01 Aug 2018, 13:24
Kerstine Appunn Luke Sherman

Lobbying for Tesla factory/German govt weighs new tax break for e-cars

CORRECTION: The correct name of North Rhine-Westphalia's economy minister mentioned in the first News Digest item is Andreas Pinkwart. We apologise for the mistake.


The government of the federal state of North Rhine-Westphalia has expressed interest in hosting the American car company Tesla’s electric vehicle and battery production facility, Handelsblatt reports. The state’s economy minister, Andreas Pinkwart, informed the California-based company in a letter of its planned Green Battery Campus in Euskirchen, the article says. Tesla is also considering the federal states of Rhineland-Palatinate and Saarland as potential locations for its planned Gigafactory, which would produce electric cars and batteries, according to the article.

Read 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.

Süddeutsche Zeitung

To incentivise the uptake of electric vehicles, the German federal government is considering offering tax breaks to employees who use an electric company car for private purposes, the Süddeutsche Zeitung reports. According to the draft amendment to the law, the government would allow workers who opt for e-cars and plug-in hybrids to pay less each month in their so-called “non-cash benefit”. In the first half of 2018, just 17,000 electric cars were newly registered, constituting a market share of 0.9 percent, the article says. The government hopes that further incentivising e-car use will help it meet its previously-stated target of having one million electric cars on the roads by 2020. “The tax advantage for company cars with electric drive is another incentive for clean mobility and more e-vehicles on the road,” transport minister Andreas Scheuer said.

Read the article in German here.

For background, read the dossier The Energiewende and German carmakers and the article Germany’s car-loving transport minister faces clean mobility challenge.

tageszeitung (taz)

The environmental movement must fight the internal combustion engine just as hard as it does diesel, Martin Unfried, expert at the European Institute of Public Administration, writes in a commentary in the tageszeitung (taz). Unfortunately, the diesel scandal is distracting from the need to ban fossil fuel-powered cars, he writes. Germany and Europe will not be able to meet their commitments under the Paris Agreement if conventional cars are still allowed in 2030 and consequently stay on the road until the 2040s and 2050s, according to Unfried.

Read the commentary in German here.

For background, read the dossier The Energiewende and German carmakers and the factsheet “Dieselgate” – a timeline of Germany’s car emissions fraud scandal.

tageszeitung (taz)

The importation of more liquefied natural gas (LNG) from the United States would make the EU less dependent on Russia for energy, but American LNG is associated with significant environmental damage due to its extraction method, economist Claudia Kemfert said in an interview with the tageszeitung (taz). In late July, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker and U.S. President Donald Trump expressed joint interest in the United States supplying more LNG to Europe. Instead of getting embroiled in “energy wars” involving other major powers, Germany should continue with its transition to a low-carbon economy, thereby reducing its dependence on foreign sources of energy, according to Kemfert. “This will make us stronger in import negotiations and politically and economically more independent,” she said.

Read the interview in German here.

For background, read the news digest item Trump lashes out at Nord Stream 2, says Germany is “totally controlled” by Russia, the dossier The role of gas in Germany’s energy transition, and the factsheet Germany’s dependence on imported fossil fuels.

Die Welt / Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (FAZ)

Bavarian state premier Markus Söder and his ministers are planning to expand existing measures, such as building insulation, support for community climate action, and growth of renewable energies, in order to fight climate change, they announced after a cabinet meeting held on Germany’s highest mountain, the Zugspitze. They will also establish a “masterplan” to increase the carbon sink function of moors, Die Welt reports. The Bavarian government wants to stick to its target of reducing greenhouse gas emissions to less than two tonnes per inhabitant per year by 2050. The opposition Green Party in the state parliament criticised the “bundle of non-committal and inefficient intentions,” the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (FAZ) reports. The Greens called for a masterplan for climate action and a climate protection law with more ambitious CO2 reduction targets.

Read the article in Die Welt in German here and the article in FAZ here.


Although a new study has found that natural gas could replace coal as an electricity source without endangering the power supply, there are much cheaper ways to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions, Kathrin Witsch writes in a commentary in the Handelsblatt. Since natural gas is more expensive than lignite, a more cost-effective way to reduce carbon pollution would, for example, be to shift freight traffic from trucks to trains and ships, according to Witsch. Regardless of the environmental and economic benefits of shifting from coal to gas, the latter will be the most important source of energy in Germany after 2030, Witsch writes.

Read the commentary in German here.

For background, read the dossiers on Cargo Transport and The role of gas in Germany’s energy transition and the factsheets Germany’s dependence on imported fossil fuels and Coal in Germany.

Clean Energy Wire

The federal government has today paved the way for implementing changes to the European Emissions Trading System (EU ETS). The modifications will take effect in 2021. Chancellor Angela Merkel’s cabinet has decided on a draft law – which will have to be voted on in parliament before being passed into law – on the 2018 EU directive on emissions trading that will see a reduction in the overall budget of emissions allowances and reinforcement of the market stability reserve (for details see here). Germany will also implement the new option of cancelling emission allowances in the event of additional power plant retirements.

Read the environment ministry press release in German here.

Find a CLEW factsheet on the general workings of the EU ETS here.

All texts created by the Clean Energy Wire are available under a “Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Licence (CC BY 4.0)” . They can be copied, shared and made publicly accessible by users so long as they give appropriate credit, provide a link to the license, and indicate if changes were made.
« previous news next news »


Researching a story? Drop CLEW a line or give us a call for background material and contacts.

+49 30 62858 497

Journalism for the energy transition

Get our Newsletter
Join our Network
Find an interviewee