Photovoltaics » 24.04.2014

Japanese solar market continues boom

The Japanese Economics Ministry published installation figures for renewables last week, and a market monitor points out that the pipeline of projects is even more impressive. The problem is that the ease with which solar can be developed leads it to outstrip wind power development, though the two complement each other. read more »

Photovoltaics » 24.04.2014

Largest PV market in Europe? You may be surprised

Researchers at NPD Solarbuzz have upped their estimate for new solar installations in the UK for 2014 and say that the country is now expected to be the largest market in Europe this year. The installation figures mainly reveal, however, that most other markets in Europe have stagnated. read more »

Wind power » 23.04.2014

China's silent wind revolution

In an analysis of a new Goldwind turbine for low-wind areas, Bernard Chabot finds that the Chinese are set to spearhead the spread of wind power in areas with only modest resources. He has discovered that such wind turbines will provide reliable electricity at a lower price than "clean coal." read more »

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

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 »

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 »

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 »