05 May 2017, 00:00
Sven Egenter Benjamin Wehrmann

Govt denies dieselgate responsibility / Nuclear exit costs rise

Spiegel Online

The German parliament’s inquiry committee into the diesel cheating scandal is set to conclude that the responsibility lay solely with carmaker Volkswagen, news site Spiegel Online reports, based on a draft of the committee’s final report. Neither other carmakers, nor the government or its agencies were to blame, Marcel Rosenbach and Gerald Traufetter write. “The German car lobby could hardly have written itself a more thorough whitewash document,” they say.

Find the article in German here.

Read background on BMW, Daimler, and VW’s vow to fight in green transport revolution on CLEW.

The Auto Shanghai has become the world’s leading automotive trade show, dwarfing the German leader IAA in Frankfurt, car expert Ferdinand Dudenhöfer writes in a column for “While Shanghai has hosted more carmakers than ever before, the IAA is receiving many cancellations,” Dudenhöfer says. The importance of the Chinese market left companies no choice but to show up in Shanghai – the country is home to some 30 percent of the world’s customers for new cars and “sets the trends” for the industry’s future, especially with respect to e-cars, Dudenhöfer explains. But Matthias Wissmann, president of the German carmaker association VDA, had no new input to offer in Shanghai: at the trade show, “he lauded diesel and played down its inacceptable emissions values,” Dudenhöfer says.

Read the column in Germany here.

Spiegel Online

The nuclear exit bill for power companies in Germany is set to rise by some 300 million euros, Stefan Schultz writes on Spiegel Online. The nuclear fund for financing the intermediate and final storage of the country’s nuclear waste will now climb to a total of 24.4 billion euros, the article says. According to Schultz, the nuclear power companies’ calculations for finding future and maintaining current storage facilities had been flawed, leading the state to raise the bill retroactively. The Green Party’s Sylvia Kotting-Uhl told Spiegel Online the more money nuclear companies paid into the fund, the lower was the risk for taxpayers to pay extra money for Germany’s nuclear exit.

Read the article in German here.

See the CLEW factsheet Nuclear clean-up costs for background.

Süddeutsche Zeitung

The offer by some bidders in Germany’s first offshore wind power auction to build their projects with zero financial support has raised a lot of questions, Michael Bauchmüller writes in the Süddeutsche Zeitung. “Wind parks have been sponsored by the community of power customers with billions for years,” Bauchmüller writes, asking “and this is now supposed to be possible without support?” If profitable offshore wind power production is possible, why should there be any more of the contested onshore wind farms, he writes. While some people are already calling for lifting the ceiling on offshore expansion, others say power sources should be evenly distributed across the country to increase efficiency and spread blackout risks – especially since the construction of transmission lines for existing offshore parks is already a very strenuous task, Bauchmüller explains.

Read the article in German here.

See the CLEW article Operators to build offshore wind farms without support payments and the factsheet High hopes and concerns over onshore wind power auctions for background.


The first so-called “motion conference” for Germany’s planned power transmission highways, dubbed SuedLink and SuedOstLink, has allowed a glimpse into the difficulties that lie ahead for the 2,000-kilometre long project’s implementation, Jens Tartler writes in Tagesspiegel. “Sometimes the planners come to close to a future industrial park, sometimes the woman from the local monument protection has objections,” Tartler writes. One motion argued the power lines, which in large part are supposed to run underground after citizen protests, posed a threat to local hamster populations by heating up the soil, leading to calls for installing the lines on pylons instead, he says. The Federal Grid Agency was now concerned that too many motions put the project’s economic viability in jeopardy, Tartler adds.

Read the article in German here.

See the CLEW dossier The energy transition and Germany’s power grid for more information.

Neue Zürcher Zeitung

Germany’s Energiewende is not a model for Switzerland, Christoph Eisenring writes in the Neue Zürcher Zeitung as the country gears up for a referendum about the Swiss government’s energy strategy 2050, which includes a nuclear phase-out. German politicians had underestimated the impact of renewables on the energy system as a whole, on conventional energy generation and on its neighbours, he writes. “There is no reason for Switzerland with its high share in CO2-free electricity to follow the self-declared posterchild.”

Writing in the same paper, Christof Forster points to differences and similarities between the two countries’ energy policies. Switzerland already has a high share of 60% renewable power from hydro and started later with the support for other renewables.

Read the articles in German here and here.

Find background in CLEW dossiers on the Energiewende and the German power market and on the impact on its neighbouring countries in The solo draws to a close and Loop flows: Why is wind power from northern Germany putting east European grids under pressure?

For an introduction to Germany’s Energiewende check out the CLEW Easy Guide and find information on Switzerland’s energy strategy referendum on

Süddeutsche Zeitung

German PV plants learn to swim: authorities in the Bavarian municipality of Eggelstetten have allowed construction of 32 floating solar power islands that are to operate on a quarry lake and provide electricity for nearby gravel plant, Christian Sebald writes in the Süddeutsche Zeitung. The floating 600-square-metre PV plant, “the first of its kind in Germany,” is expected to provide 89,000 kilowatt hours of power per year and is meant to operate more efficiently than its landlocked counterparts, thanks to the cooling effect of the lake, the article says. Floating PV plants, which are already operated in other countries, have “an enormous potential” in Germany, the installation’s initiator Johannes Strasser said.

Read the article in German here.

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