21 Mar 2017, 00:00
Benjamin Wehrmann Julian Wettengel

Germany no e-mobility frontrunner - env min/ The Left's energy policy

Clean Energy Wire

Germany’s environment minister Barbara Hendricks says the country is lagging behind in developing electric mobility. “It’s no secret that Germany is no frontrunner when it comes to electric vehicles,” Hendricks said in a speech at the international conference Berlin Energy Transition Dialogue on Tuesday. Germany had taken “a very successful path” in terms of climate friendly power production over recent years, but it was “still in the early stages” of significantly curbing its emissions, with transportation being a main impediment in this regard. But she added that the energy transition caused “entire industries” to recalibrate, which was especially evident with German car manufacturers. “E-cars are becoming competitive,” the minister explained, saying that “the question no longer is if, but when alternative engines start to take over and the combustion engine ends up in the museum”.

For background, see the CLEW dossier The Energiewende and German carmakers.

Clean Energy Wire / Left Party

Germany’s Energiewende should be democratic, ecologic and social, said the Left Party’s energy and climate spokesperson Eva Bulling-Schröter, presenting the Left’s energy policy cornerstones at an event by Forum Future Energies in Berlin. In the draft of its federal election campaign programme, published in January, the Left Party advocates the “socially fair ecologic transition created by the people in a democratic way”, with renewable energies, a coal exit, ecologic mobility, climate protection, a sustainable economy and the fight against energy poverty at the core. One of the party’s major focusses is taking power away from large energy companies and handing it to the people. Here are some of the draft programme’s provisions:

  • Wants to finance “real energy transition”; “climate-harmful fossil energies are replaced by renewables”
  • Privatising water, energy supply “destroys the basis of a democratic society and make it less fair”
  • Energy economy should be organised by municipal utilities in locally-based, “decentral and democratic” way
  • Advocates for a decentral energy system with more storage capacity and less power grid expansion
  • Opposes reformed Renewable Energy Act (EEG), its auctions for renewables support, and limit on renewables expansion, says it threatens citizens’ energy, wants old EEG with feed-in tariffs back
  • Supports “Energiewende fund” to finance renewables expansion
  • Federal government “obstructs the coal exit, as well as the expansion of renewables” / its energy policy in the “profit interests of fossil energy companies and the car industry”
  • Says socio-ecologic transition in Germany is also a question of global fairness, as climate change takes effect everywhere

Bulling-Schröter said she did not expect big programme changes in energy and climate policy before the deciding party convention on 9-11 June.

Find the programme draft in German here.

For background read the CLEW dossier Vote2017 - German elections and the Energiewende.

Rhineland-Westphalia Institute for Economic Research (RWI Essen)

Low-income households pay more for electricity levies and taxes which help finance the Energiewende than high-income households – relative to their income, says economic research institute RWI Essen in a new paper. But most people wish that wealthier consumers contributed a larger part to transforming the German energy system, it adds. This was a fairness gap between the desired and the real cost distribution. Wealthier households also showed the willingness to shoulder more of the costs, according to a survey of more than 11,000 homes. RWI Essen says a fundamental reform of the tax and support system is unlikely with the current political backdrop and calls for “relatively easily enactable measures” like waiving the value added tax on the power price. 

Find the paper in German here.

For background read the CLEW factsheets What German households pay for power and the article Debate on financing renewables in new ways gathers pace in Germany.

Climate Home

A joint report by the International Renewable Energy Agency and the International Energy Agency, on investment needed by 2050 to transform the world’s energy supply in line with Paris Climate Agreement targets, shows competing visions of a clean energy future, writes Megan Darby for Climate Home. The report was commissioned by the German government to inject fresh ideas into the G20 process.

Read the article in English here.

For background read the CLEW articles Germany keeps pushing for G20 climate focus and Quotes from the Berlin Energy Transition Dialogue.

EU Observer

Peter Teffer writes in an article for EU Observer about the challenges ahead for Germany to reach its climate targets, such as a coal phase-out - which is likely to be discussed after the federal elections in autumn.

Read the article in English here.

For background read the CLEW news digest entry “Transport and cold weather cause emissions to rise” and the CLEW articles German carbon emissions rise in 2016 despite coal use drop and Germany “stands by existing climate targets” – chancellery chief.


Renewables support for German offshore wind power will be “considerably below 10 cents per kilowatt hour” (ct/kWh) for the upcoming auctions, according to experts of business consultancy PwC. “The times of exploding costs for offshore projects have come to an end,” said PwC’s renewables expert Heiko Stohlmeyer in a press release. PwC proposes that the German government raises its target corridors for offshore wind power expansion.

Read the press release in German here.

For background read the CLEW factsheet EEG reform 2016 – switching to auctions for renewables.

tageszeitung (taz)

The director of the Mercator Research Institute on Global Commons and Climate Change (MCC), Ottmar Edenhofer, criticises the Christian church’s lack of commitment against climate change in an interview with Bernhard Pötter for tageszeitung (taz). “It’s not about the church using bicycles or green power. Perspectives for church lobby work must be created, for example promoting an eco-social tax reform,” said Edenhofer.

Read the interview in German here.

Regional smart markets can help lower re-dispatch costs in the German power grid, according to a new study by think tank Agora Energiewende.* Depending on the local conditions, measures such as using more power-to-heat or actively controlling night storage heaters or charging e-cars could help avoid grid congestion, lowering costs for re-dispatch as a result.

Find the press release in German here and the study in German here.

For background read the CLEW factsheets Re-dispatch costs in the German power grid.

*Like the Clean Energy Wire, Agora Energiewende is a project funded by Stiftung Mercator and the European Climate Foundation.

The Economist Intelligence Unit

It will be difficult for Germany to reach its climate targets, because the country will retire a lot of nuclear capacity over the next years, renewables growth is expected to slow and the dependence on coal remains high, writes The Economist Intelligence Unit in an article.

Read the article in English here.

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

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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