14 Oct 2016, 00:00
Ellen Thalman Benjamin Wehrmann Julian Wettengel

Germany set to miss climate goals - think tank

Germany will likely miss several renewables and emissions targets despite the reform of certain key regulations concerning the German electricity sector carried out by the federal government and parliament in 2016, according to a background paper by think tank Agora Energiewende.* The goal to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 40 percent by 2020 (compared to 1990) “will most likely be missed […] if no further measures are taken” and the 55-60 percent share of renewables in gross power consumption by 2035 is “unachievable” with the current plans for renewables expansion, write the authors. The paper examines the implications of regulation reforms such as the Renewable Energy Act (EEG) and the power market reform. According to Agora Energiewende, these will bring “fundamental changes” for large parts of the energy industry, but little changes for the economy and consumers.

Find the background paper in German here.

Also read the CLEW article Ministry projections highlight risk of Germany missing emissions goal.

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

German transmission grid operators confirmed today that the Renewable Energy Act (EEG)-surcharge will rise from the current 6.35 cents per kilowatt hour (ct/kWh) to 6.88 ct/kWh in 2017. The EEG surcharge covers the difference between the wholesale market price for power on the electricity exchange and the higher fixed remuneration rate for renewable energies. It is paid by consumers with their power bill.

Find the announcement in German here.

Find background information in the CLEW article Germany’s renewables surcharge to rise less than expected – report.

dpa / shz

Robert Habeck, Schleswig-Holstein state minister for the Energiewende, calls for reducing Germany’s renewables surcharge, instead of increasing it as grid operators did today, writes the regional newspaper shz. Habeck proposes a government-administered Energiewende fund, financed through reformed energy tax payments. “We need a second ecological tax reform,” Habeck told news agency dpa. “I think it would be right to establish a fund from which the legacy of  high costs from the early years of the Energiewende are paid,” said Habeck.

Read the article in German here.

WWF/Institute for Applied Ecology

The use of renewable energy in electricity, heating and transport saved Germany around 8.16 billion euros in fossil fuel imports in 2015 compared to 1990 levels, according to a report by Germany’s Institute for Applied Ecology (Öko Institute), commissioned by energy and IT company Lichtblick and the environmental organisation WWF (World Wildlife Fund). Around 50 percent, or 4.35 billion euros were in the electricity sector.  In the heating sector, renewables reduced gas imports by around 2.1 billion euros, while in transport, the use of biogas saved around 1 billion euros in fuel imports. While around 25 billion euros was spent in Germany in 2015 on incentives to expand renewable energy, net costs for the import of fossil raw materials were around 66 billion euros, according to the report.

Read the report in German here.

Read the press release in German from WWF here.

Read an article in German in PV magazine about the report here.  

Frankfurter Rundschau

The Dieselgate scandal at VW seems to have triggered a rethinking among German carmakers to place low-emission vehicles higher on their agenda, writes Thorsten Knuf in an opinion piece for the Frankfurter Rundschau. The government instead appears to be “largely unimpressed by millionfold customer fraud and polluted air in the cities,” writes Knuf. Instead of pushing for a reorientation in transport and industrial policy, the state subsidises polluting technologies with billions of euros, according to the author. But a transport transition would actually be in the interest of carmakers, if they do not want to end up like crisis-ridden utilities such as RWE, E.ON or others, Knuf states.

For background information on e-mobility in Germany, read the CLEW-Dossier The Energiewende and German carmakers.


A ban on combustion engines in the EU is likely to do more damage than good toward the goal of reducing emissions while maintaining industrial competitiveness, writes Matthias Wissmann, chairman of the German Association of the Automotive Industry (VDA), in a guest commentary for the Handelsblatt. “Smart policy is not characterised by imposing irrefutable technological standards,” Wissmann writes with regard to considerations in the Bundesrat to ensure that only emission-free new cars will be registered in the EU by 2030. “It’s about finding the right balance between climate protection and the sustainability of Europe’s industrial base,” according to Wissmann. Electric and increasingly efficient combustion engines should not be seen as opposed, but rather as complementary, to achieving ambitious climate goals.

For further information, read the CLEW article German states - New cars in EU should be emission-free by 2030.


German utility E.ON has denied rumours it is considering selling parts of its grid business, the dpa news agency reports. E.ON instead aimed to “successfully implement” its strategy agreed on during the last annual shareholders’ meeting, dpa quoted an E.ON-spokesperson as saying. This consists of the three segments: grids, renewables and customer services, he said. Previously, the newspaper Wirtschaftswoche reported that E.ON’s CEO Johannes Teyssen had reviewed the partial sale of the utility’s grid due to lowered returns, which was followed by a rise in the company’s stock price.

Read the dpa article in German in Frankfurter Rundschau here and a Reuters story in English here.


Renewable energy offers the potential of energy independence and security in times of rising geopolitical tensions like the conflict between Russia and the Ukraine, according to a story by Anmar Frangoul for CNBC.  "The idea is for the Germans to say they want to make more of their energy at home because they know they can rely on that, and that's less exposure to the disruptions," Craig Morris, from the Institute for Advanced Sustainability Studies, told CNBC.

Read the article and see a video in English here.

Find more information in the CLEW dossier The Energiewende and its implications for international security and basic background in the factsheet Germany’s energy consumption and power mix in charts.

Fraunhofer ISE / NREL

German Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems (ISE) and the U.S. Department of Energy's National Renewable Energy Laboratory NREL announced a collaboration on hydrogen and fuel cell research. “The objectives of this collaboration are to accelerate progress toward shared R&D goals and ensure sustainable use of hydrogen and fuel cell technologies,” according to a press release.

Read the press release in English here.

Stuttgart Airport

Stuttgart Airport initiated a field test to research the possibilities of e-mobility for aircraft ground services, together with the Institute for Applied Ecology (Öko-Institut). The project, financed by the federal environment ministry (BMUB), focuses on the maturity of the technology, the performance of the vehicles and their impact on the environment and the economic efficiency of the fleet.

Read 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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