Der Spiegel / RP / Reuters/ Clean Energy Wire
The German government is considering creating a joint fund with carmakers to pay for advanced exhaust systems that make diesel cars cleaner, reports German weekly Der Spiegel. The fund would back the hardware retrofitting of a large part of Germany’s 15 million diesel cars with selective catalytic reduction (SCR) systems, particularly those slated for export to the US - where tougher pollutant limits exist. Initially, retrofitting would be done in areas at risk of possible driving bans, such as Stuttgart, the Rhine-Main region, and Munich. Carmakers could contribute 5 billion euros to the fund, which would also include taxpayer money, writes Der Spiegel. A German finance ministry spokesman dismissed Spiegel’s report, however, saying the programme was “not known in the Federal Ministry of Finance,” and stressing that it was not a “priority measure” in the new government’s coalition agreement and had therefore not been funded, according to RP Online. Neither the federal government's nor the transport ministry's press office responded to the Clean Energy Wire's request for comment.
For background, read the CLEW factsheet Diesel driving bans in Germany – The Q&A.
Germany's energy storage industry now provides more than half the number of jobs of the country's lignite industry, Jason Deign reports in Greentech Media. The energy storage industry employed around 11,130 workers in 2017, according to an annual report published jointly by the German Energy Storage Association (Bundesverband Energiespeicher or BVES) and the Berlin-based energy sector consultancy Team Consult. The figure is set to rise by 9 percent to around 12,140 in 2018. Figures from EURACOAL, the European Association for Coal and Lignite, meanwhile, show that Germany’s lignite sector had some 20,740 direct and indirect workers in 2015. Employment in Germany’s residential battery market has grown by 131 percent since 2015.
Read the article in English here.
For background, read the CLEW dossier The energy transition's effect on jobs and business.
On 6 April, Germany’s Federal Network Agency (BNetzA) launched the next round of tenders for solar photovoltaic systems with a minimum 750 kilowatts of power, Sandra Enkhardt reports in PV Magazine. Bids can be submitted until 1 June. Since ground-mounted systems installed outside the auctions in 2017 are now being taken into account, the tendered volume is just over 182.5 megawatt (MW). The ground-mounted systems installed last year have a total output of 52.5 MW, which will be deducted from bidding rounds over the next three years. This year’s original bid volume of 200 MW was therefore reduced by 17.5 MW to 182.5 MW.
See the CLEW article Auctions bring German solar power price to new record low for more information.
In an interview with RP Online’s Jan Drebes and Kristina Dunz, German environment minister Svenja Schulze calls for an increase in subsidies for electric delivery vans in an effort to boost electromobility and clean the air. Schulze said she was working to increase existing subsidies from 4,000 euros to about 7,000 euros for small electric vans to help delivery and transport companies convert their fleets.
Read the interview in German here.
Also read the CLEW article Federal government decides on 4,000 euro buyer's premium for e-cars.
Germany enjoys one of the highest levels of power supply security in the world, Lausitzer Rundschau reports, citing information provided by the German government in response to an enquiry by the Green Party. The country’s already high level of power supply security will be further improved in the coming years when the NordLink power line with Norway begins operation in 2020. In addition, a national reserve capacity was introduced in 2016 with older coal-fired power plants, which has never been used. Ingrid Nestle, Green Party member of the Bundestag, has therefore taken issue with the government’s policy, arguing that the high compensation for power plant operators was not justified. Given the high level of supply security, it was incomprehensible why the decision to cut off relevant volumes of coal electricity would be relegated to a special commission.
Read the article in German here.
For background, read the CLEW factsheet Germany's electricity grid stable amid energy transition.
Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung
Speaking to Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung’s Kerstin Schwenn, German transport minister Andreas Scheuer said Germany would see a transport turnaround as his ministry seeks to implement its “emergency programme for clean air,” which includes 1 billion euros slated for electromobility, the digitisation of municipal transport systems, and the retrofitting of urban diesel buses. While he opposes diesel car bans in major cities, Scheuer predicts the country’s clean air programmes will nevertheless become “export hits” for other major cities around the world.
Read the FAZ article here (behind paywall).
Read CLEW’s recent profile of Andreas Scheuer here.
German consumers overwhelmingly support an open and competitive electricity market, while many blame the country’s green energy levy and additional taxes for rising electricity costs, Kathrin Witsch writes in Handelsblatt, citing a survey conducted by energy provider Lekker Energie. Some 80 percent of respondents said they had benefitted from the freedom of choice in the electricity market, and many said prices would be much higher without the liberalisation of the market. Half of all respondents said high power prices were due to taxes and duties, while 20 percent believed that price increases were mainly due to the energy transition. More than half of the price for a kilowatt hour electricity in Germany are indeed levies and taxes, with the Renewable Energy Sources Act (EEG) surcharge and grid charges accounting for the largest part.
Read the article in German here.
For background, read the CLEW factsheet What German households pay for power.
Kritische Mediziner*innen Deutschland
On the occasion of World Health Day on 7 April, medical doctors and climate protection proponents called for a coal exit in Germany by 2030. "We are firmly opposed to an economy that causes and tolerates illness," reads a declaration issued by the medical and climate protection alliance AG Klimawandel und Gesundheit - Kritische Mediziner*innen Deutschland. The document, which was supported by the likes of Medico International, IPPNW Germany, and Doctors of the World, calls on Germany’s coalition government to work with environmental organisations and decide on a quick and socially responsible coal exit.
Read the declaration in German here.
Also read the CLEW factsheet When will Germany finally ditch coal?
Europe’s energy intensive industry sectors have been benefitting from exemptions and special regulations on energy taxes and levies, but they “have been among the slowest in the EU to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions and invest in solutions to decarbonise and maintain technological leadership,” writes Climate Action Network (CAN) Europe in a report. The authors highlight the case of Germany, where energy intensive industries “received a total of more than 159 billion euros between 2005 and 2016” in the form of subsidies related to the European Union’s Emissions Trading System (ETS), exemptions from energy and power taxes, exemptions from the Renewable Energy Act (EEG) surcharge, and other exemptions and rebates. CAN builds on an analysis conducted by Green Budget Germany (FÖS) in 2017.
Find the report in English here.
For background, read the CLEW factsheets Industrial power prices and the Energiewende and Germany ponders how to finance renewables expansion in the future.