22 Jun 2018, 13:21
Benjamin Wehrmann Julian Wettengel

Germany faces billion-euro climate risks / Idle solar heat potential

Institute for Applied Ecology (Öko-Institut) / Tagesspiegel Background

Over the coming decade, Germany might have to pay billions of euros from its state budget to buy emissions rights from other countries if it does not manage to significantly lower its own greenhouse gas emissions in the transport, buildings, and agriculture sectors, according to calculations undertaken by the Institute for Applied Ecology (Öko-Institut). Germany’s combined emissions in these sectors have been rising since 2014 and are not covered by the European Union's Emissions Trading System (ETS). However, according to the EU Effort Sharing Regulation, Germany’ non-ETS emissions must decrease by 14 percent by 2020, and by 38 percent by 2030, compared to 2005. By 2020, buying emissions rights from other countries could cost Germany 600 million euros. In the period between 2021 and 2030, the Öko-Institut expects allowance prices to rise, so that Germany might in the end have to pay 5-30 billion euros “even under optimistic emissions development scenarios”. The environment ministry did not want to comment on specific amounts as they depend on a series of assumptions, writes Tagesspiegel Background. The news service was the first to report on Öko-Institut’s calculations.
In January, an internal paper from the environment ministry had said that Germany will have to buy allowances from other countries to comply with its 2020 goals.

You can purchase the article by Tagesspiegel Background in German here.

For background, read the CLEW article Germany may have to buy way out of EU climate goal - ministry paper.


Two-thirds of Germany’s solar heat installations could have a higher output if their use was optimised, the energy customer consultancy co2online says in a press release. Solar heat users miss out on 1.4 billion kilowatt hours per year, roughly equivalent to 66 million euros in lost earnings and 340,000 tonnes of additional CO2 output, co2online says. The consultancy says the operation of solar heat installations could be optimised by completely turning off other heating systems during the summer months; routinely comparing the installations’ output with heating consumption; and regularly having the solar panels inspected and repaired.

Find the press release in German here.

For more information read the CLEW dossier The Energiewende and Efficiency.


US company General Electric (GE) will ramp up its investment in wind power in Germany in a bid to revive its ailing business, Axel Höpner and Kathrin Witsch write in the Handelsblatt. The veteran US manufacturer, which has recently got booted from the Dow Jones Industrial Average 30-stock index and is grappling with a waning gas turbine business, wants to increase the number of its employees in Germany and to also boost its investment in the renewable energy branch, the authors write. “We want to grow our wind power business in Germany and in Europe and increase our market share,” GE Germany head Wolfgang Dierker said. GE, which has an estimated annual revenue of 3.5 billion euros in Germany, has already announced an attack on rival Siemens’s home market in the past, the article says. Its share in new wind power installations now more than doubles that of Siemens and new products, such as the planned 12 GW offshore turbine ‘Haliade-X’, could help GE boost its share further in the next years, it adds.

Read the article in German here (behind paywall).

See the CLEW factsheets on Onshore wind power and Offshore wind power in Germany and Germany's Siemens: a case study in Energiewende upheaval for background.


The inspiration for the new world of private mobility based on electric cars today comes from the US and China, as Germany, the current carmaker champion, is busy “fighting a messy rearguard action to save the combustion engine,” Tobias Engelmeier writes on CleanTechnica. Germany’s mighty carmakers need assistance from the government in ensuring a stable charging network across the country, but the companies and their suppliers also have to reinvent themselves if they want to avoid “becoming mere assembly providers for Chinese or US technology leaders,” Engelmeier says.

Read the article in English here.

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

Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung

Germany’s largest carmaker VW has announced that it will invest 100 million US dollars in a US company that specialises in the production of “super batteries,” Hanna Decker writes in the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung. The company named QuantumScape utilises solid state battery technology, which in about 15 years could replace the currently dominant lithium-ion batteries, Decker says. The energy density of e-car batteries, and therefore also the range of these vehicles, could be doubled with the new technology, said VW research head Axel Heinrich. VW and QuantumScape have agreed to launch serial production of solid state batteries by 2025, Decker adds.

See the CLEW factsheet Dieselgate forces VW to embrace green mobility for background.

Environmental Action Germany

Environmental Action Germany (DUH) is pushing for driving bans in polluted cities of North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW), Germany’s most populous state, for all diesel cars that do not meet the Euro 6 emissions standard, the environmental NGO says in a press release. “State premier Armin Laschet continues to ignore the Federal Administrative Court’s ruling that air quality standards for nitrogen dioxide (NO2) have to be respected,” DUH says. The NGO, which set the ball rolling on diesel driving bans in Germany, therefore made an application for compulsory execution of the ruling, i.e. the introduction of driving bans in heavily polluted cities like the state’s capital of Düsseldorf by 2019. The DUH says that, contrary to Germany’s first diesel bans, which took effect in early June in Hamburg, all roads affected by heavy air pollution should be subject to a driving ban, and that these zones should be extended if diesel drivers simply choose alternate routes. Otherwise, diesel cars should be banned from entire inner cities. “This is the best way forward,” the DUH says.

Find the press release in German here.

For background, see the factsheet Diesel driving bans in Germany – The Q&A and the article Court ruling opens door for diesel bans in German cities.

Hannoversche Allgemeine Zeitung

The German government currently administers past achievements and fails to set new impulses in economic and energy policy to ensure that the current economic upswing can be sustained, Rainer Dulger, head of the heavy industry employers’ association Gesamtmetall, says in an interview with the Hannoversche Allgemeine Zeitung. “In many areas, they simply tick boxes of the coalition treaty. If we criticise something, we only hear ‘What do you want? Things are working just fine’.” But apart from the economy, nothing is fine,” Dulger says. “The Energiewende is utter shambles,” he says, arguing that Germany shuns an inevitable public debate over changing its fundamental approach.

Read the interview in German here (paywall).

See the CLEW article First 100 days – German government in disarray neglects energy policy 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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