Heating systems in Germany will have to change substantially by 2030 if the country is to reach its climate targets for 2050, according to a study commissioned by energy think-tank Agora Energiewende*. While the share of natural gas used for heating will remain broadly unchanged until 2030, higher efficiency will have to cut heat demand by a quarter, and most heating systems relying on oil will have to be decommissioned.
“There is hardly any space left for heating oil in a climate-friendly and cost-efficient 2030 heat system. In contrast, heat pumps will become a central pillar - they will have to supply around 20 times as much heat as today,” according to an Agora press release. The study by Fraunhofer institutes IWES and IBP, with support from Fraunhofer ISE, the Institute for Applied Ecology and Prognos also argues that current building insulation and heat pump installation rates are insufficient to reach these targets, and that the share of renewable energy will have to reach 60 percent in 2030, five years earlier than current government plans.
Find the press release and the study in German here.
For background, read the CLEW dossier The Energiewende and Efficiency.
*Like the Clean Energy Wire, Agora Energiewende is a project funded by Stiftung Mercator and the European Climate Foundation.
Federal Ministry of Transport
The European Commission has given Germany’s plans to expand its charging infrastructure for alternative engines the green light, the Federal Ministry of Transport (BMVI) says in a press release. “We will give car users the confidence that they can recharge their vehicles any time and any where,” transport minister Alexander Dobrindt said, adding that Germany would invest an additional 300 million euros in building around 15,000 charging stations across the country. Cities and private investors can apply for support to build a charging station so long as it’s powered by renewable energy sources, the press release said.
Find the press release in German here.
For background, read the CLEW dossier The energy transition and Germany’s transport sector.
After Germany’s parliamentary elections in September, the new government should create a capacity market and push the integration of transport and heating into the power market, according to Innogy CEO Peter Terium. “With this capacity market, we keep power stations on the grid that are urgently needed for a secure power supply in Germany. This is not about new subsidies but a market-based addition to the energy market,” Terium told Osnabrücker Zeitung. He also said taxes and levies on electricity were double those on gas and oil, putting a break on the expansion of renewables in heating and transport, and slowing efforts to reduce CO2 emissions.
Read the interview in German here.
For background on the role of energy policy in the election year, read the CLEW dossier Vote2017 – German elections and the Energiewende.
The lignite industry is central to the local economy in the Lusatian town of Boxberg, reports Carla Mattern in regional newspaper Sächsische Zeitung. Of its population of around 4,750, 1,882 are employed in the town’s large lignite power station or its open-cast mine, earning more than 90 million euros in total, according to the report. Mayor Achim Junker said Energiewende policies had created great uncertainties for business, adding that these figures must form the basis of any future compensation measures for a lignite phase-out.
Despite a somewhat successful shift to more renewable sources in the power sector, Germany’s energy transition is making little to zero progress in the transportation and heating sectors, Joachim Wille writes for Frankfurter Rundschau. “The gradual nuclear phase-out and the rapid green energy expansion have been a herculean task but were possible without a real change of systems,” Wille writes. The Energiewende is now entering “the second, and far more difficult stage,” he says. Wille writes that covering transport and heating with renewable power (termed sector coupling) will double the country’s power demand, requiring increased energy efficiency and an end to “cherry picking” - meaning people will have to accept changes to their everyday lives if they truly want Energiewende to happen.
For background, see the CLEW dossier The Energiewende and efficiency.
Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung
Unlike many companies in the German automotive industry, component manufacturer Schaeffler regards the anticipated shift to e-mobility as a major growth opportunity rather than a threat, Henning Peitsmeier writes for Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung. Greater use of hybrid cars in particular could boost the company’s profits, as Schaeffler’s value creation climbs from 50 to 500 euros for a combustion engine to 200 to 1,000 euros for hybrids, “depending on whether Schaeffler merely delivers components or entire systems,” Peitsmeier explains. According to Schaeffler’s CEO Klaus Rosenfeld, the Chinese government’s “consistent technology strategy” for more investment in e-mobility could turn out to be a boon for the supplier.
For more information, read the CLEW dossier The Energiewende and German carmakers.
Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung
Fog and low wind impacted Germany's renewable energy supply in January, meaning conventional power plants had to ramp up production, Andreas Mihm writes in Frankfurter Zeitung. “Many wind and PV plants could not produce any power,” Mihm explains. This was seen in the monthly billing of the country’s eco-power subsidies account, he writes. In the first month of 2017, 1.54 billion euros were paid to operators of wind, PV and bioenergy plants – “200 million less than last year,” Mihm writes.
For more information, see the CLEW factsheet How can Germany keep the lights on in a renewable energy future?.
Reiner Lemoine Institut
East Germany could produce more energy from renewable sources than it uses, but the region’s full potential remains untapped, the Reiner Lemoine Institut research organisation says in a press release. Wind energy production in particular could still be expanded in the country's less densely populated eastern states, the institute explains. If the full benefits of sector coupling (using renewable power to cover heating and transport) were reaped in the east, renewable power production would not have to be capped during days of high output, the researchers said. Project leader Elisa Gaudchau said sector coupling still faces considerable legal hurdles that ought to be removed “to pave the way for this important technology.”
Read the press release in German here.
Randomly selected citizens have been invited to participate in talks over finding a final repository for Germany’s nuclear waste, Dagmar Dehmer reports for Der Tagesspiegel. Anti-nuclear activists from the country’s controversial nuclear waste disposal facility in Gorleben criticised the random selection, saying it was aimed at excluding outspoken opponents from the decision process, Dehmer writes. In its final report, a government-appointed commission set up to help find a safe final repository last year recommended broad citizen participation to ensure acceptance of the repository, which could be located anywhere in the country.
Read the article in German here.
For further information, see the CLEW factsheet What to do with the nuclear waste – the storage question.