24 Sep 2018, 17:00
Benjamin Wehrmann

Porsche drops diesel / Thousands march against coal at Hambach Forest

CORRECTION: In the item "German lead in renewables “cannot be caught up with” – French energy expert" (Spiegel Online), Gerard Magnin was quoted as saying renewables had a share of 6 percent in total French power consumption. This figure refers to wind and solar power only.


Luxury carmaker Porsche will no longer produce cars with diesel engines and will instead focus on expanding its product range with electric or hybrid vehicles, the German company has said in a press release. Porsche said it did not want to “demonise” diesel engines and that it would continue to care for the diesel cars it had already sold, but that it had “come to the conclusion that we would like our future to be diesel-free.” Porsche said it has not had a diesel in its portfolio since February of 2018. The company added that it will introduce its first fully electric car in 2019, and that by 2025 half of its products could be e-cars.

Find the press release in English here.

Find background in the CLEW factsheet The debate over an end to combustion engines in Germany.

Süddeutsche Zeitung

The German government has postponed a decision on the hardware retrofitting of manipulated diesel cars, saying it plans to come to a conclusion by the end of the last week of September, the Süddeutsche Zeitung reports. “We want to make a decision soon,” transport minister Andreas Scheuer said after Chancellor Angela Merkel met with the CEOs of Germany’s leading car brands on 23 September. Scheuer said the priority was to replace older, manipulated diesel cars with new ones that are not equipped with a default device to conceal their true consumption and exhaust gas levels rather than to convert old cars. On 21 September, Merkel reportedly said she favoured the hardware retrofitting of affected cars to avoid driving bans, but carmakers oppose this option, arguing that it would be too expensive.

Read the article in German here.

Get background on the diesel story in the CLEW factsheet "Dieselgate" - a timeline of Germany's car emissions fraud scandal.

Tagesspiegel Background

In Germany, electric cars could cost the same as cars with conventional engines by 2025, Henning Kagermann, head of the country’s new “National Platform Future of Mobility” says in an interview carried by the energy policy newsletter Tagesspiegel Background. “We will have cost parity with combustion engines by 2025. Maybe not regarding the buyer’s price, but certainly regarding the car’s total costs,” he said. Central assumptions were that e-cars on average need power supply worth four euros to run for 100 kilometres and have lower maintenance costs. Kagermann adds that by 2020, German carmakers will have expanded their e-car product range from 30 to 100 models, and that a fast-charging station network on highways will be in place in time for the expected rise in the number of e-cars on German roads.

See the CLEW article Germany launches task force to kickstart shift to sustainable mobility for background.

Westdeutsche Allgemeine Zeitung

Several thousand people gathered over the weekend at the embattled Hambach Forest in western Germany to protest against the expansion of a nearby coal mine and the forest’s clearing, the Westdeutsche Allgemeine Zeitung reports. According to the organisers, about 7,000 protesters convened near the forest on 23 September, which police had cordoned off against a protest march in order to prevent quarrels in the forest that they intend to clear from protesters soon. Energy company RWE said on 21 September that it would continue to remove barricades from the forest, for which it had been criticised since a journalist who documented the protesters’ activities fell to his death from a tree just a few days earlier.

Find the article in German here.

For background, read the CLEW article Germany’s coal commission insists no decision yet on exit date and the coal commission watch.

German energy company RWE will breach the law if it continues to press ahead with the clearing of the Hambach Forest in western Germany to expand its nearby lignite mine, environmental NGO Greenpeace says in a press release. According to a legal opinion commissioned by the NGO, RWE is only allowed to cut down trees in the forest if this is “unavoidable” for continuing operation. However, the company itself declared that this would not be the case before mid-December, Greenpeace argues. An assessment made by mining experts says that the forest could be left standing for at least another year before operation in the nearby Garzweiler mine is obstructed, Greenpeace adds. The NGO’s Karsten Smid says RWE “has intentionally lied to the coal commission” when it stated that stopping the forest’s clearing would threaten the continued operation of the company’s lignite mines.

Find the press release in German here.

For background, read the CLEW article Germany’s coal commission insists no decision yet on exit date and the coal commission watch.


Rising German power prices pose significant difficulties for the country’s famous “Mittelstand,” the large number of small and medium-sized companies that are a crucial part of Germany’s industrial production chain, William Wilkes and Brian Parkin report for Bloomberg. While many big companies get exemptions from tariffs imposed for funding renewable energy projects, households and smaller companies “pay more to absorb those costs,” they write.

Read the article in English here.

See the CLEW factsheet What business thinks of the energy transition for background.


The eastern German city of Leipzig is slated to become the “centre of the Energiewende’s digitalisation,” Wolfgang Brinkschulte writes for the public broadcaster MDR. The federal government wants the “Smart Infrastructure Hub” to become a pivot for digital energy system services, where energy production and consumption patterns are analysed to optimise power plant and grid utilisation, the article says.

Read the article in German here.                                  

For background, read the dossiers The energy transition and Germany's power grid and The digitalisation of the Energiewende.

Spiegel Online

Germany’s leading position in energy transition technologies and renewables is uncatchable for countries embarking on their own “Energiewende,” French energy expert Gerard Magnin says in an interview on Spiegel Online. The former board member of French energy heavyweight EDF and founder of sustainable energy network Energy Cities says France has boosted the share of wind and solar in its power system to 6 percent. In Germany, the share of wind and solar in total power consumption was at about 24 percent in 2017. “The German lead cannot be caught up with,” Magnin says. He argues that many people in France wrongly regard the German nuclear exit as an “irrational” reaction to the Fukushima nuclear disaster that only boosted the country’s reliance on coal. “Despite the closure of many nuclear plants, Germany has slightly reduced the share of coal,” he says. Magnin adds that while Germans on average pay significantly more for power than consumers in France, German households have a much lower electricity demand. “This is not mentioned here [in France],” he argues.

Read the interview in German here.

For background, read the article Gov advisors say Energiewende will only thrive in European framework and the factsheet Energiewende – Germany is not alone.

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