Clean Energy Wire – Informed Comment https://www.juancole.com Thoughts on the Middle East, History and Religion Tue, 21 Sep 2021 05:20:36 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.9.18 With a Million Electric Cars on the Road, a Quarter of Germans have plans to Buy an EV https://www.juancole.com/2021/09/electric-quarter-germans.html Sun, 12 Sep 2021 04:10:52 +0000 https://www.juancole.com/?p=200023 By Benjamin Wehrmann | –

( Clean Energy Wire) – Interest in electric cars is growing rapidly in Germany, according to a survey by the Technical Inspection Authority (TÜV). Nearly one in four respondents (23 percent) said they already have plans to buy an e-car or could “very well imagine” doing so. Another 30 percent said they would “possibly” buy one in the future.

“Increasing environmental awareness, many new e-car models, high support payments and, last but not least, the car’s renaissance in the coronavirus pandemic let the willingness to buy an electric car grow,” TÜV head Joachim Bühler said at the international car fair IAA in Munich. In a similar survey from the end of 2019, only 14 percent said they could imagine buying an e-car or planned to do so already.

The share of people opposed to e-cars dropped from 55 to 41 percent in the two years that passed, the TÜV added. But while concerns about the range of electric cars have been falling, reservations about high prices and a lack of charging infrastructure continue to irritate potential customers, the survey revealed.

“There needs to be more information and price comparisons to make the real costs transparent,” Bühler said. More transparency is also needed regarding production conditions along the entire supply chain of the car and especially for the battery, he added. While in 2019 only 38 percent of respondents had doubts about the e-car’s environmental advantage over combustion engines, the figure has now climbed to almost 60 percent.

With half a year delay, Germany reached the target to bring one million electric vehicles on the road in mid-2021. For 2030, the target is ten million vehicles, for which large-scale changes to infrastructure are currently being prepared, though with inadequate speed, many observers say. The government supports e-car buyer’s with up to 20,000 euros in direct and indirect transfers over the car’s lifetime, a recent study found.

Clean Energy Wire

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Germans are most worried about Climate Emergency among 28 Countries Surveyed https://www.juancole.com/2021/09/emergency-countries-surveyed.html Sun, 05 Sep 2021 04:04:44 +0000 https://www.juancole.com/?p=199879 By Julian Wettengel | –

( Clean Energy Wire ) – Germany is currently the country most concerned about climate change out of the 28 surveyed for the August update of the “What worries the world” study by market research and consulting firm Ipsos. Climate change is one of Germans’ top three concerns, with 36 percent selecting it as their main worry (six percentage points more than last month, and the highest Germany has recorded to date).

Thirty-eight percent named poverty and social inequality and 37 percent named coronavirus. Across the 28 countries Ipsos surveyed, 15 percent of respondents placed climate change among their top three concerns. Overall, it is ranked ninth in Ipsos’ list of 18 issues – the coronavirus still tops the list, followed by unemployment and poverty and social inequality.

In another recent survey, environment/climate/energy transition was at the top of pollster Forschungsgruppe Wahlen’s Politbarometer for the first time since the coronavirus pandemic began.

The German public increasingly puts climate action at the top of its policy priorities,and remains strongly in support of the transition to a low-carbon and nuclear-free economy. The picture across Europe is more diverse, although climate is becoming a top issue almost everywhere.


Graph shows Ipsos survey of top 5 countries most concerned about climate change. Source: Ipsos 2021.

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Are Coal Plants even Legal, given dire Climate Impact? German Court rules Planners Must Consider Alternatives https://www.juancole.com/2021/08/planners-consider-alternatives.html Sun, 29 Aug 2021 04:25:33 +0000 https://www.juancole.com/?p=199761 By Edgar Meza | –

( Clean Energy Wire) – A German court has ruled against the country’s newest coal plant, finding that building permission for the facility was granted illegally. The ruling removes one of two legal foundations the Datteln 4 plant needs in order to remain in operation.

The 1,100 MW hard coal plant, located in the North Rhine-Westphalian town of Datteln and operated by utility company Uniper, will still remain in operation as the court ruling does not affect its approval under Germany’s emission control law, Spiegel reports.

Residents who launched the first court case have also lodged a second against Datteln 4’s operating permit, and the plant will have to shut down operation if it loses again. The court found that regional planners should have considered alternatives, such as a gas power plant which places “much lower demands on the space” and has “considerably less impact on the environment”, Spiegel notes.

The court ruling is seen as a political blow to North Rhine-Westphalia Premier Armin Laschet, who hopes to succeed Angela Merkel as chancellor in next month’s federal elections. Laschet has been a strong backer of the plant. Environmental organisations ClientEarth and Friends of the Earth (BUND) supported the case against Datteln 4. “This ruling is yet another message for any political leader or company still backing coal,” said ClientEarth lawyer Francesca Mascha Klein.

“This plant has always been a disaster – based near a children’s hospital, and on the doorstep of hundreds of homes, its toxic emissions and climate burden should have prevented it ever being approved.” According to Germany’s 2020 coal exit law, the last coal-fired power station will have to go offline by 2038 at the latest.

Many experts and politicians believe that the end of coal will come earlier, driven by increasing prices for CO2 emissions; and in the run-up to Germany’s general election in September, an earlier coal exit is a hotly debated campaign subject. Uniper said earlier this year that it would consider a sooner than planned shutdown of Datteln 4 if compelled by the government.

Via Clean Energy Wire/ Der Spiegel

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German Public Believes Scientists’ Climate Warnings, 74% Prepared to Change Lifestyle to Forestall Global Heating https://www.juancole.com/2021/08/scientists-lifestyle-forestall.html Sun, 15 Aug 2021 04:27:43 +0000 https://www.juancole.com/?p=199499 By Kerstine Appunn | –

( Clean Energy Wire) – The majority of Germans (74%) are prepared to make changes to their lifestyle to prevent global warming, a survey among 1,000 consumers commissioned by heating technology company Stiebel Eltron shows.

Seventy-nine percent of participants said the climate change warnings by scientists are correct, and 83 percent said the goal of the energy transition to drastically reduce CO2 emissions is “important or very important”.

However, when it comes to actual changes in their lifestyle decisions, such as flying, switching from combustion engine cars to e-cars, or exchanging old oil heating systems for new climate-friendly alternatives, only 13 percent said they had acted according to climate action demands.

Sixty-four percent are in favour of a CO2 price that makes burning oil and gas more expensive in the heating sector, while 63 percent want to ban new oil heating systems and 53 percent are in favour of banning new gas heating systems.

The German public increasingly puts climate action at the top of its policy priorities and remains strongly in support of the transition to a low-carbon and nuclear-free economy. Nevertheless, opposition against energy transition and renewable infrastructure is a concern, and has led to a slow-down in the expansion of wind turbines and delays in the expansion of the power grid.

Via Clean Energy Wire

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Germany’s solar PV expansion soars by over 20%, but incoming Government will need to do more https://www.juancole.com/2021/08/germanys-expansion-government.html Sun, 08 Aug 2021 04:02:06 +0000 https://www.juancole.com/?p=199349 By Benjamin Wehrmann | –

( Clean Energy Wire) – The construction of new solar photovoltaic (PV) installations in Germany has grown by 22 percent in the first half of 2021 but would still have to be three to four times higher to be in line with the country’s climate targets, solar industry group BSW Solar has said.

“Given the requirements imposed by climate action, the solar PV expansion is much too slow,” the BSW said, calling for an ad-hoc programme to spur expansion immediately after September’s general elections. Without a three- or fourfold increase in expansion figures, Germany will scarcely be able to compensate for the loss in capacity due to its parallel phase-outs of nuclear and coal power, the solar power lobby group said.

While installations on private homes are soaring, the BSW said it was worried that corporate customers shun investments in solar power on their commercial properties, where registrations of new solar PV installations with the federal network agency BNetzA had dropped 67 percent in June compared to 2020.

“This is the result of the government’s failure to adapt solar PV expansion targets to the tightened climate targets,” BSW head Carsten Körnig said. The fast reduction of guaranteed remuneration for solar PV investors, which currently is 25 percent lower than one year ago, would scare away potential investors even more, Körnig added.

A faster roll-out of solar and wind power installations across Germany is seen as a prerequisite for the country to come even close to achieving any of its ambitious emissions reduction targets, especially since the boom in e-car registrations and shift to heat pumps will inflate the demand for green power. The top candidates of all parties competing for the chancellery have agreed that a quick increase in expansion volumes has to be a priority for the next government coalition.

Via Clean Energy Wire

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Climate activists demand faster energy transition after flood disaster hits Germany https://www.juancole.com/2021/07/activists-transition-disaster.html Sun, 25 Jul 2021 04:01:38 +0000 https://www.juancole.com/?p=199065 By Charlotte Nijhuis | –

( Clean Energy Wire) – Activists are protesting for better climate protection measures after catastrophic floods hit several parts of Germany last week. On 23 July, environmental group Robin Wood kicks off a three-week raft tour from Berlin to Hamburg in order to push for a faster energy transition. “We need a rapid expansion of decentralised renewables, the promotion of energy efficiency, and the elimination of all government funding for fossil fuels,” the group wrote in a press release.

On the same day, the youth climate movement Fridays for Future is holding demonstrations across the country to call for more climate action and commemorate the more than 170 victims of the floods. “There is no denying that this disaster is the result of climate policy that has ignored any warnings from science for decades and that a global climate crisis is coming our way,” says activist Fabian Pesch in a press release.

The flood disaster is “the consequence of a political refusal to take scientific warnings seriously,” said Luisa Neubauer, frontwoman of Fridays for Future Germany, during the ‘Markus Lanz’ talk show on broadcaster ZDF, Welt reports.

Neubauer accused the German government of “cynical policy,” arguing it wants to help on the ground, in the flooded areas, but fails to make climate protection a priority. “What resonates here is a completely inappropriate arrogance,” the 25-year-old climate activist concluded.

During the show, the also 25-year-old CDU member Wiebke Winter countered Neubauer’s approach. As co-founder of the KlimaUnion [climate union], which pushes for more climate action within the conservative party, Winter argues technological innovation is key to reaching climate-neutrality. The idea of prohibitions, such as a ban on flying, is “out of touch with life,” she said. Neubauer disagreed: “We do not lack innovative ideas; we clearly lack political will.”

Via Clean Energy Wire

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German carmakers likely to overtake Chinese rivals in e-car production, with US Lagging Behind https://www.juancole.com/2021/07/carmakers-overtake-production.html Sun, 18 Jul 2021 04:02:11 +0000 https://www.juancole.com/?p=198950 By Sören Amelang | –

( Clean Energy Wire ) – German carmakers look set to overtake Chinese companies in the production of e-cars next year, according to an analysis by conducted McKinsey. “In terms of production, Chinese and German manufacturers are expected to be on a par this year, with around 1.6 million e-cars produced each worldwide; from next year, Germany could overtake China,” the consultancy said.

It said the whole of Europe had already become a trailblazer for e-mobility, as more electric cars were sold on the continent than in China or the US in 2020.

“With 43 percent of the world market, Europe is just ahead of China with 41 percent and well ahead of the US, which has 10 percent.”

But because of strong sales of plug-in hybrid electric vehicles in Europe, China continues to register the world’s highest sales of pure battery-electric cars. The country also remains the global leader in terms of battery production. According to McKinsey, cells with a combined capacity of 430 gigawatt-hours (GWh) were made in China in 2020, compared to around 60 GWh in both the US and Europe.

The consultancy said government subsidy schemes and strict CO2 emission limits had given an “enormous boost” to demand and production of e-cars in Europe, adding that many carmakers’ decarbonisation strategies already went beyond legal requirements.

But McKinsey said Europe must urgently speed up the rollout of charging infrastructure to keep pace with e-car sales. “Until 2030, around 10,000 new charging points would need to be added every week in Europe to enable a smooth ramp-up of e-mobility,” said McKinsey partner Patrick Schaufuss.

Sören Amelang is a staff Correspondent for Clean Energy Wire. During his 15 years at the news agency Reuters, he wrote about international business, economics and politics. He was lead writer for Reuters’ German coverage of the financial crisis and the ensuing debt crisis in Europe. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Development Studies from Liverpool University and an MA in International Relations from the University of Sussex.

Via Clean Energy Wire

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We Can’t go Carbon Neutral without Reducing Plastics: 1 ton of plastic creates 5 tons of CO2 emissions https://www.juancole.com/2021/07/reducing-plastics-emissions.html Mon, 05 Jul 2021 04:01:57 +0000 https://www.juancole.com/?p=198718 By Benjamin Wehrmann | –

( Clean Energy Wire ) – Avoiding and better managing plastic waste should receive much greater attention by the German government in its bid to achieve a climate neutral economy, economic research institute DIW said in an analysis. Producing and disposing of one tonne of plastic on average causes about five tonnes of CO2 emissions, the researchers said. The recycling quota of the material in Germany is less than 20 percent of the total volume, while about two-thirds are being incinerated, causing further emissions.

“A whole range of political interventions is needed to fully tap into the emissions reduction potential of a circular economy,” the DIW concluded, adding that German and European climate targets could only be achieved if circularity concepts are strengthened for all base materials. “Betting on low-emissions production alone won’t be enough,” researcher Frederik Lettow commented. Base materials producers and waste combustion are largely exempt from EU emissions allowance trading, which severely hampers the development of circular economy concepts in the sector, the DIW said.

Besides fully integrating plastic production and waste management in the emissions trading scheme, the researchers call for rethinking packaging design and promoting recycling, which could be facilitated through a pricing system for plastic packaging and clearer regulation of the materials allowed in production.

The EU’s bid for climate neutrality puts a focus on the future of generating electricity by incinerating waste. The fiercely disputed process emits CO2 and toxins, although its proponents point out that it prevents even greater environmental damage from landfill sites. While some back “waste to energy” plants to complement renewable electricity as part of a decarbonised future, its critics urge an immediate phase-out.

Packaging waste has reached ever higher levels in recent years in Germany and amounted to about 18.7 million tonnes in 2017, which roughly translates into 226 kilogrammes of waste per capita in this category.

Via Clean Energy Wire

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German Transport Ministry advised that Electric Cars must Dominate new Sales by 2025, eyeing 1 Mn. EVs on Road this Year https://www.juancole.com/2021/06/transport-ministry-dominate.html Sun, 27 Jun 2021 04:02:36 +0000 https://www.juancole.com/?p=198582 By Edgar Meza | –

Handelsblatt

( Clean Energy Wire ) – Electric cars will need to account for most new registrations in Germany in just four years and the end of new combustion engine cars will have to begin in 2030, says a report by the National Platform Future of Mobility (NPM) for the Federal Transport Ministry, according to business daily Handelsblatt.

In order to achieve the federal government’s climate targets in the transport sector, around a third of all vehicles – some 14 million cars – will need to be electric by 2030. Four out of five newly registered vehicles will have to be electric vehicles (EVs) by that date.

To reach that figure, around two million new EVs need to be registered every year in just four years, Handelsblatt notes. By that time, electric cars will dominate the German market with two-thirds of new registrations, the report states.

The NPM working group behind the report consists of representatives from companies, trade associations, scientists, and environmental and consumer organisations. They are calling on the federal government, as well as all companies active in the mobility sector, to invest “immediately” in low emission technologies, production capacities and infrastructures in order to achieve the 2030 transport climate targets.

At the beginning of the year, Germany had 588,944 EVs on the road and that figure is likely to reach 1 million this year, the report states. Sales of EVs in Germany have been rapidly increasing: the number of new registrations tripled in 2020 compared to the previous year.

Via Clean Energy Wire

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