28 Nov 2017, 00:00
Kerstine Appunn Benjamin Wehrmann

Second diesel summit: bid to avoid looming driving bans

Zeit Online

Germany’s federal government and the country’s municipalities want to use the so-called diesel summit to set up a programme worth over one billion euros to improve air quality in German cities and prevent looming driving bans for polluting cars, Zeit Online reports. A draft paper by the Chancellery says the summit’s aim was to “make sure that nitrogen dioxide [NO2] limits are observed in affected municipalities”, the article says. According to Zeit Online, 350 million euros will be spent on the electrification of vehicles such as public buses, 150 million euros into retrofitting of buses with diesel engines and up to 500 million euros into digitalisation measures, such as traffic management systems. Michael Ebling, head of the German Association of Local Utilities (VKU), said the billion-euro fund will not be enough to bring about large-scale change. “In fact, we would need a billion-euro fund for every year,” he added.

Read the article in German here.

See CLEW’s Dieselgate timeline and the factsheet The debate over and end to combustion engines in Germany for more information.

Environmental Action Germany (DUH)

NGO Environmental Action Germany (DUH) has applied to fine the Bavarian government for ignoring a 2017 verdict from the state’s highest administrative court to impose driving bans to improve air quality. The Bavarian government insists that driving bans will not be issued.

Read the DUH press release in German here.

See CLEW’s Dieselgate timeline and the factsheet The debate over and end to combustion engines in Germany for more information.

Bloomberg Technology

Wind power generation in Germany in the first nine months of 2017 has exceeded the amount of electricity generated in coal and nuclear plants for the first time, Bloomberg Technology reports. Bruno Burger, professor at Fraunhofer ISE said that this was because hard coal plant operators reduced production in favour of cheaper lignite stations.

Read the article in English here.

See the CLEW factsheet German onshore wind power for background.

German Association of Energy and Water Industries (BDEW)

The energy sector could achieve a 40 percent CO2 reduction by 2020 if an extra five gigawatt (GW) of brown and hard coal-fired power stations were shut down in the next years, industry association BDEW says. The energy association finds in its analysis that due to an increase in renewable power and a decrease in the use of hard coal the energy sector would reach a 38 percent reduction anyway by 2020. To fill the remaining gap, coal plants could be compensated to go offline. The compensation could be determined by a bidding process, the BDEW suggests. “It’s obvious, the energy sector is contributing its share, in contrast to other relevant areas, such as in particular the transport sector,” BDEW chairman Stefan Kapferer said in a press release.

Read the BDEW analysis in German here.

See the CLEW article Germany heads for "spectacular" 2020 climate target miss - study for background.

Federal Office for Economic Affairs and Export Control

Germany imported 10.2 percent more oil products between January and September 2017 than in the same period last year, the Federal Office for Economic Affairs and Export Control (Bafa) says in a press release. Oil product imports stood at 32.3 million tonnes by September, whereas crude oil imports fell by 1.3 percent to 67.1 million tonnes, the Bafa says. Diesel fuel sales grew by 2.4 percent to 28.9 million tonnes, while sales of normal heating oil climbed 4.3 percent to 11.9 million tonnes.

Read the press release in German here

See the CLEW factsheet Germany’s dependence on imported fossil fuels for background.


German car manufacturer Daimler will start selling electric versions of its transporter Mercedes “Vito” in 2018, Handelsblatt reports. The van is Mercedes’ answer to the Deutsche Post’s newly developed electric Streetscooter. It will have a range of 150 km and is geared to delivery companies. Logistics firm Hermes has ordered 1,500 electric vans that will be delivered by 2020, the article says. It will cost 39,990 euros.

Read the article in German here.

See the CLEW factsheet Reluctant Daimler plans “radical” push into new mobility world for background.

Frankfurter Rundschau

German industry association BDI’s warning that the country lacks sufficient access to the raw materials needed for large-scale production of electric cars are exaggerated, think tank Agora Verkehrswende* says. Think tank head Christian Hochfeld told the Frankfurter Rundschau that the resources needed for a rapid worldwide increase in e-car production, such as cobalt, lithium or platinum, were abundantly available, although some supply bottlenecks could not be ruled out. “The more efficient the e-cars are, the safer we are from unwanted surprises,” Hochfeld argues, saying that better recycling guidelines in the European Union could help prevent resource shortages for battery production. E-car battery production could increase the demand for certain raw materials by up to 50 times, according to a study commissioned by Agora Verkehrswende.

See the CLEW dossier The Energiewende and German carmakers for more information.

*Like the Clean Energy Wire, Agora Verkehrswende is a project funded by the Mercator Foundation and the European Climate Foundation.

Power storage devices need a clearer legal definition in German law to create a better investment environment for the industry, BSW Solar says in a press release. “Many disputes and uncertainties stem from the fact that storages sometimes count as consumers and sometimes as producers of power,” the renewables lobby group says. BSW Solar head Carsten Körning says the legal clarification was necessary “to further open and stimulate the market for solar power storages”. There are currently about 75,000 solar power storage devices in Germany that made “power available around the clock and reduce the need for grid expansion”, the press release says. In a 10-point-plan, the BSW Solar suggests several immediate measures “that allow storages to persist on the market by themselves”, saying the industry did not need high subsidies but rather a removal of market barriers. “Besides power generation, grids and consumption, storages need to be recognised and defined as a distinct element of the energy system,” Körnig says.

Find the press release in German here and the 10-point-plan in German here.

Lübecker Nachrichten Online

The government parties in Germany’s northern state of Schleswig-Holstein are risking the further development of wind energy, opposition party SPD and wind energy association BWE say. They want to “thoroughly rework” the plan instead of verifying the existing regional plan for wind power expansion. The result was stranded investments of three million euros for 680 turbines and wind park businesses which did not know how to pay their employees, the BWE says.

Read the article in German here.

Read a CLEW dossier on wind power in Germany and this year’s switch to an auction system here.


RWE’s coal mining in the old Hambach Forest in western German state North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW) “is unparalleled in its stupidity”, Ingo Arzt writes in a commentary for the left-wing Tageszeitung (taz). It is well known that the lignite mined in the region “is a climate mess that needs to stop as soon as possible”, Arzt writes. He describes environmentalists who have been occupying the forest for years as “heroes”. Arzt says this was not about simple “friend or foe thinking” but recognising that the protesters put their lives on the line “for the right cause”. With the Energiewende, Germany has been making “green PR around the world” but it now risks missing its 2020 climate protection targets, making the objective of the protesters in the Hambach Forest “the goals of our country and by virtue of the Paris Agreement also the goals of the global community”.

Read the article in German here.

See the CLEW factsheet Coal in Germany for background.

All texts created by the Clean Energy Wire are available under a “Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Licence (CC BY 4.0)” . They can be copied, shared and made publicly accessible by users so long as they give appropriate credit, provide a link to the license, and indicate if changes were made.
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