Siemens calls for accelerated coal exit / Drones for the Energiewende
Clean Energy Wire
A small circle of representatives from CDU, CSU, FDP and the Green Party will meet this afternoon (2 November) to try and find common ground on climate and energy in the ongoing exploratory talks ahead of official negotiations to build the next government coalition. German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s right-hand man and chancellery chief Peter Altmaier, the head of the German Association of Energy and Water Industries (BDEW) and former Free Democratic state secretary Stefan Kapferer and current state secretary in the economy and energy ministry Rainer Baake, who is a member of the Green Party, are among the participants, a source close to the talks told the Clean Energy Wire. The group's discussions will inform the next round of exploratory talks on the issue, scheduled for next week.
For background on the talks check out CLEW’s Coalition watch and the article German coalition talks stuck over climate, energy policy.
Clean Energy Wire
Germany’s largest industrial company Siemens has sent an unofficial working paper to members of the Green Party in which it calls for “an accelerated end of coal-fired power production” coupled with a European carbon floor price. In the four-page document seen by the Clean Energy Wire and sent during ongoing talks to form a new government coalition, the company, which operates natural gas and wind power businesses, says Germany’s next government ought to make a coal exit a “climate policy priority” and gauge the possibility of shutting down the country’s most carbon-intense power plants earlier than planned. On the European level, Germany should strive to establish a common CO2 minimum price and to end “subsidies and capacity payments” for polluting power plants. Siemens also says Germany’s future transport policy should be focussed on decarbonisation and electrification.
Spiegel Online first reported on this topic in an article in German here.
See the CLEW factsheet When will Germany finally ditch coal? for background.
Clean Energy Wire
After an expected clash over climate and energy policy last week, Germany’s aspiring coalition partners of the conservative CDU/CSU alliance, the pro-business FDP and the environmentalist Green Party also failed to find a first official agreement on transport policy, an equally controversial topic. At the coalition talks on Wednesday, the debate over an end to combustion engines in Germany and looming driving bans for polluting cars in several major cities were splitting points as the potential Jamaica coalition partners’ ideas for the future of the mighty German car industry differ considerably. The Green Party wants to ban registrations of new cars with combustion engines by 2030 to curb the transport sector's CO2 emissions and facilitate the shift to electric mobility, a policy that conservative transport minister Alexander Dobrindt said would be "not possible" with his party.
See the CLEW article German coalition talks stuck over climate, energy policy and the CLEW factsheet The debate over an end to combustion engines in Germany for more information.
Note: The Clean Energy Wire will publish an article on this story later today.
Drones and digital technologies can be harnessed in order to increase the reliability of producing, transmitting and distributing energy, writes management consultancy PwC in its study “Clarity from above”. The use of drones could bring down costs for energy companies significantly, with a global market potential of 8 billion euros, writes PwC. Drones could, for example, be used for pre-construction monitoring, grid maintenance and vegetation management to prevent power line damages by trees.
Find the study in English here.
The United Nation’s warning about a “worrying” gap between climate pledges and emissions cuts needed ahead of the climate conference in Bonn could provide the Green Party with tailwind in the ongoing talks to form a new government coalition, writes Cerstin Gammelin in an opinion piece in Süddeutsche Zeitung. “If you want to reach 2020 climate targets, you have to drastically reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and exit coal, soon. If the Greens want to stay true to themselves, a coal exit must be in the coalition treaty,” writes Gammelin.
Find the opinion piece in German here.
Find background, read the CLEW interview COP23 - 'Our guests will be surprised how much Germany relies on coal' and the factsheet Climate & energy stumbling blocks for Jamaica-coalition talks.
Europe Beyond Coal
Several European civil society organisations, including Friends of the Earth (BUND) and Climate-Alliance Germany, have launched a collective campaign “to catalyse and hasten the move away from coal and towards clean renewable energy”. Several maps and graphs provide information on coal-fired power plants in Europe.
Should the next German government decide on a speedy exit from coal-fired power generation, no company would be affected as much as German utility RWE, Europe’s largest CO₂ emitter, writes Jürgen Flauger in Handelsblatt. RWE is in a better financial situation than last year. “RWE’s situation has improved significantly. […] In the end, we will have a clearly positive net result [in 2017],” said the company’s Chief Financial Officer Markus Krebber. However, a coal exit would worsen the company’s outlook, writes Flauger. “Exiting nuclear power and coal power at the same time brings high risks – for supply security and power prices,” Krebber told Handelsblatt.
Find the article (behind paywall) in German here.
In the weeks before the EU Commission is set to announce new car CO₂ limits on 8 November, the German car industry lobby has increased the pressure on the institution, report Markus Balser and Alexander Mühlauer in Süddeutsche Zeitung. The head of the German Association of the Automotive Industry (VDA), Matthias Wissmann, met with Commission representatives to call for changes in the current plans. According to negotiations sources, the ambitious draft proposals by the Commission are now being weakened, write Balser and Mühlauer.
Read the article in German here.
For background, read the CLEW dossier The Energiewende and German carmakers.