In the media: Lower efficiency standards amid refugee crisis?
Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung
“Worried about the climate”
The very hot and dry summer of 2015 was a sign of climate change, 46 percent of Germans believe. In contrast, 40 percent told pollster Institut für Demoskopie Allensbach that they believe the high temperatures were a normal weather phenomenon.
“More refugees, less climate protection?”
German environmental associations DUH and BEE are warning against lowering efficiency standards for new buildings because of the sudden need for homes in Germany amid the refugee crisis, Fritz Vorholz writes in Zeit online. Their concerns come after the federal association of the German housing and real estate companies (GDW) demanded lower efficiency requirements for newly-built houses. Chancellor Angela Merkel has called for “more flexibility” in order to cope with the high number of asylum seekers reaching Germany. The environmental associations say that if the efficiency standard is lowered now, Germany’s primary energy consumption will be one-fourth higher in 2020 than under current rules.
Read the article in German here.
Read a Dossier about Efficiency here.
In order to speed up the energy transition and the grid expansion, the government has opted to bury former overland power cables because this would trigger less concerns and opposition from citizens, write Markus Balser and Michael Bauchmüller in the Süddeutsche Zeitung. But this means that grid operators have to redo a lot of their planning, having lost three years to the obsolete plans for overland networks. The grid operators suggest a faster planning procedure. Meanwhile, citizen protest groups are already sending the first complaints about the buried cables.
“Diesel cars: Volkswagen admits emissions manipulation in the US”
German car manufacturer Volkswagen (VW) has admitted using a so-called “defeat device” that manipulated exhaust emissions during driving and lab tests in almost 500,000 diesel cars sold in the US between 2009 and 2015, Spiegel Online reports. This resulted in emissions being below limits in the lab and above them on the road. Bärbel Höhn, Member of Parliament for the Green Party, said her party wanted to find out whether similar manipulation had taken place in Germany.
Read the article in German here.
Read a Bloomberg report in English here.
Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (FAZ)
“Steep learning curve in the offshore wind business”
Utility EnBW will today (Monday) officially open its new offshore wind park Baltic 2 in the Baltic sea, the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung reports. The plant consists of 80 wind turbines that will produce power for 340,000 households. EnBW wants to earn 700 million euros by 2020 with renewable energies. The construction of Baltic 2 has cost 1.5 billion euros, the article says. EnBW hopes to have amortised the investment in 15 to 16 years. EnBW portfolio manager Dirk Güsewell told the FAZ that with every wind park it builds, the utility gained a lot of experience, which was reducing the project’s risk.
taz – die Tageszeitung
“The fear of the calm after the storm”
The years 2014 and 2015 have been very good for the German wind industry, with 4,000 to 4,500 megawatt onshore capacity added by the end of 2015 alone, Bernward Janzing reports in the taz. Business is also booming around the world but the sector in Germany has to adapt to technical challenges and policy changes. When the best areas for wind turbines are all taken, the hardware has to be adapted to less-favourable locations. The wind energy sector is also unsettled by the announced switch in 2017 from feed-in tariffs determined by the state to an auction system, Janzing writes.
Carbon Pulse / Ministry for Environment
“EU nations agree mandate for Paris global climate talks”
The European Union’s environment ministers have agreed their negotiation position for the UN Climate Conference in Paris. The ministers agreed to push for a collective emission peak of all countries in 2020 and to reduce emissions by 50 percent under 1990 levels by 2050, reports Carbon Pulse. A Paris deal should also include a “stock take” of national efforts every five years to make sure that they can be increased if necessary. Germany’s minister for the environment, Barbara Hendricks, said that the mandate was ambitious and would help the European Union to take a pioneering role in the Paris negotiations. Greenpeace criticised the agreement as weak.
Read the article in English here.
Read the ministry press release in German here.
“Too little for the climate target”
The Europeans want to push for a dynamic agreement – this is new, writes Joachim Wille in an opinion piece for the Frankfurter Rundschau. But it is entirely open as to whether other governments will follow this idea. The EU target of cutting CO2 emissions by 40 percent in 2030 compared to 1990 is – compared to the plans of other main emitters the US, Australia and Japan – ambitious but it is not enough. And the EU ministers have failed to adapt their own emissions targets before Paris, Wille says.