13 Apr 2016, 00:00
Sören Amelang Julian Wettengel

Phasing out conventional cars / A 'close call for RWE'

Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi)

State secretary Baake says Germany must stop registering fossil fuel vehicles by 2030

At a panel discussion Tuesday, state secretary for energy Rainer Baake said Germany’s transport sector will have to be entirely decarbonised by 2050 to achieve the country's climate goals. Because the expected serviceable life of a vehicle is around 20 years, Germany must stop registering new fossil-fuelled cars by 2030, “otherwise we will end up with bad investments we will regret," Baake said.
He added that by the same logic, no new fossil fuelled power plants should be built, as they usually run for at least 40 years and the power sector must also go carbon-free by 2050. This applies especially to lignite and coal plants. “We might need a few more gas-powered power plants, but these will have to run on power-to-gas in the future,” Baake said. “Whoever starts new opencast mines today, creates stranded assets of the future.”

Find a CLEW dossier on the Energiewende in Germany’s transport sector here.


Handelsblatt Online

“It will be a close call’”

RWE is facing a “serious crisis” and the worst is yet to come, the company's management told Handelsblatt Online in an interview. “2018/19 will be a close call. We will have to economise even more,” said Rolf Martin Schmitz, future head of RWE AG, warning of cutbacks and layoffs in the near future. According to a separate article in Handelsblatt Online, Germany’s Energiewende is responsible for the company's “worst crisis in the history”. RWE has spun off its fossil power operations from renewables, grid and retail operations and decided to suspend 2015 dividend payments to shareholders.
The interview comes as the government's expert commission on financing the nuclear clean-up prepares to publish its report on how costs could be allocated – an additional burden for RWE.

Find the Handelsblatt article (behind paywall) in German here.

Find the interview in Handelsblatt (behind paywall) in German here.

See CLEW's dossier on how utilities are coping with the Energiewende here.


Spiegel Online

“Almost every other electric car in Germany disappears without trace”

More than 12,000 pure electric cars were registered in Germany last year, an increase of 45 percent, reports Nils-Viktor Sorge in Spiegel Online. But the total number of such vehicles on German roads rose by only around 6,500. According to experts, “vanishing” cars, like the Kia Soul EV, are only registered in Germany for a short time before being sold on to other countries like the Netherlands and Norway. “The short-term registration helps Kia to brighten up its EU CO2 fleet emissions,” says Sorge.

Find the article in German here.


manager magazin

“Wrong-way driver”

The transport minister’s resistance to plans for a new badge for low emission vehicles - which could facilitate local bans on emission-heavy diesel cars in city centres - is anachronistic, writes Lutz Reiche in manager magazin. “The threat of a transport collapse in city centres can only be avoided by a reduction in the number of cars and clever new mobility concepts,” writes Reiche. He says opposition to the clean car badge is reminiscent of problems with introduction of catalytic converters and filters. Reiche argues the time has come for transport minister Alexander Dobrindt to recognise that diesel engines are not clean, and force the car industry to move to low-emission engines.
Environment state secretary Jochen Flasbarth said last week plans for the new badge could become reality in the course of this year.

Read the comment in German here.


Die Welt

Transport ministry’s hydrogen initiative “hot air”

The transport ministry’s plans to roll out hydrogen fuelling infrastructure raise questions over whether the government has a coherent plan for the Energiewende in transport, writes Nikolaus Doll in die Welt. Government policy doesn't line up with carmakers' focus of research. The result is that Germany is being left behind on all alternatives to conventional engines – hybrids, pure e-cars, and fuel cells. “The transport minister would be well advised to focus on the support for e-cars, instead of... spending money on fuel cell cars,” car expert Ferdinand Dudenhöffer told the paper.
Some 400 hydrogen fuel stations are planned in Germany by 2023, costing 350 million euros.

Read the article in German here.

Find the ministry’s hydrogen plans in Tuesday’s News Digest here.


Frankfurter Rundschau

“Utilities want to pay less; expert commission on financing the nuclear clean-up delays final report”

Nuclear operators RWE, E.ON, EnBW and Vattenfall have stepped up pressure on the expert commission on financing the nuclear clean-up, reports Joachim Wille in Frankfurter Rundschau. At a commission meeting, the chairmen of the affected utilities failed to agree to the current proposal of paying 18 billion euros into a new public fund to finance the nuclear clean-up. Wille says this will delay the publication of the commission’s final report from this week to the end of April.

Find the CLEW factsheet on the nuclear clean-up costs here.


Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy

“Energiewende? Sí!”

Germany and Mexico are to deepen their cooperation on the energy transitions of both countries, according to the economics and energy ministry. Economics minister Sigmar Gabriel and Mexican energy minister Pedro Joaquín Coldwell have given the go-ahead for a new "energy partnership", the ministry said in a press release. The two countries will share expertise on topics such as support mechanisms for renewables, the reform of the power and gas markets, and regulatory questions.
The German state-owned KfW development bank announced in a press release that it has signed financing agreements with Mexican development banks totalling around 220 million euros to “help Mexico reach its ambitious climate protection goals”. Mexico enacted its “Ley de la Transición Energética” in December last year.

Read the BMWi press release in German here.

Read the KfW press release in English here.


State Government of Schleswig-Holstein

“‘We need equal opportunity for citizens’ energy’”

In response to the proposed reform of the Renewable Energy Act (EEG), the north German state Schleswig-Holstein is to propose measures to increase opportunities for citizens’ energy projects. “The special provisions proposed by economics minister Sigmar Gabriel are not acceptable,” says Schleswig-Holstein’s energy transition minister Robert Habeck in a press release.
The federal economics ministry announced its plans for EEG reform, including the switch from feed-in tariffs to to auctions for renewables, early this year. Habeck say the new rules will put small citizens’ projects at a disadvantage, compared to those of big companies. Schleswig-Holstein will introduce a joint proposal in the Bundesrat with the states of Bavaria, Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, North Rhine-Westphalia and Saxony-Anhalt.

Read the press release in German here.

Find the CLEW factsheet on the reform of the Renewable Energy Act here.

All texts created by the Clean Energy Wire are available under a “Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Licence (CC BY 4.0)” . They can be copied, shared and made publicly accessible by users so long as they give appropriate credit, provide a link to the license, and indicate if changes were made.
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