Trump’s impact on renewables / Drop in offshore wind costs
Mercator Research Institute on Global Commons and Climate Change (MCC)
Incoming US president Donald Trump could have many indirect effects on international climate policy, according to Ottmar Edenhofer, Director of the Mercator Research Institute on Global Commons and Climate Change (MCC). “Trump could try to drive the export of coal,” said Edenhofer, who is also the chief economist at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK). “The economic policy of the new president could also lead to rising interest rates, which would compromise the competitiveness of renewable energies. This is because the profitability of climate-friendly technologies, in contrast to coal-fired power plants, is determined primarily by their investment costs, which are dependent on the interest rate.”
Read the press release in English here.
Frankfurter Rundschau / Deutsche Umwelthilfe (DUH)
The EU must take over America’s role and keep China and India on board with global climate protection efforts to get ahead during Donald Trump’s presidency, according to environmental organisation Deutsche Umwelthilfe (DUH). The EU is a global leader in renewables and efficiency, and should offer technological partnerships to China and India, DUH co-head Sascha Müller-Kraenner told Frankfurter Rundschau in an interview.
German Wind Energy Association (BWE)
Germany’s offshore wind energy industry expects a further drop in costs for new projects contracted by bidding processes, representatives of the industry said at a press conference of the German Wind Energy Association (BWE). “More practical experience and high expansion rates” caused prices to fall in recent years and are likely to continue to do so, Martin Skiba, from the German Wind Energy Foundation, said. While employment in the industry was projected to remain stable in the short term, reduced expansion rates determined by the government in the medium-run posed a danger to the stability of the country’s offshore wind-farming, the BWE warned. It also urged lawmakers to push ahead with lagging grid expansion, for which Skiba said there was “no alternative” in order to connect offshore projects to the mainland. Germany added 156 offshore windmills with a capacity of 818 megawatt (MW) to its power supply last year, bringing the total number of offshore windmills to 947 and generating capacity to 4,108 MW. Total power supply by offshore windmills amounted to 13 terawatt hours in 2016, a year-on-year increase of 57 percent.
Read the press release in German here.
Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung
The debate about an end to Germany's core renewable energy support within the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) continues, according to Andreas Mihm in Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung. The party's federal expert committee on finances, economy and energy currently debates a discussion paper draft that states: “We will work out a concept on how to exit Renewable Energy Act (EEG) support for new facilities by the end of the coming legislative period, in order to reach the EEG cost peak by then.” The draft proposes to focus on “market price signals” instead of taxes and fees. It says that Energiewende targets could be “adapted if necessary”, depending on the consequences for Germany’s “economic and social development”, writes Mihm.
Spiegel had reported on an earlier version of the draft in November 2016, which in the end was not tabled at the CDU’s federal conference. “Proposals decided in the party’s federal expert committees do not automatically reflect the party line, but stand a good chance of being put into the election programme,” Beate Preuschoff, CDU spokesperson told Clean Energy Wire. The CDU's expert committees will finalise their recommendations by the end of February.
For background read the CLEW article Merkel shuns energy, climate at party conference focused on security, migration.
German Association of Energy and Water Industries (BDEW)
The government must push ahead with the roll-out of a reliable charging infrastructure for e-cars and increase support for e-mobility research and development, according to German utility association BDEW. In a “roadmap to eco-mobility”, the utilities said alternative and innovative propulsion technologies, especially gas and electricity, could contribute significantly to protecting the climate. “This is why we need effective incentives for a transport transition open to all technologies,” said association head Stefan Kapferer.
Read the press release in German here.
autoblog.com / Bloomberg
Daimler, BMW, and Toyota are leading a group of 13 companies pledging to invest more than 10 billion dollars in the next five years to push hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles with infrastructure-building and technology advancements, writes Danny King on autoblog.com. Automakers Honda and Hyundai, as well as companies such as Shell, AirLiquide, Linde Group, and Total SA, are also part of the “Hydrogen Council”.
On Bloomberg.com, John Lippert writes that the gamble demonstrates that batteries are not the only way to reduce pollution from cars, homes and utilities that are contributing to climate change.
Read the autoblog article in English here.
Read the Bloomberg report in English here.
Find more background on the carmakers' plans in the CLEW factsheets Early e-car starter BMW plans new mobility sprint and Reluctant Daimler plans “radical” push into new mobility world.
The party vote for the Greens’ two frontrunners in the upcoming German federal elections has shown that the party’s rank and file opt for a pragmatic approach instead of defending green vanguard positions, Cordula Tutt writes in WirtschaftsWoche. By choosing the moderate Cem Özdemir as the party’s male complement to Katrin Göring-Eckardt, who had no competitors, the Greens have opened the door for a variety of coalitions, Tutt writes. But neither Özdemir nor Göring-Eckardt have any outstanding credentials regarding the green core topics of the Energiewende and nuclear exit, she explains. Tutt says it might therefore be helpful for the party to assign a central position to Robert Habeck, currently minister for the environment and energy transition in Schleswig-Holstein, who lost the vote to become the party’s frontrunner by only a very small margin.
Read the article in German here.
For background, see the CLEW article German Greens to make coal exit, fossil car ban an election focus and the CLEW dossier Vote2017 – German elections and the Energiewende.
Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung
Hesse’s Green economy minister Tarek al-Wazir wants Germany’s financial capital Frankfurt to become a “Green Finance Hub” for “all of Europe”, Falk Heunemann writes in Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (FAZ). The state’s green-conservative coalition agreement already called “green finance” - a business with allegedly three trillion US Dollars of annual investments into sustainable projects - a “historic opportunity” for Frankfurt, Heunemann writes. But financial investors doubt whether it is still the state’s task to fund green investments. “That’s been our core business for some time now,” Heunemann quotes a representative of insurer Allianz.
The state government of Brandenburg was involved in sales talks concerning Vattenfall’s former German lignite operations much sooner and more intensively than previously thought, according to Greenpeace Germany. And it failed to use its legal options to demand financial securities for the recultivation of affected areas. About 100 days after the sale of Vattenfall’s German lignite operations to Czech company EPH, Greenpeace has updated its “Black Book EPH” with details about the companies involved and information on the process surrounding the sale.