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Green Globe: Germany likely to miss 2020 emissions target


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Green Globe: Germany likely to miss 2020 emissions target

Germany's energy future looks cloudier after a leaked document from the country's environment ministry indicated Germany will miss its 2020 emissions goal by a wider margin than previously thought.

In May, the government said it expected carbon emissions to fall 35% from 1990 levels, rather than its much-touted goal of 40%. But Clean Energy Wire reported that Germany's CO2 emissions will be 31.7% to 32.5% lower unless the government takes more action, citing the internal document. Missing the target by a wider margin will put Germany's international reputation as a climate leader at risk and raise questions about the future of the country's climate policy, according to the document.

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German Chancellor Angela Merkel's ambitious plans for renewable energy have not achieved the hoped-for emissions reductions.

Source: Associated Press

It also raises the stakes for the Energiewende, the "energy transition" initiative to move away from fossil fuels and nuclear and add more renewables into its electricity mix. According to The New York Times, Germany has spent an estimated €189 billion, or US$222 billion, on renewable energy subsidies. But emissions have stayed flat since 2009, thanks to the country's continued reliance on coal-fired plants and its phase-out of nuclear plants, and Germans have seen electricity bills double since 2000 to fund renewable energy subsidies.

"The 40% target is only achievable with less coal power generation," outgoing Environment Minister Barbara Hendricks said in a statement to Clean Energy Wire. "We have such a large electricity surplus that our power system can absorb a large step towards a coal exit."

Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy opened a rotor blade factory in Morocco, calling it the first turbine plant in Africa and the Middle East. The 37,500 square meter plant is in Tangier, a major port on the Strait of Gibraltar, which separates Morocco from Spain.

The plant will hire 600 people, the company said in an Oct. 11 announcement. Factory workers will produce blades up to 75 meters long for projects across Europe, Africa and the Middle East.

"This factory is good for our company and a solid business decision," Siemens Gamesa CEO Markus Tacke said in a statement. "The opportunities here in Morocco are stronger than ever before. This location in Tangier provides us with direct access to some of the most important markets of tomorrow."

Prior to this plant opening, Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy had announced about 1,700 job cuts this year. In August, it laid off 740 workers worldwide, including 600 workers at its Aalborg blade plant in Denmark and 140 workers at its Hutchinson assembly plant in Kansas.


* Some of South Korea's biggest energy companies plan to make huge investments in renewable energy. The Korea Herald reports that Korea Electric Power Corp. will invest up to $47 billion into generating 13.5 GW of electricity from renewables by 2030, according to Lee Che-ik, a representative from the conservative Liberty Korea Party. Lee also said Korea Hydro and Nuclear Power wants to generate 8.4 GW of power from renewable energy by 2030, compared to the 777 MW it gets from renewables now.

* European utilities Enel SpA and E.ON SE traded 24 MWh of electricity using blockchain technology for the first time.

* China's coal country got a wake-up call when Taiyuan, the capital of China's northern province and coal production powerhouse Shanxi, decided to ban selling, transporting and using most of its coal, Reuters reported. China has also released a list of 151 planned or under-construction coal plants it plans to halt, according to Greenpeace's Unearthed blog.

* Australia's former prime minister, Tony Abbott, said in a speech in London that climate change is "probably doing good" and compared policies to fight global warming to "killing goats to appease the volcano gods," according to The Guardian.