the energiewende blog

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Renewable energy patents boom in Germany

21 Aug 2014   by   Comments (0)

Germany may not have much sun, but it is positioning itself to sell products to those who do. But while some solar manufacturers continue to struggle, German patent registrations have boomed in recent years – not only for solar, but for wind power as well. Craig Morris investigates.

(Photo from

The German renewable energy law helped stimulate innovation as the number of patents registered on renewable energy technology multiplied. (Photo from

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China’s choice in transitioning away from an oil regime

19 Aug 2014   by editor   Comments (0)

With its increasing hunger for resources, China has become highly dependent on oil and gas imports. Wang Tao recommends that the country should not give into the short-sighted urge to tap unconventional oil resources, risking ecosystems and water quality alike. Instead, the country should fastly increase the use of renewable resources.

Oil Pumping Station in China

Instead on relying on unconventional oil and gas sources to bridge the ever increasing import gap, China should transition to using renewables. (Photo by Bert van Dijk, CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

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The conceptual underpinnings of a low carbon transition

14 Aug 2014   by   Comments (0)

On this blog, we usually concentrate on the policiies and daily politics of Germany’s Energiewende. Saliem Fakir takes a step back and explains the requirements and the process of low carbon transitions – and what this means for South Africa.

Wind Power 1980s

From niche to mainstream – German Windenergiepark Westküste in 1985. (Photo by Heidelberg GmbH, CC BY-SA 3.0)

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French labor union openly opposes nuclear

12 Aug 2014   by   Comments (2)

This is big news – for the first time, French labour union General Confederation of Labor (CGT) has spoken out clearly for the closure of France’s oldest nuclear plant. The reasons given argue against nuclear in general. Craig Morris investigates.

Fessenheim Nuclear Power Plant

The pro-nuclear coalition in France continues to crumble, as biggest French union CGT debates its position on nuclear and further operation of Fessenheim nuclear plant. (Photo by Florival fr, CC BY SA 3.0)

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We need a European energy transition

07 Aug 2014   by   Comments (0)

The Ukrainian crisis of the last months has called Europe’s strategic dependency on Russian energy imports into question. According to Matthias Ruchser, there can be only one future-proof answer to the current dilemma, which will decarbonise Europe while also increasing energy independency: A European energy transition.

European Renewables

From Portugese solar to Finnish wind power – Europe needs a comprehensive push for renewable energies. (Photos by Ceinturion & Teemu Vehkaoja, CC BY-SA 3.0)

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The European energy union – or how to return to coal

06 Aug 2014   by   Comments (0)

The Polish government is one of the proponents of a European energy union. Unfortunately, its sole concerns are cheap access to gas and the survival of Polish coal – a goal that runs completely contrary to the EU’s climate policy, argues Michał Olszewski.

Mysłowice-Wesoła Coal Mine

Outdated, dirty and without government intervention increasingly uncompetitive – Polish Coal. (Photo by Kris Duda, CC BY-SA 2.0)

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German government’s three-year Energiewende plan

04 Aug 2014   by   Comments (3)

The German Industry Ministry (BMWi) recently published a chart presenting an overview of the government’s roadmap up to the end of 2016. Craig Morris says it is encouraging to see how much wider the scope is than just the power sector, but he noticed that one thing is still missing.

Traffic Jam

While Germany’s Energiewende has picked up speed, efforts to make the transportation sector more sustainable seem to be stalled. (Photo by Radosław Drożdżewski, CC BY-SA 3.0)

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The Feed-in Tariff is better than is commonly understood

31 Jul 2014   by editor   Comments (1)

The Feed-in Tariff (FiT) has proven to be the most successful policy for climate protection and sustainable development. As the cornerstone of overwhelming renewable energy development worldwide, it has resulted in significant greenhouse gas emission reductions, green jobs, revenues for governments and citizens and cost-competitive alternatives to harmful fossil fuels. Despite all that, the FiT is currently under attack. This is especially so in frontrunner country Germany, where the government has approved the phase out of the FiT through recent reform. But as Anna Leidreiter explains, the Feed-in Tariff is a better policy than is commonly understood.

Energielandschaft Morbach

Renewable Energy in the German 100% RE region Trier (Photo by World Future Council)

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White Rose: CCS gets going?

30 Jul 2014   by   Comments (1)

The EU has provided 1 billion euros in funding in order to leverage another 0.9 billion in private investments for a major new carbon capture and storage (CCS) project in the UK. Craig Morris investigates why Energiewende’s supporters are not more enthusiastic.

White Rose CCS Plant

White Rose – an innocent sounding name for a CCS project. (Photo by Department of Energy and Climate Change, CC BY-ND 2.0)

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What solar grid integration costs

28 Jul 2014   by   Comments (2)

The price of solar has plummeted in recent years, but as the share of solar on the grid increases, associated costs will be incurred: idling backup capacity, forecasting errors, etc. Now, leading US researchers have tried to put a price tag on those costs. Craig Morris says the situation they describe for 2027 looks a bit like Germany today.

PV installation over the parking space of Arizona State University

PV installation above a parking lot of Arizona State University. PV is even more efficient in Arizona than in Germany, as solar irradiation is more than twice as high and solar power production is more aligned with daily power demand cycles. (Photo by Kevin Dooley, CC BY 2.0)

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