Greens reject coal offer in coalition talks / German lithium mining
Germany’s Green Party has rejected an offer tabled by its aspiring coalition partners to reduce the country’s coal power capacity by up to 5 gigawatt (GW), news agency Reuters reports. Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservative CDU/CSU alliance and the pro-business FDP say that Germany’s coal capacity can be reduced by a maximum of 3 to 5 GW by 2020 without threatening power supply security. The Greens, on the other hand, insist that capacity must be reduced by 8 to 10 GW to achieve a corresponding reduction in carbon emissions in line with the national 2020 climate targets. “What has been tabled is not enough”, Green Party co-leader Simone Peter said. Germany wants to reduce CO2 emissions by 40 percent by 2020 compared to 1990 levels, and reducing coal power is supposed to contribute around half to meeting this goal, Reuters writes.
Read the article in German here.
See the CLEW articles on Green climate policy concessions in coalition talks and on Germany’s rising emissions for background.
Also check CLEWS's updated factsheet on Coal in Germany.
Note: CLEW will publish an article on this topic later today.
Die Zeit Online
The expected boom in e-car production shifts Germany’s historical mining region in the Ore Mountains on the Czech-German border back into the focus of industry actors, Zacharias Zacharakis writes on Die Zeit Online. The Ore Mountains hold about 500,000 tons of lithium carbonate on the German side, enough to produce about ten million e-car batteries. “Twice as much still can be found on the Czech side”, Zacharakis says. Mining company Deutsche Lithium GmbH has recently obtained a license to mine lithium in the region that holds Europe’s biggest proven reserves, and expects the German car industry to be eager to get its hands on the mineral deposit, although there is no large-scale battery production in Europe for now. Also, industry observers say the current high lithium price may not be sustained as producers ramp up their output, and e-car production might not grow as quickly as predicted.
Read the article in German here.
See the CLEW dossier The Energiewende and German carmakers for background.
Bavarian State Ministry for the Economy & Energy
In 2016, renewable energy sources were the most important power source in the southern German state of Bavaria for the first time ever, the Bavarian State Ministry for the Economy & Energy says in a press release. With a total of 35 terawatt hours and a share of 43.3 percent in gross power generation - primarily from hydro, solar PV, and biomass plants - renewables contributed most to the electricity supply in the economic powerhouse state last year. Economy Minister Ilse Aigner said that Bavaria’s renewables buildout was “ahead of schedule”, and the aim of achieving a 70 percent share of renewable power production by 2025 was “more than halfway through”.
Read the press release in German here.
German energy utility RWE earned profits of 2.2 billion euros in the first nine months of 2017, the company announced. After record losses of 5.7 billion euros in the full year 2016, the company profited from higher prices in energy trade, and from a government pay-back of the nuclear fuel rod tax. The operating profit from RWE’s power sales, brown coal businesses, and nuclear power fell due to low wholesale electricity prices.
RWE’s green spin-off innogy registered a five percent increase in its adjusted operating result.
See the CLEW dossier Utilities and the energy transition for background.
The surplus on Germany’s green energy account started to grow again in October, and at 3.4 billion euros it far exceeds last year’s October surplus of 1.9 billion euros, reports Sandra Enkhardt for pv magazine. At the same time, German wind and solar facilities produced more electricity in October than ever before with a total of 14.6 billion kilowatt hours, writes Enkhardt. Due to high level of wind power generation during a heavy storm, wholesale power prices turned negative for some hours. During such periods, many wind park operators are not eligible to receive feed-in tariffs, writes Enkhardt.
For background, read the CLEW factsheets Balancing the books: Germany’s “green energy account” and Why power prices turn negative.
A broad alliance of trade unions, consumer, renewable, and industry associations has called on the future German government to use the federal budget to finance “at least parts of the Energiewende costs”. “We need a new financing system for the cost-efficient expansion of renewable energies that is socially fair and at the same time creates investment security for industry and paves the way to reach climate targets”, they write in a joint statement addressed to the political parties. For now, the renewables surcharge, paid by consumers with their electricity bills, is used to finance renewables expansion.
Download the statement in German here.
Find background in CLEW’s factsheet Germany ponders how to finance renewables expansion in the future.
A farmer from Peru, who has sued Germany’s major utility RWE over the effects of its decade-long greenhouse gas emissions, has achieved a stage win after a German appeal court ruled his claim was “admissible”, Deutsche Welle reports. “A court in the German town of Hamm found that Saul Luciano Lliuya's allegations that RWE's contributions to global warming were threatening his hometown of Huaraz had merit”, the article says.
Read the article in English here.
See the CLEW dossier The Energiewende and climate change for information.
In light of fears that the country will miss its 2020 climate targets by a wider margin than previously anticipated, climate protection has become a key issue in the ongoing coalition talks to form the next German government, writes Michael Bauchmüller in an opinion piece in Süddeutsche Zeitung. Germany would not have had to fear losing credibility on the international stage, for example at the current UN climate conference in Bonn, had it not set these targets for itself. With the Paris Agreement and its nationally determined contributions in place, many other countries’ governments would soon face the same fate, writes Bauchmüller.
Read the opinion piece in German here.
See CLEW’s Coalition Watch for latest developments in the ongoing talks over a new German government.