17 Mar 2017, 00:00
Benjamin Wehrmann Julian Wettengel

CORRECTED: Rising emissions threaten climate goals / Less interest in e-cars

The headline of the item "Capital increase yields 1.35 billion euros for E.ON" has been corrected to show the value of the capital hike was 1.35 billion euros not million.

Süddeutsche Zeitung

Germany’s greenhouse gas emissions rose to 906 million tonnes in 2016 (from 902 million tonnes in 2015), making it unlikely that the country will reach its 2020 emission reduction target, according to preliminary data by the Federal Environment Agency (UBA), reports Michael Bauchmüller in Süddeutsche Zeitung (SZ). The data, seen by SZ, showed that emissions in the transport sector increased by 5.4 million tonnes, due to more freight transport and more passenger cars with larger motors registered. “If nothing happens in the transport sector soon, we will miss our climate targets,” UBA president Maria Krautzberger told Süddeutsche Zeitung.
The data confirms a trend shown in earlier projections by energy market research group AG Energiebilanzen, and UBA will publish its complete set of data on Monday, 20 March.

Read the article in German here.

For background read the CLEW articles German carbon emissions rise in 2016 despite coal use drop and Germany “stands by existing climate targets” – chancellery chief.

Süddeutsche Zeitung

Aspiration and ambitious targets are needed to make the transition to a low-carbon economy, but the German federal government has done too little, according to emissions data by the Federal Environment Agency (UBA), writes Michael Bauchmüller in an opinion piece in Süddeutsche Zeitung. “Germany, once admired for its ambition, is about to embarrass itself,” writes Bauchmüller. Political parties could prove they were serious about climate protection by making the phase-out of coal and the combustion engine part of their federal election campaign programmes.

Read the opinion piece in German here.

For background read the CLEW articles German carbon emissions rise in 2016 despite coal use drop and Germany “stands by existing climate targets” – chancellery chief.

Bild Zeitung

Germans are less and less keen about electric cars, Bild Zeitung reports. According to a survey by, 15.7 percent of people said they were interested in buying an e-car, compared to 16 percent in the 2015 survey, Bild writes. In the countryside, just 11.6 percent are interested in buying an e-car, the newspaper adds. By contrast, high-pollutant SUVs gain in popularity in Germany. Some 17.3 percent of people said they would consider buying a heavy sports-utility vehicle, up from 14.1 percent in the previous survey.

Read the article in German here.

For background on the role of heavy vehicles in Germany’s emissions, see the CLEW article German carbon emissions rise in 2016 despite coal use drop and the CLEW dossier The energy transition and Germany’s transport sector.

BBC News

Energiewende country Germany will use its G20 presidency this year to push for a global price on carbon as one of many measures to achieve climate goal, reports Roger Harrabin for BBC News. “We need to find a mechanism for a carbon price. Then it’ll be debated in the G20 and we will have an energy and climate action plan as a result of the G20 presidency,” Thorsten Herdan, general director of energy policy at the federal economy ministry (BMWi), told BBC.

Read the article in English here.


Germany will release a G20 plan on addressing climate change next week, which will outline how member states can lead by example to implement the Paris Agreement, report Joe Ryan and Brian Parkin for Bloomberg. Germany was “taking cautious steps confronting US President Donald Trump on an issue that puts him at odds with most world leaders”, write Ryan and Parkin.

Read the article in English here.


The record loss of over 16 billion euros announced by German utility E.ON increases doubts about the company’s survival, Angela Hennersdorf and Andreas Macho write in business paper WirtschaftsWoche. CEO Johannes Teyssen’s 400-million euro rescue scheme, dubbed “Phoenix”, could axe about 1,000 jobs in Germany alone – including Teyssen’s own position, the authors say. Teyssen had to announce a billion-euro loss for the fourth time in six years. “Nobody within the company is keen on doing the job, that’s why Teyssen carries on,” they quote an E.ON manager. But external suitors seem to emerge: French energy company Engie and Italian counterpart Enel are said to eye the stricken German utility, Hennersdorf and Macho write.

Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung

On Thursday, E.ON decided on an anticipated capital increase, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (FAZ) reports. The company will issue 200 million new shares, which could generate about 1.3 billion euros available for debt reduction. The measure is mainly aimed at coping with a risk premium of two billion euros that E.ON pays into a state-administered fund for financing the final storage of Germany’s nuclear waste.

See the article in German here.

For background, see the CLEW factsheets E.ON shareholders ratify energy giant’s split and Securing utility payments for the nuclear clean-up


An abandoned coal mine in the German federal state of North Rhine-Westphalia is set to become a 200 megawatt pumped hydropower storage capable of powering over 400,000 households, Brian Parkin reports for Bloomberg. The 600-metre deep Prosper-Haniel hard coal mine “will keep playing a role in providing uninterrupted power for the country”, Parkin quotes the state’s premier Hannelore Kraft. The mine’s conversion could revitalise the local economy, which for long has relied on coal mining as a key economic activity, and foster the expansion of renewables “by helping to maintain electric capacity even when the wind doesn’t blow or the sun doesn’t shine”, Parkin writes.

Read the article in English here.

For more information, see the CLEW factsheet How can Germany keep the lights on in a renewable energy future?


Managing Germany’s power grids is becoming increasingly expensive, Klaus Stratmann writes in Handelsblatt. There has been a “massive increase” in so-called “re-dispatch” measures, where power plants are started or shut down to keep the grid stable, according to figures by the German Association of Energy and Water Industries (BDEW) seen by Handelsblatt, Stratmann writes. The re-dispatch measures reached 63 percent of last year’s total volume in the first two months of 2017 alone, he explains. “The combination of volatile wind power generation and an undersized power grid proves to become ever more dangerous,” Stratmann writes. Costs for this so-called “bottleneck management” amounted to one billion euros in 2015 and are paid by power customers via the “grid fee” portion of their power bill.

Read the article in German here (behind paywall).

For background, see the CLEW news digest entry  “Lower costs for grid congestion management show positive effects of grid expansion”, the CLEW dossier The energy transition and Germany’s power grid and the factsheet What German households pay for power.

Welt Online / dpa

Saxony’s federal state parliament has voted for aligning grid fees across Germany, news agency dpa reports in an article carried by Welt Online. The parliament called on Saxony’s state government to work towards repealing “existing regional imbalances on the expense especially of eastern Germany”, the report says. Grid fees are higher in eastern and northern parts of Germany since more money has been spent on grid expansion in these relatively sparsely populated parts of the country.

Read the article in German here.

For more information, see the CLEW factsheet Power grid fees – unfair and opaque?


About 220 wind turbines in the German federal state of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania will have to be dismantled after 2020 because they lose eligibility for guaranteed feed-in tariffs after 20 years of service, Juliane Lange writes for Ostsee-Zeitung. It is a “growing problem” for the state, since the turbines “can no longer be operated at a profit”, she writes. But the dismantling of wind power plants is complicated and costly, prompting disgruntled reactions from many of the paper’s readers on its social media channel, Lange writes. Readers complain that wind power “has always been about profit instead of the environment” and call the “large-scale construction of wind turbines” an “economic mistake”.

For background, see the CLEW factsheet Polls reveal citizens’ support for Energiewende.

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