A week after Daimler and Porsche hometown Stuttgart said it would impose a diesel ban to improve local air quality, a court has told BMW hometown Munich to also prepare a concept for such a measure. The city and the state of Bavaria, of which it is the capital, have to table a workable concept by year’s end, according to the court’s ruling. But the judges’ ruling did not say that Munich must impose the bans because it remains uncertain whether driving bans are compatible with current road traffic regulations.
Read the article in German here.
Find first reactions to the driving ban in last week’s news digest.
A new 300 million euro government subsidy programme designed to promote electric car charging stations in Germany is bearing fruit, according to Handelsblatt. Several utilities are preparing to install several thousand charging stations, whose number could more than double from last summer’s 6,500 within a few months, the newspaper has learned. “Now expansion of the infrastructure is finally gaining momentum,” writes Jürgen Flauger in a commentary.
For background, read the CLEW dossier The Energiewende and German carmakers.
Transport Ministry (BMVI)
Germany’s transport ministry aims to spend an additional 250 million euros until 2019 to kick-start the market for hydrogen and fuel cells in the transport sector. Fuel cell vehicles in public transport and company fleets are the focus of the new programme, which aims to make technically mature products competitive.
Find the ministry’s press release in German here.
For background, read the CLEW factsheet The role of biofuel and hydrogen in Germany's transport Energiewende.
Federal Ministry for the Environment
Germany’s environment minister Barbara Hendricks says the EU environment council’s proposal for a reform of the Union’s emissions trading system (ETS) is a success for climate protection and the industry alike. In a press release by the environment ministry (BMUB), she said the reform would soon “put an end to dramatic certificate-surpluses” while at the same time “protect Europe’s industry from unfair competition” and thus prevent it from migrating to regions with lower environmental standards. But “nothing has been decided yet,” the BMUB adds, pointing out that the European Parliament still has to debate the reform.
Read the press release in German here.
For more information, see the CLEW dossier Germany’s energy transition in the European context.
The EU’s proposed emissions trading system (ETS) reform spells 20 lost years for climate protection, Michael Bauchmüller writes in an opinion piece for Süddeutsche Zeitung. According to the proposal, certificates would be put in a “reserve” from 2019 and could be erased for good from 2024, Bauchmüller explains. The scarcity of pollution rights that was intended when the ETS was introduced in 2005 could now be achieved 20 years late, he writes. “Market forces alone won’t lead Europeans the way to the clean future they committed themselves to in the Paris Agreement,” Bauchmüller says, arguing that the time has come for Europe to decide on a fixed carbon price.
Read the commentary in German here.
For background, see the CLEW factsheet Understanding the ETS.
Germany risks missing its climate targets in the building sector “unless something drastic is done,” Joachim Wille writes in Frankfurter Rundschau. An energy-efficient upgrading of the country’s building stock on average could increase energy savings by up to 90 percent, Wille writes with reference to a study by the German Energy Agency (dena). “But unfortunately: Theory is one thing, but implementation is what counts,” he writes. The upgrade rate of less than one percent annually is far too low and measures are often only half-hearted, Wille says. Instead of stoically focussing on thermal insulation of buildings, the government should instead push the heating supply’s shift to more renewable energies, he argues.
For background, see the CLEW factsheet Combined heat and power – an Energiewende cornerstone?
Deutsche Umwelthilfe / Naturstrom AG / Deutsche WindGuard
The use of coal-fired power production and other fossil energy sources has to be quickly reduced in Germany in order to keep aging wind turbines cost-efficient, environmental organisation Deutsche Umwelthilfe (DUH), green energy provider Naturstrom AG and consultancy Deutsche WindGuard said in a joint press release. Thousands of wind turbines will lose eligibility for guaranteed feed-in tariffs in one swoop by 2021 due to their age, threatening to “set back the Energiewende by years” if taken off the grid due to their decreased profitability, according to Oliver Hummel of Naturstrom AG. Reducing “fossil overcapacities” would at once lower CO2-emissions and help revalue power prices, which currently “are insufficient for any power plant – regardless of its technology,” Hummel said. Since replacing decommissioned old wind turbines could take years, the DUH says Germany’s next government will have to speed up the country’s coal exit.
Read the press release in German here.
For background, see the CLEW dossier The Reform of the Renewable Energy Act.
Russia continues to use energy – and specifically natural gas company Gazprom – as a tool to undermine the relationship between Ukraine and the European Union, writes Ukrainian foreign minister Pavlo Klimkin in a guest commentary in Handelsblatt. “More Gazprom doesn’t only mean more dependency. It means more corruption, more anti-EU parties with obscure financing, and more politicians that suddenly move into the supervisory boards of Russian companies at the end of their career,” writes Klimkin.
Read the guest commentary (behind paywall) in German here.
For more information read the CLEW dossier The Energiewende and its implications for international security.