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19 Sep 2018, 12:35
Sören Amelang Julian Wettengel

Germany launches mobility transition task force / LNG 'gesture' to US

Clean Energy Wire

The German government has launched a new advisory panel in order to reduce emissions in the transport sector. The cabinet agreed on Wednesday on the “National Platform Future of Mobility” that will replace the National Platform for Electric Mobility (NPE). Chancellor Angela Merkel said it was important to extend the focus from e-cars to clean mobility in general. In its last progress report, the NPE says that Germany will reach its target of getting one million electric vehicles on the road by 2022, two years later than planned. The six working groups of the new task force – which was proposed in the grand coalition treaty at the beginning of the year – are to develop a strategy on the “future of affordable and sustainable mobility” by the end of 2018.

Find a government press release on the task force in German here and the NPE progess report in German here.

Note: The Clean Energy Wire will publish an article on this topic later today.

Clean Energy Wire

Germany will initiate a domestic battery cell production in the framework of the federal government’s upcoming industrial strategy, said economy minister Peter Altmaier at a press conference after a meeting with Maros Sefcovic, the European Commission vice president and EU energy chief. "The details cannot be revealed today, but we are in full preparation.  […] We will have a round table in Berlin in November where we can start the entire process,” he said. The German initiative can be seen as part of the European Battery Alliance, launched in October 2017. The aim is to provide initial support to help European companies compete in the international market. “The political support will help them overcome the problems in the starting phase,” said Altmaier.

Find a video of the press conference in English here.

For background, read the CLEW article Chinese-German battery cell deal key step for mobility transition.

Clean Energy Wire / S&P Global Platts

Germany will choose where to build its first liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal by the end of 2018 as a gesture to the United States, which wants to ship more gas to Europe, economy minister Peter Altmaier said after a meeting with Maros Sefcovic, the European Commission vice president and EU energy chief. “This is a gesture to our American friends,” Peter Altmaier said of plans to decide on one of three competing sites for the LNG terminal. “I have been sceptical in the past, but we have agreed to move on.” According to the minister, a decision on an LNG terminal is “not directly related” to the contentious Russian-German Nord Stream 2 pipeline project. The discussion about a possible LNG terminal in Germany received a new push when US President Donald Trump said the country relies too much on Russian energy resources and is “totally controlled” by the fossil fuel exporting giant.
Trump pushed US LNG exports as crucial to increasing European energy security during talks with Polish President Andrzej Duda while continuing his attacks on Nord Stream 2, reports S&P Global Platts in a separate article.

Find a Reuters article on the topic in English here, the S&P article in English here, and find a video of the press conference in English here.

Find background in the CLEW factsheet Gas pipeline Nord Stream 2 links Germany to Russia, but splits Europe and the dossier The role of gas in Germany's energy transition.

Nature and Biodiversity Conservation Union (Nabu) / VDA

German and European truck makers like to forget their climate problem while celebrating strong industry growth at the commercial vehicle show in Hanover (IAA), according to environmental NGO Nature and Biodiversity Conservation Union (Nabu). “Behind closed doors, the truck makers do everything to prevent ambitious emission rules in Brussels, and to extent the use of diesel engines,” said the organisation’s head Leif Miller. He added companies which do not offer climate-friendly propulsion technologies put the future of the commercial vehicle industry in Germany and Europe in danger. 
At a press conference on the opening of the IAA, German Association of the Automotive Industry (VDA) head Bernhard Mattes called the European Commission proposal to set CO₂ emission standards for heavy-duty vehicles – minus 30 percent by 2030 and minus 15 percent by 2025, compared to 2019 – “not realistic”. “Extreme reduction goals” which had to be reached in “very little time” could easily overburden the freight industry, said Mattes.

Find the press release in German here and the VDA head speech in German here.

Find plenty of background in the factsheet Road freight emissions in Germany and the dossier How Germany is greening its growing freight sector to meet climate targets.

Handelsblatt

Sustainable investment - after years of being a niche product - is becoming the mainstream, writes German business daily Handelsblatt in a long analysis. “Investors cannot dodge their responsibilities for areas beyond return on investment anymore,” writes Handelsblatt. “The good news: Often, high returns fit well with environmental protection, social responsibility and good corporate governance (ESG).”

Find the article (behind paywall) in German here.

Aligned with the goals of the energy transition, the federal government cabinet has decided Germany’s 7th energy research programme, the economy ministry said in a press release. “The Energiewende is an ambitious modernisation project for our economy. With the 7th energy research programme, we will strengthen our pioneer role,” said economy minister Peter Altmaier. From 2018 – 2022, energy research will be supported with 6.4 billion euros, a 45 percent increase compared to the previous 2013 – 2017 programme.

Find the press release in German here and download the programme in German here.

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