Citizens and experts speaking as equals Foto: max/fotolia

Citizens and experts speaking as equals

Foreign onlookers often characterize Germans as being driven by fear, for instance of nuclear. Little do they realize the education that the grassroots energy challenge to corporate electricity has required. German experts know they still have to make their case to the public; after all, we are all non-experts in most fields. read more »

Theory versus trial and error Fraunhofer ISE

Theory versus trial and error

When Americans talk about renewables, they generally extrapolate using logic from theoretical models. The Germans now have a decade or two of experience testing such models – what a difference that makes. read more »

The role of energy co-ops Foto: Energiegenossenschaft Starkenburg

Ownership » 22.04.2014

The role of energy co-ops

An article published on Sunday at the German weekly Die Zeit criticizes energy co-ops for being too profit-oriented, and one of our readers wonders whether citizens can fund the infrastructure needed for Germany’s energy transition. read more »

The energy transition: a German consensus BSW-Solar/Bianca Barth

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? Rene Haffner | pixelio.de

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 »

EU ruling on industry exemptions a lost opportunity Öko-Institut

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 »

New EU rules on renewables Foto: chrisdesign/pixelio

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 »

Wind and PV data for Germany in Q1 2014 Bernard Chabot

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 Vattenfall

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 »

Baseload takes a beating over weekend Renewables International

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 »