24 Jul 2018, 14:31
Kerstine Appunn Luke Sherman

Large share of coal workers to retire / Govt energy policy "unclear"

Clean Energy Wire

Two-thirds of employees in the German lignite sector are older than 45 years (2015 data), according to a report published by the Institute for Applied Ecology (Ökoinstitut) for the Federal Environment Agency (UBA). Therefore, 63 percent of the employees will retire by 2030. This means that compulsory redundancies among the existing workforce can largely be avoided if coal power generation is reduced in accordance with Germany's 2030 climate target, the researchers say.  Their analysis shows that future support for lignite mining regions must focus on establishing new, future-proof sectors and companies, since there will not be any new jobs in the lignite industry before 2030, the researchers conclude.

Find the report in German here.

The Globe and Mail

The decision taken by the newly-elected government of Ontario to cancel a German-owned wind energy project’s contract is unsettling to foreign investors, The Globe and Mail newspaper reported Berlin’s ambassador to Canada, Sabine Sparwasser, as saying. The province’s ruling Progressive Conservatives announced the cancellation of the wind project in early July and subsequently introduced legislation to both allow for its termination and limit the compensation the German company, Bremen-based wpd AG, can seek from the province, the article says. “Obviously, every incoming government has the right to change policy direction. But to have a unilateral cancellation pushed through by law that way is unsettling for the company, but is also something that will unsettle other potential investors,” the ambassador said.

Read the article in English here.

Tagesspiegel Background

The German federal government’s uncertainty about how to achieve a 65 percent share of renewable energy by 2030 “speaks for itself,” said Sandra Weeser, head of the Free Democratic Party (FDP) faction on the federal parliament’s (Budestag) Committee on Economic Affairs and Energy, reports the Tagesspiegel Background. Her criticism follows the economy ministry’s response to her party’s inquiry on how the government defines “network synchronisation,” a term that appears in the ruling parties’ coalition agreement. In that agreement, the CDU, the CSU, and the SPD pledged to hold additional auctions for renewable energies, taking into account the capacity of the electricity networks, but these special tenders have not yet been planned. “The response of the federal government shows once again their energy policy’s lack of clarity. In the coalition agreement, the CDU/CSU and the SPD speak of the capacity of relevant networks to absorb more power as a prerequisite for special tenders without being able to define these terms at all,” Weeser said.

Find the Tagesspiegel Background article in German here (behind paywall).

For background, read the factsheet Climate, energy and transport in Germany’s coalition treaty and the dossier The new German government and the energy transition.


The government should invest in Germany’s power infrastructure so as to achieve energy independence through renewables, Dave Keating writes in a commentary in Forbes. The share of renewables in power generation has risen substantially over the years, but recent growth has been lagging due to delayed decisions on expansion and upgrading of the country’s energy infrastructure, according to Keating. As Germany winds down its coal and nuclear plants, increasing renewables deployment would reduce the need for new natural gas pipelines to Russia, he writes.

Read the commentary in English here.

For background, read the dossiers The role of gas in Germany’s energy transition and The energy transition and Germany’s power grid.

Deutsche Bundesbank / Spiegel Online

China’s interest in higher-value exports could put German exporters “under increased competitive pressure,” the Deutsche Bundesbank says in a new monthly report. The publication’s authors expect German manufacturers to face strong competition from China in the field of electric cars in particular, according to an article in Spiegel Online. China’s “Made in China 2025” strategy threatens Germany in the domains it has long dominated, such as automobiles, the Spiegel Online article says.

Read the report in German here and the article in German here.

For background, read the dossier The Energiewende and German carmakers and the article Chinese-German battery cell deal key step for mobility transition.

Manager Magazin

The German automotive industry is becoming increasingly dependent on a small number of foreign manufacturers for batteries, which are necessary components for electric cars, Wolfgang Bernhart from the consultancy Roland Berger said in an interview with Manager Magazin. Since there are so few battery cell providers, German car companies will not be able to keep prices for the components as low as they have in previous orders, according to Bernhart. Although the automakers currently have substantial leverage, “it appears that in the long term, the cell manufacturers will have the upper hand,” Bernhart said.

Read the interview in German here.

For background, read the dossier The Energiewende and German carmakers and the article Chinese-German battery cell deal key step for mobility transition.

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