23 Oct 2018, 14:40
Julian Wettengel

Govt diesel concept for polluted cities uses old data / Steel storage

Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung

The German government’s recently decided concept to avoid diesel driving bans in German inner cities is based on outdated data, reports Martin Gropp for Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung. The grand coalition decided to introduce special measures in Germany’s 14 most-polluted cities with an annual average of more than 50 micrograms nitrogen oxide per cubic metre of air. Recent data by the Federal Environment Agency (UBA) – published before the government decision – would put Frankfurt on that list. It is the most important city in the federal state of Hesse, which will hold regional elections this Sunday, 28 October. Chancellor Merkel announced plans to change the law to prevent diesel driving bans in cities where the NOx level does not exceed 50 μg/m³, which she said included Frankfurt. UBA told the newspaper that the data could still change, for example when cities update their reported levels. The official European-Union-wide nitrogen dioxide limit is 40 μg/m³.

Read the article in German here and find the UBA data in German here.

Read the article Germany’s 'huge step' to solve diesel crisis leaves NGOs unconvinced and the factsheet Diesel driving bans in Germany – The Q&A for background.

dpa / YouGov

A large majority of Germans is not satisfied with the way the federal government aims to prevent diesel driving bans in inner cities, according to a survey by online pollster YouGov, commissioned by news agency dpa. About two-thirds of respondents said German Chancellor Angela Merkel is not standing up decisively enough for the interests of diesel drivers. Almost three-quarters stated that they had no confidence that the government and the car industry would agree on a compromise that could largely prevent driving bans. At the beginning of October, the German government decided on a complex and heavily criticised instrument mix to reduce emissions from diesel cars in polluted cities, which included swapping old models for new ones and retrofitting some older cars. Many respondents of the survey named air quality in cities and looming driving bans as two of the biggest issues deriving from exceeding diesel car emissions, while only a few named job losses in the auto industry.

Read the dpa article in German here.

For background, read the CLEW article Germany’s 'huge step' to solve diesel crisis leaves NGOs unconvinced.

Tagesspiegel Background / Economic Council of the CDU

The Economic Council of the CDU (CDU Wirtschaftsrat), a professional association of business actors associated with the conservative Christian Democratic Union (CDU), has come out against an official end date for coal-fired power generation in Germany, reports Jakob Schlandt in Tagesspiegel Background. In a position paper seen by Tagesspiegel, the organisation writes: “A politically forced, hasty withdrawal from coal-fired power generation as a national solo-run would [...] further increase electricity prices and endanger supply security.” The paper also warns that an “overly hasty coal exit” would significantly drive up power prices and burden energy intensive small and medium-sized companies, writes Schlandt.

Find the article (behind paywall) in German here.

Find background in the article Commission watch – Managing Germany’s coal phase-out.

The greenhouse gas reduction target set for the energy sector in Germany’s Climate Action Plan 2050 and the resulting accelerated coal exit will cut the total workforce connected to the lignite industry almost in half by 2025, according to a study by the Cologne Institute for Economic Research (IW), commissioned by the Federal German Association for Brown Coal (DEBRIV). This would not happen until after 2035, had the government not introduced the sector target, says the study. It also finds that Germany’s lignite mining regions lack alternatives for the lignite industry. “The existing structures will not be able to make a contribution within the next 10 years, either in terms of employment or value added, that can replace the current contributions of the lignite industry,” IW writes.

Read a summary in German here and the full study in German here.

For background, read the CLEW factsheet Germany’s Climate Action Plan 2050, and the factsheet Germany’s three lignite mining regions.

Reuters / German states

An abrupt end to coal-fired power generation in Germany would damage the steel industry’s competitiveness by pushing up electricity prices, the head of the country’s steel association, Hans Jürgen Kerkhoff, said at the National Steel Summit, Reuters reports. At the summit, German states that are home to steel industry agreed a strategy paper. In it they call for compensation for rising power prices due to an increase in Emission Trading System (ETS) prices and criticise national solo-runs in climate protection, which could harm the sector’s competitiveness in the international market.

Read the Reuters article in German here, the states’ strategy paper in German here.

For background, read the CLEW article Rising CO2-price could trigger German coal phase-out in 5 years.

Lumenion / Vattenfall Energy Solutions / Gewobag

Energy start-up Lumenion, Vattenfall Energy Solutions and Berlin-based housing company Gewobag have kicked off a steel storage pilot project in Germany’s capital to store excess regional wind and solar power, the companies announced in a press release. Excess power will be stored in steel plates for less than 2 cents per kilowatt hour as heat (up to 650° Celsius), which can be used directly, or converted back into electricity when needed.

Find the press release in German here and more information on technical details in German here.

For background, read the CLEW storage dossier Electricity storage is next feat for Germany’s energy transition.

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