23 May 2018, 00:00
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First diesel bans in Hamburg / Shell invests in Sonnen batteries

Hamburger Abendblatt

Diesel cars will be banned on two roads in Hamburg, Germany’s second largest city, by the end of May, the local newspaper Hamburger Abendblatt reports. The city’s environment agency said a first overview of a written explanation by Germany’s administrative court that paved the way for diesel bans in February gave no reason to move away from plans to ban older diesel vehicles on street sections with excessive air pollution levels, the article’s authors, Jens Meyer-Wellmann and Matthias Popien, say. The court’s explanation says that nitrogen oxide (NOx) pollution levels must be brought in line with limit values by 2020, whereas Hamburg’s air quality improvement plan aims at achieving the limit values by 2025 only, the article says. “Hamburg needs to do more, and the two imminent driving bans won’t be enough by far,” says Manfred Braasch of NGO Friends of the Earth Germany (BUND). The court also says that bans are not admissible if they lead to excessive pollution levels being transferred elsewhere, which ultimately could call the planned bans into question, the article says.

Read the article in German here.

See CLEW’s diesel bans Q&A for background.

Handelsblatt Global

Chinese grid operator SGCC is again trying to obtain a 20 percent share in German transmission network operator 50Hertz, Klaus Stratmann reports for the business daily Handelsblatt. In March 2018, SGCC failed to buy a 20 percent stake in 50Hertz, when Belgian majority shareholder Elia exercised its right of first refusal and increased its ownership in the east German grid operator to 80 percent. Now the last 20 percent, owned by Australian infrastructure fund IFM, is apparently also on offer. Neither SGCC nor IFM commented on the process. The German government is under pressure from the opposition parties to better protect critical infrastructure like power grids from foreign company takeovers, but will likely not be able to stop the sale to the Chinese grid operator in this particular case, Stratmann writes.

Find the article in English here. Read a CLEW dossier on the German power grid here.


German solar battery maker Sonnen has secured 60 million euros in funds from Shell Ventures, a unit of the Anglo-Dutch oil giant Shell, and existing shareholders to expand at home and abroad, reports Vera Eckert for Reuters newswire. Sonnen chief executive Christoph Ostermann said his company can now embark on important investments in the US and Australia.
Sonnen provides battery storage systems to households with rooftop solar panels and links up home-produced electricity to other solar users in Germany. Other Sonnen investors include Germany’s eCapital and MVP, Dutch firm SET Ventures, Czech company Inven Capital, and GE Ventures, a unit of US firm General Electric, according to the Reuters report.

Read the Reuters report in German here.

Sonnen is featured prominently in the CLEW dossier Battered utilities take on start-ups in innovation race.


The southern German medieval city of Heidelberg has announced the country’s most aggressive plans to clean up its air, reports Elisabeth Behrmann for Bloomberg. The university and industrial town of some 150,000 inhabitants will buy only exhaust-free municipal buses starting in 2025, and will ensure that a major part of its urban area becomes a zero-emissions zone by 2030, mayor Eckart Würzner said in a statement. Heidelberg joined 14 major municipalities like London, Mexico City, and Los Angeles to sign the C40 Fossil-Fuel-Free Streets Declaration , according to the article.

Read the Bloomberg article in English here.

Find the C40 press release in English here.

Süddeutsche Zeitung

The city of Munich, home to carmaker BMW, will test a new multi-purpose (taxi, car-sharing, and goods transport) electric car developed by Adaptive City Mobility (ACM) as of autumn 2018, Andreas Schubert writes in the Süddeutsche Zeitung. The ACM car will have a range of about 300 kms. Empty batteries can be replaced with freshly charged ones at designated changing stations. The idea behind the project is to free up space and reduce traffic by giving people a very convenient and flexible option for car-sharing.


Read the article in German here.

Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (FAZ)

Modifying the power grid so that it can cater to an increasing number of electric cars will require investment to the tune of 11 billion euros by 2030, a study authored by the Munich-based consultancy TCW for ABB, a supplier of products and solutions for power systems and grid management software, seen by FAZ, calculates. More charging points are the most important trigger to scale up e-car numbers in Germany, the study’s author, Horst Wildemann, said. But while grid developers will benefit from such an upgrade, charging point operators will not see much return on their investment for at least three years, the study predicts.

Read the article in German here. According to ABB, the study will be published in the near future but is not available yet.

Mercator Research Institute on Global Commons and Climate Change (MCC)

Limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius will make the world increasingly dependent on technologies that extract CO2 from the atmosphere, according to new studies published by the Mercator Research Institute on Global Commons and Climate Change (MCC). However, technology development and expansion, as well as the start of pilot projects, are considerably lagging behind deployment in climate mitigation scenarios, according to the MCC.

Find the studies and press release in English here.

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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