22 Feb 2018, 00:00
Benjamin Wehrmann Julian Wettengel

German cities fear "nightmare" diesel bans / Green gas for the climate

The looming driving bans on polluting diesel cars in Germany’s inner cities are “a nightmare for hundreds of thousands of diesel owners as well as for politicians,” but a ruling by Germany’s administrative court due today (22 February) could force city authorities to introduce them, Wilfried Eckl-Dorna writes for Some cities, however, try to come up with alternative measures to curb air pollution, and to avoid having to ban thousands of private and commercial vehicles from city centres, he says. Germany’s capital, Berlin, for example, wants to introduce a scrap bonus for old diesel taxis; extend support to small and medium-sized companies that want to convert their vehicle fleet to electric; and expand its bicycle infrastructure, Eckl-Dorna says. Also, most other major cities, such as Hamburg, Munich, or Stuttgart, plan to electrify their public transportation fleet; expand their e-car infrastructure; or even install fume-absorbing moss walls along major thoroughfares. However, environmental organisations doubt that this will suffice to prevent driving bans in the German capital or elsewhere. NGO Environmental Action Germany (DUH) says that “Berlin will hardly be able to avoid bans.”

Read the article in German here.

See the CLEW factsheet Diesel driving bans in Germany – The Q & A for background.

Please note: The Clean Energy Wire will publish an article on the ruling later today.

Gas for Climate initiative / Ecofys

Renewable gas used in existing gas infrastructure could help reduce Europe’s greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by mid-century, in accordance with the Paris Climate Agreement goals, according to a study conducted by the consultancy Ecofys and commissioned by the gas industry initiative Gas for Climate. It is possible to scale up domestic renewable gas production in the EU to 122 billion cubic metres (bcm) by 2050, write the authors. Of this amount, 98 bcm would be biomethane, and 24 bcm hydrogen produced from wind and solar power. This approach could save money by avoiding the costs of installing and running generation capacity needed to meet peak power demand. Further savings can be realised on insulation costs for buildings to accommodate full-electric heat pumps. The initiative, which brings together seven European gas infrastructure companies and two biogas organisations, also sees a role for natural gas used in combination with carbon capture and storage (CCS) or carbon capture and utilisation (CCU) technologies to avoid greenhouse gas emissions into the atmosphere.

Find the study in English here, and the press release in English here.

bizz energy

German energy company EWE AG wants to test using an underground gas storage cavern for storing hydrogen produced from wind and solar power, as the need for regular natural gas storage has declined over the past years – a trend that is bound to continue with the declining use of fossil fuels, writes Christian Schaudwet for bizz energy. EWE plans to construct a power-to-gas (PtG) facility above a storage site in Huntorf in Lower Saxony in 2018, and a small cavern is to be used to test hydrogen storage at some point in the future. Germany has Europe’s largest gas storage system, with space for 23 billion cubic metres at 47 facilities, writes Schaudwet.

Read the article in German here.


German company Bosch, one of the car industry’s largest suppliers, is entering the carsharing and ridesharing market, Martin Buchenau and Thomas Trösch write in the Handelsblatt. “Bosch launches an attack in this business area,” the authors say, adding that Bosch’s purchase of US ridesharing startup SPLT will allow the company to enter a fast-growing market that could cater to about 685 million users around the world by 2022. “The world’s largest car industry supplier positions itself against its former customers Daimler, Volkswagen, and BMW,” which themselves are active in the carsharing market, the authors write.

The decentralised blockchain technology could solve many of the IT security problems associated with the roll-out of smart meters, the German Energy Agency (dena) says in a press release. In an analysis published jointly with management school ESMT Berlin, the dena says current measures to protect communication between energy providers, smart meters, and household appliances are insufficient. Blockchain technology could remedy this situation, but will not be ready for large-scale implementation very soon.

Find the paper in English here.

See the CLEW factsheet Blockchain – the next revolution in the energy sector? for more information.


Swedish utility Vattenfall expects Germany’s capital Berlin to boast about 250,000 electric cars by the end of the next decade, compared to 1,700 currently registered in the city, Jens Tartler writes in the Tagesspiegel. Vattenfall’s Thomas Schäfer says that “Berlin’s power grid is ready for e-mobility,” explaining that high voltage lines do not need to be upgraded, but many more home charging points will have to be installed. The expected spread of e-cars would increase Berlin’s system peak load by five percent, Schäfer says. The company says it plans to invest more than one billion euros in expanding its infrastructure in Berlin, although it is unclear whether Vattenfall will continue to remain Berlin’s primary power supplier, Tartler writes.

Find the article in German here.

See the CLEW factsheet Germany’s largest utilities at a glance for more information.

Centre for European Economic Research

A projected substantial increase in the number of e-cars in Germany will pose major challenges for the country’s energy providers and power grids, the Centre for European Economic Research (ZEW) says in a press release. The ZEW has carried out a survey among energy market experts and found that distribution grids are particularly under strain as they are “currently ill-prepared for the additional demand that would be generated by an increased number of households with electric cars.”

Find the 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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