Transport ministry sets up climate unit / Opposition to coal exit
The transport ministry plans to raise the internal standing of climate protection by setting up a new department dedicated to the issue, reports Markus Balser for Süddeutsche Zeitung. A ministry spokesperson said climate protection would play an increasing role in transport policy. The new department will deal with all climate-related issues, including e-mobility, strengthening rail transport and alternative propulsion technologies, as well as combining different modes of transport.
Germany’s transport ministry was recently criticised because of the VW emissions scandal and the lack of progress to reduce CO2 emissions in the sector.
Read the article in German here.
For background, read the CLEW dossier The energy transition and Germany’s transport sector.
The Clean Energy Wire will publish an article on the transport ministry’s plans later today.
High-ranking members of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservative Christian Democrats (CDU) want to prevent a commission to plan a coal phase-out in Germany proposed in the environment ministry’s Climate Action Plan 2050, reports Reuters. Michael Fuchs and Georg Nüsslein, both vice heads of the CDU parliamentary group, argue the establishment of the commission would effectively pave the way for a premature coal exit, whereas lignite mining concessions are valid until the mid-2040s, according to the report
Earlier versions of the climate plan had assigned such a commission the specific task to come up with "recommendations for the concrete implementation" of the "step by step reduction of coal-fired power generation." The latest trimmed-down version, however, only calls for the commission to propose how "the climate protection goals can be achieved while strengthening the economic development and prosperity in our country at the same time."
Read the Reuters article in German here.
For background, read the CLEW factsheet Germany’s trimmed-down Climate Action Plan.
The German federal government’s decision to unilaterally terminate the contract on German-Austrian power market could be imminent, German government sources told weekly magazine Der Spiegel. “Federal economy minister Sigmar Gabriel (SPD) urged Vienna to leave the common electricity market,” which Austrian economy minister Reinhold Mitterlehner rejects, writes Gerald Traufetter in Der Spiegel. Two weeks ago, Austrian environment minister Andrä Rupprechter had told the magazine that he planned to create a neighbouring countries’ energy alliance against Germany.
For background, read the CLEW article Europe's largest electricity market set to split.
Handelsblatt Global Edition
German carmakers have woken up from their slumber in the global race to bring electric cars to market, reports Stefan Theil for Handelsblatt Global Edition. “The contest is finally getting interesting,” writes Theil, referring to Daimler’s and VW’s e-car plans unveiled at the Paris Car Show. “The message from September’s elite car fest: The Germans are coming for Tesla.”
Read the article in English here.
On the same issue, read the CLEW dossier The Energiewende and German carmakers and the article VW, Daimler take key step for e-mobility at Paris Car Show.
The years 2021 to 2023 will be a turning point for e-mobility, according to Thomas Sedran, head of strategy at the VW group. “At that point, an electric car will cost the same or even be cheaper than a vehicle with a combustion engine that will stay below the CO2 limits of that time,” Sedran told manager magazin. Sedran said that although emission reduction technology will increase the costs of conventional cars, batteries will become much cheaper. “Moreover, there will probably soon be driving restrictions in cities, which will make e-cars much more attractive.”
Read the interview in German here.
For background on VW’s plans, read the CLEW factsheets Dieselgate forces VW to embrace green mobility.
The switch from set feed-in tariffs to an auction-based system for renewables support next year puts small wind park operators at a disadvantage compared to large utilities, writes Jens Tartler in Der Tagesspiegel. Cost efficiency would become more important with support tariffs expected to fall due to the competition, Henrik Oliver von Oehsen, from wind park developer UKA, told Tagesspiegel. “Every park needs an access road, a transformer and the power lines,” said Oehsen. With more turbines in one park, these costs were smaller per megawatt hour of capacity. It is also expensive and laborious to take part in the auctions themselves, according to Oehsen.
Read the article in German here.
Also read the CLEW dossier The reform of the Renewable Energy Act.
Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung
Swedish utility Vattenfall reaffirmed that it is seeking billions in damages from the German government after a two-week hearing in front of an international arbitration court in Washington, DC, writes Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (FAZ). Vattenfall argues that the state must compensate it for lost earnings and investments made when nuclear power still appeared to have a future in Germany, before the phase-out plan. A verdict is expected for 2017 at the earliest, writes FAZ.
The EU should welcome the controversial gas pipeline Nord Stream 2, despite deteriorating relations with Russia, writes Karel Beckman in an in-depth article for Energy Post. “For Europe, there seems no reason to be afraid of Nord Stream 2,” writes Beckman. It had a sound economic rationale behind it and the EU’s successful creation of a competitive, integrated gas market had made the geopolitical argument largely redundant. “Of course, it is still a bitter pill for existing transit countries, such as Poland, Slovakia and Ukraine, to see their gas transit income reduced. That, however, is how free markets are supposed to work,” writes Beckman.
Read the article in German here.
Also read the CLEW factsheet Germany’s dependence on imported fossil fuels.
The Renewable Energy Surcharge paid by consumers with their energy bills should be extended to fossil energies, according to a recent study by the Institute for Ecological Economy Research (IÖW) commissioned by the Association of Energy Market Innovators (BNE), reports pv magazine. This would encourage the use of power in the heat and transport sector, the study said. But the Institute for Heat and Oil Technology (IWO) claims this would be counterproductive and anti-social because low income households would be strongly affected. Instead, renewable power that cannot be transported at present should be put to use in power-to-heat hybrid heating systems.
Read the pv magazine article in German here.
Find the BNE study in German here.
Read the IWO press release in German here.
For background, read the CLEW article Germany debates form of renewables support as levy rises.
The Chambers of Commerce and Industry (DIHK) say the Renewable Energy Surcharge consumers pay with their power bills could rise to 10 cents by 2025 and should be reformed. “We need a discussion about alternative models, such as financing it with taxes or a fund,” DIHK president Eric Schweitzer told Handelsblatt. “We have to look for solutions so the costs do not get out of hand again.”