15 Aug 2017, 00:00
Julian Wettengel

Merkel open to combustion engine ban / Onshore wind prices drop

SUPERillu / Phoenix / Clean Energy Wire

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has voiced support for the idea of banning internal combustion engine cars sometime in the future, as planned by other European countries, such as France and the UK. “I cannot name a specific date now, but the approach is right, because if we invest more in charging infrastructure and technology for e-cars fast, a general transition will structurally be possible”, she said in an interview with the German weekly magazine SUPERillu, to be published on 17 August. In a statement before the summer break, a federal government spokesperson had said that a ban on diesel or petrol cars was “currently not on the agenda”. In the interview, Merkel said that Germany would still need combustion engines for some time, but could only reach its “ambitious 2050 climate targets” if the transport sector also emitted less CO₂. She said that modern diesel cars were needed in the meantime, as they emitted less CO₂ than petrol cars.
In a televised interview with public broadcaster Phoenix, Merkel said that the German car industry had to “see the writings on the wall” regarding the future of mobility. “Otherwise, foreign companies will come one day and show how it’s done, how e-cars are made. I would like to avoid that”, she said. Asked about criticism of her absence from the first diesel summit in July, Merkel said she would attend the next meeting in autumn “as chancellor” – if she was successful in the elections. Merkel, who is leader of the Christian Democrats (CDU), also said that her party would not form a coalition with the Left Party or the Alternative for Germany (AfD) after the elections in September, explaining that “apart from that we do not run coalition campaigns”.

Find an article on the SUPERillu interview in German here and watch the Phoenix interview in German here. Find a Reuters article on the topic in English here.

For background, read the CLEW factsheet The debate over an end to combustion engines in Germany.

Federal Network Agency (BNetzA)

The average support rate for all successful bidders in Germany’s second onshore wind power auction was 4.28 eurocent per kilowatt hour (ct/kWh). “The average support rate decreased by more than a cent per kilowatt hour, compared to the first round,” said BNetzA President Jochen Homann in the press release. Ninety percent of all successful bids are citizens’ energy projects, writes the Federal Network Agency (BNetzA) in a press release. Sixty-seven of the 281 bids entered were successful, covering a total capacity of 1,013 MW, and a high number of these came from eastern Germany. Most of the successful citizens’ energy projects can be attributed to a single project developer, writes BNetzA.

Read the press release in German here.

For background, read the CLEW article Citizens’ energy projects dominate first onshore wind power auction and the CLEW dossier Onshore Wind Power in Germany.

Association of German Chambers of Commerce and Industry (DIHK)

German industry rates energy costs among the worst of all business location factors, but the results have improved since 2014, according to a survey conducted by the Association of German Chambers of Commerce and Industry (DIHK). The improvement was due to low oil and gas wholesale prices. Energy supply security received one of the best grades. Energy intensive companies gave a better overall rating to Germany’s economic policy with regard to competitiveness, which also provides proof that the German economy is doing well in the summer of 2017, writes DIHK in a paper summarising the survey results.

Find the survey results in German here.


German utilities RWE, E.ON, and EnBW should use the nuclear fuel tax refunds to prepare their companies for the future, writes Jürgen Flauger in an opinion piece for Handelsblatt. “The one-off effect comes at exactly the right moment and could help overcome the crisis.” E.ON and EnBW should invest in renewables and in digital energy assets, while RWE could use the money to make itself the leading supplier of backup capacity from coal and gas-fired power plants, writes Flauger.

For background, read the CLEW dossier Utilities and the energy transition.

Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung

According to many scientists, simply lowering emissions will not be enough to slow down global warming, and we need better technology or at least research into and discussions about ridding the atmosphere of CO₂ already emitted, writes Andreas Mihm in Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung. Wilfried Rickels of the Kiel Institute for the World Economy believes that the election programmes of Germany’s political parties suggest that the politicians are not ready to make the necessary changes. “One searches in vain for commitments to negative emissions and the related new technologies,” says Rickels.

pv magazine

Newly created SolarWorld Industries GmbH has officially taken over the production sites of insolvent German manufacturer SolarWorld AG, writes Sandra Enkhardt for pv magazine. “The new company intends to restart activities with 700 MW of annual production capacity, and to focus on PERC solar cell production and the manufacturing of bifacial glass-glass modules,” writes Enkhardt.

Read the article in English here.

For background, read the CLEW article Last major German solar cell maker surrenders to Chinese competition.

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