16 Feb 2018, 00:00
Benjamin Wehrmann Julian Wettengel

Who pays diesel retrofitting? / Quick coal exit feasible - CSU paper

Süddeutsche Zeitung

Retrofitting older diesel cars to reduce nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions could be financed “fully or for the largest part possible” through a support mechanism, a group of government advisors writes in a draft report, Markus Balser and Michael Bauchmüller write in the Süddeutsche Zeitung. “Aside from public funds, [this support] could be financed by contributions from the automobile industry,” says the draft, seen by the newspaper. Germany's would-be government coalition partners, the conservative CDU/CSU alliance and the Social Democrats (SPD), had agreed to make a decision on technical retrofitting later in 2018, based also on the advice of this group of advisors. Established at the diesel summit in 2017, this is one of the expert groups responsible for proposing measures to avoid driving bans and improve air quality. The car industry objects to the idea of spending a lot on hardware retrofitting because of the costs involved, and argues that this would lead to higher fuel consumption and thus increased CO₂ emissions, writes Süddeutsche. The government advisors’ next and probably last meeting will take place on 28 February.  

Read the article in German here.

Find background in the updated CLEW article German cities might test free public transport to cut pollution, and find background on the diesel technology’s impact on clean air and climate in the CLEW article Why the German diesel summit matters for climate and energy.

Süddeutsche Zeitung

No tax money should be used to finance the hardware retrofitting of older diesel vehicles, writes Markus Balser in an opinion piece in the Süddeutsche Zeitung. “Instead of subsidising the ironing out of funny business, the federal government must finally take decisive action and ask those responsible for the problem to pay,” writes Balser. The government must oblige the industry to effectively retrofit older diesel cars and to bear the full costs, he writes.  

Read the opinion piece in German here.

Find background in the updated CLEW article German cities might test free public transport to cut pollution, and find background on the diesel technology’s impact on clean air and climate in the CLEW article Why the German diesel summit matters for climate and energy.

Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung

German renewable power company sonnen has said it will offer e-car charging infrastructure free of charge with flat rate electricity contracts to customers switching to the provider, reports Henning Peitsmeier in the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung. “We want to integrate as many e-cars as possible into our virtual power plant,” said sonnen’s Managing Director Philipp Schröder. Car batteries used as storage devices can help balance out volatile power feed-in from renewable energy facilities.

For background, read the CLEW News Digest piece E-cars can help to sustain the power grid of the future.

Centre for Solar Energy and Hydrogen Research Baden-Wuerttemberg (ZSW)

More than three million e-cars are registered worldwide, with 1.2 million in China, followed by 750,000 in the United States. Germany ranks eighth with 93,000 registered e-cars, says the Centre for Solar Energy and Hydrogen Research Baden-Wuerttemberg (ZSW). While Germany did not fare well in comparison with other countries, its e-car fleet almost doubled between 2016 and 2017, writes the ZSW. Chinese manufacturers sold most e-cars in 2017, followed by Tesla of the US and German carmakers BMW and Volkswagen. The researchers took into account battery electric drives, range extenders, and plug-in hybrids, and German statistics are based on data provided by the Federal Motor Transport Authority (KBA).

Find the press release in German here.

For background, read the CLEW factsheets "Dieselgate"- a timeline of Germany's car emissions fraud scandal and The debate over an end to combustion engines in Germany.

Christian Social Union (CSU)

A energy transition working group of the CSU, the Bavarian sister party of German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservative CDU party, has published a paper saying that the effects of an end to coal-fired power production in Germany “are far less damaging than what is being said.” The paper argues that a swift coal exit is “indispensable” if Germany wants to meet its climate goals for 2020 and beyond. There is no coal mining in Bavaria.
The working group says Germany’s current efforts to reduce CO2 emissions are “far from being sufficient” to comply with the Paris Climate Agreement, and proposes to shut down the country’s twelve oldest coal plants before 2020, which could be done “without compromising Germany’s power supply security.” The working group says that employment in the sector is relatively low, adding that even if all coal plants were shut down immediately, “a large amount of professionals will still be needed for follow-up work,” such as the demolition and renaturation of former mining sites, “making job cuts less significant” than anticipated.
The working group argues that many coal companies would be able to cope with a phase-out if the state provides adequate financial assistance, but warns that “companies like RWE” could “cut out the best parts of the company,” and demand state aid for those branches “that are unable to survive.” The group says that an expert commission charged with managing the phase-out of coal, which is also mentioned in Germany’s coalition agreement between the CDU/CSU and the Social Democrats (SPD), should commence its work without delay.

Find the working group paper in German here.

For background, see the CLEW factsheets Coal in Germany and When will Germany finally ditch coal?

German Renewable Energy Federation (BEE) / Institute for Building Systems Engineering Dresden (ITG)

Climate-friendly construction must not hinge on high extra costs, says the German Renewable Energy Federation (BEE), based on a report published by the Institute for Building Systems Engineering Dresden (ITG). Between 2000 and 2014, tasks prescribed in the country’s energy efficiency regulation were responsible for “only 6 percentage points of the 36 percent construction cost increase,” writes BEE in a press release. The share grew slightly with the introduction of the 2016 Energy Efficiency Regulation (EnEV). “Higher energy efficiency standards can even be reached at a lower cost if heating technology and building design are combined in an intelligent way and government support is used,” said BEE Managing Director Peter Röttgen.

Find the press release in German here and the report in German here.

For background, read the CLEW dossier The Energiewende and Efficiency.

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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