According to conventional wisdom, renewable energy needs storage options. While it is true that a completely renewable energy system would need mechanisms to balance supply and demand, there is surprisingly little need for energy storage until renewables reach a really high share in the power mix. Martin Tampier reviews the scientific literature and looks at the implications for North America.
Germany’s energy transition is mainly one thing: an electricity transition. Little is happening with transportation and heat. Now, the German government has proposed new rules for cogeneration. Craig Morris says the reception can be summed up in one word: disappointing.
Germany aims to reduce its energy consumption by 50 percent by 2050 relative to 2005. It sounds like a fanciful target, especially if the country continues to grow economically. But in reality, Craig Morris says, there are two simple steps to this goal, which do not seem so magical once you know them.
In 1985, German researchers at a newly founded institute called Öko-Institut published a book called “The Energiewende is possible” investigating why no progress had been made since the original proposal five years earlier. Craig Morris says the book’s analysis can be summed up in one word: brilliant.
Biomass is the largest source of renewable energy in Germany, but the German government has scaled back support in recent years. Under the amendments to the German Renewable Energy Act to become law in August, support would be reduced even further. Craig Morris investigates.
What role do municipal utilities play in the German Energiewende? In many cases, they have become the drivers of local innovation, reports Paul Hockenos.