24 Aug 2016
Sören Amelang Julian Wettengel

VW's biggest challenge 'yet to come' / Solar panels on the balcony

Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung

Carmaker VW is weakened by power struggles, the emissions scandal and conflicts with suppliers, write Reinhard Bingener and Carsten Germis in conservative daily Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung. But the influential regional government, the work council, and management all agree that the biggest challenge still lies ahead in the form of the transition to future mobility. The shift to automated driving, a sharing economy and electro-mobility will be risky for the company and its employees, write the authors. But an unnamed member of the supervisory board said unavoidable cutbacks would likely be less severe than in the 1990s, when VW shed 30,000 jobs. A member of the management board told the authors it will be particularly difficult to protect factories producing engines and gearboxes. The work council wants to compensate for losses with battery production, but management is sceptical about the proposal.

For background, read CLEW’s dossier The energy transition and Germany’s transport sector.


Engineers at the Technical University in Braunschweig have developed a wireless charging system for e-cars, Wirtschaftswoche reports. A trial involving taxis will test the technology for “inductive charging” next month. The technology is already used by electric buses.

Find the article in German here.

Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung

The European Commission is calling on the German government to change aspects of its support scheme for combined heat and power (CHP) facilities to an auction-based system, writes Andreas Mihm in Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung. In the future, support for new or modernised facilities of up to 50 megawatts is to be auctioned, writes Mihm, citing “well-informed” sources.

Find out more about CHP in the CLEW factsheet Combined heat and power - an Energiewende cornerstone?

Süddeutsche Zeitung

A regulation by the Association for Electrical, Electronic & Information Technologies (VDE) keeps German tenants from using power from small personal solar panels on their balconies for self-consumption, while other countries allow the use, writes Ralph Diermann for Süddeutsche Zeitung. According to the provision, facilities producing power must not be connected to the household circuit because of possible overloads. Critics argue that such circuits could handle the relatively small amounts of extra power, and a change of the regulation is foreseen for this autumn.

Read the article in German here.

Business Today India

Despite very different conditions for solar power in India and Germany, the former could learn from the European country’s experience that the government is not the primary actor in the market, but should act as a facilitator, writes Tobias Engelmeier for Business Today India. “It needs to create a good framework - and then step aside,” writes Engelmeier. In Germany, solar power has been an “overall success”, but “India has other priorities: ramping up overall power generation fast enough to fuel industrial growth, increasing energy security, reducing local pollution, and providing power for the millions who still don’t have a reliable supply from the grid.”

Read the article in English here.

Rundfunk Berlin-Brandenburg (rbb)

A documentary by public television station Rundfunk Berlin-Brandenburg (rbb) discusses the role of lignite mining and power production in the Lusatia region of eastern Germany. With Germany’s targets to limit greenhouse gas emissions, the country’s switch to renewable energy supplies and Vattenfall’s recent decision to sell its east German lignite operations to Czech utility EPH, Lusatia faces deep structural changes over the coming years.

Watch the documentary in German here.

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