05 Dec 2017, 00:00
Kerstine Appunn Benjamin Wehrmann

Environmentalists say BMW cheated on emissions / Coal "stress test"

Environmental Action Germany / Reuters

Environmental Action German (DUH) says its recent tests suggested that German carmaker BMW used defeat devices like those at the heart of the so called Dieselgate scandal to throttle nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions on the test stand, despite having repeatedly claimed that its cars had not been manipulated. The carmaker meanwhile insisted that it did not use such devices, news agency Reuters reports. “There are no activities of technical provisions to affect the test mode used to measure emissions," Reuters quotes BMW as saying in a statement. It argues that emissions levels are not affected by whether the car is used on a test stand or in real-world driving conditions, Reuters reports.  The DUH says that BMW’s diesel cars do not abide by emissions limits under real-world driving conditions. The organisation cites measurements made by the Federal Transport Ministry (BMVI) to prove its point. DUH head Jürgen Resch said the tests provide “clear evidence” that BMW has used illicit devices in its engines.

Find the DUH press release in German here, and the Reuters article in English here.

See CLEW’s dieselgate timeline and the factsheet Early e-car starter BMW plans new mobility sprint  for background.

Federal Motor Transport Authority

Registrations of new diesel cars fell by 17 percent in Germany in November compared to the same month in 2016, the Federal Motor Transport Authority (KBA) says in a press release. The share of new cars sold with diesel engines now stands at 34 percent, the KBA says, making petrol engines by far the dominant technology, with a share of nearly 62 percent. At the same time, the average CO2 emissions of Germany’s car fleet have increased by 1.1 percent to 127.8 grams per kilometre. Registrations of new cars powered by alternative fuels also grew in November, when slightly over 3,000 pure electric vehicles and about 8,600 plug-in hybrids featured among the 302,600 new vehicle registrations. US carmaker Tesla saw the greatest increase of all foreign manufacturers with nearly twice as many registrations as one year before.

See the press release in German here.

Die Welt

The government should run a stress test of Germany’s power supply security before switching off up to seven gigawatts worth of power station capacity, as has been suggested during the coalition talks of Angela Merkel’s CDU with the Greens and the pro-business FDP, Joachim Rumstadt, chairman of the executive board at energy utility STEAG told Daniel Wetzel at Die Welt. An inofficial paper from the energy ministry had explained that overcapacities in Germany and neighbouring countries made it possible to shut down old coal plants without risking black-outs, but representatives from the power sector are criticising the assumptions these calculations are based on.

Read the article in German here.

See the CLEW factsheet Coal in Germany for more information.

Lausitzer Rundschau

The large brown coal-fired power stations in Lusatia should not be shut down but used as flexible providers for an affordable power supply, Jan Selmons quoted Professor Hans Joachim Krautz, chair of power plant technology at BTU Cottbus-Senftenberg, as saying in the Lausitzer Rundschau. Until a solution was found to store renewable energies, existing coal-fired units should be refurbished to provide flexible power at times of scarce renewable generation, Krautz argued. This would make more sense than building new gas-fired stations, Krautz said.

Read the article in German here.

See the CLEW factsheet Coal in Germany for more information.

Clean Energy Wire

The leaders of the German Social Democratic Party (SPD) have agreed to enter into talks with Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservative CDU/CSU alliance, the SPD's executive committee says in a draft resolution seen by the Clean Energy Wire. The party leaders say that the SPD could "not remain indifferent whether or not we have a federal government or new elections", adding that they felt "obliged" to enter into talks on a possible new grand coalition. Earlier, SPD leader Martin Schulz had repeatedly ruled out his party’s participation in a new government after it suffered significant losses in September's elections. However, he was faced with mounting pressure to reconsider this position after the talks on a possible Jamaica coalition’ had collapsed. Schulz will be tasked with explaining this turnaround to party delegates at a convention scheduled for 7-9 December.
In the draft resolution, the SPD leadership says that an "ambitious climate protection policy”, a "consistent expansion of renewable energy sources", and "financial support" to find economic and industrial perspectives in negatively affected regions should be "essential points" in the talks with the conservatives. The SPD insists that the country’s new government should not adopt a "carry on" approach, and says that the party leaders will decide whether the SPD enters into formal coalition negotiations or accepts a conservative minority government after sounding out "if there's enough trust" in the potential partner.

See CLEW’s Coalition Watch for continuous updates on Germany’s attempts to form a new government and the CLEW article Government gridlock for background on the current political stalemate.

Die Welt

Two citizen action groups have collected almost 50,000 signatures on a petition calling for amendments to the rules on wind turbine construction in Germany’s northern state of Schleswig-Holstein, Dow Jones Newswires reports. The signatories want the rules to increase the minimum distance between turbines and homes, and demand that the process of wind turbine distribution be made more democratic. This would include a ban on wind parks near communities where the local council or a referendum has said ‘no’ to wind power.

Read the article in German here.

See the CLEW dossier Onshore wind power in Germany for more information.

Energy Post

A solid 38 percent increase in gas-fired power production was the most outstanding feature of Germany’s electricity market in 2016, Marius Buchmann writes in an overview of the Federal Network Agency’s (BNetzA) Monitoring Report 2017 on the Energy Post website. Other developments include a slight drop in renewable power production and a slight increase in CO2 emissions in the electricity sector, which was mainly down to “better data availability and not to real physical increase”, Buchmann says.

Find the overview in English here.


For now, Germany’s southern neighbour Austria benefits greatly from exports of cheap German power, but this arrangement is about to come to an end, Irmgard Kirschko writes in the Austrian newspaper Kurier. An “artificial shortage” at the border, which is going to be introduced by autumn 2018, will increase power prices in Austria, while the ongoing energy transition (Energiewende) in Germany is poised to reduce the country’s export capacity, Kirschko says. Germany will shut down its last nuclear plant in 2022 and will gradually cut back lignite power production, energy researcher Craig Morris is quoted in the article. In addition, the switch to tenders for renewables is likely to slow down the expansion of green energy sources, Kirschko writes. Austria will have to ramp up its own renewable energy capacities as the lack of alternatives to import dependency will inevitably push energy prices up, she writes.

Read the article in German here.

For background, see the CLEW factsheet Why power prices turn negative.

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.
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