German "energy bloggers"
A group of German-speaking energy bloggers have come together to help shape the debate, especially in light of the upcoming fall elections for parliament.
At the upcoming Intersolar Europe trade show, which will take place from June 19-21, a group of bloggers from German-speaking countries will begin a campaign simply called Energieblogger to help shape the debate surrounding the energy transition. The bloggers are not, however, only German. Indeed, the idea began when Austrian blogger Cornelia Daniel reported on Denmark's decision to ban oil and gas-fired heating systems and wondered why the mainstream press had not picked up on the news. Her blog post was widely circulated in the blogging community (Renewables International also picked up on the story), and the discussion online eventually drew the attention of the mainstream press.
At that point, the bloggers realized that they could change the agenda if they worked together. The goal is now to pick up on one another's important stories and ensure that the debate goes in the right direction and is not dominated by corporate PR campaigns.
Currently, discussions largely revolve around economic issues, like the alleged price impact on the poor– a disingenuous debate in which promoters of corporate control of energy supply have suddenly discovered their compassion for people who have their power cut off by corporations. The bloggers therefore aim to bring the discussion back to its roots: community ownership, citizen input, and energy democracy.
There is certainly a lot of work to be done. When the profit margin for solar arrays – largely owned by citizens and SMEs in Germany – widened a few years ago, there were frantic calls for cuts to feed-in tariffs; but as Renewables International pointed out yesterday and a few weeks ago, the profit margin for offshore wind – largely owned by corporations – is now astonishingly large. Nonetheless, Merkel's coalition has not yet even mentioned the need to lower feed-in tariffs for the offshore sector, which is now far more expensive than new solar.
And then there is the general double standard when we compare liability rules for the offshore (corporate) and the onshore (community-owned) wind sectors, another topic that Renewables International has repeatedly pointed out. And then there are such astonishing stories as the price of German power exports versus its imports. The list could be extended...
Renewables International will therefore be joining the campaign as the (to date) only source of information in English in the network. Those wishing to follow the debates on Twitter can follow the hash tag #energiewende, one I have already been using frequently since I began active tweeting last year (my handle is @PPchef). (Craig Morris)