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Don’t call it a coal phaseout!

25 Mar 2015   by   Comments (0)

A paper leaked last week reveals the German government’s plans to clamp down on emissions from coal power. But the plans are not a done deal – the meeting on Thursday, which was originally to be held last Saturday, has been boycotted once again. By Craig Morris.

(Photo by smitty42, CC BY-ND 2.0)

Don’t get your hopes up for a swift German coal phaseout just yet. (Photo by smitty42, CC BY-ND 2.0)

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German grid passed the #SolarEclipse stress test

25 Mar 2015   by editor   Comments (0)

On March 20th, Germany experienced a partial solar eclipse that put its grid to an unprecedented test. Our experts tweeted live from Germany while the German grid stayed stable and provided proof it was ready for the future.

Solar Eclipse in Berlin

The solar eclipse provided a glimpse into the future of Germany’s grid. (Photo by Alexander Franke)

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More coal plants are being cancelled than built

24 Mar 2015   by editor   Comments (0)

The era of global coal expansion is coming to an end. Since 2010, the number of canceled coal projects across the world outstrips those that are completed at a rate of two to one. Still, too much power continues to be made from coal if mankind wants to achieve the 2 °C global temperature limit, argues Sophie Yeo.

Open-pit coal mine

The now canceled coal plants would have emitted 88,204 million tonnes of carbon dioxide over their lifetime. (Photo by Peabody Energy, Inc., CC BY 3.0)

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No more big power plants? Civic energy could provide half our electricity by 2050

23 Mar 2015   by editor   Comments (0)

In Germany, energy democracy has been a central pillar of the Energiewende. Now, a British research team has proven that in 2050 half of the UK’s electricity could come from small-scale civic projects if the energy sector is reorganized accordingly. Stephen Hall summarizes the findings.

(Photo by Wayne National Forest/Alex Snyder, CC BY 2.0)

What if everyone did this? (Photo by Wayne National Forest/Alex Snyder, CC BY 2.0)

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Energy – the seventh Sustainable Development Goal

20 Mar 2015   by   Comments (0)

The UN will include “access to affordable, reliable, sustainable, and modern energy” in their post-2015 sustainable development goals (SDG). Matthias Ruchser explains the concepts and takes a look at what Germany needs to do in the coming years to fulfill the goal, namely turning its electricity transition into a holistic energy transition.

Sustainable Development

Access to sustainable energy is a basic right. (Photo by Intel Free Press, CC BY-SA 2.0)

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“One power plant per company”

19 Mar 2015   by   Comments (0)

The 1985 book entitled The Energiewende is possible not only described the problems that the energy transition faces, but also proposed some solutions. Craig Morris describes them.

Solar Village

30 years ago, the authors already called for decentralized & democratized power production. (Photo by, CC BY-SA 2.0)

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“Impossible for investments to lead to losses”

18 Mar 2015   by   Comments (0)

In his previous post, Craig Morris began his summary of the 1985 book entitled (in German) The Energiewende is possible. Today, he sheds light on how the trend towards large power plants created unnecessary costs in the process – although more efficient distributed cogeneration was an alternative.

Kraftwerk Niederaussem

German utilities consciously overbuilt conventional capacity to bring down industrial power prices, shifting the cost burden onto consumers. (Photo by Stodtmeister, CC BY 3.0)

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“Energy wasted by design”

17 Mar 2015   by   Comments (1)

In 1985, German researchers at a newly founded institute called Öko-Institut published a book called “The Energiewende is possible” investigating why no progress had been made since the original proposal five years earlier. Craig Morris says the book’s analysis can be summed up in one word: brilliant.

Coal Power Plant in Weisweiler

In the last century, a few big utilities dominated the German power production – bringing into existence the centralized power market structure as we know it today.

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French energy transition law: return to sender?

16 Mar 2015   by editor   Comments (0)

France’s energy transition law has been stalled due to disagreements between both chambers of parliament. While this outcome is disappointing, it might also help pass a more ambitious draft later this year, as Kathrin Glastra explains.

Assemblée Nationale

Not on time: The French energy transition law. (Photo by niall62, CC BY-SA 2.0)

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Fracking Debate under way in Latin America

13 Mar 2015   by   Comments (0)

In recent years, the debate about the reserves of shale gas in Latin American countries, such as Mexico and Argentina, has led to the formation of a growing civil movement against it. Sandra Guzman reports from the region.

vertically drilled wells

Instead of investments in fracking, civil society in Latin America demands stronger efforts to foster renewable energies. (Photo by Peter Aengst, CC BY-SA 4.0)

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