19 Oct 2018, 13:05
Sören Amelang Sven Egenter Benjamin Wehrmann

"Squandering Germany's role as climate pioneer" / Weak wind tender


Germany’s politicians and companies are squandering the country’s leading role in climate protection even though the energy transition can benefit the economy, according to a ten-page special report in business daily Handelsblatt by Silke Kersting and Klaus Stratmann. Chancellor Angela Merkel’s resistance to stricter EU car fleet emission limits is “symptomatic for the relegation of an ecologic superstar,” write the authors. “Judged by yesterday's noble ambitions, Germany is on the path to a failed state in climate policy […] even though it is unnecessarily expensive in many areas, the Energiewende shows the enormous economic growth potential slumbering in the battle against climate change.”

Find the article in German (behind paywall) here.

For background on the Energiewende’s effects on the economy, read the dossier German industry embraces Energiewende transformation challenge.

Federal Network Agency (BNetzA)

Germany’s latest tender for new onshore wind power installations failed to attract enough bids to award the full offered amount of 670 megawatts, the country’s grid regulator said. The average support rate for the accepted bids with a total amount of 363 megawatts was 6.26 ct/kWh, slightly higher than the average rate of 6.16 ct/kWh in the previous round in August. The tender for ground-mounted solar PV installations meanwhile saw strong competition, said the head of the grid regulator, Jochen Homann in a statement. With bids of 551 megawatts, the auction was three times oversubscribed. The regulator accepted bids with a total capacity of 192 megawatts. The average weighted support rate was 4.69 ct/kWh, slightly higher than the 4.59 ct/kWh from the previous auction.

Find the Federal Network Agency’s press statement here.


Germany’s coal exit commission faces a huge task, but progress is slow, write Horand Knaup and Max Haerder in business magazine Wirtschaftswoche. “Participants lament that a lot of time and energy is wasted on questions of organisation and discussions about headlines,” the authors write. According to the article, commission members are beginning to get nervous because the question is still open as to whether the coal exit should be geared towards the more ambitious Paris Climate Agreement or towards the less ambitious national climate targets. But environmentalists recently got a boost from their victory in the fight over Hambach Forest, the recent IPCC report, and the Green’s strong showing in Bavaria’s elections, according to the article.

Find background in the article Commission watch – Managing Germany’s coal phase-out.

Die Welt

About 100 members of coal miner labour union IG BCE held a demonstration in front of the private home of anti-coal mining acitivist Antje Grothus, who also is a member of Germany’s coal exit commission, newspaper Die Welt reports. Grothus, who heads a civil society organisation that wants to prevent the demolition of villages that stand in the way of coal mines in the state of North Rhine-Westphalia, said she felt “threatened” by the group of protesters that shouted slogans against her and reportedly also knocked on her home’s windows before police intervened and sent the protesters away. The IG BCE later condemned the actions of some of its members, saying the protest in front of Grothus’s house had neither been officially registered nor planned. “We believe this form of protest is wrong and distance ourselves from attacking others personally,” the labour union said in a statement on Twitter. IG BCE head Michael Vassiliadis, himself a member of the coal exit commission, wrote Grothus a letter in which he said this kind of “intimidation” was not in accordance “with our idea of settling political differences in a democracy.”

Find the article in German here.

Find background in the article Commission watch – Managing Germany’s coal phase-out.

Süddeutsche Zeitung

VW is responsible for one of the largest industrial frauds in the post-war period and still tries to profit from it, writes Angelika Slavik in a commentary in Süddeutsche Zeitung. The carmaker is offering up to 10,000 euros for the trade-in of an old diesel model and the purchase of a new car to avoid expensive hardware retrofits. “Instead of investing several thousand euros to make a dirty car a little cleaner, they prefer to sell a new car at a higher discount, earn some money and get rid of the problem.” Slavik concludes that “VW only ever does as much as is necessary to maximise its own benefit.”

Read the commentary in German here.

For background, read the factsheet "Dieselgate"- a timeline of Germany's car emissions fraud scandal and the factsheet Dieselgate forces VW to embrace green mobility.

Die Zeit

The car industry lobby often claims that it provides one in seven jobs in Germany, but the true number is one in 25, write Matthias Breitinger and Tina Groll in an analysis for weekly magazine Die Zeit. But the carmakers are better positioned in e-mobility than many believe. Every second electric car sold in Western Europe is made by a German carmaker, and one in three e-mobility patents is German, according to the article.

Read the article in German here.

Find plenty of background in the dossier The Energiewende and German carmakers.

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