“German citizens against coal”
A survey by green energy supplier LichtBlick and environmental organisation WWF, coinciding with the launch of a new coal-fired power station in Hamburg Moorburg this weekend, shows that 67 percent of people in Germany approve of phasing-out coal. 48 percent support a medium-term departure from coal and would only like to see the biggest polluters taken offline in a first step while 19 percent want to see all coal power stations shut down quickly. 21 percent believe that coal power will be necessary in the future to ensure a stable power supply. The results were delivered by a representative YouGov survey asking 1000 participants from the whole of Germany. Two thirds of participants oppose new lignite mines and 18 percent called for an immediate end to lignite mining in Germany.
See the press-release in German here.
“We are living on the sunny side”
In an interview with Der Tagesspiegel, Germany’s development minister, Gerd Müller, said that at the G7 summit in Germany this June, the government wants countries attending to agree on a set pathway for achieving climate protection promises. “If the G7 states invest in an energy transition in Africa, Germany’s economy could profit enormously. We have a lot to offer in this field of technology,” he said.
Read the interview in German here.
AFP / Reuters
Set-back for tax break for building insulation
The disagreement between the federal government in Berlin and representatives from Bavaria about the design of a tax bonus for building insulation triggered much criticism from politicians, industry and consumer groups, AFP and Reuters report. The renovation programme would give tax credits to people who invest in building insulation, starting in early 2015 . It is part of the government’s National Action Programme for Energy Efficiency (NAPE). After generally agreeing to the insulation programme in December, Bavaria now opposes plans to compensate the states’ loss of tax revenue through the write-offs, by cutting a current tax credit allowed for hiring skilled craftspeople like electricians, plumbers or carpenters (Handwerkerbonus). Thomas Oppermann, head of the Social Democrats (SPD) in parliament who are part of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s ruling coalition, called Bavaria’s continued blockade of the Energiewende “annoying.” The Federation of German Industries (BDI) said the government’s failure to implement the new regulation was a set-back for the Energiewende. The Association of Energy and Water Industries (BDEW) said that other insulation programmes, like cheap loans from state-owned KfW bank were not a suitable substitute for the planned tax credit. The Federation of German Consumer Organisations (VZBV) called the incident “foul play against climate protection and consumers.” AFP cited Gerda Hasselfeldt, from Bavaria’s ruling Christian Social Union (CSU), as saying that Bavaria was still interested in going through with the project, but without touching the tax credit for tradespeople.
In an analysis for the Süddeutsche Zeitung, Marc Beise writes that Germany’s energy transition cannot succeed if the insulation of existing houses and flats is abandoned. Angela Merkel’s grand coalition in Berlin is gambling with the people’s trust if long-announced tax breaks for renovation works were delayed further. Many house owners have already postponed their renovation plans, Beise says. Giving tax write-offs for making German houses more energy efficient is ecologically sensible, she says, whereas current tax breaks for hiring small craftspeople to make repairs or installations only benefit craftspeople who can bill more if their client can claim some of it back against taxes.
Read the op-ed in German here.
“Financing the energy transition: IASS publishes proposal for renewables fund”
Renewable energy technologies and the expansion of renewables capacity in Germany are currently financed by power consumers. In a study for the Institute for Advanced Sustainability Studies (IASS), Klaus Töpfer and Patrick Matschoss argue that the energy transition needs a broader financing basis. Renewables technology development should therefore be funded separately from a Renewable Energy Fund (EEG-Fonds). They calculated that subtracting costs for technology development for photovoltaics and offshore wind turbines from the EEG-surcharge (the current instrument to finance renewables via power bills) and transferring them into the EEG fund would help to lower the EEG-surcharge. This would increase the acceptance of renewable energies in Germany and help communicate the energy transition abroad, the authors write.
Download the study in German here.