Solar Power Begins to Shine as Environmental Benefits Pay Off

November 11, 2013 Clean Energy 

NYT: “Amid polemics over rising electricity prices in Europe and the level of green energy subsidies in various countries, it is easy to lose sight of the fact that the growth in clean-energy generation is a huge success story.” Read more

Is RWE considering a complete turnaround of their business plan?

October 23, 2013 Clean Energy, Climate, Coal, Gas, Nuclear “We may be about to witness one of the most profound transitions ever to occur in the utility industry. Challenged by the surge in distributed renewables and a strong decline in revenues, one of Europe’s largest largest utilities, RWE, is reportedly planning to completely transform itself from a traditional electricity provider into a renewable energy service provider.” Read more

3 reasons why Germans are going renewable “at all costs”. Germany is racing past 20 percent renewable energy on its electricity grid, but news stories stridently warn that this new wind and solar power is costing “billions.” But often left out (or buried far from the lede) is the overwhelming popularity of the country’s relentless focus on energy change (energiewende).” Read more

Conflict in Germany between utilities and Greens on bills.

October 15, 2013 Clean Energy, Coal, Gas, Nuclear “Germany’s power grid operators boosted the surcharge consumers pay for renewable energy by 18 percent to a record, adding to pressure on Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government to act against rising electricity bills.” Read more

A response to US critics of Germany’s Energiewende: Mark Jacobsen.

October 7, 2013 Clean Energy “In 2009, Jacobson caught people’s attention with his co-authored article A Plan To Power 100 Percent of the Planet With Renewables, which was the cover story of November’s Scientific American.” Read more

Centre-right “sabotage” leads to renewables job losses: German politician.

September 6, 2013 Clean Energy 

Recharge: “Germany last year lost jobs in the renewable energy sector for the first time in more than a decade – a trend that is about to worsen dramatically due to the crisis in the PV sector, claims a leading Green politician. While the number of people employed in green energy jumped more than tenfold from 30,000 in 1998 to 372,000 in 2011, it receded slightly to 368,000 in 2012, says Green Party MP Hans-Josef Fell.” Read more

Berliners’ co-op aims to take over and run electricity grid of city.

August 28, 2013 Change for Good, Clean Energy, Coal, Gas, Nuclear 

Guardian: “Successful bid by Citizen Energy Berlin for Vattenfall network will boost renewables and plough back profits, says activists’ group.” “Arwen ….Colell and her friend, who are in their mid-20s, have built a movement aimed at putting the city grid under citizens’ control when the system goes on sale next year. The grid is owned by the Swedish firm Vattenfall.” Read more

Germany’s massive subsidies for conventional energy: a review.

August 22, 2013 Clean Energy, Coal, Gas, Nuclear 
Recharge: “Is it fair to blame only renewables for receiving generous aid paid for by German families, as the CDU and its neo-liberal Free Democrat (FDP) coalition partner want to make voters believe? Certainly not, says a study commissioned by co-operative power utility Greenpeace Energy, carried out by scientists from the Forum for an Ecological and Social Market Economy (FÖS).” Read more

RWE: Solar now makes many power plants unprofitable across Europe.

August 14, 2013 Clean Energy, Coal, Gas 

FT: RWE joins rival Eon in warning of further power plant closures in response to the boom in renewable energy and a recession-induced decline in European wholesale power prices. Read more

Eon blames 42% profit drop on growth of renewables.

August 13, 2013 Clean Energy, Coal, Finance, Gas, Nuclear, Oil 

FT: Eon says it will consider shutting or mothballing fossil power plants in Europe in the face of “interventionist” energy policies and regulations that subsidise and prioritise renewable energy. Read more

Hot summer breaks solar energy records in UK and Germany.

July 26, 2013 Clean Energy 

Guardian: “There are now over 450,000 solar installations, almost all on household roofs, which together have a capacity of 2.7GW. On a sunny day solar power is able to generate around 2% of UK demand over a 24-hour period. But because solar panels generate electricity in peak daylight hours, this is the equivalent of around 6% of all electricity needed in Britain between 10am and 5pm.” Read more

A new first: EU utility writes down asset values citing market problems.

July 23, 2013 Clean Energy, Coal, Finance, Gas 

FT: Vattenfall is to restructure and slash costs and investment after taking a $4.6bn hit to its asset values due to “increasingly gloomy market prospects”. Read more

German utility shuts down fossil-fires plants in face of renewable supply.

July 10, 2013 Clean Energy, Coal, Gas 

REW: “Troubled German utility group Energie Baden-Württemberg AG (EnBW) has announced that it intends to shut down a total of four fossil-fuelled power plants as a result of the increasing volumes of renewable energy capacity in the country’s energy market.” Read more

German solar companies Conergy and Gehrlicher enter insolvency.

July 5, 2013 Clean Energy 
Recharge: “German PV group Conergy AG unexpectedly announced that it and its major German subsidiaries today will file an application for the opening of insolvency proceedings at the district court of Hamburg. Conergy says recent promising negotiations over the entry of a strategic investor into its capital had not been approved in time by a consortium of banks.” Read more

As of end 2012, >230 German municipalities had founded own utilities.

June 24, 2013 Change for Good, Clean Energy 

Renewables International: “This month, the sale of shares in new grid lines to normal citizens was launched, but the rules handed down by the grid operator are not in the spirit of community ownership. Elsewhere, more German citizens are working to take energy supply into their own hands.”  Read more

16 June: All Italy powered by renewables, German wholesale price negative.

June 16, 2013 Clean Energy, Coal, Gas, Nuclear 

Sunday 16th of June: the first day in history when Germany experienced a negative cost of wholesale electricity, and the first day in history when all of Italy was powered by renewables (even if only between 2-3pm).

Investor nerves rise in EU over threats to support for renewables.

April 6, 2013 Clean Energy, Finance 

FT:  “As the third anniversary of the Greek bailout nears, a shift is afoot on the continent that gave the world its biggest carbon market, its most effective green electricity subsidies, and its first offshore wind farms. It is too early to call it a U-turn, let alone a permanent reversal. But jitters are clearly growing about the cost of tackling climate change and building a green electricity infrastructure in the world’s oldest industrial powers.” Read more

Macquarie: solar rooftop juggernaut may be unstoppable.

February 12, 2013 Clean Energy 

Reneweconomy: “The fundamental transformation of energy markets brought about by the growing incursions of renewables such as wind and solar has been underlined in a new report by the European energy analysts at Macquarie Group, who have concluded that the plunge in costs for rooftop solar PV has fallen to such an extent that its continued rapid deployment may be unstoppable.” Read more

Fox News: solar in the US is kaput because it isn’t as sunny as Germany.

February 7, 2013 Clean Energy, Gas 

Fox News on You-Tube:  “The industry’s future looks dim,” says host Gretchen Carlson at the beginning of the segment. “The United States simply hasn’t figured out how to do solar cheaply and effectively. You look at the country of Germany, it’s working out great for them.” Read more

The exciting course of Germany’s Energiewende: 12 insights.

February 1, 2013 Clean Energy 

Agora Energiewende: Main targets of the Energiewende include 40% GHG emissions by 2020 and 55% by 2030 en route to 80-95% by 2050. Efficiency improvements in primary energy use ( vs 2008) 20% by 2020 and 50% by 2050. The share of renewables in electricity consumption should be >35% by 2020 (up from 20.3% in 2011), >50% by 2030, and >80% by 2050. The share of renewables in final energy use should be 18% by 2020 (up from 12.1% in 2011), 30% by 2030, and 60% by 2050. Read more