08 Aug 2016, 00:00
Kerstine Appunn Edgar Meza

Power lines needed in North Rhine-Westphalia / E-car competition

Welt am Sonntag

The regional state of North Rhine-Westphalia plays a key role in Germany’s energy transition and needs to heavily expand its power grid infrastructure despite local opposition, writes Guido M. Hartmann for Welt am Sonntag. The industry-heavy state produces around 30 percent of the country’s electricity and consumes 24 percent. Grid investments will be needed to secure the future supply of electricity, because many of state’s coal power stations are likely to go offline soon, according to the article. 

Read the article in German here.

For background, read the CLEW dossier The energy transition and Germany’s power grid, as well as the factsheet Set-up and challenges of Germany's power grid.

Süddeutsche Zeitung

Germany’s recently introduced electric vehicle subsidy programme, which went into effect 18 May has so far turned out to be a flop, according to experts, Karl-Heinz Büschemann writes in the Süddeutsche Zeitung. Financed by the government and the German auto industry, the incentive scheme offers a 4,000 euro premium to buyers of a new electric car and 3,000 euro for the purchase of a plug-in hybrid vehicle. Only 1,791 buyers have so far taken advantage of the scheme. Auto industry representatives see the lack of charging stations across Germany and the higher costs of e-cars among the reasons for the lack of interest.  

Read the article in German here.


Germany has been ranked third in the latest Electric Vehicle Index by consultancy McKinsey for being one of the most important manufacturing countries for electric cars. China ranked highest, followed by Japan. By 2021 around one-third of new electric cars could be produced by German companies, McKinsey said. Neither in China nor in Germany are e-cars a mass phenomena yet, McKinsey added. In Germany, the market share is at 0.7 percent, in China at 1.1 percent.

Read a summary of the index in German here.

Read a CLEW dossier on the energy transition in the transport sector.

Der Tagesspiegel

While the city state of Berlin is to become climate neutral by 2050, Reinickendorf, one of the city’s boroughs, is well on its way to meeting that target, Gerd Nowakowski reports for Der Tagesspiegel. In the past eight years 13,500 apartments in the area have been renovated at a cost of 500 million euro, transforming a huge 40-year-old building complex into the biggest low-energy housing estate settlement in Germany. This has been accomplished with hardly any increase in rents for tenants, because of the savings on the previously above average heating costs in the flats, the article says.

Read the article in German here.

Read a CLEW dossier on energy efficiency.

Handelsblatt Global Edition Magazine

While Germany’s energy transition has achieved some impressive results with renewables accounting for around a third of electricity, the lavish subsidies available in the renewable energy sector have also given rise to get-rich-quick schemes that can end in bankruptcies and the loss of jobs and investments, Andreas Dörnfelder, Jens Koenen and William Underhill write in Handelsblatt Global Edition Magazine. In February, German Pellets “joined a long list” of German alternative energy companies that have declared bankruptcy, the authors say. Despite German Pellets troubles, the company’s founder racked up some 25,000 euro in transport expenses in a single week earlier this year.

Get the magazine in English (behind paywall) here.


German utility company E.ON has launched a new onshore wind park in the United States (Texas) with an installed capacity of 200 megawatts. The 112 turbines at Colbeck’s Corner can produce electricity for 64,000 households, the company said in a press release. The budget for the new wind park was 40 percent below investments needed to build the company’s Pyron wind farm in 2009, E.ON said.

Read the press release in English here.

Read a CLEW dossier on how utilities are faring in the Energiewende.


While major corporations like E.ON, Volkswagen and Siemens may come to mind when discussing Germany’s energy transition, the real champions behind the country’s ambitious plans are its 3.67 million small and medium-sized enterprises, Roy L Hales writes in the ECOreport. The companies, most of which are family owned and managed, make up 99.6 percent of all German firms and employ nearly 80 percent all employees in the country. Germany’s SMEs are also behind the country’s consistent domination of the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) scorecard, obtaining firsts in the “National Efforts,” “Buildings” and “Industry” categories.

Read the article in English here.

Die Welt

While 69 percent of residents in eastern Germany still support the country’s energy transition in principle, this figure is well below the 78 percent that expressed approval in 2015, Die Welt reports, citing a study by energy provider enviaM and Leipzig University. The percentage of people who are satisfied with implementation of the energy transition in Germany also dropped, falling from 43 percent a year ago to 35 percent. The report attributes the waning support to increasing power costs and their distribution, given that consumers in some regions in eastern Germany pay 40 percent higher transmission grid fees than those in western German states, according to enviaM.

Read the article in German here.

For a comparison with other surveys, read the CLEW factsheet Polls reveal citizens’ support for Energiewende.

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