Strong rise in public energy research investments / E-car sales grow
German Parliament / Federal Government
The German government’s spending on energy research has more than doubled since 2006, the German Parliament (Bundestag) said in a press release. Research investments rose from around 400 million euros in 2006 to more than 875 million euros in 2016, according to a government report. These investments were partly responsible for the increased share of renewables in Germany’s power mix and a fall in primary energy consumption, “making the Energiewende a successful Made in Germany brand,” the government said. In 2016, the biggest share of renewables investment – around 116 million euros – went into solar PV technology, followed by wind power at roughly 86 million euros, and energy storage at nearly 57 million euros. On top of this, about 533 million euros was invested in nuclear fusion research over the last four years, such as for the international research reactor ITER in France, the government explained.
Find the government report in German here.
The first quarter of 2017 has seen a new record for e-car registrations in Germany, the scientific foundation Centre for Solar Energy and Hydrogen Research Baden-Wuerttemberg (ZSW) said in a press release. A total of 11,624 electric vehicles was registered between January and April this year – “more than ever before in one quarter”, the ZSW said. Of these, 5,060 were purely electric and 5,264 hybrid models, the foundation explained.
Find the press release in German here.
For more information, see the CLEW dossier The Energiewende and German carmakers.
Renewables support does not increase consumer power prices in Germany, Ralph Diermann writes in Süddeutsche Zeitung, based on an analysis by price comparison website Stromauskunft.de. While the EEG surcharge that finances renewables development has risen over the years, wind and solar have helped bring wholesale electricity prices down, Diermann writes, balancing out the cost that make up consumers’ electricity bills.
Find more information on household power prices in the CLEW factsheet What German households pay for power.
German Wind Energy Association
International agreements for climate protection and Germany’s Climate Action Plan 2050 spell a prosperous future for the country’s wind power industry, the German Wind Energy Association (BWE) said in a press release. Germany’s wind power industry “has an innovation lead of several years,” BWE head Hermann Albers estimates. The industry must maintain this lead given the “dynamic worldwide growth” of renewable capacity, Albers argues. The German government should introduce a fixed shutdown algorithm for fossil power plants in times of negative wholesale power prices and a carbon floor price to support wind energy as “the Energiewende’s backbone” to enable the gradual electrification of all sectors, based on clean energy generation, Albers says.
See the press release in German here.
See the CLEW factsheet Germany’s Climate Action Plan 2050 for background.
Global business leaders including Kurt Bock, CEO of German chemical giant BASF, have called on G20 governments to up their efforts on climate protection, Cordula Tutt writes in WirtschaftsWoche. Bock, who heads the B20 Energy, Climate & Resource Efficiency (ECRE) Taskforce, said European companies were already often frontrunners in sustainability. “To really make use of their innovative strength, we urgently need fair conditions of competition and a level global regulatory playing field,” Bock told WirtschaftsWoche. The B20 will meet in Berlin next week.
For background read the CLEW article Germany keeps pushing for G20 climate focus.
Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung
Municipal shareholders have stressed the importance of utility RWE’s dividend payouts to the communal coffers at the company’s annual general meeting, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (FAZ) reports. CEO Martin Schmitz’s speech was repeatedly interrupted by environmentalists protesting the company’s continued use of coal, which Schmitz defended as an “important part of secure and affordable energy”. But even some shareholders pointed to the risk of losing more sustainability-oriented investors, FAZ reports.
Find background in the CLEW dossier Fighting for survival: Germany’s big utilities look for a future in the new energy world and When will Germany finally ditch coal?
Germany needs a four-pronged strategy to get its Energiewende on track to meet emissions and renewables targets, writes Felix Matthes, head of the Institute for Applied Ecology (Öko-Institut), in an opinion piece for weekly newspaper Die Zeit. The country must strengthen renewables, as well as efficiency efforts in the building and transport sector. Politicians must actively push for an end to old emissions-intensive technology, and infrastructure such as grids and railways should be developed much faster, Matthes says. He added that selecting the best solutions from a plethora of innovations should play a greater role.
Find the article in here.
Deutsche Bank Research
The diesel engine could remain the most economic option for many drivers if the car industry manages to get clean diesel cars to the market at affordable prices, Eric Heymann writes in a note for Deutsche Bank Research. The industry must regain trust and get to grips with emissions, he argues. Otherwise, lawmakers are likely to tighten regulations. Politicians in turn must communicate quickly and clearly what future regulation will look like so consumers can make informed decisions, the note says.
Read the research note here and find background in the CLEW dossier on how BMW, Daimler, and VW vow to fight in green transport revolution.