08 Nov 2016, 00:00
Benjamin Wehrmann Julian Wettengel

Government said to agree on climate plan / RWE on the mend?


The German federal ministries, together with the Chancellery, have agreed on a national Climate Action Plan 2050 in time for COP22 in Marrakesh after months of dispute, reports Markus Wacket for Reuters. The federal cabinet is to approve the plan on Wednesday and a veto by ministers is unlikely, government representatives told Reuters. A late draft seen by the news agency includes sectoral emissions targets for 2030. The energy sector is to reduce its emissions by about half (compared to 2014), the building sector by a third, transport by 45 percent, industry by about a third and agriculture by “only 15 percent”, writes Wacket. The draft says there will be no new coal-fired power plants or expansions of existing open pit mines. It also calls on the federal government to lobby for a floor price for auctioned EU Emissions Trading System (ETS) carbon certificates on the European level. Regarding the passenger car sector in 2030, the climate plan states: “New cars should then be equipped with technologies that can in principle run independently from fossil fuels.” The Green Party criticises the plan as not ambitious enough.

Read the article in German here.

For background read the CLEW factsheet Germany’s trimmed-down Climate Action Plan and the CLEW article Ministry avoids concrete targets in weakened Climate Action Plan.


German utility RWE has regained a great deal of its former assertiveness since the successful stock market launch of its green subsidiary innogy in early October, writes Jürgen Flauger in Handelsblatt. “RWE already is a healthy company,” RWE’s new CEO Rolf Martin Schmitz told Handelsblatt. RWE has even found “wiggle room for growth” after years of austerity thanks to its majority share in innogy, which bundles the renewables business, Flauger writes. 

For background on how German energy providers deal with the Energiewende, read the CLEW dossier Utilities and the energy transition.

Neue Zürcher Zeitung

Switzerland should be careful not to repeat the same mistakes as Germany when preparing for a nuclear phase-out, Christoph Eisenring writes in Neue Zürcher Zeitung. Swiss people voting on 27 November on whether to limit the operating time of the country’s nuclear power plants should bear in mind that Germany faces many difficulties and contradictions in its own phase-out, Eisenring writes. He stresses the fact that nuclear plants can play a very important role in keeping the country’s emissions down in the short-run without causing sizeable additional costs. Switching to more volatile renewables may lead to immense expenses due to “re-dispatch measures” that have become a common procedure for German grid operators. The author states that “the hasty German phase-out does not beg for imitation”.

Read the article in German here.

For more information on the end of German nuclear energy generation read the CLEW dossier The challenges of Germany’s nuclear phase-out.

Handelsblatt Online

German engineering giant Siemens has rejected criticism from the Green party that it lets private households pay for its electricity bill as “misleading” and “outrightly wrong”, Handelsblatt Online reports. Green MP Bärbel Höhn previously said it was “hardly justifiable” that private households had to stand in for big businesses like Siemens or Aldi, which were eligible for grid fee rebates. Siemens insisted it paid 60 million euros in EEG-surcharges in 2016 alone and did not operate any sites that are exempt from the surcharge, according to Handelsblatt Online. Grid operators last week stated that the costs of exemptions other power consumers had to shoulder would climb to 1.115 billion euros next year.

Read the article in German here.

For background read the CLEW article Industry grid fee rebates top 1 billion euros, fuel reform debate.

Süddeutsche Zeitung

Providers of carsharing services in Germany have called for new legislation that would grant them their own parking sites in crowded inner cities, Max Hägler writes in Süddeutsche Zeitung. Companies operated by carmakers like Car2go (Daimler), DriveNow (BMW) or Multicity (Citroen) claim limited parking space is a major obstacle for their growth and, therefore, to the contribution they can make to cut emissions in German cities, Hägler writes. “We quickly need a law, still in this legislative period, which gives cities more leeway” to assign parking areas to shared cars, Thomas Beermann, from Car2go, told Süddeutsche Zeitung. The positive contribution of carsharing to cutting emissions is still being debated but many city dwellers embraced them as an alternative to owning a car, Hägler writes.

Read the article in German here.

For more information on the shift of the German automotive industry to decarbonised vehicles read the CLEW dossier The Energiewende and German carmakers.

Federal Ministry for the Environment

The German environment ministry supports three new water management projects in Jordan under the umbrella of the “Export Initiative Environmental Technologies”, according to a press release. The projects are to help Jordan bring down energy costs in water management through efficiency. “Especially a country such as Jordan – that has to cope with the challenges of the refugee crisis – needs support with the set-up and management of its water infrastructure,” said environment minister Barbara Hendricks.

Read the press release in German here.

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