Benjamin Wehrmann – Informed Comment Thoughts on the Middle East, History and Religion Sun, 12 May 2024 03:29:12 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Germany’s EV Exports soar 58 percent to one Quarter of all Cars shipped Abroad Sun, 12 May 2024 04:02:45 +0000 ( Clean Energy Wire ) – The number of electric vehicles (EVs) exported from Germany rose sharply in 2023, meaning that EVs accounted for about one quarter of all car exports that year, the country’s statistical office Destatis has said.

The country exported about 786,000 fully electric cars for a total value of roughly 36 billion euros – an increase of 58 percent compared to 2022. The most important destinations for EVs produced in Germany were the Netherlands, the UK and Belgium, Destatis added. Imports of EVs to Germany climbed about 23 percent to 446,000 units, with more than a quarter coming from China.

Combustion engine cars still accounted for more than two-thirds of all cars made in Germany last year, and their exports also increased, albeit at a much slower rate. With 1.7 million units sold abroad, conventional car exports increased 13 percent, with the US, the UK and China being the top destinations.

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The total number of EVs produced in Germany was 60 percent higher than in 2022. New registrations in Germany increased roughly 11 percent to 524,200 e-cars, far below the 2.3 million new combustion engine cars that were newly registered during the same period.

The automotive industry is Germany’s most important manufacturing business in terms of revenue, Destatis added. About 60 companies in the sector generated a combined record revenue of 430 billion euros (USD $463.8 billion) in 2023, which was partly caused by higher prices.

This represented nearly one-fifth of all industry revenue in the country in that year, with exports accounting for more than three-quarters of sales. Electric car sales collapsed at the beginning of the year following an abrupt subsidy cut in late 2023.

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Germany: Even with Reduced Subsidies, Non-Gasoline Cars Comprised 46% of New Registrations in First 7 Months of 2023 Sat, 19 Aug 2023 04:02:08 +0000 By Benjamin Wehrmann | –

( Clean Energy Wire ) – The share of fully electric passenger cars in Germany continues to grow quickly, with the number of e-car registrations growing more than 37 percent in the first seven months of 2023 compared to the same time frame the previous year, figures released by the Federal Motor Transport Authority (KBA) show.

With nearly 269,000 new e-cars on the road, battery-run electric vehicles accounted for 16.4 percent of all new registrations, KBA said. A reduction in support payments for new electric vehicles meant that the share dropped to merely 10 percent in January (after reaching 33 percent in December 2022) before gradually climbing back to 20 percent by July this year.

The share of all new registrations for cars with “alternative propulsion systems,” including batteries, plug-in hybrids, and fuel cell cars, was nearly 46 percent of the 1.64 million new cars registered between January and the end of July — 17.3 percent more than during the same period in the previous year.

The most popular brands for fully electric vehicles were Germany’s largest carmaker Volkswagen, with roughly 41,475 units registered, and U.S. brand Tesla, with about 40,290 cars. Luxury brand Mercedes had some 20,600 new cars registered, followed by Audi (16,785), Hyundai (15,410) and Fiat (11,290).

The electrification of the transport sector is key for the energy transition: switching combustion engine cars for electric vehicles is set to make a big contribution in reducing emissions in the sector, as these have remained stubbornly high for years.

Via Clean Energy Wire

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Germany on Track to 3 new Gigawatts of Onshore Wind this Year as Expansion Accelerates Sat, 22 Jul 2023 04:02:52 +0000 By Benjamin Wehrmann | –

( Clean Energy Wire ) – The speed of Germany’s onshore wind power expansion is accelerating, but it is still too slow to put the country on track towards its 2030 capacity targets, the German Wind Energy Federation (BWE) and engineering industry association VDMA have said. In the first half of 2023, 331 wind turbines with a combined capacity of 1.6 gigawatts (GW) were built. The figure represents 65 percent of the total expansion in the previous year.

The total buildout this year is likely to reach between 2.7 GW and 3.2 GW, the industry groups estimate. BWE and VDMA said the government’s efforts in recent months had helped to further the expansion of wind power but was still not enough to reach the target of up to 10 GW annual additions from 2025.

“Missing the onshore wind power expansion targets can have consequences for the progress in other sectors. Heat pumps, electric mobility and green hydrogen can only play a role in reaching the climate targets if onshore wind stays on its expansion path and thus provides sufficient green electricity,” the organisations argued.

The expansion of wind power in Germany was, once again, concentrated on a few states in the northern half of the country, and the average duration for obtaining all construction permits slightly increased to 24.5 months, they added.

The government – as part of its bid to achieve 80 percent renewables in the country’s electricity mix – is aiming for a capacity of 115 GW by 2030, from just under 60 GW in mid-2023. Chancellor Olaf Scholz said Germany will have to build up to five onshore wind turbines per day to meet the target for its most important renewable power source.

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Via Clean Energy Wire

What can the West learn from Kenya about Geothermal Power? Sat, 20 May 2023 04:04:02 +0000 Clean Energy Wire / ARD

( Clean Energy Wire ) – Kenya signaled its interest in becoming the first African nation in an international ‘climate club’ of countries agreeing on tighter climate action rules that was proposed by German chancellor Olaf Scholz. During a visit in early May by Scholz to the east African country, Kenya’s president William Ruto said his government is ready to consider participating in the ‘climate club’.

According to Germany’s economy and climate action ministry, Kenya would be a fitting addition to the group of countries, as it is among those most active in building up a sustainable energy system. “Kenya already sources 90 percent of its energy from renewables. By 2030, the share is supposed to be 100 percent. Kenya’s experiences in building up renewable power and the green economy are highly valuable for other countries as well,” the ministry said in a statement.

Developing and industrialised countries need to intensify cooperation to address the climate crisis, the ministry added.

In Kenya, part of a three-day trip to several African nations, chancellor Scholz also visited a geothermal power plant, a technology that Kenya is using extensively thanks to its availability in the volcanic African Rift Valley region.

Germany should take the African country as an inspiration to intensify its own geothermal power activities, which according to Scholz “is possible at more locations in Germany than many believe today,” public broadcaster ARD reported. The chancellor said Germany ought to reconsider the technology’s role in its own energy transition.

“With modern exploration technology, we can tell much better whether drilling will be successful,” Scholz argued.

Via Clean Energy Wire

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New wind turbine installations in Germany grow almost 50% in early 2023 Sat, 13 May 2023 04:08:47 +0000 Clean Energy Wire / Augsburger Allgemeine Zeitung

( Clean Energy Wire ) – Germany installed 128 new wind turbines with a total capacity of 0.6 gigawatts (GW) between January and April 2023, an increase in the growth rate of 46 percent compared to the same period in the year before, according to figures by the Fachagentur Windenergie. Licenses for new installations increased even faster, as the greenlighting of 324 new turbines with a total capacity of 1.7 GW meant an increase of 61 percent compared to 2022.

About 28,500 turbines were in operation across Germany as of March 2023, with a combined capacity of 58.5 GW. Nearly 8,000 of these installations have been in operation for more than 20 years, meaning they no longer receive a guaranteed remuneration through Germany’s Renewable Energy Act (EEG).

Most new installations were built in northern Germany, while southern German states fell back even further than in the past years. In southern economic powerhouse state Bavaria, where wind power expansion has been particularly slow due to controversial minimum distance rules, conservative state premier Markus Söder of the Christian Socialist Union (CSU) announced the founding of a state-owned wind power agency.

Dubbed Bayernwind, it is supposed to ensure a faster roll-out of new turbines, especially in woodlands, newspaper Augsburger Allgemeine Zeitung reported.

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Mercedes Benz Wind Farms

Onshore wind power is Germany’s most important renewable power source and is supposed to reach a capacity of 115 GW by 2030 as part of the government’s plan to source 80 percent of electricity from renewables by the end of the decade.

The technology’s expansion has been slowed down by regulatory hurdles, slow licensing procedures and lawsuits filed by local interest groups trying to prevent construction in their neighbourhood.

Via Clean Energy Wire

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Solar power battery installations increase exponentially in Germany Sat, 04 Mar 2023 05:02:16 +0000 ( Clean Energy Wire ) – The number of household solar power storage installations has grown exponentially over the past four years, with a year-on-year growth of 52 percent in 2022, Germany’s Solar Power Association BSW Solar has said. “Half of private home owners say they would consider storing their homemade solar power,” a survey commissioned by the lobby group found.

About 630,000 home storage units have already been installed in Germany. Nearly 30 percent of surveyed company managers said they planned to install solar power batteries in the next three years.

“Installing a battery increasingly becomes the standard when new solar power arrays are mounted,” BSW head Carsten Körnig said.

“This not only benefits the installations‘ operators, but also supports the entire power system’s flexibility and security,” Körnig said, calling storage units in private homes and commercial buildings “indispensable building blocks” for the energy transition.

Storage units for solar power greatly increase the availability of generated electricity. Installations of solar power arrays on private homes had grown fast in the past year as a result of the energy crisis.

According to BSW Solar, storage capacity in the country should increase from about 6.7 gigawatt hours in early 2023 to 55 gigawatt hours by 2030 to compensate for the generation fluctuations of weather-dependent renewables.

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Chancellor Scholz on Ukraine: Putin Tried to Blackmail Germany with Fossil Gas, but only Accelerated Energy Diversification Sat, 25 Feb 2023 05:04:33 +0000 By Benjamin Wehrmann | –

( Clean Energy Wire ) – Russia’s attempt to blackmail Germany and the rest of Europe into giving up its support of Ukraine by cutting energy supplies has failed, chancellor Olaf Scholz has said on the anniversary of Russia’s invasion attempt of its western neighbour. “Those who look at the past year will see: the Russian president has failed,” Scholz said in a statement.

Russian president Vladimir Putin had hoped to divide opponents of his plans to conquer Ukraine “but achieved the opposite,” Scholz said. After one year of war that has led to the deaths of “thousands of innocents,”

EU states stand together in the crisis and the Ukrainian people are more unified than ever before, the chancellor argued. He stressed that the German government had succeeded in weaning the country off Russian energy supplies at unprecedented speed, taking away most of the leverage the Russian government had over western Europe due to its energy resources.

“We have enough gas and oil. Our economy is not in a deep recession. And we’ve taken in more than a million Ukrainian refugees.” Scholz said Germany would continue to stand by Ukraine’s side and support the country in upholding its sovereignty. “The sooner Russia’s president realises that he will not achieve his imperialist goal, the greater the chance of the war ending. It’s in Putin’s hands,” Scholz argued.

Via Pixabay.

Russia’s war has dealt a heavy blow to Europe’s biggest economy, which was particularly dependent on Russian fossil fuels up to the eve of the invasion attempt. However, thanks to efforts to save energy and diversify supply, wholesale energy prices have retreated from their peaks. Fears of gas shortages and irreparable damage to the country’s industry and social unrest have largely abated.

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German States ‘unprecedentedly United’ for Wind Power, Seeking 80% Green Electricity by 2030 Sat, 18 Feb 2023 05:06:37 +0000 ( Clean Energy Wire ) – The German states have signalled their readiness to expand onshore wind power in the country “in almost unknown unity”, economy and climate minister Robert Habeck said. His comments came after he met with representatives of the 16 ‘Länder’ to discuss further buildout of renewables.

The Green Party minister said all states had “in essence” supported the federal government’s aim to achieve a share of renewables in the electricity mix of 80 percent by 2030, from about 45 percent in 2022. Habeck said the way was now almost clear to achieve long-awaited progress with respect to Germany’s “most embattled” renewable power source, which for years has been held up due to protests against turbine construction, slow license issuing procedures, and quarrels over minimum distances from residential areas.

The states had finally realised that more renewable power brings economic advantages, he argued. “We’ve passed the stage of identifying problems and will now implement expansion, from north to south and from east to west,” Habeck said. The minister said there would be two more “wind power summits” this year in which details about the accelerated expansion are clarified and decisions put into law. “What we need is construction space.

The states and municipalities will now designate them,” Habeck said, adding that the aim remains to reserve at least two percent of the country’s land area for turbine construction.

The minister said an emergency regulation by the EU to suspend some environmental checks for the duration of 18 months to speed up renewable power expansion in the energy crisis would be of great help for Germany’s wind power buildout ambitions. He insisted that this would not lead to “material” losses in environmental protection but rather shorten the process.

However, environmental NGO Nabu criticised the suspension of environmental checks. “I’m disappointed by Robert Habeck and [environment minister] Steffi Lemke,” Nabu head Jörg-Andreas Krüger told the Neue Osnabrücker Zeitung, arguing the two Green Party ministers supported the weakening of environmental protection.

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German Chancellor Scholz promises Construction of “four to five wind turbines per day” to reach 2030 Target Sat, 11 Feb 2023 05:24:16 +0000 ( Clean Energy Wire ) – In a bid to achieve the high renewable power expansion targets for the end of the decade, German chancellor Olaf Scholz vowed to make the buildout a priority and hold talks with the 16 states every month to assess and improve expansion speed. The envisaged pace until 2030 would equal “four to five wind turbines per day”,

Scholz told tabloid Bild in an interview. The government is currently drawing up a plan for the required capacity to achieve the target of a share of 80 percent renewables in the power production mix.

“Whatever is not achieved on time will then have to be made up for,” Scholz said. “We will use the momentum of the past months, the ‘Germany speed’ to really make progress regarding the buildout of wind and solar energy and become less dependent on fossil gas, coal and oil.”

The chancellor said faster implementation of infrastructure projects would be an indispensable reform effort for Germany in order to remain competitive and counter fears of a looming deindustrialisation due to the energy crisis.

The expansion of renewable power sources, especially of onshore wind, must pick up rapidly for Germany to come close to its targets at the end of the decade. The country set itself a target of 115 gigawatts (GW) onshore wind capacity by 2030.

Administrative hurdles and long licensing procedures have been identified as the main obstacles to faster wind power expansion, which the government has sought to address in recent months with several reforms at the national and the EU level that should make obtaining construction permits easier.

The federal government has repeatedly stated that the country’s states (Länder) need to implement the faster buildout, after the government laid the legal groundwork.

Bild Zeitung

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