07 Aug 2018, 13:30
Luke Sherman

Frankfurt (Oder) quits coal/ Villages demolished in pursuit of lignite

Der Tagesspiegel

The electric utility of Frankfurt an der Oder, a city located on the German-Polish border and not to be confused with Germany's banking capital Frankfurt am Main, has joined its Cottbus counterpart and decided to replace its coal-fired cogeneration plant with one powered by natural gas, according to an article in Der Tagesspiegel. The new plant will cost approximately 50 million euros and is expected to be finished by 2022, the article says. The utility’s decision to exit from coal is symbolically important, Annalena Baerbock, chairwoman of the Green Party, said. “While the federal government and the state government of Brandenburg are doing everything to ensure that climate-damaging coal continues to pollute the air for as long as possible, irreversibly destroying landscapes and forcing people to relocate, the municipal utilities are sending a signal” that brown coal is not sustainable, she said.

Read the article in German here.

See CLEW’s Coal exit commission watch and the factsheet Germany’s coal exit commission for background on the fossil fuel’s future in Germany.

National Public Radio

Centuries-old villages across Germany are being bulldozed to make way for brown coal mines, Esme Nicholson reports for American broadcaster National Public Radio. Despite the country’s substantial investment in renewable energy deployment, coal still supplied 37 percent of Germany’s electricity last year, according to the report. Germany is the world’s biggest lignite miner, sullying its reputation as a pioneer of clean energy, Nicholson says.

Listen to the report in English here.

For background, read the article Commission watch – Managing Germany’s coal phase-out and the factsheets Germany's lignite mining regionsCoal in Germany and Germany’s coal exit commission.

German Economic Institute (IW)

The rollout of additional electric vehicle charging stations is a chicken-and-egg problem, according to a new report published by the German Economic Institute (IW). Before purchasing an e-car, potential buyers want to be assured that there are enough charging stations around them. At the same time, before building the necessary charging infrastructure, companies want to be certain that enough customers will use their stations so as to ensure a return on their investment. Although the state already promotes the construction of publicly accessible charging stations by providing up to 60 percent of investment costs, it is still virtually impossible to cover the costs of selling electricity, IW writes. To counter this problem, the federal government must increase financing for the construction of charging stations, according to the institute.

Read the report in German here.

For background, read the dossier The energy transition and Germany’s transport sector and the article Economy minister Altmaier calls for mobility transition push.

Der Tagesspiegel

Bottlenecks in the delivery of electric cars are causing customers to have to wait up to a year for their new vehicles, according to an article published in Der Tagesspiegel. The delays stem from the conversion to a new emissions test called the Worldwide Harmonised Light Vehicles Test Procedure (WLTP), by which all vehicles have to be certified, the article says. Because of the diesel scandal, thousands of software updates have to be installed and approved at the same time, resulting in a shortage of test slots for e-cars, according to the article.

Read the article in German here.

For background, read the dossier The energy transition and Germany’s transport sector and the article Economy minister Altmaier calls for mobility transition push.

Federal Agency for Nature Conservation / pv magazine

As Germany moves forward with renewable energy deployment, the country should both preserve nature and allow for the development of landscapes, according to a new project published by the Federal Agency for Nature Conservation. At present, landscape aesthetics are not being sufficiently taken into account during the planning and approval of renewable energy projects, Carina Schmidt, head of the project’s research team, said, according to an article in pv magazine. Therefore, citizens should be more involved in the decision-making processes, she added. “One of the major challenges of the energy transition is the development of new design qualities of landscapes,” Schmidt said.

Read the project’s results and recommendations in German here and the pv magazine article in German here

For background, read the factsheets Fighting windmills: When growth hits resistance and Bioenergy’s public acceptance problem.

Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung

Germany’s transmission system operators are moving ahead with plans to build electricity highways connecting the northern and southern parts of the country, the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung reports. Beginning in the middle of the next decade, four lines over three routes will mainly supply wind power from the north to the south, the article says. Some of the lines will be placed underground, increasing the expansion’s overall costs, according to the article. The application and planning procedures for the cable connections are currently in progress, with a detailed expansion plan due to be released in the spring of 2019, the article says.

For background, read the dossier The energy transition and Germany’s power grid and the factsheet Set-up and challenges of Germany’s power grid.

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