Govt confirms e-car goal despite Merkel's doubts / COP23 optimism
Clean Energy Wire
The German government is sticking to its goal of bringing one million electric vehicles onto the road by 2020, even though Chancellor Angela Merkel believes it will likely be missed. “The government and the National Platform for Electric Mobility are sticking to this ambitious goal and will strengthen their efforts to increase the acceptance of e-mobility,” a government spokesperson told the Clean Energy Wire in an e-mailed statement. He added that Merkel had only referred to past developments, while also stressing the possibility of exponential growth rates.
Merkel told fellow lawmakers earlier this week: “As it looks at the moment, we will not achieve this goal.” She added, however, that a mass market breakthrough of battery-powered cars could come very abruptly, as was the case with other innovations such as smartphones.
Find the transcript of Merkel’s speech in German here.
Find background in the CLEW dossier The Energiewende and German carmakers.
Agora Energiewende / Roland Berger
In its “Future Pact Energiewende Industrial Policy”, think tank Agora Energiewende and consultancy Roland Berger have presented proposals on how to reconcile the competitiveness of the country’s industry with Germany’s energy transition after the federal elections in autumn. The proposals would guarantee dependable investment conditions and competitive energy costs especially for the energy intensive industry. For example, it would introduce an energy transition law that fixes Germany’s climate targets, which “are constantly being discussed in Germany”, said Agora Energiewende director Patrick Graichen at a press conference in Berlin. Taxes and levies on energy sources could be lowered when German competitiveness is at stake, triggered by a yet-to-be detailed international benchmark. Energy-intensive companies, including Thyssenkrupp, Siemens and Wacker Chemie, collaborated on the paper, but this does not mean they fully supported the final charter, said Graichen. The proposal foresees the details of the pact being negotiated between policy makers and business leaders in an institutionalised dialogue process.
Find the press release in English here and the Charter in German here.
*Like the Clean Energy Wire, Agora Energiewende is a project funded by Stiftung Mercator and the European Climate Foundation.
Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung
Economy minister Brigitte Zypries cautioned her Social Democrat colleague, environment minister Barbara Hendricks, not to agree to “unreflected compromises” in the EU Emissions Trading System (ETS) reform negotiations, reports Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (FAZ). In a letter, seen by FAZ, Zypries warns of “far-reaching unwanted negative industry and energy policy consequences” and calls for increasing the number of free emission certificates to the industry.
Read the article in German here.
For background read the CLEW factsheet Understanding the European Union’s Emissions Trading System.
Clean Energy Wire
The presidency of this November’s UN Climate Change Conference, the government of Fiji, is “very optimistic” about the outcome of COP23, while the US administration still has not decided on its international climate policy positions. “The rest of the world must continue to work towards progress together” should the US administration decide to pull out of the Paris Climate Agreement, said chief COP23 negotiator Nazhat Shameem-Khan at a press conference in Bonn. Shameem-Khan hopes that the US will “walk with the rest of the family.” State secretary in the federal environment ministry Jochen Flasbarth said that while Germany was working very hard within the G7 and G20 forums to convince the US to remain in the Paris Agreement, “of course, the decision will be made in Washington.” COP23 is co-organised by the government of Fiji and host country Germany and will take place in Bonn 6 – 17 November.
Find the press release by the UNFCCC in English here and find more information about COP23 in Bonn on the UNFCCC website, including the press conference video.
Also read the CLEW article Germany keeps pushing for G20 climate focus.
Friedrich Ebert Foundation
The changes brought about in Germany’s energy supply structure by the Energiewende pose a great threat to the country’s municipal utilities, Thomas Brucker writes in a study for the SPD-associated Friedrich Ebert Foundation (FES). Regional energy suppliers, which employ nearly 100,000 people and cater to some 36 million customers in Germany, are currently in crisis due to the low profitability of their gas-fired power plants, high investment costs for distribution grids and contracting revenues caused by the tendency to self-supply by German energy consumers, Brucker writes. He argues the municipal utilities’ plight could be mitigated by “putting a (minimum) price on greenhouse gas emissions across all sectors,” removing barriers to improved energy efficiency and investing in innovative technologies for emissions reduction.
Find the study in German here.
See the CLEW factsheet Small, but powerful – Germany’s municipal utilities for background.
Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy / pv magazine
Germany’s cabinet has adopted a draft regulation for the introduction of common tenders for solar and onshore wind power installations, the Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi) said in a press release. The tenders will be tested in a “pilot phase” from 2018-2020 with an annual volume of 400 megawatts (MW). State secretary Rainer Baake said there had been “good reasons” for holding separate auctions for the two technologies so far, such as better regional allocation and supply security, but the pilot phase was meant to explore possible benefits of “cross technological tenders.”
The German Solar Industry Association (BSW) was critical of the common tenders and expected onshore wind power to be more successful in the early stages, Sandra Enkhardt writes for pv magazine. The regulation did “not provide fair competition conditions” and led the two technologies to thwart each other in direct competition, BSW head Carsten König told pv magazine.
Read the press release in German here and the article in German here.
See the CLEW factsheet High hopes and concerns over onshore wind power auctions for more information.
Strategies by German households to save energy are very different across the country’s regions, a survey by energy service provider Techem has shown. “People in Saarland are national champions when it comes to using energy saving lamps,” Techem says in a press release. While 80 percent of the people in the small western federal state use the efficient lightbulbs, people in the eastern region Saxony prefer to switch off the lights (71 percent). The most common way to save energy in the central German state Hesse was intermittent ventilation by quickly opening and shutting the windows (85 percent). People from Schleswig-Holstein, on the other hand, preferred to save energy by taking a shower instead of a bath (77 percent). “The many different approaches show there are enough possibilities for everyone to reduce power, heating and water consumption,” Techem CEO Frank Hyldmar said.
Read the press release in German here.
Also see the CLEW factsheet Local stories from Germany’s energy transition.
Neue Zürcher Zeitung
The collapse of the German solar PV modules industry and declining job numbers in the renewables sector as a whole show the difficulties in weaning a sector off financial support, writes Christoph Eisenring in Neue Zürcher Zeitung. This invalidated “the job argument used by Energy Strategy 2050 supporters” for the upcoming vote in Switzerland, according to Eisenring. In a referendum on May 21, Swiss voters will decide on the Energy Strategy 2050, including a possible construction ban for new nuclear power plants and details on energy efficiency.
Read the article in German here and find more news on the referendum in English on swissinfo.ch.
For background read the CLEW article and the CLEW Last major German solar cell maker surrenders to Chinese competition dossier The energy transition's effect on jobs and business.