coal in 2016, an answer by the government to a parliamentary inquiry by the Green Party published by the German Federal Parliament shows. Their share has more than doubled since 2006, from 9.2 percent to 19.8 percent, while the share of hard coal dropped from 24.2 to 19.6 percent over the same period. The share of lignite, oil and natural gas in heating also decreased in the 10-year period, while the share of waste heat grew from 7.1 to 12.5 percent. According to the government, the demand for heating fuels has fallen since 2008, both in absolute terms and as a fraction of total energy consumption.
Find the government’s answer in German here.
For background, read the CLEW dossier The Energiewende and Efficiency.
Council of Federal State Governments
German power customers are at risk of paying more if nuclear plants in regions with a high share of renewable energy sources are allowed to produce more energy, the council of federal state governments in Germany (Bundesrat) has warned. Nuclear plant operators have been granted a compensation for Germany’s 2011 decision to accelerate a nuclear exit and are allowed to transfer residual amounts of power generation of retired nuclear plants to other power plants. However, the Bundesrat says customers might end up paying more if these residual amounts are produced in nuclear plants still operating in northern Germany, where a high number of wind turbines already accounts for much of the grid’s capacity and costly bottleneck management interventions are common. The Bundesrat says it welcomes a federal government proposal to rule out expanding the lifespan of nuclear plants.
See the CLEW article Germany's constitutional court backs speedy nuclear exit and the CLEW dossier The challenges of Germany’s nuclear phase-out for background.
Tagesspiegel / rbb
Germany’s capital, Berlin, is set to introduce a new mobility law which aims to enhance the status of low-carbon means of transportation, Klaus Kurpjuweit reports in Der Tagesspiegel. The governing coalition of Social Democrats (SPD), Green Party and Left Party passed its law proposal in Berlin’s transport committee, ringing in “a new era” in Berlin’s transport sector, the city’s transport senator, Regine Günther, said. Cyclists, pedestrians and users of public transport systems “will take precedence for the first time ever”, Kurpjuweit says, adding that opposition parties are critical of the fact that changes will come at the expense of car drivers.
According to public broadcaster rbb, the law is supposed introduce separate cycling lanes on all major roads, prepare the reconstruction of dozens of accident-prone crossings every year, increase public transport coverage in the city’s outskirts, make all public buses emission-free by 2030 and introduce a joint ticket for shared bikes, cars, public trains and buses.
See the CLEW dossier The energy transition and Germany’s transport sector for more information.
dpa / Focus Online
The Swedish government has given the green light for construction of the controversial natural gas pipeline Nord Stream 2 that connects Germany with Russia via the Baltic Sea, news agency dpa reports in an article carried by Focus Online. While Sweden has “big concerns” about the project that runs through its territorial waters, there are “no objective grounds”, such as a negative environmental impact assessment, on which it could veto it, the article says. Sweden’s economy minister, Mikael Damberg, said Nord Stream 2 “bears the risk of violating the EU’s energy union targets and not being in line with existing EU law”. Germany and Finland have already allowed the project to continue, but several European states, especially Denmark, Poland and the Baltic states, vehemently oppose the pipeline.
Read the article in German here.
For background, read the CLEW factsheet Germany’s dependence on imported fossil fuels.
The biggest battery storage in Europe with a capacity of 48 megawatt (MW) started operation in the northern German town of Süderlügum in June, the Renewable Energy Industry Initiative (IWR) reports. The lithium-ion battery storage can store the equivalent of the average daily power consumption of more than 5,300 households, the article says. The storage built by Dutch energy company Eneco and Japanese industry conglomerate Mitsubishi is able to store or provide electricity in a matter of seconds, IWR writes.
For background, read the factsheet How can Germany keep the lights on in a renewable energy future?