16 Nov 2017, 00:00
Sören Amelang Sven Egenter Benjamin Wehrmann

German industry says Energiewende boosts economy / Jamaica countdown

Clean Energy Wire

A sharp emissions reduction by 2050 will likely benefit Germany’s economy, according to a study summary draft by the Federation of German Industries (BDI) seen by Clean Energy Wire. An “80 percent climate path is possible with a neutral to positive effect on gross domestic product even in the case of a solo attempt”, the draft says. Reducing emissions by 95 percent is also possible and will likely boost the economy if the energy transition turns into a global phenomenon, according to the calculations. Germany plans to reduce emissions by 80 to 95 percent by 2050 compared to 1990 levels.
Electric vehicles and heat pumps will be key technologies in the energy transition, according to the paper. “The Energiewende creates new business areas in renewables and energy efficiency for German industry, both domestically and internationally.” The study by management advisers Boston Consulting Group and Prognos, which was commissioned by the BDI, is slated to be published in January 2018, according to the summary draft.

See the CLEW factsheet What business thinks of the energy transition for background.

Agence France-Presse / Spiegel Online

Germany’s aspiring Jamaica coalition parties still disagree on a range of key policy fields one day before exploratory talks for a new government are scheduled to end, Gregor Waschinski writes for news agency Agence France-Presse (AFP). “There’s a hurricane gathering over Jamaica,” Wolfgang Kubicki, deputy leader of pro-business party FDP said. Green parliamentary group leader Anton Hofreiter said the “hurricane” was because no progress had been achieved on climate protection policy. His party even had to “wrangle hard” for Germany’s climate protection goals, Hofreiter said, adding that the negotiating partners were not ready to make concessions even after the Greens had done so last week. The conservative CSU’s Secretary General Andreas Scheuer said the final round of exploratory talks on Thursday are likely to be “a tough nut to crack”.
In a separate article on Spiegel Online, René Pfister says the parties would not allow talks to fail “if they are in their right mind” even if substantial disagreements remained. The alternative to a Jamaica coalition would be new elections. “Who would benefit from this crash?”, Pfister asks.
The parties’ chief negotiators will convene on Thursday evening to discuss final positions on climate, energy, and transport, as well as on migration, finances and other disputed policy areas. After exploratory talks are over, the parties will decide internally whether they move on to official coalition negotiations.

Read the Spiegel Online article in German here.

See the CLEW article Germany’s aspiring coalition parties disagree over coal exit speed and CLEW’s coalition watch for background.

Clean Energy Wire

Germany must start phasing out coal-fired power generation as the next step of its energy transition, and the matter was also on the agenda of the talks to form a new government coalition in Berlin, the state secretary in the economy and energy ministry, Rainer Baake, said at a side event to the global climate conference COP23 in Bonn. Power sector emissions had come down substantially in Germany thanks to the roll-out of renewables and efficiency gains, but the coal phase-out was the missing piece. Beyond that, electrification of other sectors such as transport and heating plus strong efficiency efforts were the next big tasks to tackle, said Baake, who had been briefing the parties as talks got stuck over energy and climate issues.

Follow the talks on the Clean Energy Wire’s coalition watch.

Clean Energy Wire

Germany can take coal plants with a combined capacity of seven gigawatts off grid - and might even improve the security of the power supply by doing so, according to an unofficial document by Germany’s economy & energy ministry (BMWi) and the Federal Grid Agency (BNetzA) seen by the Clean Energy Wire. In a European energy system, supply would be secure even during longer periods of little wind and sunshine in winter, and it would also be safe after the last nuclear power plant shuts down in 2022, the paper says. The paper, by the ministry and the grid agency, goes even further to assert that taking coal capacity off grid might actually improve the grid’s stability because many of the affected plants had a “burdening” effect on it.
A spokesperson said the paper was not part of the ministry's official communication, because it was not coordinated nor agreed upon within the ministry or its leadership. The leak of the paper coincides with the final stretch in exploratory talks to form a new German government, and backs a call by the Green Party to switch off many coal plants in order to reach 2020 climate targets.

For further details, read the article Germany’s aspiring coalition parties disagree over coal exit speed.

Frankfurter Rundschau

A German government formed of a so-called Jamaica coalition could be more than just an “emergency solution”, FDP chief negotiator Marco Buschmann said in an interview with Frankfurter Rundschau.  If the parties found a compromise on contested policy issues, such as climate, energy, migration or finance, “this government could be a coalition for modernisation that achieves more progress for the country than the previous coalition”, Buschmann said. The pro-business party’s chief negotiator said the FDP was ready to “reduce coal-fired power production as much as possible as long as energy prices remain stable and supply security is not threatened”. The future of coal power in Germany had been a major source of contention between the FDP and its negotiating partners from the Green Party and Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservative CDU/CSU alliance.

See the CLEW article Germany’s aspiring coalition parties disagree over coal exit speed and CLEW’s coalition watch for background.

Spiegel Online / Stuttgarter Zeitung

The EU commission plans to sue Germany because pollution levels in many cities exceed EU limits, according to news agency dpa. The commission told the German government it plans to take the issue of elevated nitrogen oxide levels - which are caused in large part by diesel cars - to the court on 7 December, according to an environment ministry spokesperson quoted by Stuttgarter Zeitung. The threat of legal action increases the pressure to make headway in reducing transport emissions during ongoing talks to build a new government.

Read the Spiegel Online article here and the Stuttgarter Zeitung article here

VW is rolling out plans to spend almost 15 billion dollars in penalties and settlements following the Dieselgate scandal, with about half that sum being spent on infrastructure and pollution mitigation, reports Ben Paulos on “Two billion dollars will be spent on building out electric vehicle infrastructure [in the US], while 2.7 billion dollars will be used to establish an Environmental Mitigation Trust,” according to the article.

Read the article in English here.

Find plenty of background in the factsheet Dieselgate forces VW to embrace green mobility.

Federal Statistical Office

Primary energy consumption in Germany has slightly increased since it reached an all-time low in 2014, the Federal Statistical Office (Destatis) says in a press release. Provisional figures indicate that primary energy consumption is on the rise but the statistics office adds that the figure was “frequently subject to substantial annual variations” contingent on the weather and economic growth. Germany’s primary energy consumption fell by 6.5 percent between 2008 and 2016.

Read the press release in English here.

See the CLEW article Germany’s energy use and emissions likely to rise yet again in 2017 and the CLEW factsheet Germany’s energy consumption and power mix in charts for more information.

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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