13 Jun 2018, 00:00
Sören Amelang

Utilities want faster policy making / OECD urges more climate efforts

Clean Energy Wire

Germany’s government has fallen behind in the transformation of the energy industry triggered by the energy transition, and must now speed up its policy making processes to support the sector in reaching emissions reduction goals, the managing director of the utility association BDEW, Stefan Kapferer, told the group’s annual conference in Berlin. “We are at a standstill, and we cannot afford this,” Kapferer said about Chancellor Angela Merkel’s new government.
By now, industry, rather than the government, has become the main driver of the energy transition, including the exit from coal-fired power generation, Kapferer added. “The industry has already entered the path towards reducing its coal use; this process is well underway.” BDEW’s new president, Marie-Luise Wolff, told the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung newspaper that the coal exit must not come too late for the country to reach its 2030 climate goals.

Read the full article here.

Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD)

The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), a global organisation of 35 developed and emerging countries, has urged Germany to adopt further measures to reach its climate targets. “Additional policies are needed to meet even the near-term targets,” the OECD said in its ‘Economic Survey of Germany’. “It is important to meet targets on time as the credibility of climate policy is critical in view of the long-term nature of the climate challenge.” Germany could still do justice to its ambitions with a rapid coal exit, according to the OECD. “Phasing out coal-fired energy generation has among the lowest CO2 emission abatement costs and would enable Germany to meet its 2020 target.” The organisation also criticised that “the transportation sector lacks an overarching policy strategy.”

Find the OECD report in English here.

Süddeutsche Zeitung

The German government’s ‘Climate Protection Report’ is a “testimony of failure,” writes Michael Bauchmüller in a commentary for the Süddeutsche Zeitung. “The truth is that this government no longer dares to pursue a serious climate policy. […] It appears that Germany is ruled by a club of procrastinators who have lost all courage when it comes to climate protection,” Bauchmüller writes with reference to economy and energy minister Peter Altmaier and transport minister Andreas Scheuer. He argues that this attitude does not do justice to the German industry, which has a huge innovative potential, but needs the right policy incentives.

Read the commentary in German here.

Find plenty of background on the Climate Protection Report in the article Germany on track to widely miss 2020 climate target - government

Zeit Online

Daimler’s use of illegal software to manipulate car emissions is even more outrageous than VW’s, writes Matthias Breitinger in a commentary for Zeit Online. This is because Daimler had insisted for years that it did not cheat, and also because the government still does not want to fine the company. “This is unacceptable. The carmakers must take responsibility for their deeds, and be punished,” writes Breitinger. “The case of Daimler has shown once again that the government is not really interested in clearing up the emissions scandal.”

Read the commentary in German here.

For background, read the factsheet Reluctant Daimler plans “radical” push into new mobility world and the dossier BMW, Daimler, and VW vow to fight in green transport revolution.


The planners of future grid extensions in Germany must pay more attention to new technologies, according to grid operator Tennet. The company’s CEO, Lex Hartmann, said that the increasing digitalisation of power grids could replace the construction of thousands of kilometres of power lines after 2030, reports Jakob Schlandt in the Tagesspiegel. But the German Federal Network Agency (BNetzA) told the newspaper that the plans have already taken into account “all realistic innovations.”

Find a Tennet press release in German here.

For background, read the dossier The energy transition and Germany’s power grid.


German environment minister Svenja Schulze has joined her counterparts from Austria and Luxembourg in a call for an end to financial support for new nuclear power plants in the European Union, according to a dpa newswire report carried by Handelsblatt. The three ministers jointly call on the European Commission to take into greater consideration the positions of countries that either do not use nuclear energy, or are in the process of stopping its use. Germany’s nuclear phase-out is scheduled to be completed by 2022. In its coalition agreement, the German government had already affirmed its opposition to EU financing for new nuclear power plants.

Read the article in German here.

For background, read the dossier The challenges of Germany’s nuclear phase-out.

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