09 Mar 2017, 00:00
Sören Amelang Benjamin Wehrmann Julian Wettengel

Uniper reports 3.2 bn loss / Final nuclear storage search revamped

Financial Times

E.ON spin-off Uniper made a net loss of 3.2 billion euros last year due to big writedowns on generation and gas-storage assets, reports Guy Chazan for the Financial Times. But Uniper said it had “good momentum for 2017” having delivered a “solid” operating performance and strengthening its balance sheet, in what was its first financial year as an independent company.

Read the report in English here.

Find the Uniper press release in English here.

For background on the woes of Germany’s former top utilities, read the dossier Utilities and the energy transition.

The factsheet E.ON shareholders ratify energy giant’s split provides background on the changes at the company.


E.ON will announce a record loss next week, reports Jürgen Flauger in Handelsblatt. Company sources told the business daily the net loss will exceed 12 billion euros. With the publication of yearly results, scheduled for next Wednesday, E.ON will also announce it is to reduce its total workforce of 43,000 by cutting at least 1,000 jobs, according to the report.

Read the report in German (behind paywall) here

Clean Energy Wire

Germany’s Social Democrats (SPD) are to make energy efficiency a priority for energy policy in the coming legislative period, Hubertus Heil, deputy chairman of the SPD’s parliamentary group, said during a speech on his party’s energy policy ambitions after the general elections in September. “Germany has to become the most energy efficient country in the world,” Heil said, adding that this would also mean modernising conventional power plants. He warned that Germany had to retain its industrial basis and maintain acceptance of the energy transition among affected population groups, citing political disaffection in the United State’s deindustrialised “rust belt” as the result of a badly managed transformation. Heil said the country still needed conventional power plants for the foreseeable future, although their owners were already reconsidering continuing their operation due to dwindling profitability. He rejected the idea of a fixed coal phase-out timetable, saying a clear structural change strategy was needed first. The Energiewende’s “true test” would come in the 2020s, when the last nuclear plants will be shut down and a “tough transformation” set in, adding that Germany could not expect to reap an economic return from the switch to renewables before the early 2030s – “if we’re lucky.”

 For background, see the CLEW dossiers Vote2017 – German elections and the Energiewende and The Energiewende and Efficiency.

Federal Environment Ministry

After years of protests and dispute, Germany will re-start its search for a final repository location for highly radioactive waste. Germany will be a “blank map” and anywhere with the right geological rock formation for an underground repository will be an option, according to a joint bill that the governing coalition of CDU/CSU and SPD, as well as the Green Party introduced to federal parliament. The reform – aimed to pass the German Bundestag in April – was “maybe the most important environmental law of this legislative period” and the “kick-off of a new, open and transparent search”, environment minister Barbara Hendricks said in a press release. The bill follows proposals by an expert commission, presented in July 2016. The draft says the public will be “extensively involved” through “transparent participation procedures”, and a location is to be found by 2031.

Find the press release in German here.

For background read the CLEW dossier The challenges of Germany’s nuclear phase-out and the CLEW factsheet What to do with the nuclear waste – the storage question.

Osnabrücker Zeitung

The new procedure laid out in the reform bill to search for a final nuclear waste repository is a step in the right direction, but involving the public will not prevent protests, writes Uwe Westdörp in an opinion piece in Osnabrücker Zeitung. “In the end, it will again be a political decision – and there will be many people who will see themselves as the losers, because their home is turned into a nuclear toilet,” writes Westdörp.

Read the opinion piece in German here.

For background read the CLEW dossier The challenges of Germany’s nuclear phase-out and the CLEW factsheet What to do with the nuclear waste – the storage question.


German carmakers Volkswagen, Daimler, and BMW are likely to build more than 106,000 e-cars this year, an increase of 54 percent compared to last year, according to a forecast by business consultancy PwC. Production of hybrid models by German carmakers will increase 46 percent to 330,000 units, according to the forecast. “These numbers suggest that German carmakers are serious about the green transition,” said Christoph Stürmer, Global Lead Analyst at PwC Autofacts.

Read the press release in German here.

For background, read the CLEW dossier The Energiewende and German carmakers, as well as the factsheets Dieselgate forces VW to embrace green mobility, Reluctant Daimler plans “radical” push into new mobility world, and Early e-car starter BMW plans new mobility sprint.

German Bundestag

German Chancellor Angela Merkel rejected the suggestion that German carmaker VW’s emissions cheating was a “failure of government”. The failure was with VW, not the German state, she said in a hearing before an inquiry committee of the federal parliament. On diesel technology, Merkel said there was a conflict of objectives between lowering climate-harmful CO₂ emissions and lowering nitrogen oxide emissions, which are harmful to the people’s health. The diesel engine was “always a good option” to lower CO₂ emissions, said Merkel.

Find the press release in German here and a separate FT article in English here.

For background read the CLEW factsheet Dieselgate forces VW to embrace green mobility.

Stuttgarter Zeitung

It is plausible that Chancellor Angela Merkel first heard about the VW emissions scandal in the media, as even industry experts were surprised by the extent of the problem, Roland Pichler writes in an opinion piece in Stuttgarter Zeitung. “Yet the question remains why politicians tolerated the inconsistencies in emissions data for so long. […] It is clear the controlling institutions failed,” Pichler says.

Read the opinion piece in German here.

For background read the CLEW factsheet Dieselgate forces VW to embrace green mobility.


Transforming the transport and heating sectors to use electricity as their main source of energy is the next big phase of Germany’s Energiewende, writes Jürgen Flauger in Handelsblatt. Sector coupling opens up new markets for Germany’s power suppliers and has immense potential to help lower greenhouse gas emissions. Flauger’s article is part of an entire supplement on heating and efficient buildings.

For background read the CLEW article State Sec sees efficient sector-coupling gaining ground post-election.

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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