Happy Easter! » 17.04.2014

The energy transition: a German consensus

Before we take off for the long Easter weekend, we wanted to leave you with some thoughts about the role of the church in Germany’s switch to renewables and lower consumption driven by citizens, energy cooperatives, and communities. While energy policy is a divisive issue in other countries across political lines, the Germans have been largely pulling in one direction for nearly two and a half decades. read more »

Nuclear and renewables – a possible combination?

Is nuclear power not the ideal complement to renewables in the power sector towards decarbonization? The German answer is clearly no, but not everyone outside the country is convinced. Today, I present the data leading to the German conclusion that – even aside from concerns about risks – nuclear is technically incompatible with wind + solar. read more »

Energy policy » 16.04.2014

EU ruling on industry exemptions a lost opportunity

Last week, the European Commission published its new rules for renewables up to 2020. The German renewables community was counting on Brussels to rein in Berlin’s exemptions for industry, but the EU did not deliver, and by all accounts German Minister Gabriel got his way. read more »

Statistics » 16.04.2014

Integrating wind power in the grid

Today, Bernard Chabot shows based on data from France how his "silent wind revolution" (larger rotors relative to generator size) could help wind power make up a far greater share of electricity supply. In the process, we would get the same amount of energy from a third less copper. read more »

Energy policy » 15.04.2014

New EU rules on renewables

Last week, the EU adopted new rules on “public support for environmental protection and energy.” The outcome is a clear compromise; though still containing misleading labels such as “market-based,” the new policy leaves the door open for feed-in tariffs, especially for “small installations.” The proposed switch from fully fledged feed-in tariffs to feed-in premiums may not even be a bad idea. read more »

Statistics » 15.04.2014

Wind and PV data for Germany in Q1 2014

Bernard Chabot is back today with an update of the data available up to the end of March. One of his main findings, however, pertains to his home country of France, where wholesale power prices were only above four cents 25 percent of the time. Clearly, wind and solar installed in Germany are not only disrupting the German market, but also markets in neighboring countries. read more »

Smart grid not sexy enough for German households

Smart meters are an obvious part of the energy transition in the power sector. International onlookers often expected Germans to be at the forefront of this issue given the country’s high-profile commitment to renewables. A recent wrapup of a conference on smart grids shows how uninterested Germans are in such technologies. read more »

Power markets » 14.04.2014

Baseload takes a beating over weekend

Wholesale prices fell so low that a number of baseload plants were simply shut down for the entire weekend. Still, day-ahead prices were close to zero yesterday. Solar and wind are not only making conventional power unprofitable in Germany, but also in neighboring France and Switzerland – and the Czech Republic says that low wholesale prices are the reason why it has stepped away from a new nuclear project. read more »

Can biomass close the mobility gap?

Electric vehicles may soon be commonplace on roads, but what do we do about airplanes and shipping? German researchers say a combination of biomass and hydrogen from the electrolysis of renewable electricity could increase fuel production sixfold. read more »

Energy policy » 11.04.2014

German court rules against industrial firm

Last year, a German paper mill made headlines when it filed suit against a German law requiring private power plants to change their production in accordance with what the grid needs. The court found that the firm had no grounds to complain. read more »

Power storage » 10.04.2014

Researchers pour cold water on power-to-gas

Germany’s Institute for Applied Ecology come to some sobering conclusions about P2G, which they find to be an especially inefficient way of storing electricity. The impact on the climate will reportedly be negligible as long as so much of the electricity stored is from conventional power, especially when CO2 is added to produce synthetic methane. read more »

Marketing ploy » 10.04.2014

Cutting feed-in tariffs “by a third”

The German government has come up with a sneaky way of saying it is bringing down the cost of the Energiewende. The first press reports that took the bait hook, line, and sinker have already appeared. Here’s what you need to know about this clear case of propaganda. read more »

Energiewende » 09.04.2014

German energy policy reform to be challenged in court

Yesterday, the German government announced its plans for energy policy reform this year. Proponents of renewables plan to challenge one aspect in court. read more »

Overview of proposed energy policy changes in Germany

Even when the foreign press reports on the correct numbers, a lot of the terms can still be slightly misleading. Today, we focus on a report at Reuters to help the international audience understand the issues. read more »

Unafraid of the big bad wolves

Charges that the "lights will go out" if we switch to renewables are not only heard in Germany. Today, independent energy consultant and former British MP Alan Simpson reacts to the debate in his home country with a mixture of incredulity and hard data. read more »