The energy transition and climate protection are not among the new government’s priorities, and it would be more honest to give up on Germany’s climate targets altogether, writes Daniel Wetzel in a commentary in Die Welt. The energy transition urgently requires a fundamental policy shift in order to extend the use of renewable power in transport and heating. But “politicians are not prepared for a bold plan with historic dimensions” needed to at least reach 2030 targets, writes Wetzel. “The new government has 45 billion euros at its disposal, and less than one billion will be spent on the energy transition and climate protection. Defence spending, new social goodies – everything is more important until the next world climate conference, where new speeches on the alleged urgency of climate protection will be held.” Wetzel argues that national solo attempts to limit climate change are futile, and that “an extension and intensification of the EU’s successful emissions trading is climate protection’s only hope”.
Read the commentary in German here.
Find background in the article New government gets little credit in quest to regain climate lead.
Federal Network Agency (BNetzA)
The planning procedures for Germany’s transmission power grid expansion, including the two large direct-current power lines between the North and South of the country (SuedLink and SuedOstLink), have seen “distinct progress” in 2017, the Federal Network Agency (Bundesnetzagentur BNetzA) says in its new annual report. However, the expansion of the grid was not happening at the same pace as the growth in renewable installations, which made grid stability measures (re-dispatch) necessary at times of peak renewables production, the agency said. Costs for re-dispatch and other stabilising measures were over 1.2 billion euros in 2017.
Find the annual report in German here.
For an in-depth analysis of the German grid expansion issue see here.
Clean Energy Wire
Germany’s coalition parties, Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservative CDU/CSU alliance and the Social Democrats (SPD), have not been able to agree on the changes they want to introduce to the Renewable Energy Act (EEG) concerning additional tenders to faster increase the share of renewables in power consumption. The cabinet has postponed today’s decision on the so called 100-day law that was to provide a quick fix of the auction system for wind installations and reform regulations for combined heat-and-power plants (CHP) before the summer break. The energy ministry reached an agreement with EU Commissioner Margrethe Vestager on Tuesday, making sure that the changes to the CHP law would be compliant with the union's competition rules, which both ruling parties deemed a success. But with regard to additional renewables auctions, the two ministries involved - the SPD-led environment ministry and the CDU-led energy ministry - have not been able to find a compromise, sources told the Clean Energy Wire. The SPD’s coordinator for energy policy in the Bundestag, Johann Saathoff, said that energy minister Peter Altmaier had to include the additional auctions which are embedded in the coalition treaty in the EEG reform now. If he did, the reform could happen before the summer break. NGOs and Green Party politicians had lambasted the government for failing to include the extra auctions in the draft, saying that they were already falling behind the coalition treaty and threatened Germany’s emission reduction targets.
The probing of Audi for a potential new illegal emissions device is proof of the brazen abuse of clients’ trust by carmakers, writes Gerald Traufetter in a commentary on Spiegel Online. BMW, Mercedes, and VW have used their lobbying machinery to prevent costly hardware retrofits for diesel cars, and have found an ally in new transport minister Andreas Scheuer. But the new manipulations are a stab in Scheuer’s back, writes Traufetter. “When will government finally put an end to being messed about by the car industry?”
Read the commentary in German here.
Find background in the portrait Germany’s car-loving transport minister faces clean mobility challenge.
Chancellor Angela Merkel has signalled that she believes the chances were increasing of German carmakers building up battery production for electric cars in Europe, reports Gernot Heller for Reuters. “I’m detecting a certain rethink among carmakers,” Merkel said at an event in Berlin. She added it might still be possible to “achieve something” in Europe in this field but added that businesses would need to be willing.
Read the article in English here.
Find plenty of background in the dossier BMW, Daimler, and VW vow to fight in green transport revolution.
The largely state-owned German energy company EnBW says it has achieved “a financial turnaround” in 2017, posting a profit of 2.1 billion euros in the fiscal year. At EnBW’s general meeting, CEO Frank Mastiaux said the turnaround was “a key milestone in our company’s transformation” towards renewable energies and customer solutions, according to a company press release.
EnBW last week became a member of the Foundation 2°, a prominent business initiative calling for ambitious climate policies.
Read the press release in English here.
Find background in the dossier Utilities and the energy transition.