A quota for e-cars? / Minister backtracks on grid fee reform
German environment minister Barbara Hendricks has suggested a quota for e-cars might be needed to kick-start e-mobility. “I do not expect a sweeping ban on combustion engines. But it’s well possible that we will need a quota for e-cars to manage a smooth transition,” Hendricks told Stuttgarter Zeitung. “A quota would finally force the carmakers to offer models affordable to average earners.”
Despite the introduction of a buyer’s bonus, sales of e-cars remain sluggish in Germany.
Read the interview in German here.
For background, read the CLEW dossier The Energiewende and German carmakers.
Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung
Federal economy minister Sigmar Gabriel is backtracking on plans to standardise electricity grid fees across the country, angering several state governments, writes Andreas Mihm in the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (FAZ). “If the economy ministry’s regulation draft is passed by the federal cabinet in its current form, the federation will break its promise,” Saxony’s state premier Stanislaw Tillich told the FAZ. If the fees were not standardised, the regulation would “lose its heart,” according to Tillich.
Consumers in rural areas with strong renewables development currently pay higher fees, as the grid must be expanded there to transmit more wind power to Germany’s industrial west and south. Additionally, measures by grid operators to ensure the stability of a power grid coping with more volatile renewable power are growing more frequent. This is the case mostly in eastern and northern German states. The federal cabinet is to approve the regulation this month.
Read the article in German here.
Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung
Social Democrat and federal economy minister Sigmar Gabriel blocked a reform of power grid fees for political reasons, writes Heike Göbel in an opinion piece for the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung. Gabriel backtracked because a reform “would be very expensive for the citizens of North Rhine-Westphalia. The [upcoming] state election will influence how strong the Social Democrats are at the start of their campaign for the federal election in September. It’s political calculations like these that rob the Energiewende of efficiency and acceptance,” writes Göbel.
Read the opinion piece in German here.
The introduction of an EU-wide carbon price would help member states avoid 943 million tonnes of CO₂ by 2025 as electricity generation from hard coal and lignite will decrease by 28 percent, according to a study by non-profit EWI Energy Research & Scenarios (ewi ERS). “No other instrument avoids the same amount of additional CO₂ at a lower cost. The average price for CO₂ abatement is approximately 24 euros/t CO₂,” writes ER&S in a presentation of the results. Operators of nuclear power plants, renewables facilities and natural gas-fired power generators would be the winners of a carbon floor price, writes ewi ER&S.
Find the study results in English here.
Also read the CLEW article Experts call for CO2 price to retain Energiewende’s credibility.
The start of the Detroit Auto Show once again shows that German carmakers lag behind on e-mobility, as they are mainly presenting conventional cars, write Thomas Fromm and Max Hägler in the Süddeutsche Zeitung. “They’re still not here, the fascinating e-cars of the future.” German carmakers spent ages debating whether good e-cars had to come first, or the charging infrastructure. The success of US-rival Tesla pushed BMW, Daimler, Ford, Porsche and Audi into a cooperation to build their own Europe-wide charging infrastructure. “It won’t be a sudden revolution, despite all the present talk about it,” car industry expert Gabriel Seiberth from consultancy Accenture told the authors.
Read the article in German here.
In terms of e-mobility technology, Germany has moved into a leading global position, but in industry, China has taken over the lead thanks to its higher production levels and value creation, according to business consultancy Roland Berger’s E-Mobility Index. In terms of the market, all seven leading automotive nations are increasingly on the same level. The study also finds that the role of cities is growing with regard to emissions legislation, and that fast charging is becoming increasingly important for customer acceptance.
Read the study in English here.
Climate activists’ guerrilla-style protest against lignite mining in the western German state of North Rhine-Westphalia has divided the region, reports Stefan Schultz in a long article in Spiegel Online. The dispute dates back to 2012, but is now escalating because the region is considering evicting the demonstrators, some of which have been living for years in the Hambach Forest. The forest is slated to fall victim to an extension of RWE’s lignite mine. Many locals are also on the fence about the destruction of the landscape, the author writes. Schultz calls the occupied area of the forest a “frontline of the German energy transition.”
Read the article (behind paywall) in German here.
For background, read the CLEW factsheet When will Germany finally ditch coal?
The G20 summit in Germany in July 2017 will provide an important opportunity for major powers to resist backsliding on global climate goals, despite uncertainties after the US election, and it could even aid progress, according to a post on energytransition.de, summarizing the key points of a report by the Center for American Progress and the Heinrich-Böll-Stiftung North America. “To its credit, the German government, which officially assumed the G20 presidency this month, is already positioning itself well—and deliberately so—for such an effort.” The posts lists five opportunities to build on existing strands of work: identify and disclose transition risk, strengthen fossil fuel subsidy reform, include Paris goals in growth strategies, expand access to climate-risk insurance, and steer investments toward climate-compatible infrastructure.
Read the post in English here.
For background read the CLEW article IEA director calls on Germany to lead on climate during G20 presidency.
In many countries around the world, solar has become the cheapest source of energy – a fact that produces winners and losers among German companies, report Franz Hubik and Stephan Scheuer in the business daily Handelsblatt. While engineering consultancy Lahmeyer is profiting from strong demand, Germany’s only remaining PV producer Solarworld is fighting for survival because of low module prices.
Read the article in German (behind paywall) here.