Onshore wind growth record / Energiewende boosts electrical industry
German Wind Energy Association
Onshore wind power in Germany grew by about 1,700 turbines, with a total capacity of roughly 5,300 megawatts (MW) in 2017, a gross increase of 15 percent compared to the previous year, according to the German Wind Energy Association (BWE). In a press release, the BWE said “2017 was the year with the strongest expansion so far,” bringing the total number of onshore wind turbines in Germany up to 28,675, with a total capacity of 50,770 MW. The BWE and the German Engineering Federation (VDMA) expect onshore wind power growth of 3,500 MW in 2018 but said this was difficult to gauge as flaws in the bidding process for Germany’s onshore wind capacity left uncertainty over whether many projects would be implemented. VDMA head Matthias Zelinger said more capacity should be auctioned off to guarantee steady expansion and protect the climate. Germany’s negotiating coalition parties, Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservative CDU/CSU alliance and the Social Democrats (SPD), have said they want to hold additional auctions to make progress towards Germany’s postponed 2020 climate goal, and boost renewables to cover 65 percent of German power production by 2030. Zelinger said the debate over changes to the auction system has to begin soon as “there will be a significant dismantling of older installations by the early 2020s.”
Find the press release in German here.
For background, read the CLEW dossier Onshore wind power in Germany.
German Electrical and Electronic Manufacturers’ Association (ZVEI)
Trends such as the digitalisation of the energy transition and autonomous driving pushed German electrical and electronics companies’ sales up around 4 percent to a record 190 billion euros last year, according to the German Electrical and Electronic Manufacturers’ Association (ZVEI). “It must be Germany’s goal to extend its innovation leadership in climate protection technologies,” said ZVEI head Klaus Mittelbach. The next government should promote digitalisation of the energy system. “If we can show in our country how a high-performance energy system can be build with renewables, digitalisation and energy efficiency, we can also achieve export successes and boost Germany as an industrial location,” Mittelbach said.
Find the ZVEI press release in German here.
For background, check out the CLEW dossier The digitalisation of the Energiewende and last week’s article German industry says protecting climate can benefit economy.
A Düsseldorf court has dismissed a suit by lobby group Environmental Action Germany (DUH) seeking a ban of certain Volkswagen diesel cars from the city’s roads, Anneli Palmen reports for Reuters. DUH argued that Volkswagen diesel cars with emissions test cheating software should be banned because emissions remain too high, even after software updates. The Düsseldorf case was the first in a series of DUH suits in 10 German cities. DUH told Clean Energy Wire a crucial ruling by Germany’s Federal Administrative Court expected on 22 February would determine whether German cities could use diesel driving bans to stay within EU air quality limits.
Read the report in English here.
Train driver assistance systems could make passenger and freight rail even more environmentally friendly, cutting energy use by 15 percent, according to a study by the Pro-Rail Alliance lobby group. “Driver assistance systems for rail transport are an important instrument to reach climate targets,” environment ministry (BMUB) state secretary Rita Schwarzelühr-Sutter said in a press release.
Find the press release and the full study in German here.
For background, check out the CLEW dossier The energy transition and Germany’s transport sector.
The EU could significantly reduce the financing costs of developing its renewable energy potential by setting up a guarantee programme, according to a study by energy think tank Agora Energiewende*. “One euro of public funding would leverage 50 euros of private investment into wind and solar energy projects,” Agora said in a press release. “The programme would help EU member states with high financing costs to develop new renewable energy projects faster and cheaper.”
Find the press release and study in English here.
*Like the Clean Energy Wire, Agora Energiewende is a project funded by Stiftung Mercator and the European Climate Foundation
Greenpeace energy has called on the German government to follow Austria’s lead and take the EU to court over its approval of billions of euros in subsidies for the planned Hungarian nuclear reactor Paks II. Greenpeace says the Russian-designed nuclear power station poses immense environmental risks, is not sufficiently insured, and will jam international trade of renewable power. The EU commission approved the subsidies last year, but Austria said this week it would sue against the decision. Austria is already involved in a similar case over British nuclear plant Hinkley Point C, according to Greenpeace.
Read the press release in German here.
Clean Energy Wire
SPD energy spokesperson Bernd Westphal said the parties in talks to form Germany's next government - the Social Democrats (SPD) and Angela Merkel's conservative CDU/CSU bloc - will come up with some form of taxation of greenhouse gases in sectors not covered by the European emissions trading system (ETS). Without changes to the way the country's renewable development is financed, integrating sectors such as mobility and heating will be impossible, Westphal told an energy industry conference organised by business daily Handelsblatt. His CDU counterpart, Thomas Bareiß, cautioned that he still sees "the need to talk", warning that any change to the system must not "overburden" certain social groups, such as long-distance commuters. Ideally, heating and transport would be included in the European ETS, but this was "impossible at the moment," Bareiß said.
Pro-business FDP energy politician Hermann Otto Solms said a German CO2 price had also been discussed in the ill-fated Jamaica coalition talks with the CDU/CSU and the Green Party but was rejected by the conservatives at the time.
Clean Energy Wire
Germany’s negotiating coalition parties, Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservative CDU/CSU alliance and the Social Democrats (SPD), have defended their decision to postpone the country’s 2020 goal of reducing emissions by 40 percent by 2020 compared to 1990 levels, saying the move demonstrated honesty rather than inaction on climate protection. “The 2020 goal was not difficult to abandon as we knew it wouldn't be possible to cut 90 million tonnes” of greenhouse gases within the next three years, CDU energy spokesperson Thomas Bareiß said during a debate at an energy industry conference by business daily Handelsblatt. “We were simply being honest,” Bareiß said, adding that the goal would still have been missed if the conservatives had suceeded in forming a coalition with the pro-business FDP and Greens. Bareiß’s SPD counterpart Bernd Westphal said, “credibility is an important part of politics – and we are not able to meet this goal.” The Green Party’s Oliver Krischer said “being honest” was difficult to accept as an explanation for the decision as Chancellor Merkel promised the 2020 goal would be met only days before last September’s election.