Over the weekend, Energiewende demonstrations were held across the country. Contrary to reports about how Germany's energy transition is affecting power consumers, especially the poor, the demos were all in favor of the transition. In fact, there has been no demonstration against the switch to renewables yet.
Almost all of the information is available only in German, including the dedicated website, so today we wrap up the event for you in English. On Saturday, roughly 30,000 people demonstrated under the banner of "Save the Energiewende! Solar and wind instead of fracking, coal, and nuclear" all across Germany. The largest demo was probably in Hanover, where 8,000 people took part; the smallest, in Freiburg, where 1,000 people participated. Berlin was not among the venues; on May 10, a demonstration is planned in the German capital.
The main concern is that the new governing coalition's plans will slow down the transition. The proposals announced to date mainly affect wind power and biomass; the policy for solar has not changed much, aside from the unexpected application of the renewables surcharge to solar power consumed directly.
Remarkably, the protesters do not include a defense of biomass in their main banners explicitly. The government plans to clamp down on electricity from biomass, a relatively expensive option, and the public apparently does not mind.
It is hard to prove a negative, but to my knowledge no demonstration has ever been held against the Energiewende. Though 30,000 people is not a large number when spread across the country, nor is it a significant share of the roughly 377,000 people employed in the sector according to the most recent estimate, public opinion on the Energiewende remains largely in favor. The small group of opponents limit themselves to academic studies and economic reports. They have yet to take to the streets.
Clearly, the Energiewende remains a citizen-driven movement opposed mainly by those losing out in the process: large energy providers. (Craig Morris)