16 May 2017, 00:00
Sören Amelang Benjamin Wehrmann Julian Wettengel

Merkel: Will likely miss e-car target / CDU, SPD reject fast coal exit


Germany will probably miss its target of bringing one million electric cars on to the roads by 2020, according to Chancellor Angela Merkel. “As it looks at the moment, we will not achieve this goal,” Merkel told fellow lawmakers, reports Michael Nienaber for Reuters. She added, however, that a mass market breakthrough of battery-powered cars could come very abruptly, as was the case with other innovations such as smartphones.

Read the Reuters report in English here.

Find background in the CLEW dossier The Energiewende and German carmakers.

Clean Energy Wire

Energy experts of Germany’s grand coalition of conservatives (CDU/CSU) and Social Democrats (SPD) have rebuffed the Green Party’s plans for an accelerated coal exit. “We cannot phase out both nuclear and coal-fired power production within 15 or 20 years,” conservative Thomas Bareiß said at a party debate hosted by utilities RWE and innogy. Bareiß argued that exiting coal “with a sledgehammer-approach” would “massively damage” Germany’s industrial capacity and undermine the “basis of our prosperity”. The SPD’s Bernd Westphal said his party would put “no signature” under a hypothetical coalition treaty with the Greens that included an accelerated coal exit. Westphal said the energy transition affected “a very diverse array of interests” and limiting debate to climate protection was “wrong”. The Green Party’s Julia Verlinden said accelerating Germany’s coal exit was “a red line” for her party as “there is simply no other way to meet our climate goals”. She rejected the other parties’ insistence on a market-based approach for exiting coal as “there is no market because carbon emission costs are not internalised”. Verlinden added that a coal exit was inevitable and taking action now would “increase our flexibility and allow for better adaptation” by affected industries. In their draft election programme, the Greens envisage a coal exit by 2030.

See the CLEW factsheet When will Germany finally ditch coal? for background.

Frankfurter Rundschau

The results of the state elections in North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW) and Schleswig-Holstein impede the energy transition in both states, as “coal friends and wind power opponents dominate”, writes Joachim Wille in an article for Frankfurter Rundschau. The winning Christian Democratic Union (CDU) in NRW “is on a pro-coal track”, much like its likely coalition partner Free Democrats (FDP). The Schleswig-Holstein CDU wants to slow down the state’s Energiewende, writes Wille.

Read the article in German here.

See the CLEW factsheet Facts on the German state elections in North Rhine-Westphalia, articles Coal exit: elephant in the room at vote in German industry heartland and Wind power course at stake in election in "cradle of Energiewende" for background.

Federal Network Agency (BNetzA) / E-Control

German and Austrian energy regulators have agreed to cap peaks in the exchange of power from October 2018 to reflect lagging grid development between the two countries, announced Federal Network Agency (BNetzA) and E-Control in separate press releases. "We expect the congestion management scheme to provide noticeable relief in the context of re-dispatch actions,” said Jochen Homann, president of BNetzA. This would bring down costs for German power consumers. In the future, up to 4,900 megawatts can be allocated as long-term capacity. This was equivalent to about half of Austrian consumption in peak periods, said E-Control. Action became necessary in the common power price zone because Austrian electricity consumers often bought more power from German providers than the grid could transport, according to the German economy ministry. This led to costly re-dispatch measures to deal with the congestion. The agreement followed months of negotiations after BNetzA had announced last year that it would split the common price zone.

Find the BNetzA press release in English here and E-Control’s press release in English here.

For background read the CLEW articles Loop flows: Why is wind power from northern Germany putting east European grids under pressure? and Europe's largest electricity market set to split.

Federal Network Agency / BMWi

Almost all bids from Germany’s first round of auctions for ground-mounted solar PV projects – which was carried-out in 2015 – have successfully been realised and will receive support, writes Federal Network Agency (BNetzA) in a press release. “The result is outstanding. Ninety-six percent of projects that were successful in the first auction in 2015, are now in operation,” said state secretary in the economy ministry (BMWi) Rainer Baake in a separate press release. Only one of the 25 projects was not realised, triggering a mandatory penalty payment.

Read the BNetzA press release in German here and the BMWi press release in German here.

RWE / Clean Energy Wire

Most people in Germany doubt that the country’s energy transition can be pursued according to plans and without greater difficulties, according to a representative survey that utility RWE presented at a debate meeting in Berlin. A majority of 69 percent of those surveyed said they did not expect the Energiewende to run smoothly, whereas 28 percent said they were optimistic the project could be carried out as planned. The survey, commissioned by RWE, also said affordability and supply security were by far the chief concerns in energy transition, while energy autonomy and renewables expansion ranked significantly lower. At the same time, most respondents said the Green Party had the greatest energy policy expertise at 26 percent, followed by the conservative union of CDU/CSU with 22 percent, and the SPD with 8 percent. Forty percent of respondents said no party boasted major expertise in the field.

See the CLEW factsheet Polls reveal citizens’ support for Energiewende for more information.


German utility RWE’s stock price rose to a 10-month high as the company announced its first quarter results and confirmed the 2017 outlook, reports Tino Andresen for Bloomberg. “We got off to a good start this year and confirm our optimistic outlook as well as the envisaged dividend of 50 euro cents for 2017,” said RWE CFO Markus Krebber in a press release. RWE’s lignite and nuclear segment suffered from low wholesale power prices, RWE said.

Read the article in English here and the RWE press release in English here.


Tesla will do in three years what Porsche took a decade to do, Evercore ISI analyst George Galliers said in a research note, reports CNBC. Following the buildout of the Model 3, Tesla had the potential to achieve sustainable gross margins comparable to those of high-end German auto brands, while growing more like a rapidly advancing Chinese automaker, he said according to CNBC.

Find the article in English here.

For background read the CLEW dossier The Energiewende and German carmakers.

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