the energiewende blog

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Focusing on the “energy” part in Energiewende

03 Jul 2015   by editor   Comments (1)

Recent developments in Germany have largely been centered on the transformation of electricity production, but to meet its stated targets, Germany needs to double down on efforts in the areas of transportation, heat and energy efficiency, as Boyan Dobrev points out.

 With around 40% of energy consumed as heat, retrofitting existing buildings presents a unique opportunity for a reduction in energy consumption

With around 40% of energy consumed as heat, retrofitting existing buildings presents a unique opportunity for a reduction in energy consumption. (Photo by Ingo1968, CC BY-SA 3.0)

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German government adopts watered-down carbon plan

02 Jul 2015   by   Comments (0)

The plan to implement a sort of national carbon emissions trading scheme specifically to clamp down on electricity from lignite is now officially dead. Last night, the German government adopted a different plan with a broader focus. Aside from the coal sector, no one seems to like it. Craig Morris investigates.

Coal Protest

300.000 signatures for a coal phase-out and a number of protests didn’t help: The German government gave in to coal interests. (Photo by Christian Mang / Campact, CC BY-NC 2.0)

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Biomass – the growth is over in Germany

01 Jul 2015   by   Comments (0)

Because biomass can be used not only to generate electricity, but also as a source of heat and motor fuel, it makes up the largest chunk of renewable energy in most countries by far. Craig Morris says, however, that the growth of biomass is largely over in Germany.

Biogas plant in rural Germany

The gold rush for biomass is over. (Photo by Martina Nolte, CC BY-SA 3.0 DE)

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Is Germany reliant on foreign nuclear power?

30 Jun 2015   by   Comments (1)

It’s back again – the claim that Germany will rely on foreign base load, especially nuclear, in its energy transition. Craig Morris wonders why proponents of nuclear power understand the technology and markets so poorly.

Cattenom nuclear power plant

Turns out that the myth of German dependence on French nuclear is not much more than hot air: Even when German power demand reaches its peak, it exports power to France. (Photo by Les Meloures, CC BY-SA 1.0)

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Germany’s energy transition is not an island of its own

29 Jun 2015   by editor   Comments (0)

The restructuring of the energy system in one of the world’s leading industrialized nations is undoubtedly a highly ambitious undertaking. There is no blueprint for this energy transition that would offer a simple step-by-step procedure to follow. In that sense, the Energiewende is an open learning process and pilot project at the same time, one that is being observed internationally with a mixture of hope and skepticism. However, there is one thing that the German energy transition is certainly not: an island of its own that isolates Germany’s energy economy. On the contrary, a quick overview of the world’s state of affairs with regard to energy shows that the global energy transition is now picking up speed, as Ralf Fücks points out.

Wind Turbine Installation

The energy transition could become the driver for an industrial renaissance of Europe. (Photo by Jenud, CC BY 2.0)

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Germany’s next nuclear plant closes for good

26 Jun 2015   by   Comments (2)

And then there were eight… This weekend, the Grafenrheinfeld nuclear plant in northern Bavaria will shut down permanently. It is the first nuclear plant to close since 2011.

Grafenrheinfeld from above

Replacing the power produced by the reactor in Grafenrheinfeld is not a problem by itself – but the Bavarian government is currently unwilling to consider alternatives. (Photo by pilot_micha, CC BY-NC 2.0)

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100% renewable energy – Embracing the “exponential growth of solutions”

25 Jun 2015   by editor   Comments (0)

While we keep burning harmful fossil fuels on an unimaginable scale, there’s also a number of good news: A growing number of communities around the world set themselves a goal of 100% renewables. What we need most are thus visionaries and political will, argues Stefan Schurig.

We have the solutions

We have the solutions – but we need the political commitment to radically change our societies and economies. (Photo by Light Brigading, CC BY-NC 2.0)

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How batteries can stabilize the grid

23 Jun 2015   by   Comments (2)

With Tesla’s announcement of battery storage systems for households, storage for photovoltaics has become a major news item. Furthermore, one of the main questions about the energy transition is how the grid will be stabilized without central power plants. Craig Morris visited German battery firm Younicos and got an answer to this question.

(Photo by Craig Morris)

Batteries are a key technology for a decarbonized world. (Photo: Craig Morris)

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In Poland, prosumer means enemy

22 Jun 2015   by   Comments (0)

In March this year, Poland finally decided to support decentralized rooftop PV. Since then, opponents have managed to dismantle the project step by step. Michał Olszewski reports from Poland.

Polish PV in the shade

Shady politics prevent sunnier times for residential PV in Poland.

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Prokon as a test for community energy

18 Jun 2015   by   Comments (0)

German utilities have gone on a shopping spree, taking over struggling planning firms to gain sorely needed expertise and assets. The trend can be heralded as a sign that these firms are finally taking part in the energy transition – or as a potential threat to the community cooperative movement that fostered the Energiewende all along. Craig Morris says the fate of Prokon is exemplary in this respect.

Wind turbines during sunset

Prokon investors will get a second chance – and can choose between two scenarios with very different implications.

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