02 Feb 2017, 00:00
Benjamin Wehrmann Julian Wettengel

Germany far from coal exit? / Low diesel tax costs billions - report

Economist Intelligence Unit

Germany is far from phasing out coal use for its energy supply – despite its political commitment to a low-carbon economy, the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) writes in a report on “The role of coal in Europe’s power mix”. The country’s dependence on coal is set to increase in the next decade, as Germany’s nuclear exit will be completed by 2022, it explains. This should pose a challenge to German policymakers “who will try to reconcile the management of the nuclear phase out with adhering to emissions-reduction targets”, the report says. “Efforts to reduce coal-fired generation are not ambitious in the short-to-medium term,” the EIU explains, adding that Germany’s Climate Action Plan 2050 lacked descriptions on how to curb its use of the heaviest CO2 –emitter.

Find the report in English available for download here.

For background, see the CLEW dossier The energy transition and climate change.

Energy Transition

German utility Uniper is set to put its new coal plant Datteln 4 into operation despite a dire outlook for the industry in the country, Craig Morris writes on “With a billion euros already sunk in the plant, Uniper’s decision to proceed is understandable,” Morris writes. But given that coal use in Germany decreased in 2016, the last coal plants in the country could go out of service by 2038 if current trends are sustained, he explains. “Political pressure remains for a coal phase-out, but market forces may be moving faster,” Morris writes, adding that a downward trend of wholesale power prices could make Datteln 4 unprofitable within its first decade in operation.

Read the article in English here.

For more information, see the CLEW factsheet When will Germany finally ditch coal?


Gas deliveries from Russia to Germany via the Opal pipeline fell by around 30 percent after Poland successfully appealed before the European Court of Justice. The ruling suspended a deal that would give Gazprom greater access, removing a key hurdle to the company’s plan to double Nord Stream capacity, reports Reuters. “[Poland] opposes Gazprom's plan to double the size of the Nord Stream pipeline into Germany, which threatens Poland's importance as a transit site and potentially undercuts its influence in future gas supply talks,” writes Reuters. The court's decision means that, for now, Gazprom will not be able to exercise the right to increase its capacity on the pipeline, writes Reuters. Opal links the Baltic Sea pipeline Nord Stream with eastern Germany and the Czech Republic

Read the article in English here.

For background read the CLEW dossier The Energiewende and its implications for international security.


The German state missed out on about 8 billion euros in taxes in 2015 because diesel is taxed at a lower rate than petrol, writes Dagmar Dehmer in Tagesspiegel, citing a federal government’s reply to a parliamentary inquiry by Green member of the Bundestag Lisa Paus. “This cannot be justified in light of the fact that diesel is responsible for the largest part of pollutant emissions in German cities,” Paus told Tagesspiegel. In the reply, the government argues that the lower taxes for diesel fuel were balanced by higher taxes on diesel passenger cars and refers to EU regulation that provided for lower minimum tax rates for diesel fuel.

Read the article in German here and find the government’s answer in German here.


A new online platform by German utility association BDEW and business consultancy PwC aims to share experiences with alternative mobility and integrated city concepts, BDEW said in a press release. The website introduces the latest innovative projects in various cities, encouraging traditional energy providers and new competitors to pool ideas for sustainable urban development, the press release said. “Coping with rising traffic volumes is already a major challenge for cities,” BDEW’s head Stefan Kapferer said. Discussing concepts for integrating e-mobility and smart grids fuelled by renewable power could make an important contribution to climate protection, he added.

See the press release in German here.

For background, read the CLEW dossier The energy transition and Germany’s transport sector.

Energy Brainpool / pv magazine

A complete switch to e-mobility in Germany would enable the installation of an additional 63 gigawatt of pv and wind power plants, Sandra Enkhardt writes in pv magazine. Shifting to e-cars by 2050 would reduce emissions stemming from private vehicles and power generation by about 70 percent compared to 2015 levels, according to a report by energy consultancy Energy Brainpool,  Enkhardt writes. Higher demand would have only a “minor” effect on the power price, although a higher share of renewables might make the price more volatile, the report said according to Enkhardt.

Read the article in German here.

Energy Brainpool’s report in German is available here.

For more information, see the CLEW factsheet How can Germany keep the lights on in a renewable energy future?

Süddeutsche Zeitung

Car component supplier Bosch has agreed on a settlement to pay 328 million dollars to claimants in the US for its role in Volkswagen’s emissions scandal, Max Hägler writes in Süddeutsche Zeitung. “But they don’t talk about their role,” Hägler writes. He said Bosch – in contrast to VW – never admitted to any wrongdoing in the diesel fraud scheme. Bosch insisted the settlement, which is yet to be legally confirmed, was “no admission of guilt”, he writes. German prosecutors and their US counterparts suspect Bosch’s management knew about the illegal practices VW carried out with Bosch’s technology, which is why the company sought to become exempt from all liability as early as 2008, Hägler writes.

Read the article in German here.

For background, see the CLEW factsheet Dieselgate forces VW to embrace green mobility

Institute for Advanced Sustainability Studies (IASS)

Potsdam-based Institute for Advanced Sustainability Studies (IASS) has published a comparative study on renewable energies tender procedures in Brazil, France, Italy and South Africa. Findings show that auction prices in most countries continuously fell from one round to the next, and rates of on-schedule completion are well below 100 percent, ranging between 14 percent in Brazil and 41 percent in South Africa (wind).

Find an electronic preprint in English here.

For background on tenders in Germany, read the CLEW factsheet EEG reform 2016 – switching to auctions for renewables.

State government of Schleswig-Holstein

The government of the federal state of Schleswig-Holstein wants a fairer distribution of grid fees in Germany and will introduce a draft law in the council of federal state governments (Bundesrat). “The draft is to enable the federal government to bring transmission grid fees to a standardised rate with the help of a legislative decree,” writes the state’s Energiewende ministry in a press release. “The federal government must then also play this card,” said state Energiewende minister Robert Habeck.
The federal government cabinet recently approved a draft law that does not foresee nationwide grid fee alignment.

Find the press release in German here.

For background, read the CLEW factsheet Power grid fees – Unfair and opaque?

Federal Ministry for the Environment (BMUB)

The federal environment ministry supports a project that aims to create and develop new possibilities and offers for climate-friendly mobility in residential environments. These could include car sharing stations and safe parking for bicycles and strollers. The project aims to publish a comprehensive guide for apartment building owners and information for tenants.

Find the press release in German here.

For background read the CLEW dossier The energy transition and Germany’s transport sector.

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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