17 May 2016, 00:00
Sören Amelang Julian Wettengel

State minister calls coal protests 'arrogant vigilantism'

Der Tagesspiegel / Vattenfall

“Around 3,000 participants end blockade”

As part of the worldwide protests “Break free from fossil fuels” around 3,000 demonstrators from all over Europe occupied parts of the open cast mines run by Vattenfall in eastern German Lusatia, reports Der Tagesspiegel. The protests were by and large peaceful and the police intervened only when demonstrators tried to seize the adjoining site of the power plant ‘Schwarze Pumpe’. The electricity supply in the region was not in danger, writes Der Tagesspiegel. While Green politicians assessed the protests positively, economics minister of the state of Brandenburg Albrecht Gerber (Social Democrats) called the protest an "illegal campaign in the form of arrogant vigilantism.” Vattenfall Europe Mining and Generation CEO Hartmuth Zeiß said in a press release: “There is a new quality if a power plant is supposed to be forced into stopping production through violent pressure.”

Read the article by Der Tagesspiegel in German here.

Find Vattenfall’s press release in German here.


Die Welt / Bloomberg

“Greens rejoice too soon about green full supply”

An adjustment of provisional data showed that renewables did not supply all of Germany’s power demand for the first time on Sunday, reports Die Welt. Green politicians had already hailed the event as “historic”. According to think tank Agora Energiewende*, solar and wind power peaked at 2 p.m. local time on Sunday, allowing renewables to supply almost 47 gigawatts, which would have exceeded the provisional 45.8 gigawatts in demand that the think tank originally projected. But the think tank then adjusted demand up to 57 gigawatts. Some conventional power plants continued to run even during those peaks.

Read the Die Welt article in German here.

Read the Bloomberg article in English here.


Reuters / Moody’s

“Moody's cuts RWE debt to one notch above junk”

Moody's downgraded German utility RWE's debt to Baa3 from Baa2 citing weak power prices and the company's exposure to coal, reports Reuters. Germany's nuclear exit is another reason:  “Today's rating action reflects....the risk that the recent recommendation by the government-appointed nuclear commission that a significant premium should be paid by the German nuclear generators will be an additional financial burden for RWE,” writes Moody’s in a statement.

Read the article in English here.

Find Moody’s rating news here.


Frankfurter Rundschau

“The planned Climate Action Plan 2050 is ambitious”

The draft of the environment ministry’s Climate Action Plan 2050 has been praised by Green politicians as ambitious, but it will face opposition during the coordination phase between the ministries, writes Martin Steinhagen in the Frankfurter Rundschau. “The Climate Action Plan 2050 finally understands climate protection as an extensive task of all departments,” said Annalena Baerbock, climate policy speaker of the Greens parliamentary group in the Bundestag. The draft was leaked at the beginning of May. A press officer from the environment ministry has called it “outdated” and said it has already been revised many times since the leak.

Read CLEW's factsheet on the Climate Action Plan 2050.


Süddeutsche Zeitung


The Academic Advisory Board to the Federal Minister for Economic Affairs and Energy is calling on the government to scrap its plans for an e-car buyer’s premium, reports the Süddeutsche Zeitung. According to the scholars, such financial incentives are too expensive as a way to protect the climate. “Electric cars do not emit CO₂ when running, but the necessary electricity production could. In the extreme, the [CO₂-] savings would be zero or negative,” write the scholars in their analysis. They advocate for cheaper ways to protect the climate, like selective driving bans or the introduction of inner-city tolls, and call for the inclusion of the transport sector into the European Emissions Trading System (EU ETS). The Academic Advisory Board is an independent body that advises the minister on all issues relating to economic policy. It currently consists of 41 scholars.

Read CLEW's dossier The energy transition and Germany’s transport sector.


Spiegel Online

“EU plans to massively strengthen nuclear power”

The EU Commission wants to push for the construction of new nuclear power stations and the development of mini-reactors, reports Stefan Schultz for Spiegel Online. The draft of an EU strategy paper seen by Spiegel says the EU needs to defend its technological dominance in the technology, and member states should cooperate more closely on associated research, development, financing and construction of innovative power stations, writes Schultz. Insiders suspect the Commission wants to push nuclear to reduce Europe’s import dependency on Russian gas, and to fulfil its climate ambitions, according to the article. The German Green Party called the EU plans "absurd", adding the technology was “highly dangerous”.

Read the article in German here

Also read CLEW’s Dossier The challenges of Germany’s nuclear phase-out.


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

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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