Germany’s Energiewende – the country’s double shift to a low-carbon and nuclear-free economy – yielded mixed results in the past year, according to an analysis by energy think tank Agora Energiewende.* Thanks to a partial switch from coal to gas and a continued rise in the share of renewables, the power sector of the world’s fourth-largest economy became more climate-friendly for the third year running. But because of “scarce evidence of climate protection in the industrial, heating, and transportation sectors”, the country’s total emissions grew, putting 2020 climate targets further out of reach. For more information, read the CLEW article Little headway in 2016 for Germany’s energy transition – think tank.
Find the report in German here.
*Like Clean Energy Wire CLEW, Agora Energiewende is a project funded by Stiftung Mercator and the European Climate Foundation.
Euro 6 diesel cars on average emit more than double the amount of NOx as modern trucks or buses, according to emissions data from Germany and Finland examined by the International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT). “The average NOx emissions of the testing data from the 24 heavy-duty vehicles […] was 210 mg/km, less than half the average NOx emissions from Euro 6 cars (480–560 mg/km) found by both independent measurements and Member State testing,” writes the ICCT. Until Real Driving Emissions (RDE) testing is introduced in the EU later this year, “high excess in-use NOx emissions from diesel cars are likely to continue”, according to the report.
Find more background in the CLEW dossier The Energiewende and German carmakers.
YouGov / CAM / WirtschaftsWoche
Almost two-thirds of German car-buyers surveyed consider electric vehicles to be a transport option of the future, but almost half said it was unlikely they would buy one in the next four years, according to research by YouGov and the Center of Automotive Management (CAM). Almost nine out of 10 respondents out of 3,000 surveyed said price and limited range are the biggest disadvantages, the report said. The research found that Tesla was a highly recognised electric-car brand even though its sales barely register so far, a communications problem that the German car industry must confront, Markus Braun, YouGov’s head of business unit reports, tells German weekly WirtschaftsWoche.
Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung
The right-wing party Alternative for Germany (AfD) is becoming an outlet for the anger of former lignite workers that lost their jobs when East German power plants and open-pit mines were shut down after German reunification in 1990, writes Stefan Locke in Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung. Many former workers are now dealing with reduced pension payments due to political decisions made in the 1990s and might choose to vote for the AfD. Contrary to West German mining, which underwent decades-long transition solutions, former East German miners were hit by a “kind of turbo capitalism of the post-reunification period”, according to Petra Köpping, state minister for equality and integration in the federal state of Saxony.
For background read the CLEW dossier The energy transition's effect on jobs and business.
German-American energy storage company Younicos says it landed contracts during 2016 to build systems able to hold 75 megawatts (MW) of electricity, which if completed would mean a 60 percent increase in systems either installed or under construction. The battery storage industry is being embraced by commercial and industrial clients and moving beyond just grid-scale use, CEO Stephen L. Prince said in a press release. As solar PV costs fall and self-consumption increases, grid charges will increase, further strengthening the basis for businesses to buy their own storage systems, said the head of the company, which is based in Berlin and Austin, Texas.
Read the press release in English here.
The battered German makers of solar power panels are looking to 2017 for a change of fortunes as they anticipate more homeowners and businesses installing rooftop systems paired with battery storage, Milena Merten reports in Handelsblatt. Rooftop solar power is often only half as expensive as power from electricity suppliers, and the number of newly installed panels could grow noticeably again in 2017 for the first time in five years, said Carsten Körnig, CEO of the German Solar Industry Association (BSW). With consulting firm PWC forecasting an increase in household power prices to around 34 cents per kilowatt hour by 2020, demand for solar systems paired with storage cells will rise in 2017, Carsten Bovenschen, managing director of Photovoltaics Systems Manufacturer Solarwatt, told Handelsblatt.
Read the article in German here.
The Federal Environment Agency’s (UBA) proposal to raise the reduced VAT on animal products has no chance of enforcement due to widespread opposition, but is principally a reasonable means for climate protection, writes Georg Ehring in an opinion piece for Deutschlandfunk. “There should not be special discounts for products whose excessive consumption harm the climate,” writes Ehring. “But an election year is probably not the best moment to implement such ideas.”
Read the opinion piece in German here.
Grid operator 50Hertz registered a record wind power feed-in of more than 14,000 megawatt in its control area during a storm on 4 January, the company announced in a press release. “We have been successful in securely managing our transmission grid even during extreme weather situations like the storm Axel,” said Dirk Biermann of 50 Hertz. To keep the grid stable, 50Hertz had to temporarily shut down wind turbines with a total capacity of 1,500 megawatt.
Read the press release in German here.
Find background in the factsheet Re-dispatch costs in the German power grid.
It is unclear why four German wind power facilities were severely damaged during storms in the past month, writes Jens Blankennagel in Berliner Zeitung. “We are also still trying to figure out the reason in the individual cases and can’t explain the unusual accumulation,” Johannes Müller of German Wind Energy Association (BWE) told the newspaper. Such accidents are rare: On average, only three to four of the country’s more than 26,000 turbines are severely damaged every year, according to Müller.
Read the article in German here.