Hans-Josef Fell: a free man
German politician Hans-Josef Fell, one of the original authors of the country's Renewable Energy Act of 2000, was not reelected on Sunday. The 61-year-old says he will continue to work for renewables in some other capacity.
Back in the 1980s, Germans like Wolf von Fabeck and Hans-Josef Fell promoted the country's first feed-in tariffs for photovoltaics in their respective hometowns of Aachen and Hammelburg. Fell later went to coauthor (along with the late Hermann Scheer) the German Renewable Energy Act (EEG), which is certainly the single most successful policy to promote renewable energy in the world, if not the most copied piece of legislation in general.
On Sunday, he lost the election in his own constituency, and the Greens' poor showing in the elections meant that the party would not be able to appoint that many candidates from the "secondary list." Fell was only the 12th Green Party member on that list, and the Greens did not get enough votes to take 12 additional candidates not directly elected.
Perhaps his relatively low listing was itself a sign that he was willing to retire early. His assistant Carsten Pfeiffer also changed positions last year, moving to the BEE, a renewables lobby group based in Berlin. Fell has not yet announced, however, any specific post-Parliament plans.
Today, the BEE openly called for a coalition between the CDU and the Greens, mainly because the SPD remains wedded to coal power. But the CSU – the CDU’s Bavarian sister party – rejected the idea of a coalition with the Greens today. A number of CDU politicians insisted that the option be left open.
It still remains to be seen whether Merkel’s coalition will be with the SPD or the Greens, but it will certainly be without Fell. With a fundamental reform of German renewables policy expected, perhaps it is indeed time for some fresh ideas. But if we manage to see further into the horizon, it will be because we are standing on the shoulders of people like Hans-Josef Fell. (Craig Morris)