06 Mar 2018, 00:00
Kerstine Appunn Benjamin Wehrmann

VW steps up e-Golf production / Diesel bans scare small companies


Carmaker VW will significantly step up the production of the electric version of its trademark Golf model at its e-car factory in Dresden due to a growing demand, the company says in a press release. Germany’s largest carmaker will increase production in Dresden from 36 to 72 e-Golf vehicles per day. Siegfrid Fiebig, regional manager of VW Saxony, says the increase in production will “prepare Volkswagen’s e-car offensive”, that will commence in 2020 based on a new, modular engine system.

Shares of new car registrations in Germany by vehicle type 2015 - Feb 2018. Data source - KBA 2018.

Find the press release in German here.

See the CLEW factsheet Dieselgate forces VW to embrace green mobility for more information.

Welt Online

The possible diesel driving ban in Germany’s inner cities poses a major threat to many small and medium-sized businesses that use cars with the contested engine technology in their everyday work, Georg Berger writes on Welt Online. “If there was a driving ban for the entire city now, we could only keep one store in operation and would go bankrupt soon,” says baker Jörg Sailer, from Stuttgart, home of carmaker Daimler and one of Germany’s cities with the highest level of air pollution. “Millions of car owners feel like Sailer now,” Berger writes, arguing that people do not know whether they can keep their business running or reach their workplace by car any longer. The court which ruled that diesel bans are admissible added that there have to be exceptions for craftsmen and small businesses, but it is unclear how bureaucratic and reliable the issuing of permits is going to be, Berger says.  “A solution could be to retrofit the vehicles,” he adds.

Read the article in German here (paywall).

See the CLEW factsheet Diesel driving bans in Germany – The Q & A for background.

Zeit Online

A software update for manipulated diesel cars in Germany will reduce nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions by 25 to 30 percent on average, making a mechanical retrofitting of affected cars unnecessary, says engine researcher Thomas Koch in an interview with Zeit Online. “There’s no reason for hardware retrofitting,” Koch argues, adding that those calling for the changes are wrong. He says that driving bans would also be unnecessary in most cases if average emissions values in 2019 are taken as a base value. “That’s when all of the improvements will take effect,” Koch says. He argues the current air pollution debate in Germany “is largely a legacy problem caused in part by a poor existing car fleet”.

Read the interview in German here.

Find background on the diesel technology’s role for clean air and climate in the CLEW article Why the German diesel summit matters for climate and energy.

Süddeutsche Zeitung

Diesel cars in Germany need different kinds of badges to assist authorities in identifying which ones are affected by possible driving bans in inner cities, Maria Krautzberger, head of the Federal Environment Agency (UBA), says in an interview with the Süddeutsche Zeitung. “We need the blue badge or we end up with a patchwork of solutions by individual municipalities,” Krautzberger argues.  She says a light-blue badge could be used for diesel cars which have been retrofitted and a dark-blue badge introduced a bit later for newer cars with the most modern standard to help curb pollution in the most severely polluted cities. “The badges are a pragmatic proposition aimed at implementing the [driving ban] ruling,” Krautzberger says, adding that the car industry has to pay for retrofitting manipulated diesel cars. “There’s no question about that.”

Read the interview in German here.

See the CLEW factsheet Diesel driving bans in Germany – The Q & A for background.

Clean Energy Wire

Representatives of the electricity and gas grid industry in Germany are looking for solutions to run their businesses in an “all-electric world” where the sectors of power generation, transport and heating are linked, a gathering at the Treffpunkt Netze’18 conference organised by industry association BDEW showed. The new German government had to shape favourable framework conditions for this development, including a “level field for all energy sources”, Thomas König, member of the management board of E.ON and in charge of the company’s grid, said. “We are currently making life unnecessarily difficult for ourselves by making green power more expensive than for example oil or gas,” he added. 
Jochen Homann, head of federal grid agency BNetzA said that the most important element both in the distribution and transmission grid was the further expansion of this infrastructure. E.ON’s König warned that this expansion had to be as cost-efficient as possible because otherwise the public support for the Energiewende could dwindle.

Read a dossier on digitalisation in the German energy transition here.

Germany’s National Meteorological Service

The combined used of onshore and offshore wind power, solar power and a European power network can significantly can stabilise weather-related power production during periods of little wind and sunshine, Germany’s National Meteorological Service (DWD) says in a press release. If renewable power sources are lumped together, output drops below ten percent of nominal capacity for 48 consecutive hours two times in a year, compared to 23 cases for onshore wind power only, the DWD says. If all of Europe is taken into account, the low-yield incidences are reduced to 0.2 cases per year. However, there could still be situations in Germany when wind and solar power feed only very little electricity into the grid, making reserve plants, storage capacities and international power trading necessary to guarantee grid stability.

Find the press release in German here.

See the CLEW factsheet How can Germany keep the lights on in a renewable energy future? for more information.

dpa / Lausitzer Rundschau

Two of Germany’s largest energy companies, RWE and E.ON, will publish their balance of accounts this month – a move that is likely to highlight the difficulties the industry is still grappling with amid the country’s energy transition, news agency dpa reports in an article carried by Lausitzer Rundschau. E.ON and RWE spin-off innogy make most of their money with power grids. Researcher Manuel Frondel, of RWI Essen, says nothing could replace grids as the main source of revenue soon, but a decision by the Federal Network Agency (BNetzA) to cap profits there. “Revenues in this field used to be very stable. They will now become smaller,” Frondel says.

Find the article in German here.

See the CLEW dossier Utilities and the energy transition for more information.

Süddeutsche Zeitung

Many people in Germany support the energy transition in principle but refuse to accept a wind turbine or other visual changes brought about by the Energiewende in their neighbourhood, Ralph Diermann writes in the Süddeutsche Zeitung. “Is this a typical example of not-in-my-backyard egoism?” he asks. According to sociologist Matthias Groß, many Germans support the switch to renewable energy sources because they see it as a way “to end the exploitation of mother nature”, but paradoxically reject changes made to the environment when rolling-out renewables. Armin Grunwald, professor for the philosophy of technology, says: “We have dramatically underestimated the Energiewende’s complexity.” The decarbonisation of Germany’s energy sources does not mean “that we just replace the technology and everything else stays the same”, Grunwald argues. Diermann writes that the transformation of an energy system “challenges routines and lifestyles, requires adaptation and calls for participation”, which is why an honest debate about the consequences is needed.

Find the article in German here.

Find background in the CLEW factsheets Fighting windmills: when growth hits resistance and Polls reveal citizens’ support for Energiewende.

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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