When the Fukushima accident happened, both Japan and Germany were highly dependent on nuclear power. Whereas Germany has sped up its Energiewende ever since, Japanese politics have remained captured by the interest of utilities. Amory Lovins compares the political effects of the nuclear accident on both countries and debunks some myths around the outcomes of Germany’s energy transition along the way.
Reports on German coal mining sometimes depict the destruction of villages as something new – and almost always as an ironic new outcome of the Energiewende. In reality, it’s a continuation of a century’s business as usual. And German citizens are not the defenseless anti-coal victims they are portrayed to be. In reality, it’s not easy to convince local communities affected by mining that renewables are a better option. Craig Morris investigates.
Why was a nuclear phaseout easier than a coal phaseout in Germany? This is one of the most frequently asked questions we hear. Craig Morris has an answer about the historic reasons – and it’s not what you’re expecting. For the potential of a future coal phaseout, he has co-authored a new study.
Regardless of debate about the success of Germany’s renewables revolution, there is no denying that a small town in the corner of rural eastern Germany, 40 miles south of Berlin, may be one of the best examples of decentralized self-sufficiency. Feldheim (pop. 150), in the cash-strapped state of Brandenburg, was a communist collective farm back when Germany was still divided into East and West. Now it is a model renewable energy village putting into practice Germany’s vision of a renewably powered future, as RMI’s Laurie Guevara-Stone reports.
The European Commission has recently started an inquiry into German exceptions for certain industries from the renewable energy surcharge. German business leaders and politicians perceived this as an attack on the German Energiewende. Silvia Brugger suggests that instead of seeing Brussels as an enemy of the German Energiewende, Germany should try to better inform and cooperate with its European partners on the German Energiewende and take European opinions seriously.
Could Finland implement an energy transition similar to Germany’s Energiewende? Karoliina Auvinen argues that Finland could, if it was willing to act courageously while learning from Germany’s early experiences.
Critics of the Energiewende suggest that Germany will eventually have to change course. But as Ben Paulos shows, the Energiewende is firmly anchored not only in German society but also in mainstream politics and the administration.
A new campaign for renewables in the US focuses on something too often overlooked in the debate there: community ownership. Craig Morris is pleased to see the campaign’s work, but he nonetheless has some things to critique.
Germany’s Energiewende is unprecedented. Sam Friggens argues that Germany’s successes and challenges can be valuable lessons for other countries that want to switch to a renewable-based electricity system.
The German Environmental Ministry (BMU) and German industry association BDI have produced a brochure of 22 examples of how creative German companies are striving in the green economy. Craig Morris says the publication shows how focused the German business world is on the energy transition.