The government of southern Germany’s state of Baden-Württemberg, home to carmaker Daimler, wants to ban old diesel cars in cities, report Josef Kelnberger und Max Hägler in Süddeutsche Zeitung. Only a “blue badge” could reduce nitrogen oxide levels below legal limits, said Green state premier Winfried Kretschmann, who heads a coalition government of Greens and Angela Merkel’s Christian Democrats in the state’s capital Stuttgart.
Kretschmann said he would start a corresponding initiative in Germany’s upper house of parliament, the Bundesrat, and hoped for support from the car industry. He said a blue badge would show that diesel engines can be clean, and would also quicken technological development. He said diesel engines would be needed as a “low-emission” bridge technology and that 50,000 jobs in Baden-Württemberg alone depended on the technology. Daimler said it was open to the blue badge, as long as the transition period was sufficiently long.
Read the article in German here.
For background, read the new CLEW dossier The Energiewende and German carmakers.
There will be no official ban on combustion engines soon, despite the recent resolution of Germany’s upper house of parliament (Bundesrat) that new cars should be emission-free in the EU by 2030, writes Nikolaus Doll in Die Welt. Transport minister Alexander Dobrindt and Bavaria’s state premier Horst Seehofer, both from Bavaria’s sister party of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democrats, would veto a ban. Baden-Württemberg’s Green state premier Winfried Kretschmann is also against setting a deadline, according to the article. A government spokesperson in VW’s home country Niedersachsen explained the aim of the Bundesrat resolution was not a ban, but to create the right conditions that only emission-free vehicles will be registered.
Read the article in German here.
For background, read the CLEW article German states - New cars in EU should be emission-free by 2030.
More than a year after the start of the Dieselgate scandal, VW has said it will no longer exploit all legal possibilities to lower the official emission data of cars, report Klaus Ott and Katja Riedel in Süddeutsche Zeitung. The company said it had decided to “quote more realistic CO2 figures” for its cars. The switch will result in an average increase of two grams of CO2 emissions per kilometre. VW’s move could have expensive consequences for the entire industry, because EU regulations force it to lower emissions below 95 grams by 2020/21, according to the report.
Read a Reuters-Report on VW’s move in German here.
For background, read the CLEW factsheet Dieselgate forces VW to embrace green mobility.
Federal Network Agency / FAZ
The Federal Network Agency (BNetzA) will lower the equity interest rates for operators of power grids and gas networks from 9.05 to 6.91 percent for new, and from 7.14 to 5.12 percent for old facilities. The lower rates - to be applied in 2018 for gas and in 2019 for power grid operators - "mirror low interest rates on the capital markets”, and investments in the grids continued to be attractive, said BNetzA president Jochen Homann. The move was a surprise in light of massive protests against such plans from private energy companies, as well as local utilities and trade union Verdi, writes Helmut Bünder in an article in Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (FAZ).
The new rates would “make the distribution grid expansion significantly more difficult”, Katherina Reiche, managing director of the municipal utility association VKU, said in a press release. Robert Busch, managing director of the Association of Energy Market Innovators (bne), welcomed BNetzA’s announcement. He said “the decision brings relief for the energy consumers” as they paid for the interest rates through the grid fees.
The German government plans to put the brakes on wind power development in the country’s windy north because the electricity grid could not be extended quickly enough, writes Philip Oltermann in The Guardian. “Some analysts argue that while Germany is right to address grid congestion, doing so by artificially slowing down the wind energy boom risks undermining the country’s credibility as a green leader,” writes Oltermann. The government claimed the steps were necessary “to stop the renewables revolution from undermining its own success”, he wrote.
Read the article in English here.
For background, read the CLEW factsheets Re-dispatch costs in the German power grid and Loop flows: Why is wind power from northern Germany putting east European grids under pressure?
N-Ergie / Prognos AG
The continued renewables development in Germany could be realised with only half of the high-voltage direct current power lines currently planned, according to a study by Prognos AG, commissioned by German power supplier N-Ergie. “The currently lagging grid expansion because of missing public acceptance is thereby no obstacle to a continued ambitious renewables development,” according to the study summary. The reduction in power lines was possible when incorporating parameters like the flexibility of consumers, the distribution of combined-heat-and-power facilities, an optimal feed-in management and inducing regional price signals to guide power production and consumption
Installing PV arrays on private homes and consuming the generated electricity is financially attractive, but will not have a large effect on Germany’s power system as a whole, according to a study by consultancy Prognos commissioned by energy think-tank Agora Energiewende*. “The personal use of solar power will remain secondary as a share of countrywide power consumption in the medium term, that is until 2035,” according to a press release. Fears that a rising number of private individuals generating their own electricity will lead to a considerable hike in electricity costs for other consumers are not justified, because they alone would have to shoulder costs such as grid fees and the renewable surcharge.
Find the study in German here.
*Like the Clean Energy Wire, Agora Energiewende is a project funded by Stiftung Mercator and the European Climate Foundation.
Federal network agency (Bundesnetzagentur)
The Federal Network Agency has announced the first mutually opened auction for ground-mounted photovoltaic installations in cooperation with Denmark. Photovoltaic installations in Denmark can participate in a German auction alongside photovoltaic installations from Germany, as long as the electricity can be physically imported to Germany. Investors have until 23 November 2016 to submit bids for this auction to the Federal Network Agency, according to a press release. The maximum installation size for this auction round is 10 megawatts(MW), the maximum bid is 11.09 cents per kilowatt-hour, and the size of the auction is 50 MW.
Find the press release in English here.