07 May 2018, 00:00
Benjamin Wehrmann

German e-car strength / Energy industry sceptical of plant shutdowns

Zeit Online

The current narrative that Germany’s mighty car industry has failed to jump on the electric mobility bandwagon at the right time is a distortion of reality - and the country is on track to become a leading producer of electric vehicles, Christoph M. Schwarzer writes on Zeit Online.  “Most e-cars in Europe are sold by BMW, Daimler or Volkswagen,” Schwarzer says, which effectively makes Germany “the leading producer” on the continent. Absolute e-car sales figures are still modest, but soaring growth rates show that the sector is set to quickly gain in importance. “The greatest threat to long-term success is not Tesla, but Chinese manufacturers,” Schwarzer says, adding that only four percent of e-cars in the world’s largest car market are made by foreign producers. However, “the idea that Germany’s car industry lags behind in e-mobility is not sustained by the facts”, he says.

Read the article in German here.

See the CLEW factsheet The Energiewende and German carmakers for more information.

Clean Energy Wire

The German government no longer regards the pipeline project Nord Stream 2 as a purely private economic endeavour and is aware of the concerns in other EU countries regarding the German-Russian pipeline, Green Party leader Annalena Baerbock said. The statement came with regard to an answer by the government to an inquiry by the Green politician, seen by the Clean Energy Wire. In its answer to Baerbock, the government says that while Nord Stream 2 “primarily is an economic project, clarity about Ukraine’s role in gas transmission is necessary”, adding that its “focus” was now to mediate between the Russian and the Ukrainian government. “This is remarkable,” Baerbock said, adding that this “small-scale change of heart” would remain worthless if the government parties, Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservative CDU/CSU alliance and the Social Democrats (SPD), continue to block a European legal framework for the “Gazprom-pipeline”, Baerbock said. The Green Party leader said Nord Stream 2 not only perpetuated Germany’s dependence on Russian natural gas producer Gazprom and undermined European sanctions against Russia’s government, but also was “an affront for our eastern European neighbours.” Chancellor Merkel had said in April that political factors had to be taken into account when discussing Nord Stream 2.

For background, read the CLEW news digest piece Merkel says Ukraine must not be excluded from Nord Stream 2 pipeline and the factsheet Germany’s dependence on imported fossil fuels.

German Association of Energy and Water Industries

A rapid decommissioning of fossil and nuclear power plants in Germany “poses the risk of knowingly causing an undersupply of guaranteed capacity by 2023 the latest”, says the Association of Energy and Water Industries (BDEW) in a response to an analysis by environmental NGO Friends of the Earth Germany (BUND). The NGO says Germany can take the most climate-damaging coal power stations off the grid by 2020 while also accelerating its nuclear exit without putting supply security at risk,  an assessment which BDEW head Stefan Kapferer called “incomprehensible”. The reduction of guaranteed capacity continued “unabated” even without additional schemes, the BDEW says, reiterating its April analysis. The industry lobby group says Germany could not rely on neighbouring countries once guaranteed capacity no longer matches demand since those too are reducing capacity and have similar demand patterns to Germany.

Read the press release in German here.

See the CLEW factsheet How can Germany keep the lights on in a renewable energy future? for


Wind turbine manufacturer Senvion has secured a large construction project in India with a capacity of 300 megawatt (MW), the company says in a press release. The German company will deliver over 130 turbines with a capacity of 2.3 MW that can power nearly 300,000 Indian homes, Senvion says. According to the company, the project - operated by Saudi-Arabian clean energy company Alfanar in the state of Gujarat - is the largest integrated engineering, procurement and construction project in India. Senvion CSO David Hardy said “this win clearly demonstrates that Senvion has come of age in India for a long term play” and was expecting “a very busy time ahead”.

Read the press release in English here.

See the CLEW factsheet German onshore wind power – output, business and perspectives for more information.

Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung

A new company from Germany’s biggest lignite mining region, North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW), has developed a procedure that turns the brown coal traditionally used as a fossil fuel into a high-output fertiliser for plants, Brigitte Koch writes in the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung. Conventional humus production - where organic matter slowly decays into fertile soil - may take several years,but the company Novihum converts lignite into humus granulate within just a few hours. “We don’t burn the precious resource that is lignite but rather use it for a new product,” says Novihum founder Horst Ninnemann. He says production of the granulate, which is sold to municipalities, agriculture companies and private customers, could be a viable alternative for large-scale industrial production in the country’s lignite mining areas once Germany has phased out coal-fired power production.

For background, read the factsheets When will Germany finally ditch coal? and Coal in Germany.

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