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13 Nov 2018, 12:59
Sören Amelang Benjamin Wehrmann

One billion euros for European battery cells / 50 million electric VW

Clean Energy Wire

Germany’s economy and energy minister, Peter Altmaier, has announced the target of covering 30 percent of global battery cell demand with production “in Germany and Europe” by 2030 to make the continent more independent from Asian imports. At a mobility conference in Berlin, Altmaier said batteries were a “game changer” technology that would profoundly affect entire value chains in the car industry and beyond. “It’s not too late yet, but we have to hurry up.” He said the government had set aside one billion euros to support company alliances for battery cell production until 2021, adding that Europe must produce the world’s best and most sustainable batteries using renewable power and achieving high recycling rates. "We might not win the race for the cheapest battery, but the race for the best batteries remains undecided. Germany takes on the challenge," Altmaier said.
Altmaier said talks with various company alliances were in advanced stages, but didn't name the companies involved. He added that concrete results will likely be announced around the turn of the year, followed by concrete investment decisions at various locations at the end of the first quarter 2019, so that production could start in 2021. He said the location of battery cell factories was also a topic for Germany's coal exit commission.
At the same event, EU commission vice president Maros Sefcovic said battery cell production enjoyed “super priority” for European industrial policy. He said batteries would also be essential for the energy transition as a means to store renewable power and balance the grid.

For background, read the article Chinese-German battery cell deal key step for mobility transition and the dossier Electricity storage is next feat for Germany’s energy transition.

Automotive News / dpa / Welt Online

Germany’s biggest carmaker VW has said it is prepared to build 50 million e-cars and already has “sourced” the batteries needed to fulfil this goal, company CEO Herbert Diess told Automotive News in an interview. “This is a huge momentum coming, and probably from a volume piece, I think we have the best setup strategy for the electric vehicles to come,” Diess said.
According to a separate article by news agency dpa carried by Welt Online, VW plans to launch a small e-car costing 20,000 euros no later than 2022. 

Read the interview in English here and the article in German here.

For background, read the factsheet  Dieselgate forces VW to embrace green mobility and the dossier BMW, Daimler, and VW vow to fight in green transport revolution.

dpa / Süddeutsche Zeitung

The heads of the work councils of the utility vehicle branches of German carmakers Daimler and VW have criticised the EU’s plans for CO2 emissions reduction for heavy-good vehicles as “excessive and existence-threatening” for their sectors, news agency dpa reports in an article carried by Süddeutsche Zeitung. “If the goal of the European Commission and the European Parliament is to destroy the European utility vehicle industry, they’re on the right way to get there,” Saki Stimoniaris, work council head of VW’s truck brand MAN said. The EU Commission wants to reduce truck emissions by 30 percent by 2030 and the EU Parliament has decided on the more ambitious goal of 35 percent. “In Germany alone, tens of thousands of jobs are on the line,” said Daimler work council Michael Brecht. 

Read the article in German here. 

Find background in the news digest EU governments agree to cut car emissions faster than proposed by Germany and the factsheet Road freight emissions in Germany.

Biogas production in Germany has a lot of untapped potential for contributing to the country’s climate targets and needs a proper long-term strategy to make sure it is put to the best possible use, lobby group Fachverband Biogas says in a press release. “Biogas can provide more than baseload power – and will have to deliver it in the future, too,” said association head Horst Seide. Biogas plants need to become more flexible, provide heat and environmentally-friendly fuels in the next years to fully use their potential, Seide said. In 2021, the first 1,000 plants will drop out of the guaranteed 20-year support period. But, according to the association, most owners will continue to operate their installations if policy conditions allow profitable investments in the plants’ modernisation. “Under the current framework and blurry policymaking Germany’s biogas plant capacity cannot be sustained,” Seid argued. 

Read the press release in German here. 

Read a CLEW dossier on bioenergy and the energy transition here and another dossier on the emissions from food and farming in the country here.

Low water levels following a prolonged drought in Germany and very modest wind conditions have put a strain on the business of energy company EnBW, which pursues a rigorous strategy of replacing nuclear and fossil power generation capacity with renewables. “A cause of concern for us this year in particular, however, is something we cannot influence: the weather,” CFO Thomas Kusterer said in a press release on the company’s quarterly report. 

Find the press release in English here. 

See the CLEW dossier Utilities and the energy transition and the factsheet Germany’s largest utilities at a glance for more information.

German energy company Uniper faces a loss of 550 million euros and fails to get out of the red after the first three quarters of 2018, the company says in a press release. The company owned by Finnish energy provider Fortum says that the “increased CO2  price had a negative effect” on its business and also blames “a weaker operating performance by the gas business” and “negative currency-translation effects on the Russian rouble” for its difficulties. 

Find the press release in English here. 

See the CLEW dossier Utilities and the energy transition and the factsheet Germany’s largest utilities at a glance for more information.

Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung

Reducing emissions across all sectors in Germany and gearing the energy system towards renewables and greater efficiency will be a “long-distance run that you can hardly practise for”, Anton Berger writes for the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung in a “publisher’s special edition” on climate change. Grid expansion, European energy system integration, storage capacity expansion, digitalisation, demand-side management and many other major policy tasks have to be solved on the way. And this “marathon” is set to also include several “mountain stages” that make it even more difficult to the doubling of power production needed, while simultaneously bringing down emissions significantly, Berger writes.   

Read the article in German here. 

See the CLEW dossier The history of the Energiewende for more information.

Tageszeitung

A proposal by environmental NGOs working in Germany’s coal exit commission to retire 16 gigawatt (GW) of coal capacity by 2022 has led to “harsh disputes” in the body tasked with devising a plan for the fossil fuel’s total phase-out, Malte Kreutzfeldt writes in the Tageszeitung (taz). Industry representatives reportedly “yelled” at members of environmental NGOs who proposed to transfer 7.5 GW into a so-called security reserve in 2020 and to retire another 8.6 GW in 2022 in order to achieve the emissions reduction goal originally planned for 2020 two years later. Labour union representatives said the plan would have grave consequences especially for coal workers in the western coal mining areas in North Rhine-Westphalia, where most older coal plants are located, arguing that it would “suddenly pull the plug” on the industry there. 

Read the article in German here. 

See CLEWs Commission watch and the article Taskforce agrees on post-coal strategy for German mining regions for background.

Germany’s energy retail companies face rising costs for purchasing power at the wholesale market, the energy industry lobby group German Association of Energy and Water Industries (BDEW) says in a press release. In 2016, energy companies on average paid 33.5 euros per megawatt hour (MWh for the following year. But in 2018, the figure had climbed to 50.5 eur/MWh, the BDEW says. The group says the increase in prices for CO2 emissions is partly responsible for the rising prices and estimates that the costs passed on to customers will outweigh possible price reductions for other components of the power price. 

Find the press release in German here. 

See the CLEW factsheet What German households pay for power for more information. 

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