13 Jun 2017, 00:00
Sören Amelang Benjamin Wehrmann Julian Wettengel

Germany posts solar record / Environment ministry fact-checks Trump

[Update adds link to official English version of environment ministry's Trump fact-check]

BSW Solar / Fraunhofer ISE

With a record amount of 5.57 terawatt hours (TWh), Germany’s solar power plants in May almost generated as much electricity as all of the country’s nuclear power plants combined (5.65 TWh), the German Solar Industry Association (BSW Solar) said in a press release. According to calculations by Fraunhofer ISE, 12.3 percent of Germany’s electricity supply that month was provided by PV installations, BSW Solar said. Due to lower prices for PV systems, solar power expansion in the first four months of 2017 was about 64 percent higher than in same period of the previous year, it added.

Find the press release in German here

For background, see the CLEW factsheet Germany’s renewable generation peaks remain shrouded in data fog and the CLEW article Last major German solar cell maker surrenders to Chinese competition for more information.

Federal environment ministry (BMUB)

The German environment ministry (BMUB) published a fact-check of US President Donald Trump’s announcement speech to pull out of the Paris Climate Agreement. To Trump’s statement that the accord was a “deal that punishes the United States”, BMUB replies: “Wrong. The Agreement punishes nobody and not a single country.” BMUB also writes that the Agreement did not prohibit constructing new coal-fired power plants or continued coal mining. Trump’s claim that 14 days’ worth of CO₂ emissions by China would be enough to wipe out gains from US reductions expected for 2030 was “without any foundation”.

Find the fact-check in English here.

For background, read the CLEW articles German reactions to US decision to withdraw from Paris Agreement

Federal environment ministry (BMUB)

German environment minister Barbara Hendricks welcomed the commitment to climate protection that all G7 members except the United States made in the final communiqué of the environment minister meeting in Italy, according to a press release. “The Paris Agreement is irreversible and not negotiable. The member states made this clear to the USA at the G7 meeting. At the same time, we held out our hand and promised each other a continued close cooperation,” said Hendricks.

Read the press release in German here and the communiqué in English here.

For background, read the CLEW articles German reactions to US decision to withdraw from Paris Agreement and Germany, China urge US to remain in climate agreement.

Washington Post

With federal elections coming up in Germany, Chancellor Angela Merkel “needs some sort of win on climate change at the G20”, Andrew Light, a senior fellow at the World Resources Institute (WRI) told the Washington Post. Things will “get interesting” at the G20 after the US decided not to join provisions on climate change in yesterday’s G7 environment minister meeting communiqué: “will the United States abstain on climate change again, but this time not with Pruitt on stage but rather with President Trump there?” asks the Washington Post's Chris Mooney.

Read the article in English here.

For background, read the CLEW articles German reactions to US decision to withdraw from Paris Agreement and Germany, China urge US to remain in climate agreement.

Germany will have to double its share of renewable power and cut its use of coal and oil by half to reach its official target of cutting CO2 emissions by 55 percent by 2030, according to energy think tank Agora Energiewende*. The country must also use 30 percent less energy than today. “The climate targets are totally out of reach without giving efficiency a much higher priority,” said Agora director Patrick Graichen at a press conference.
In a 2030 “big picture” analysis, the think tank argues that Germany should step up its target for the roll-out of renewables to 60 percent of power consumption by 2030 compared to the current target of 55-60 percent by 2035. Because Germany will likely miss its 2020 emission targets, it must urgently take aim at the targets for 2030, said Graichen with reference to a coalition agreement expected after the autumn general elections. “If you want to achieve climate targets, you need to start ten years ahead of time.”

Find the paper in German here.

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

pv magazine

Renewable energies around the globe are growing at a rate “never thought possible by many some years ago” but Germany “is botching up” the technology and is haunted by Chancellor Angela Merkel’s continued failure in energy policy, former Green MP Hans-Josef Fell writes in pv magazine. The ruling by Germany’s constitutional court to declare the nuclear fuel tax invalid was just one “proof for the Merkel government’s technical incapacity”. Finance minister Wolfgang Schäuble’s indifference about the six billion euros Germany now has to pay back to nuclear companies “once again nourishes the chilling suspicion” that Merkel and her administration sought to “make the nuclear phase-out financially comfortable for them”, Fell argues. At the same time it was questionable how renewables should compensate nuclear power once the phase-out is completed in 2022, given the planned cuts in expansion, Fell adds.

Read the article in German here.

See the CLEW article Government lacks overview of Energiewende costs – auditors for more information.

Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development

The German development ministry (BMZ) has concluded so-called reform partnerships with three African countries that include expanding the use of renewable energy sources and improving energy efficiency, the BMZ said in a press release. Tunisia, Ivory Coast and Ghana “stand out by virtue of their reform-oriented policies”, which is why Germany intends to invest up to 300 million euros in additional funds to generate more private investments and jobs there, the press release said. In the framework of its G20 presidency, Germany has made Africa a regional focus for the first time, it added.

See the press release in English here.

Read the CLEW article Germany keeps pushing for G20 climate focus for background.


In the race for developing the best storage technology for electric vehicles, German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s strategy is “not trying to overtake the mighty Asian competitors” in conventional lithium ion-battery technology “but forging ahead with a completely new generation of batteries”, business weekly WirtschaftsWoche reports in a long article. “This plan will fail,” the article says. Car manufacturers “are avoiding the financial risk” of supporting innovation, researcher Mareike Wolter of Fraunhofer IKTS argues. Being an industry “spoilt by success”, German carmakers “are fumbling around with small-scale lab models and lighthouse-projects” while others have invested billions and have become “uncatchable” in this key technology, the article says.

Read the article in German here.

Read the CLEW dossier The Energiewende and German carmakers for background.

Environmental Action Germany (DUH)

Germany is home to the world’s largest and most diverse reusability system for beverages, which saves natural resources and contributes to environment and climate protection, according to a new consumer campaign by Environmental Action Germany (DUH) and beverage retail associations. However, the reusability system is under increasing pressure from the “advance of anti-ecological disposable bottles”, writes the DUH in a press release.

Read the press release in German here.

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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