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Switzerland temporarily nuclear-free

27 Aug 2015   by   Comments (0)

In August, the fifth of five nuclear plants in Switzerland went off-line, but only for two days. There were no blackouts. Craig Morris investigates.

Leibstadt, Switzerland

Swiss turned off all its nuclear power plants – and the lights stayed on. (Photo by Hansueli Krapf, CC BY-SA 3.0)

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How the European power sector copes during the heat wave

26 Aug 2015   by   Comments (0)

The summer is drawing to a close in Europe, and it was one of the hottest ever. Thermal power plants (coal and nuclear) had to ramp down production in numerous countries due to a lack of cooling water, but the heat also affected solar power production. Craig Morris reports.

Low water level in river Rhine, August 2015

Low water levels and high temperatures, as the Middle Rhine experienced them this August, can force thermal power plants to reduce their output or shut down completely. (Photo by Franz Ferdinand Photography, CC BY-NC 2.0)

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Earth to Gates: we are good to go

24 Aug 2015   by   Comments (3)

Billionaire Bill Gates claimed this summer that breakthroughs are needed for the energy transition and that funding should be diverted from current technologies towards R&D. Craig Morris wonders what would have become of Microsoft if we had waited for Ultrabooks before buying computers.

Computing in the 1980s

If you always wait for the next big thing to go on sale, you will never actually purchase any piece of technology. But if we hadn’t purchased the computers shown above, we wouldn’t have gotten the great stuff we use today.

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How France could go nearly 100 percent renewable

20 Aug 2015   by   Comments (2)

French think tank négaWatt published a study back in 2011 investigating how the country could switch almost completely to renewable energy. Now, the analysis and an overview of charts has been made available in English. Craig Morris investigates.

Picnic in Paris

Parisians know best that not having a car but spending time with friends instead can be pretty luxurious. (Photo by Gideon, CC BY 2.0)

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Climate protesters shut down German lignite field

18 Aug 2015   by   Comments (0)

Over the weekend, protesters entered coalfields outside of Cologne as a part of the Ende Gelände campaign (loosely translated: “terminal terrain”). The goal is to “keep coal in the ground.” Craig Morris wonders if the event, which unfortunately became violent, is the beginning of a successful divestment movement.


Stop digging, keep it in the ground! (Photo by Tim Wagner,, CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

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German offshore wind progress

17 Aug 2015   by   Comments (0)

In the first half of 2015, more offshore wind power capacity was added in Germany than the country previously had. The government is reportedly considering raising its target for 2020. Craig Morris explains.

Offshore wind park in front of Borkum

Germany already has a total of 668 offshore wind turbines. (Photo by eLKayPics, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

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Germany’s decision to phase out nuclear power is fundamentally sensible from an economic perspective

14 Aug 2015   by editor   Comments (3)

Germany has made a formal commitment to phase out the use of nuclear power by 2022. Erik Gawel and Sebastian Strunz write on the implications of the strategy for Germany’s future energy mix and whether the approach adopted in the country could function as a model for other European states. They argue that while the target is undeniably challenging, long-term it is both economically sensible and feasible to phase out both fossil fuels and nuclear energy in favour of renewables.

(Photo by Michael Gäbler, CC BY 3.0)

With its Energiewende and nuclear phaseout, Germany finds itself among a number of European countries pursuing similar goals. (Photo by Michael Gäbler, CC BY 3.0)

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Blacked out German grid

12 Aug 2015   by   Comments (2)

German think tank Agora Energiewende has produced a paper showing the lack of transparency for grid data. Proponents of distributed renewable energy have complained for years that they cannot verify the need for new grid lines. Craig Morris explains.

Grid Expansion

If possible grid expansions are to enjoy political legitimacy, the necessity for new grid lines has to be made transparent. (Photo by Ralph Kuehnl, CC BY 2.0)

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How small German power consumers subsidize industry

10 Aug 2015   by   Comments (5)

German retail power rates are high, but industry electricity prices are low. A recent comparison of countries bordering the Netherlands reveals what an outlier Germany is. Craig Morris investigates.

Residential houses in front of lignite power plant Niederaußem

In Germany, residential consumers finance the cheap power prices of industrial consumers. (Photo by Achim Raschka, CC-BY-SA-3.0)

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New charts for 2015 – and evidence that the cost debate is over

06 Aug 2015   by   Comments (4)

As a part of our annual update, we have created a few new charts and updated some old ones. The Energiewende story has also been updated to reflect the latest data and policy developments from 2014. Craig Morris focuses on a single chart today. Since October, the underlying analysis could have been updated, but – tellingly – no one has seen fit to do so.

Critics of the Energiewende only cared about the social equity of power prices as long as it suited their agenda. (Uwe Schlick  /

Critics of the Energiewende only cared about power prices and their impact on social equity as long as it suited their agenda. (Uwe Schlick /

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