Federal Network Agency
Prices of winning bids for solar photovoltaic installations have gone down again in the latest round of tenders in Germany, the Federal Network Agency (BNetzA) said in a press release. 27 bids for a total of 163 megawatts of auctioned capacity were successful in the sixth and last round of bids under the current Renewable Energy Act (EEG) regulations. “This once again confirms the trend of falling prices,” said BNetzA president Jochen Homann. The average successful bid was at 6.9 cents/kilowatt-hour. In the previous round it was 7.23 ct/kWh. The lowest successful bid was 6.26 ct/kWh.
Read the press release in German here.
Delays in approving the Climate Action Plan 2050 are the reason projects for structural change in eastern Germany’s lignite mining regions aren't yet receiving funding, writes Kurt Stenger in the socialist newspaper Neues Deutschland. The 2016 federal budget specifically allocates four million euros for the “support of measures for the structural adaptation in lignite mining regions.” The federal government said that none of this had been paid out yet due to the recent debate over the Climate Action Plan - now agreed on, as well as unfinished preparatory work, writes Stenger. “The urgently needed support was put off due to months-long internal wrangling among certain ministries,” writes Stenger.
Read the article (behind paywall) in German here.
For background read the CLEW article Coal exit dispute delays Germany’s Climate Action Plan and the CLEW factsheet Germany’s Climate Action Plan 2050.
dpa / Focus
The German government defended its handling of the Volkswagen emissions cheating scandal, after the European Commission opened infringement proceedings against Germany and six other countries over how they have dealt with such polluters, according to a dpa story in Focus magazine. “Immediate measures for a targeted avoidance of illegal defeat devices were put in place,” a spokesman for the transport ministry said in Berlin, referring to software that enabled cars to emit more pollution than allowed by law, which carmakers had installed to bypass restrictions. The EU claims countries failed to properly enforce laws requiring them to punish polluters and did not cooperate in investigations. The German transport minister Alexander Dobrindt repeated his demand that the European Union massively reduces the current number of exceptions in its laws allowing such devices, according to dpa.
Read the dpa story in Focus here.
Read the EU press release in English here.
Read more about the influence of Dieselgate on the energy transition and German carmakers in this CLEW dossier.
The EU Commission should admit that it did little to ensure its own anti-pollution rules were enforced, and that carmakers were long suspected of using technology to get around emissions rules, says Sebastian Schöbel, ARD radio correspondent in Brussels in a commentary on ndr.de. “Without the Americans, emissions manipulation in Europe would not have come to light for years,” he says, referring to researchers in the United States who discovered that so-called defeat devices were enabling cars to pollute more than allowed.
Read the commentary in German here.
The European Commission’s decision to start infringement proceedings against a number of European countries for failing to cooperate in emissions cheating investigations is “long overdue,” writes Jörg Münchenberg in a commentary for Deutschlandfunk. European companies have thus far only gotten a “black eye” in Europe, while the US has imposed hefty fines, he writes. In addition, the Commission did not sufficiently go after suspicions of manipulation in the first place – only after Volkswagen was found to be cheating, he writes.
Read the commentary in German here.
German Energy Agency (dena)
More and more new car buyers in Germany are considering vehicles that don't just run on fossil fuels, the German Energy Agency (dena) writes in a press release. According to a survey commissioned by dena, 27 percent of respondents said they intended to buy a car with an electric, hybrid, hydrogen fuel cell or other alternative engine. This figure is in stark contrast to the share of cars with alternative engines registered in Germany, which in 2015 stood at 1.6 percent, dena writes. Most notable reasons for not switching to low-emission cars were their high price, the lack of infrastructure and doubts about the “immature” technology, according to dena.
For more information about the development of Germany’s e-car industry, read the CLEW dossier The Energiewende and German carmakers.
Germany’s long-established battery producer Varta is confident that large-scale battery production for e-cars is economically viable in the high-wage country, Max Hägler writes in the Süddeutsche Zeitung. “Battery cell production is definitely possible in Germany,” Varta’s CEO Herbert Schein told the newspaper. The company that already provided the battery for one of the world’s first e-cars in 1888 has invested around 50 million euros over the past five years for developing modern e-car batteries together with VW, according to Hägler. However, Varta is reluctant to fully enter e-car battery production, as large-scale manufacturing for the emerging vehicle technology still is “too big a number” for the company, Hägler writes.
Read the article in German here.