New company bets on old wind farms / Top 10 ETS emitters mainly German
A new company founded by Munich’s public utilities plans to buy small and old wind farms no longer eligible for support under the Renewable Energy Act (EEG), the company, Hanse Windkraft, says in a press release. The company plans to repower wind farms once they lose their guaranteed feed-in tariffs after 20 years, a situation that could affect up to 16 gigawatts of installed capacity in Germany by mid 2019, the company says. “We offer an ecologically reasonable alternative to deconstructing these wind farms,” CEO Christoph Dany said.
Find the press release in German here.
See the CLEW dossier Onshore wind power in Germany for background.
Sandbag / European Commission
Total EU Emissions Trading System (EU ETS) stationary emissions rose by 0.3 percent in 2017 compared to the previous year – the first rise in seven years, according to an analysis by British climate NGO Sandbag, based on provisional EU data. Lignite emissions rose by 3 percent, their first rise since 2012, overtaking hard coal emissions for the first time, Sandbag says. Germany had by far the highest lignite emissions in the EU. The EU’s top 10 emitters are now mainly lignite, and mainly in Germany, according to the study.
For background, read the CLEW article Energy sector drives slight drop in German emissions in 2017 and the factsheet Germany’s greenhouse gas emissions and climate targets.
Bafa / BDEW
Demand for subsidised electric vehicles in Germany remains far below the level hoped for. By the end of March 2018, authorities had received a total of 57,549 applications for an e-car buyer’s premium, the Federal Office for Economic Affairs and Export Control (Bafa) says in a press release. The government aimed to boost demand for e-cars to meet its goal of putting 1 million of them on the road by 2020. At the beginning of 2018, there were 53,861 e-cars and 44,419 plug-in hybrids registered in Germany, according to the Federal Motor Transport Authority (KBA).
Stefan Kapferer, head of the German Association of Energy and Water Industries (BDEW), says it is carmakers’ responsibility to offer customers “attractive and affordable” vehicles, and “ambitious” CO2 limit values for vehicles would be far more effective at spurring a transition towards low-emission vehicles. He argues that the energy sector has already provided the charging infrastructure to get e-mobility off the ground but cannot operate it at a profit because there are so few e-cars in use. “We need to avoid this sort of chicken-or-egg dilemma,” Kapferer said.
For background, see CLEW’s dossier on the energy transition and Germany’s transport sector here.
Westdeutsche Allgemeine Zeitung
Germany’s new transport minister, Andreas Scheuer, has criticised European air quality measuring standards. In an interview with the Westdeutsche Allgemeine Zeitung, Scheuer said that while EU agreements “must of course be abided by,” the methods used to measure air quality were questionable. “I have my doubts if pollution in Madrid, Brussels, Marseille or Rome is measured in the exact same way as it is in German cities,” Scheuer told the paper.
Read the interview in German here.
See the CLEW portrait of Scheuer for more information.
German carmaker Volkswagen’s technical fixes for manipulated diesel cars are much more effective in the US than in Europe, Emma Howard reports for Unearthed. While the changes made in the US “make a huge difference” to nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions, the fixes in the EU “are minimal and not much of a fix,” John German, engineer at the ICCT, says.
Read the article in English here.
See the CLEW dieselgate timeline for more information.
Hannoversche Allgemeine Zeitung
Lower Saxony should become a “pioneer region” for storing excess wind power by converting it into hydrogen, the German federal state’s environment minister, Olaf Lies, told the Hannoversche Allgemeine Zeitung. Lies argues that Germany needs power-to-gas technology to meet its climate targets and phase out coal. “We’ve arrived at a stage of the Energiewende where power production works well, but rational allocation of power is still lacking,” he said. The minister says Lower Saxony, Germany’s leading wind power state, needs financial assistance from the federal government to get “green hydrogen” off the ground. “It’s just like with every new technology – it doesn’t pay off at first.”
Read the article in German here (paywall).
Germany’s planned “coal commission” should focus primarily on finding economic perspectives for affected regions, rather than aiming to shut down as many coal plants as possible in the short-term, Klaus-Peter Schulze, a biologist and conservative politician from the coal region of Lusatia, writes in an opinion piece on website klimaretter.info. The commission, officially titled with “growth, structural economic change and employment,” is supposed to take a holistic approach to phasing out coal-fired power production, and pressure from environmental groups before the commission has even started work “has to be seen very critically,” Schulze says. Germany’s coal regions need a perspective that completely replaces the coal industry with alternative structures that are attractive to investors, he argues.
Read the opinion piece in German here.
See the CLEW article New government gets little credit in quest to regain climate lead for background.
The importance of Germany’s “coal commission” means it must not be led by the economy ministry alone, Malte Kreutzfeldt writes in a commentary for the Tageszeitung (taz). “It’s a good sign that the new environment minister, Svenja Schulze, isn’t leaving the commission to her economy ministry colleague Peter Altmaier without a fight,” Kreutzfeldt writes. The commission will decide on the most urgent climate and energy policies, “particularly the question of how quickly coal-fired power production can be ended, and what affected regions and companies receive in return.” The economy ministry alone should not be tasked with meeting Germany’s climate targets – sharing responsibility between the ministries could achieve a consensus that includes environmentalists, too, Kreutzfeldt argues.
Read the commentary in German here.
See the CLEW dossier The next German government and the energy transition for more information.