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Germany’s Energiewende is shifting the energy paradigm – now it’s time to optimize

30 Oct 2014   by editor   Comments (1)

Germany’s Energiewende has revolutionized how we produce power. In order to succeed, Germany will need to optimize its energy infrastructure next – including grid expansion, demand management and backup storage, explains Peter Sopher.

Powerlines

Germany’s grid was built when fossil fuels were still king – now it’s time to adapt it to renewables. (Photo by Herr Olsen, CC BY-NC 2.0)

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Coal wars in Poland

29 Oct 2014   by   Comments (2)

Poland is one of the key actors preventing more progressive European climate policies. Why? Polish miners are one of the very few social forces that the Polish government is really afraid of, explains Michal Olszewski.

Solidarnosc Protest

In the field of coal mining, Polish unions exert a lot of influence on the government in order to preserve the status quo. (Photo by Beemwej, CC BY-SA 3.0 PL)

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Prague to support renewables more

27 Oct 2014   by   Comments (0)

Last week, the Czech government proposed a bill, which is now to be reviewed in Parliament. The renewables community is speaking of a step in the right direction, but the battle is still uphill, as a sociologist explained at a conference our Craig Morris attended.

Czech PV installations

Relicts of the Czech solar boom that has since been restricted due to politics – will renewables get a second chance? (Photo by Karelj, CC BY 3.0)

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Analysis: Who wants what from the EU 2030 climate framework

23 Oct 2014   by editor   Comments (1)

An ambitious EU 2030 climate framework could be crucial to unlocking a global climate deal in Paris next year. Yet EU leaders still can’t agree on the details. Simon Evans compares the ambitions and goals ahead of today’s negotiations.

Cameron & Merkel

What direction should EU climate and energy policy take until 2030? (Photo by Number 10, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

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Germany’s Energiewende proves electricity can be clean and reliable

22 Oct 2014   by editor   Comments (1)

Germany has rapidly increased the share of renewables in its power mix. Critics claim that this has lead to grid instability. Peter Sopher looks at the numbers and shows that German grid stability has actually increased and is much higher than in most other countries.

Germany's grid continues to be one of the most stable worldwide, thanks, in part, to underground cables. (Photo by Nico Pudimat)

Germany’s grid continues to be one of the most stable worldwide, thanks, in part, to underground cables. (Photo by Nico Pudimat)

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How competitive are renewables with conventional power?

21 Oct 2014   by   Comments (0)

A new meta-study published by German renewables organization AEE reviews around a dozen recent studies on power generation costs from both renewable and conventional energy sources. The trend is clear, and one of the studies is a clear outlier. Craig Morris explains.

PV & Coal

Renewables are becoming increasingly competitive with conventional sources of power. (Photo by EnergieAgentur.NRW, CC BY 2.0)

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German reliance on market players makes energy policy legal

16 Oct 2014   by   Comments (0)

In his previous post, Craig Morris talks about how the renewable surcharge will drop for the first time in 2015. But there is another interesting aspect to the issue. Germany allows transmission grid operators (TSOs), rather than a government entity, to calculate the charge. For the EU, that distinction is the difference between legal and illegal.

Wind Power in France: While the differences are rather technical, the European Court of Justice

Wind Power in France: While the legal differences are rather subtle, the European Court of Justice ruled against the French Feed-In Tariff while allowing the more market-based German one. (Photo by Pinpin, CC BY-SA 3.0)

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A first: German renewable energy surcharge shrinks

15 Oct 2014   by   Comments (1)

The outcome was roughly predictable at least as far back as January, but today Germany’s four transit grid operators (TSOs) announced the specific figure for the renewables surcharge for 2015. But the decrease is so small that retail rates might not even be affected. Will the government at least admit its new policies are not the reason? Craig Morris investigates.

The renewable energy surcharge will shrink in 2015, possibly lowering consumer prices - but the government should not boast this as their success. (Photo by  Rudolpho Duba  / pixelio.de)

The renewable energy surcharge will shrink in 2015, possibly lowering consumer prices – but the government should not boast this as their success. (Photo by Rudolpho Duba / pixelio.de)

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Is offshore wind the big story?

14 Oct 2014   by   Comments (0)

Increasingly, we read that offshore wind in Germany is getting going. While the news is good, it overstates the role of offshore wind in the country’s energy transition. Craig Morris explains.

(Photo by Martin Doppelbauer, CC BY-SA 3.0)

Compared to onshore, offshore wind power plays only a subordinate role for Germany’s Energiewende. (Photo by Martin Doppelbauer, CC BY-SA 3.0)

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While critics debate Energiewende, Germany is gaining a global advantage

13 Oct 2014   by editor   Comments (0)

An often heard criticism of Germany’s Energiewende is its high price tag for consumers. Peter Sopher argues that a focus on price alone is shortsighted – as the economic and societal benefits outweight the cost by far.

Wind Turbine Installation

Transitioning to renewables is a veritable job engine. (Photo by Jenud, CC BY 2.0)


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