17 Feb 2017, 00:00
Benjamin Wehrmann Julian Wettengel

New econ min assures renewables industry / Green Party down in polls

Clean Energy Wire

Brigitte Zypries, Germany’s new economy minister, has assured the country’s renewables industry of pursuing a progressive policy approach to advance the energy transition. At a conference by the German Renewable Energy Federation (BEE) she pledged to adopt legislation on tenant power support before the end of the current legislative period. This would, for example, allow residents of apartment buildings to use electricity generated by solar PV panels on their roofs.  Zypries also said that the contested state support for fossil heating systems would come to an end, paving the way for increased sector coupling and a higher share of renewable power in the heating sector. In one of her first public appearances after taking office, Zypries called Germany’s Energiewende a general success but said it needed further efforts to expand to the European level and allow for sustained competitiveness of the German industry. She said a pressing domestic issue was to ensure that the major high-voltage transmission lines traversing Germany from north to south were completed “by 2025”. Internationally, Germany had to make sure its national Climate Action Plan was closely coordinated with neighbouring countries’ policies.
At the same conference, representatives of three parties in the Bundestag discussed options for advancing Germany’s emissions reduction performance. Robert Habeck, of the Green Party, supported introducing a CO2-price tag and a reduction of the electricity tax. He said if the EU Emissions Trading System (ETS) continued to fail to deliver satisfactory results, “we have to introduce a national CO2-price in order to further sectoral transformation”. He was seconded by the Left Party’s Caren Lay. Thomas Bareiß, of the governing CDU, warned a national carbon price could decisively damage the ETS, which he said was “overall suitable for lowering emissions if there are no loopholes.”

For background, see the CLEW dossier The Energiewende and climate change.


The Green Party is slumping in national polls as security and migration overshadow the party’s core topics of the environment and climate, writes Silke Kersting in Handelsblatt. “Yet, the conditions for the party to again play a bigger part on a national level are good: the Greens are part of the government in 11 of the 16 federal states. Nothing happens without them in the Bundesrat [council of federal state governments],” writes Kersting.
Recent polls show the Greens at 7 percent.

Read the article in German here.

For background information read the CLEW dossier Vote2017 - German elections and the Energiewende and the CLEW article German Greens to make coal exit, fossil car ban an election focus.

The Huffington Post – Contributor Platform

The EU must make clear to the new US administration that “transatlantic security discussions need to always include the fight against climate change”, at this weekend’s Munich Security Conference, writes Jennifer Morgan, Executive Director of Greenpeace International in a blog post on the Huffington Post website. “The EU must demonstrate leadership by forcing the US to live in the real world and address climate change as a major security threat. And the EU needs to become a leading example of a new type of prosperity that does not come at a cost to the environment or the world’s poor,” writes Morgan.

Read the post in English here.

For background read the CLEW dossier The Energiewende and its implications for international security.

Süddeutsche Zeitung

Foreign minister Sigmar Gabriel wants to “demonstratively foster multilateral cooperation” with the G20 foreign minister meeting in Bonn - but concrete outcomes are unlikely, writes Stefan Braun in Süddeutsche Zeitung. “Mission saving the earth’s atmosphere […] – nobody will be able to simply decide this in Bonn. At the same time it is exactly this hope that resonates with everyone taking part,” writes Braun.

For background read the CLEW article IEA director calls on Germany to lead on climate during G20 presidency.

Zeit Online

The G20 foreign ministers will have to talk about global warming at their meeting in Bonn, as climate change increasingly is a threat to world peace, writes Christoph Bals of environmental NGO Germanwatch in a guest article for Zeit Online. “The intensity and extent of weather extremes increase due to climate change. Their role as a risk amplifier could already be seen in many crises that have kept the world on its toes over the past years,” writes Bals. He hopes that the new US administration will intensify global cooperation to contain the global and regional risks of climate change.

Read the guest article in German here.

Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung

The state government of Baden-Wurttemberg wants to introduce selective inner city driving bans for older diesel cars if plans for a nationwide ‘blue badge’ are not realised, reports Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (FAZ). A cabinet decision draft by the governing coalition of Greens and Christian Democrats, seen by FAZ, says that there will be exemptions for goods and other commercial transport.

For background read the CLEW article German Greens to make coal exit, fossil car ban an election focus.

Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety

The federal environment ministry (BMUB) will continue to use citizens’ participation processes to develop climate policy in the future, the ministry said in a press release. “What we learned in the stakeholder process helped us in developing the Climate Action Plan. We will use this pool of experience when working out our future climate protection policy,” said environment minister Barbara Hendricks.

Read the press release in German here.

For background read the CLEW factsheets Climate Action Plan 2050: Negotiating a path to decarbonisation and Germany’s Climate Action Plan 2050.

Germany’s Renewable Energy Act (EEG) could produce results that go against its intended purpose of cutting emissions by supporting low-carbon energy generation, reports. The EEG, combined with the EU’s Emissions Trading System (ETS), caused an excess supply of emissions certificates, a study conducted by researchers at the University of Hamburg showed, writes. As Germany lowered its emissions at a rising cost of the EEG surcharge, “the emission of climate-damaging gases simply moves to a different location”, according to

Find the article in German here and an abstract of the study in English here.

For background, see the CLEW dossier The reform of the Renewable Energy Act the CLEW factsheet Understanding the ETS.

dpa / Die Welt

The German shipping industry calls for greater financial support by the state to push its transition to more climate-friendly fuels, dpa news agency reports in an article carried by Die Welt. About 1,000 ships could run on liquefied natural gas (LNG) by 2020, experts at the federal ministry for transport estimate – compared to only 80 LNG-powered vessels today. The German Shipowners’ Association (VDR) calls for incentives to speed up the construction of LNG-powered ships, which were up to 30 percent more expensive than those using conventional engines, dpa writes. The German government plans to support LNG-infrastructure in German harbours, according to the report.

Find the article in German here.

Fraunhofer ICT / dpa

The Fraunhofer Institute for Chemical Technology (ICT) is set to test the storage of large amounts of power in Germany’s largest battery, the Fraunhofer ICT says on its website. A wind turbine with a capacity of 2 megawatt will feed electricity into the newly developed “giant battery” with a storage capacity of 20 megawatt hours, dpa news agency reports. The so-called redox-flow batteries could play an important role in energy transition as they are capable of levelling out the fluctuating power supply from wind and PV power, dpa adds.

Find a video by Fraunhofer in German here.

For more information, see the CLEW factsheet How can Germany keep the lights on in a renewable energy future?

Wall Street Journal

Germany’s excess power spilling over into Poland and Czech Republic on days with high renewables generation creates political and economic tension, writes Zeke Turner for Wall Street Journal. “The fallout has become acute for Polish and Czech coal power companies. Because the grids are clogged up by German electricity, the companies’ ability to trade the power they produce has been impaired, in the same way that a congested tunnel prevents more cars from entering,” writes Turner.
German grid development has not kept up with the expansion of renewables – especially wind power in northern Germany that needs to be transported to the country’s industrial south. To prevent power from taking a detour, German and Polish grid operators are installing phase shifters at the border.

Read the article in English here.

For background read the CLEW factsheet Loop flows: Why is wind power from northern Germany putting east European grids under pressure?

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