Federal Ministry for the Environment / Süddeutsche Zeitung
Germany’s federal cabinet has agreed on a law that is aimed at facilitating the search for a final repository for the country’s nuclear waste by 2031, the Federal Ministry for the Environment has said in a press release. Environment minister Barbara Hendricks said that “historically speaking”, the law perhaps was her most important one in this legislative period and was going to “put an end to the nuclear waste chaos”, Michael Bauchmüller writes in Süddeutsche Zeitung. According to Hendricks, the search conducted over the next 15 years is going to be based on “broad and transparent public participation” and will be conducted across Germany. “The search for a nuclear repository is not going to be any easier now”, Bauchmüller says, but “its much debated start is coming closer”, he adds.
For background read the CLEW factsheet What to do with the nuclear waste – the storage question.
Allgemeine Zeitung Mainz
The problem of finding a final repository for Germany’s nuclear waste does not have “a solution in the true sense of the word, but only makeshift at best”, Reinhard Breidenbach writes in an opinion piece for Allgemeine Zeitung Mainz. Advocates of nuclear power production have been “living a lie” from the beginning, Breidenbach says, adding that the technology “actually does not help with anything but only creates absolutely inacceptable risks”. The “so-called temporary storage” was a “highly explosive farce” many generations to come are going to be burdened with, according to Breidenbach.
For background read the CLEW dossier The challenges of Germany’s nuclear phase-out.
The EU Commission’s decision to extend the tariffs on Chinese PV products has raised concerns among environmental organisations that a slower expansion of solar power production might hinder the German energy transition’s (Energiewende) progress, writes Daniel Wetzel in Die Welt. More than 400 European solar power companies and major environmental organisations like the WWF and Greenpeace have advocated for an exemption of the PV products from customs, Wetzel explains. With this decision, the EU Commissioner for Trade, Cecilia Malmström, “once again sides with German market leader Solarworld”, which has called for a Europe-wide alliance against Chinese competitors, he writes. But according to Udo Möhrstedt, CEO of IBC Solar AG, the tariffs that “cost tens of thousands of jobs” and “reduced the number of module producers” are in fact “bad for Germany’s solar industry”.
Read the article in German here.
Introducing a national minimum CO2 price of 75 euros per tonne would enable Germany to meet its target of reducing emissions in the energy sector by 61 to 62 percent by 2030 compared to 1990 levels, energy market analyst company Energy Brainpool has said in a press release. According to Brainpool, the target will not be met if the price for emitting one tonne of CO2 increases to only 27.60 euros, as anticipated in the World Energy Outlook by the International Energy Agency. But even with a national minimum price, “60 percent of the emissions avoided in Germany would still be emitted in European neighbouring markets via electricity imports from Germany”, Energy Brainpool’s director, Tobias Kurth, explains.
Read the press release in German here.
Schleswig-Holstein’s state energy minister Robert Habeck wants to prohibit further oil test drillings off the coast of Germany’s northernmost state, writes Sven-Michael Veit in tageszeitung (taz). Detonations, drillings and other invasions of the national park Wadden Sea were generally forbidden by state national park regulations, said Habeck. Until now, authorisations were given under Germany’s federal mining law. Since 1987, Deutsche Erdoel AG (DEA) has drilled for oil from a sandbank in the North Sea and it is now planning further test drillings, also in the national park. The Wadden Sea is a UNESCO world heritage site.
Read the article in German here.
“Secret settlements” between Volkswagen dealers and customers have helped avoid landmark decisions against the carmaker before higher German courts and could lead to the limitation of claims for customers affected by the emissions scandal, write Markus Balser and Klaus Ott in Süddeutsche Zeitung. By the end of 2017, most entitlements would be barred by statutes of limitations, write the authors. Unlike in the US, affected cars in Germany were fixed after obligatory recalls, which – in VW’s view – nullified customers’ entitlement to compensation, write Balser and Ott. Volkswagen denied employing tactics to avoid landmark court decisions. What dealers did was their decision, but VW supported them with legal assistance, the company told Süddeutsche Zeitung.
Read the article in German here.
For background read the CLEW dossier The Energiewende and German carmakers.
Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung
Dieselgate is not over yet for carmaker Volkswagen despite several agreements and progress made in Germany and worldwide over the past couple of days, write Carsten Germis and Roland Lindner in Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung. “The largest remaining factor of uncertainty are the criminal investigations of the US Department of Justice that could lead to another billion-euro sentence,” write Germis and Lindner. Wednesday, the German Federal Motor Transport Authority (KBA) gave VW the green light to modify certain diesel engines, relieving the company of having to buy back millions of cars. On Tuesday, VW had reached an agreement with the US Environmental Protection Agency and the State of California to buy back or modify diesel engine vehicles and pay millions into environmental trusts.
For more information on the emissions manipulation scandal’s consequences for VW, see the CLEW factsheet Dieselgate forces VW to embrace green mobility.
When it comes to heating, there is “enormous potential” for cooperation between the housing sector and the energy industry, according to a new study commissioned by the German Association of Energy and Water Industries (BDEW). The results show that heating systems in about half of leased apartments owned by professional housing companies were 20 years or older. About half of all German apartments were heated with natural gas. The study aimed at gathering in-depth information on the heating market in Germany’s housing sector. BDEW conducted expert interviews and surveyed 188 landlords and housing enterprises.