15 Mar 2017, 00:00
Sören Amelang Benjamin Wehrmann Julian Wettengel

E.ON record loss / Green state premier backs diesel


E.ON will shed assets and cut jobs to reduce its debt pile after impairments on its former power plant unit Uniper triggered a 16 billion euro net loss - more than its current market value, reports Christoph Steitz for Reuters. Cost savings will result in 1,300 job cuts, amounting to about 3 percent of the company’s total workforce, according to E.ON.

Read the article in English here.

For background on E.ON, read the CLEW factsheet E.ON shareholders ratify energy giant’s split.

Handelsblatt Global Edition

The operating results presented by Germany’s most powerful energy executives, Peter Terium and Johannes Teyssen, could not be more different, writes Jürgen Flauger in a commentary for Handelsblatt. While Mr Terium announced net profits of 1.5 billion euros for Innogy, on Wednesday, Mr Teyssen of E.ON was forced to report record losses. “Still, Mr Terium has only decisively won the first round. Over the long term, Mr Teyssen could still come out on top in the rivalry, as the head of E.ON chose the more painful, but also the more radical path.”

Read the commentary in English (behind paywall) here.

Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung

Baden-Württemberg’s Green state premier Winfried Kretschmann has defended the diesel technology as “the best combustion engine there is”, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung reports. “Clean diesel engines exist” and “we’re going to need them for a long time to come”, Kretschmann said following heavy criticism by the car industry of looming driving ban for diesel cars in the federal state’s capital Stuttgart. Kretschmann insisted that his administration did not decide on the driving ban “single-handedly” but instead was following jurisdiction aimed at ensuring clean air and public health.

Baden-Württemberg is home to influential carmaker Daimler and major supplier Bosch, both of which rely heavily on diesel technology.

For background on legal aspects and the Energiewende, see the CLEW factsheet From ideas to laws – how Energiewende policy is shaped.

Süddeutsche Zeitung International

The emissions fraud scandal by Volkswagen now has fully engulfed the German carmaker’s subsidiary Audi, Hans Leyendecker, Georg Mascolo, Klaus Ott and Nicolas Richter write for Süddeutsche Zeitung International. Police officers and prosecutors on Wednesday searched the premium brand’s headquarters, as well as private residences of employees, looking for evidence that Audi manipulated emissions of their engines in vehicles sold in the USA, the authors say. VW’s scandal now reaches “a new, dramatic level”, they write.

Read the article in English here.

For background, see the CLEW dossier The Energiewende and German carmakers.

Süddeutsche Zeitung

Volkswagen’s sound annual balance for 2016 encourages the German carmaker heavyweight to devise ambitious plans again - despite the ongoing diesel emissions fraud scandal potentially threatening the company’s survival in its current form, Max Hägler writes in Süddeutsche Zeitung. CEO Matthias Müller is confident that VW can become the number one manufacturer of e-cars by 2025, Hägler writes. The carmaker is set to invest about two billion euros in own battery cell production and small e-car development, while at the same time putting aside more than 22 billion euros for dealing with “diesel gate’s” financial fallout, he explains. Müller hopes that “everything stays confined to what is already known” about VW’s liabilities, Hägler adds.

Read the article in German here.

For background, see the CLEW factsheet Dieselgate forces VW to embrace green mobility.

Süddeutsche Zeitung

China is ready to fill the void left in international climate diplomacy left by a parting USA, former World Bank vice president and current board member of the European Climate Foundation* (ECF), Caio Koch-Weser writes in a guest commentary for Süddeutsche Zeitung. “China has been systematically pursuing the transition to a climate-friendly society for some years,” Koch-Weser writes. Reasons for China’s commitment include its heavy air pollution, and its determination to access new markets with climate friendly technology, he explains. China could become the first emerging market with an emissions trading system and has made green finance a focus of its G20-presidency – “a German-Chinese tandem could reinvigorate international climate protection”, Koch-Weser writes. 

*The Clean Energy Wire is a joint initiative of the Stiftung Mercator and the European Climate Foundation.


US business magazine Fortune published a long article by Jeffrey Ball on the generational project German Energiewende, society’s costs for the expansion of renewables, the benefits of the transition and the possibilities for other states to follow Germany’s path. “If renewable energy ends up significantly helping curb climate change, then history may judge the Energiewende as a remarkable example of global leadership,” writes Ball.

Read the article in English here.

Handelsblatt Global Edition

Leading retailers in Germany plan to significantly expand their network of e-car charging stations in 2017, report Brían Hanrahan and Florian Kolf in Handelsblatt Global Edition. About 200 new stations will be built in customer parking lots of supermarket groups such as Rewe and other large retailers, according to the German Retail Federation (HDE). “With utilities and carmakers also rapidly expanding, Germany’s e-mobility network is at last taking shape,” write Hanrahan and Kolf.

Read the article (behind paywall) in English here.

Frankfurter Rundschau

Further development of the German energy transition depends on the participation of citizens, writes Joachim Wille in Frankfurter Rundschau. While there is generally big support for the Energiewende among the population, more detailed surveys showed that the mood could shift and experts say that citizens had to be better included, for example when planning new wind parks, writes Wille.

Read the article in German here.

Also read the CLEW factsheet Polls reveal citizens' support for Energiewende.

Süddeutsche Zeitung / DWD

Climate change is affecting temperatures in Germany more than the global average, writes Marlene Weiß in Süddeutsche Zeitung. The average temperature in Germany is now 1.4 degrees Celsius higher than in 1881, while the world’s average only saw a 1.1 degree Celsius rise. Germany's National Meteorological Service (DWD) said that while 2016 was not a record-hot year, it was characterised by “especially unequally distributed precipitation” and extremely heavy rainfall that led to flash floods.  The experts expect the underlying wheather pattern to occur much more often in the future, writes Weiß in Süddeutsche Zeitung.

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

For background on wheather forecasts and renewables, read the CLEW factsheet Volatile but predictable: Forecasting renewable power generation.

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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