Lignite plants still lead top polluters / Mercury poisons fish
“Top 10 European polluters still dominated by German lignite”
“Four out of five of the biggest polluters in Europe are still German lignite plants,” reports UK-based sandbag. The not-for-profit group analysed new data released by the European Commission and concludes that German lignite generation is still running at almost full capacity for most hours because of increasing exports. Total German lignite still accounted for nine percent of all EU Emissions Trading System emissions. Dave Jones, analyst at sandbag, calls for these lignite plants to be closed “sooner rather than later. This will ensure that Germany’s Energiewende makes good on its incredible renewables growth”.
Read the sandbag article in English here.
Find an article by Süddeutsche Zeitung in German here.
Find the European Commission data for 2015 emissions here.
Die Welt / NABU
“Fish from North Rhine-Westphalia heavily polluted by mercury”
Industrial plants are responsible for the pollution of almost all fish in the German state of North Rhine-Westphalia by the heavy metal mercury, according to Die Welt. Coal-fired power plants are the biggest contributor to the state’s mercury pollution with 75 percent. Current legal limits are being met but “fish stands as the best indicator for long-term risks, as the toxic heavy metal reaches humans mainly by way of food”. Higher EU standards are planned but will not be introduced until 2020. The state’s environment minister Johannes Remmel criticises the hesitant introduction of filter systems: “The technology is there, it is developed here, but used abroad.”
Read the article in German here.
Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung
“New start for the construction of electricity highway”
The decision last year to lay underground lines to avoid pylons for the north-south power line project Suedlink will make completion in 2022 unlikely, writes Ralf Euler in Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung. Suedlink is regarded as necessary to transport wind energy from Germany’s north to the industrial south when the last nuclear power plant goes off the grid that year. The decision to go underground came after heavy protests by civil society and the government of Bavaria last year. Grid operator TenneT now speaks of a complete reset of planning. German economics minister Sigmar Gabriel fears additional costs of several billions of euros.
Read the article in German here.
Find a CLEW dossier on Germany’s power grid here.
“Steel crisis turns up heat on energy subsidies”
Germany has handed over 40 times more in energy subsidies to heavy industry since 2013 than the UK, writes Kiran Stacey in the Financial Times. The government in Berlin granted subsidies worth over nine billion euros to its most intensive energy users, compared to 160 million pounds in the UK, which highlights one reason why British steelmakers are in such trouble, according to Stacey. Tata announced last week it wanted to pull out of the UK, putting 15,000 jobs at risk, writes Stacey.
Read the article in English here.
Find the CLEW factsheet “Industrial power prices and the Energiewende” here.
“We’re following Germany to an energy disaster”
The example of Germany shows where a policy of decarbonisation is leading the UK, writes Christopher Booker in a commentary for The Telegraph. He says the German energy policy has increased electricity costs to the point where hundreds of thousands of customers cannot afford to pay their bills and many of Germany’s top manufacturing firms are moving facilities abroad.
Find the commentary in English here.
Read the CLEW factsheet “What business thinks of the energy transition” here.
Find the CLEW factsheet "What German households pay for power" here.
Read the CLEW article "Welfare groups urge power cost relief for German poor" here.
“Stagecoach 2016 – ‘Our answer to Tesla’”
The German Post will start production of an electric delivery vehicle this year, reports Focus magazine. Some 2,000 “Streetscooters” will be produced in 2016, but the company hopes to eventually use 30,000 of the vehicles. The Post plans to market the vehicles to other companies in the longer term. Post manager Jürgen Gerdes said that while Tesla can build first-class cars for private customers, the Post could build “aggressively priced tools for business clients”. He told the magazine the electric vans are not more expensive than conventional vehicles.
Find a shortened version of the article in German here.
“Many promises made, but few kept”
The equipment of German motorway service stations with fast-charging stations for e-cars is making slow progress, reports Der Spiegel magazine. Less than 5% of Germany’s total of about 430 feature the infrastructure.
“Who will repair it?”
In the debate about e-mobility, little attention has been paid to insufficient knowledge and qualifications in garages, reports Süddeutsche Zeitung. A survey by the Technical Control Board (TÜV) has shown that more than 80% of technicians have no experience with electric cars or hybrids, and most garages are in no hurry to qualify their technicians.