20 Sep 2017, 00:00
Sören Amelang Benjamin Wehrmann Julian Wettengel

Germany to miss EU renewables goal - forecast / EnBW said to exit coal

German Renewable Energy Federation (BEE)

Germany will not be able to reach its EU target of an 18-percent renewables share in final energy consumption by 2020 under the current conditions, writes the German Renewable Energy Federation (BEE) in its forecast for renewables development by 2020. According to the association’s calculations, the share will only rise to 16 percent by 2020 (14.6 percent in 2016). The reason for the lowered forecast is a higher than predicted energy consumption in transport and heating in the first half of 2017. Earlier calculations by BEE had seen Germany reach 16.7 percent in 2020.

Find the forecast in German here.

For background, read the CLEW factsheet Germany’s greenhouse gas emissions and climate targets.


Germany’s fourth largest utility EnBW plans to pull out of fossil power generation by 2025, according to an internal strategy paper, reports Jürgen Flauger in Handelsblatt. Conventional power generation does not feature in the company’s medium-term plan dubbed “EnBW 2025”, which was seen by the newspaper. Instead, EnBW bets on wind power, grids, and new infrastructure projects like e-mobility and high-speed internet. Flauger writes that EnBW’s plans are less radical than those of E.ON and RWE, which have each split themselves in two.

Read an English version of the article (behind paywall) here.

For background, read the dossier Battered utilities take on start-ups in innovation race.

The Guardian

The German chancellor’s track record on environmental policy has been a disaster, writes George Monbiot in an opinion piece for The Guardian. “What counts, and should be judged, as she seeks a fourth term as German chancellor in the elections on Sunday, is what is done, not what is said. On this metric, her performance has been a planetary disaster”, writes Monbiot. Merkel’s actions included “filthy deals” to preserve the well-being of Germany’s car industry, while the country’s greenhouse gas emissions had plateaued.

Read the opinion piece in English here.

For background, read the updated CLEW factsheet The story of "Climate Chancellor" Angela Merkel.

Leipziger Volkszeitung

German Interior Minister Thomas de Maizière has called for the revival of the “spirit of the generation of 1989-90” to tackle current challenges like the Energiewende or globalisation, Leipziger Volkszeitung reports. At an event celebrating the 25th anniversary of a resolution to restructure East Germany’s coal industry, de Maizière said the “engineer’s spirit” of the days of the peaceful revolution in the German Democratic Republic (DDR) that had brought down the communist regime was needed once again to solve today’s problems. “If plan A wasn’t working, they just switched to plan B”, said de Maizière, describing the pragmatic and goal-oriented attitude at the time.

Find the article in German here.

See the CLEW factsheet When will Germany final ditch coal? for more information.

European Court of Auditors

The European Union’s 2030 and 2050 greenhouse gas emissions reduction targets and objectives “will not be achieved without significant additional efforts”, says a new “Landscape Review of EU Action on Energy and Climate Change” published by the European Court of Auditors. The report quotes several points of criticism from an advisory report by German auditors from 2016, such as energy surcharge exemptions for energy-intensive industry at risk of ‘carbon leakage’. The auditors had “found that the responsible ministry had not investigated whether high electricity costs were actually encouraging companies to relocate or whether such costs were offset by gains in energy efficiency”, the review says.

Read a press release in English here and the report in English here.

For background, read a CLEW article on German auditors’ critique: Government lacks overview of Energiewende costs- auditors.

Tagesspiegel Background Energie & Klima / European Commission

A series of interviews conducted by the European Commission among over 27,900 Europeans in March reveals that Germany’s strong support for climate action is no longer “a unique feature” of the country compared to its European neighbours, Dagmar Dehmer writes for the Tagesspiegel Background Energie & Klima. While 75 percent of Germans considered climate change to be a “very serious” problem, almost as many (74 percent) felt the same across Europe, she says. The share of people concerned about climate change has grown in 16 out of the 28 EU member states since 2015, and differences between poorer and richer respondents were visibly fading in this context, Dehmer writes. However, asked whether they themselves were taking action against climate change, 65 percent of respondents in Germany gave a positive reply, but only 49 percent did so across Europe as a whole, she adds.

Find the article in German here (behind paywall), and the EU report in English here.

Find out why climate fears fail to ignite German voters’ passion in this CLEW interview.

See the CLEW dossier Germany’s energy transition in the European context, and the CLEW factsheet Polls reveal citizens’ support for Energiewende for more information.

pv magazine

Six major German energy industry associations have called on the country’s next government to implement a storage strategy and make storage facilities “the fourth pillar” of the energy system, Sandra Enkhardt writes in pv magazine. The letter, co-signed by Germany’s Renewable Energy Federation (BEE), the German Wind Energy Association (BWE), the Association of German Chambers of Commerce and Industry (DIHK), and others, says that taking action is necessary to ensure that storages “can unfold their potential to aid the system and the economy”. An energy system based on renewable sources must rely on powerful storage capacities, as the constantly growing re-dispatch costs in Germany stemming from turning power plants off and on according to power demand show, the associations argue.

Read the article in German here.

Find out here what other energy & climate stakeholders want from Germany’s next government.

Süddeutsche Zeitung

Human transformation of the landscape to generate energy has been a constant feature in Germany for centuries, but today this activity seems to enrage more people than it used to, Matthias Köpf writes in Süddeutsche Zeitung. While many people nowadays lament that corn crops used for biogas plants have become too dominant and spoil the countryside, “corn takes up much less space than oatgrass back in the day, which 100 years ago was one of the most important energy sources”. Oatgrass was needed to feed horses, which fulfilled the same purpose as today’s machines, Köpf argues. What used to be oatgrass fields have by now become corn plantations and photovoltaics installations, he says, adding that “energy generation is an issue that has always concerned humans”.

Read the article in German here.

Get background in the CLEW factsheet Bioenergy’s public acceptance problem and Fighting windmills: when growth hits resistance.

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