12 Apr 2018 | Julian Wettengel

Solar beats wind in first joint auction / Toll exemption for e-trucks

BNetzA / Clean Energy Wire

Solar beats onshore wind in first joint auction

Only solar bids have been successful in Germany’s first joint solar and onshore wind auction for renewables support, said the Federal Network Agency (BNetzA) in a press release. “In competition, it simply is the technology that offers the lowest costs that wins. However, for the success of the energy transition, a mix of the different technologies is necessary,” said BNetzA president Jochen Homann. Thirty-two of the 54 entered bids for a total of 210 megawatts were successful. The average support rate for all successful bidders was 4.67 eurocents per kilowatt hour (ct/kWh), higher than that of the last purely solar auction (4.33 ct/kWh). The results showed that “solar energy in Germany is very competitive at the moment,” said Thomas Bareiß, parliamentary state secretary in the economy ministry, in a statement. He also called for “a balanced mix of renewables production technologies overall”. In March, the solar and wind industries had both opposed joint auctions, arguing that the technologies have different cost structures.
Think tank Agora Energiewende* called for auctions for combined wind and solar facilities in the future instead. "This way, costs can be reduced because there is a joint use of the necessary grid infrastructure and the land," said director Patrick Graichen in a statement.

Find the press release in German here.

For background, read the CLEW news digest item Germany launches joint onshore wind and solar tender, including “grid component,” and the dossier Onshore wind power in Germany.

*Like the Clean Energy Wire, Agora Energiewende is funded by the Stiftung Mercator and the European Climate Foundation.

 

BSW / BWE

Solar and wind industries regard joint auction as a failure

The German Solar Association (BSW) and the German Wind Energy Association (BWE) “regard the first joint auction [for onshore wind and solar power] as a failure,” and call for separate auctions to be held in the future, the two organisations write in a joint press release. The two technologies should not be “entangled in an aimless cost competition,” they write. The federal government has set itself an ambitious renewable energies expansion target for 2030, said BWE president Hermann Albers. “This can only be reached if both wind energy and solar energy are significantly expanded immediately,” he said. Pitting “the two important pillars of our future energy system” against each other was inefficient and not goal-oriented, he said.

Read the press release in German here.

For background, read the CLEW news digest item Germany launches joint onshore wind and solar tender, including “grid component,” and the dossier Onshore wind power in Germany.

 

Federal government

Merkel: Neither customers, nor taxpayers can be made accountable for auto industry’s “serious mistakes”

“As far as possible,” German carmakers themselves have to put right the “serious mistakes” made during the diesel crisis, said Chancellor Angela Merkel after a two-day cabinet retreat in Meseberg near Berlin. “The customer or taxpayer cannot be made accountable for that,” said Merkel. She did not directly comment on reports that Germany is mulling a joint fund with carmakers to pay for diesel car hardware refits, but said that “the benefits and costs must be proportionate. Hardware refits are relatively cost-intensive.” The government is still waiting for expert reports on hardware refits, and bets on “individual measures that spare citizens” as much as possible, instead of driving bans or a blue badge, Merkel said.

Read a Reuters article on the topic in English here.

For background, read the CLEW article Court ruling opens door for diesel bans in German cities and the factsheet Diesel driving bans in Germany – The Q&A.

 

Clean Energy Wire

Four ministries will jointly work in coal commission

Four German ministers will “jointly work” in the country’s “coal commission” – tasked with finding a phase-out compromise – said chancellor Angela Merkel (CDU) at a press conference after a two-day cabinet retreat in Meseberg near Berlin. Economy minister Peter Altmaier (CDU), environment minister Svenja Schulze (SPD), labour minister Hubertus Heil (SPD), and interior minister Horst Seehofer (CSU) will steer the work of the so-called “special commission on growth, structural economic change and employment”. The commission’s office will be in the economy ministry, said Merkel. Finance minister Olaf Scholz (SPD) said that the key topic will be finding a long-term perspective for current workers and companies. “Then it will be better possible to create the conditions for the necessary decisions, which are important for the climate and this part of our environment’s development,” said Scholz.

For background, read the factsheet When will Germany finally ditch coal? and the portraits Merkel puts long-time confidant in charge of energy transition and New German environment minister faces steep uphill battle on climate.

 

Süddeutsche Zeitung

Electric trucks to be exempted from motorway toll

The German federal government wants to support electric vehicle adoption in the trucking industry, reports Markus Balser in the Süddeutsche Zeitung. “From 1 January 2019, electric trucks will be exempt from the motorway toll for trucks. This is a big incentive for logistics companies to switch to environmentally friendly vehicles,” German transport minister Andreas Scheuer told the newspaper. Scheuer presented the programme at a two-day cabinet retreat in Meseberg near Berlin as “a measure to improve air quality in our cities”. Operators could save an average of 5,000 euros annually per truck, writes Balser.

Read the article in German here.

For background, read the CLEW dossier The energy transition and Germany’s transport sector, and the interview with Scheuer Germany's car-loving transport minister faces clean mobility challenge.

 

Clean Energy Wire

Gas industry calls for reliable political conditions for gas-driven mobility

Gas-based transport could help the German transport sector reach its greenhouse gas reduction targets, and it also needs more reliable political framework conditions, the German Technical and Scientific Association for Gas and Water (DVGW) and the industry initiative Zukunft Erdgas said at a joint mobility conference in Berlin. Addressing the grand coalition government of the CDU/CSU and the SPD, DVGW head Gerald Linke said: “If you are serious about climate and health protection, you bet on gas as a fuel.” German carmaker Volkswagen “believes in gas,” said Stephen Neumann, group officer natural gas mobility at VW AG. The first three months of 2018 saw very strong gas car sales, and based on existing orders this trend would continue. However, gas cars remain a niche product. “It’s a small seed that needs to be nurtured. We think that a market penetration of 5-10 percent for passenger cars is possible in the long term,” said Neumann.

Find a joint press release in German here.

For background, read the CLEW dossier The Energiewende and German carmakers.

 

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