13 Feb 2018, 00:00
Julian Wettengel

Synthetic fuels key for decarbonisation -study/ EnBW invests in Taiwan

Germany will need the well-directed use of power-based synthetic fuels in connection with a phase-out of oil and natural gas to reach its long-term climate targets, the think tanks Agora Energiewende and Agora Verkehrswende* write in a joint analysis. Synthetic fuels will play an important role in decarbonising the chemical and other industries, as well as part of the transport sector. But they should be used very selectively, says Patrick Graichen, head of Agora Energiewende. “Wherever we can use power directly, like in the building sector, we should do this. It will always be cheaper and more efficient than the use of synthetic fuels.” Synthetic methane and oil would initially cost 20-30 cents per kilowatt hour in Europe, which could drop to 10 cents by 2050. But this could happen only if global installed power-to-gas and power-to-liquid capacities increased to 100 gigawatt, with the help of “significant early and continued investment in electrolysers and CO₂ absorbers”. This cannot be expected without political intervention or a high price on CO₂, write the think tanks. Synthetic fuels are not an alternative to fossil oil and gas, but rather complement other direct renewable energy and electricity use, such as e-cars and heat pumps. A combustion-engine vehicle running on synthetic fuels needed about five times the amount of electricity as a battery-powered car, says Agora Verkehrswende director Christian Hochfeld. “Synthetic fuels are everything but a ‘miracle diesel’.” Power-to-x facilities require inexpensive renewable electricity and need to run at high performance for most of the time to be profitable, so new renewables capacity must be built in Germany or other regions, such as North Africa or the Middle East, giving oil and gas export countries a post-fossil business model, say the researchers.

Find the study in German here.

*Like the Clean Energy Wire, Agora Verkehrswende and Agora Energiewende are projects funded by the Mercator Foundation and the European Climate Foundation.

Reuters / EnBW

German utility EnBW acquired a 37.5 percent stake in each of three offshore wind projects in Taiwan with a potential total volume of approximately 2,000 megawatt, marking the first such investment outside Europe in the group’s renewables expansion, reports news agency Reuters. The new partnership initially focuses on securing grid connection capacity for the three projects, and the acquisition is subject to the approval of the Cartel Authority in charge. EnBW is “rigorously pursuing its growth path in renewables and, for the first time, is now targeting international offshore wind markets outside of Europe”, the company wrote in a press release.

Find the article in English here and read the EnBW press release in English here.

For background, read the CLEW dossier Utilities and the energy transition.

Wind Europe

Germany installed the most wind power capacity in Europe in 2017, with 42 percent of the total EU installations, writes industry association Wind Europe in its annual report. The country installed 6.6 gigawatt, followed by the UK with 4.3 gigawatt and France with 1.7 gigawatt. Germany remains the EU country with the largest installed wind power capacity, followed by Spain, the UK and France.

Find the report for download in English here.

Also read the CLEW news item German onshore wind power sees record growth in 2017 and the dossier Onshore wind power in Germany.


The buyer’s premium for the purchase of a new car in exchange for an old diesel has contributed to a 12.3 percent year-on-year increase of delivered Volkswagen (VW) vehicles in January 2018, the company announced in a press release. January saw a global delivery record for the Volkswagen brand. The buyer’s premium was agreed at the diesel summit in August 2017, as a measure to help cut harmful emissions and prevent inner city driving bans. Since the program was launched, more than 100,000 VW vehicles have been sold with the premium, said the company.

Find the press release in English here.

For background, read the CLEW article German carmakers pledge diesel software updates and buyer’s bonus and the dossier The Energiewende and German carmakers.

German Solar Industry Association (BSW) / Association of Heating Industry (BDH)

With about 78,000 new solar heaters in 2017, a total of about 2.3 million solar heating systems are now in operation in Germany, the German Solar Industry Association (BSW) and the Association of Heating Industry (BDH) say in a joint press release.

Find the press release in German here.

For more information read the CLEW dossier The Energiewende and Efficiency.

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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Sven Egenter

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