26 Jul 2018, 12:46
Kerstine Appunn Luke Sherman Julian Wettengel

Onshore wind expansion slows down / Car emissions tests manipulation

Clean Energy Wire

After a record 2017, Germany saw an “expected” decrease in onshore wind power expansion in the first half of 2018, said German Wind Energy Association (BWE) and industry association VDMA Power Systems at a press conference in Berlin. The “market slump” was planned into Germany’s auction system, but it is no longer appropriate considering the new government coalition has set the goal of a 65 percent share of renewables in power production by 2030, write the organisations in a press release. “Now, we quickly need to implement part of the special auctions mentioned in the coalition agreement to reduce the looming expansion gap in 2019,” said Matthias Zelinger, managing director of VDMA Power Systems. In the first half of 2018, 497 onshore wind turbines with a total capacity of 1,626 megawatt (MW) were added in Germany, a decrease of 29 percent compared to expansion in the same period last year. By 30 June 2018, a total of 29,071 onshore wind power facilities with a total capacity of 52,282 MW were in operation in Germany. For the whole year 2018, BWE and VDMA expect 3,300-3,500 MW of additional onshore wind power capacity.

Find the press release in German here.

For background, read the CLEW dossier Onshore wind power in Germany.

Note: The Clean Energy Wire will publish an article on this topic later today.

Transport & Environment / Euractiv

Auto manufacturers may be inflating their vehicles’ officially-declared CO2 emissions to lower the ambition of passengers cars’ and vans’ pollution reduction targets, according to an internal European Commission paper. The document, published by Transport & Environment (T&E), a federation of non-government organisations, outlines evidence from the Commission’s Joint Research Centre (JRC). CO2 targets for next decade will be determined based on a percentage reduction from a 2021 starting point, meaning manufacturers are declaring their initial emissions values to be higher than they actually are, the centre’s research reveals. Summarising JRC’s evidence, Euractiv reports that carmakers had installed depleted batteries to raise fuel consumption and switched off test models’ stop-start function. “After Dieselgate, carmakers promised to change and that new tests were the solution. Now it’s clear they’re using these new tests to undermine the already weak CO2 standards,” T&E Executive Director William Todts said.

Read the paper published by T&E in English here and the Euractiv article in English here.

For background, read the dossier The Energiewende and German carmakers and the article German environment ministry pushes for tougher EU car emission rules.

dpa / Berliner Morgenpost

Three years after the uncovery the diesel scandal, transport minister Andreas Scheuer is pushing carmakers to more rapidly advance the transition to electric mobility, according to a dpa article carried by Berliner Morgenpost. At the “diesel summit” last year, policymakers had called on auto industry executives to bring a “compelling” range of alternative powertrains and mobility solutions to market, the article says. “Nevertheless, I’m impatient,” Scheuer said. “2020 or 2022 is too late for the products. We are providing support now and urgently need German products across all vehicle classes.”

Read the article in German here.

For background, read the article Germany's car-loving transport minister faces clean mobility challenge, the dossier The Energiewende and German carmakers and the factsheet “Dieselgate” – a timeline of Germany’s car emissions fraud scandal.

Clean Energy Wire / Institute for Applied Ecology

Fast decisions on climate targets, renewable growth and fossil fuel phase-out are required to plan the future German grid system, a study by the Institute for Applied Ecology (Öko-Institut) within a project funded by the Ministry for Education and Research has found. The researchers looked at additional scenarios to those normally used by Germany’s grid regulator, such as a decentralised energy transition approach, a renewable share of 85 percent, a fast coal exit and abandoning the high voltage direct current powerline SuedOstLink. There had to be a more open debate on the realistic alternatives to parts of Germany’s grid expansion, Christof Timpe, head of Energy and Climate Protection at the Öko-Institut said in a press release. And as long as it was unclear whether there would be none or 30 gigawatt (GW) of coal capacity in 2030, and whether there would be 150 GW or 220 GW of renewable capacity, appropriate decisions about the future grid could hardly be made, Timpe said.

Read the press release in German here and the study here.

Find a CLEW in-depth analysis on Germany’s grid expansion here.


Eleven consumer and tenant associations are putting pressure on energy minister Peter Altmaier to reform the tenant power law, Kathrin Witsch writes for Handelsblatt. The law, which was to animate landlords to install solar panels and offer their tenants the cheap, locally produced power, is not achieving its purpose, a letter by the 11 associations says. Only 125 projects had been realised in the first ten months since the law came into effect. This was mostly due to high bureaucratic hurdles and the fact that landlords often had to pay the full renewables surcharge on the electricity they were selling to their tenants, the associations write.

Read the article in German here.

German energy company EnBW increased its operating result (adjusted EBITDA) by 6.4 percent to 1.14 billion euros in the first half of 2018, compared to the same period last year, the company said in a press release. Net profit attributable to the shareholders decreased from 1.68 billion euros in the previous year to 346.2 million euros, mostly due to the effects of the nuclear fuel tax refund which was paid out last year. The 8.1 percent adjusted EBITDA growth in the renewable energies segment to 164.8 million euros is due to the earnings from new onshore wind farms, and higher generation from run-of-river plants due to better water level. The wind yield from offshore wind farms was down on the previous year’s period, says EnbW.

Find the press release in English here.

For background, read the CLEW factsheet Germany’s largest utilities at a glance and the CLEW dossier Utilities and the energy transition.

Die Welt

While the Renewable Energy Act (EEG) was well-suited to supply necessary financing to kick start the expansion of renewables, it should now be replaced by a functioning European emissions trade in all sectors, Reinhold von Eben-Worlée, president of the Association of German Family Businesses, writes in a guest commentary in Die Welt. Scientists needed to specify how much CO₂ can be emitted and determine the volume of emission allowances, writes Eben-Worlée. It is then up to politicians to implement the experts’ decision and balance it out. “To ensure that the emissions trade works, politicians must extend it to all sectors, including buildings, transport and agriculture.”

For background, read the CLEW dossier Germany ponders how to finance renewables expansion in the future.

DUH / DENEFF / NABU / others

Several associations and NGOs have called on economy minister Peter Altmaier and interior and building minister Horst Seehofer not to soften existing energy efficiency standards with the planned Building Energy Law (GEG). In a joint letter, Environmental Action Germany (DUH), the German Industry Initiative for Energy Efficiency (DENEFF), the Nature and Biodiversity Conservation Union (NABU) and others expressed their “hope for a GEG that adequately takes into account the ‘efficiency first’ principle and furthers climate protection in the building sector in consideration of cross-sector energy transition goals”.

Find the letter in German here.

For background, read the CLEW dossier The Energiewende and Efficiency.

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