Who is actually against the “Energiewende” – and, more importantly, why?

The current situation: The world is fossil!

Image: (c) energiefacetten / Jan Volkert Ulrich

Image: (c) energiefacetten / Jan Volkert Ulrich

In the rather emotional debate about the “Energiewende” (energy transition) and the “EEG” (renewable energy law) in Germany, many tend to forget the current energy situation in Germany, Austria and the world in general. All of these energy systems are still very much dominated by fossil fuels. Even though the percentage is ‘only’ 70% in Austria, in Germany — with a renewables share of 12.2% – non-renewable energy still make up a whopping 87.8%  share of final energy consumption.

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August 22, 2013   1 Comment

Citizen’s bid to buy back the grid: Lessons from Germany

http://www.welt.de/img/hamburg/crop118867356/0948722245-ci3x2l-w620/Netze-Initiative.jpg

Photo: Ingo Röhrbein, welt.de

ResPublica’s Caroline Julian reports from Berlin, as part of her Winston Churchill Memorial Trust travel fellowship to Germany

The city of Berlin has just become adorned with posters and billboards communicating the various campaigns of the major political parties. With the next General Election on the horizon (22nd September), much is on the agenda and much is at stake, not least the future of Germany’s Energiewende – literally ‘energy turnaround’ or ‘energy transition’ – that will see the continued phase-out of nuclear power stations and growth of renewables in the next decades.

But even more is at stake for Berlin’s inhabitants: the potential ownership of their local grid. [Read more →]

August 15, 2013   2 Comments

Who’s calling the shots? Over 1 million add their voices to Keystone XL decision-making process

It’s a busy time for Canada.

Over a million US citizens oppose the Keystone XL proposal © 350.org

No, I am not talking about the Leafs making it to the Stanley Cup playoffs for the first time since 2004. I am referring to the continued – and ramped up – lobbying efforts of the federal government to sell the Albertan oil sands abroad. Federal Minister of Natural Resources Joe Oliver was in Brussels last week attempting to convince the EU to relax its categorisation of oil sands crude as “dirty”. Minister of Environment Peter Kent followed in his footsteps across the pond and is in London this week to push for the same thing. Oliver has already been to D.C. four times since the beginning of this year to lobby US senators and members of Congress to support the Keystone XL pipeline proposal. Even the Prime Minister is joining in: Stephen Harper is in New York this week to pitch the oil sands first to the Council of Foreign Relations and then to Wall Street.

Hey, big spender!

Because despite claiming to be a fiscally conservative government, and despite cutting federal spending in major programmes (science and research, public broadcasting, environmental protection, pensions, employment insurance, the arts), millions of taxpayer dollars have been allocated to oil sands promotion with no end in sight. [Read more →]

May 17, 2013   2 Comments