Against the backdrop of the war in Ukraine, the rising energy prices and the rapidly progressing climate crisis, the Green Party (Alliance90/The Greens) in the German federal state of Brandenburg passed a groundbreaking resolution at their party conference on March 27, 2022. For the first time ever, a party with governmental responsibility decides to aim for 100% renewable energies by 2030.

In this decision-making process the EWG study “100 % renewable energies for Berlin-Brandenburg by 2030”, published in December 2021, played a key role as it showed that Brandenburg can implement a transition to 100% renewable energy  at competitive costs. The study shows that a complete transition to 100% renewables in less than ten years is highly ambitious for the region, but feasible without jeopardizing security of supply.

In addition, our study was able to prove that a full supply with domestic renewable energies is much more cost-effective than today’s fossil and nuclear energy system. The dramatically increasing prices of conventional energies underpin this economic advantage.

On this scientific basis, the Greens with yesterday’s resolution now aim for a provision of all energy for electricity, heat, transportation and industry entirely from 100% renewable energy sources within less than ten years. As they are part of the Brandenburg government, there is a real chance that this resolution turns into a government program.

The federal state of Brandenburg is particularly affected by the disastrous consequences of the climate crisis, especially by long-lasting dry periods including problems like water shortage or forest dieback. Renewable energies play an outstanding role in combating climate change as the conversion to 100% renewable energies reduces greenhouse gas emissions by approximately 60%.

In addition to the escalating climate crisis, the war in Ukraine and the resulting debate on an immediate boycott of Russian energy supplies reinforces the urgency of a massive acceleration of the expansion of renewable energies. At the same time, only the rapid expansion of renewable energies will lead to energy prices that are socially acceptable and support the economy in the long term.

It is a great success that our study was able to provide the scientific basis for this progressive and groundbreaking resolution of the Brandenburg Greens. Now it remains to be hoped that this ambitious goal will become enshrined in Brandenburg’s energy strategyand that other state governments will follow suit.

The resolution on 100% renewable energies by 2030 by Alliance90/The Greens Brandenburg can be found here.

The full EWG study (German) well as an English summary can be found here

Guest article by Dr. Rudolf Rechsteiner, EWG network member and President of the Ethos Foundation

EU taxonomy – It’s all about public funds

Much has been written about the EU Commission’s misguided decision to retroactively include nuclear energy and natural gas in the sustainability taxonomy. On the surface, it’s about private investments and greenwashing. But the nuclear lobbyists are interested in something else.

Rarely has the EU Commission disgraced itself as much as it did now with its plan to enrich the originally good EU taxonomy for “green investments” with gas and nuclear power plants. The responsible EU Financial Market Commissioner Mairead McGuin-ness defended herself, saying it was all about “transitional technologies”, and adding by the way: “coal kills!” – as if coal-fired power plants were still planned in the EU. The authoritative Platform for sustainability finance criticized the decision very sharply and pointed out that the old coal-fired power plants in Europe will cease to operate anyways as thanks to stricter CO2 emission-trading they can no longer be operated economically. In addition, the platform criticized the lack of trustworthy verification processes for the alleged sustainability of fossil gas and nuclear power plants. The annex of the EU Commission contradicts the Do No Significant Harm requirement, which is the basis of the taxonomy.

Lobbyism and power games

The highly controversial EU decision reveals that even the highest executive body in Brussels is by no means immune to power games, heavy-handed lobbying and disinformation.

 The original criteria of the taxonomy were consistent:

– Climate protection and adaptation to climate change.

– Sustainable use and protection of water and marine resources.

– Transition to a circular economy.

– Pollution prevention and control.

– Protection and restoration of biodiversity and ecosystems.

The word of power from Brussels undermines the taxonomy and indirectly harms all green-oriented financial products. Those who are running sustainable funds will have to explain themselves from now on. For many providers, it may be popular to clearly distance themselves from the annex from Brussels, for good reasons.

The history of commercial nuclear energy records five serious reactor accidents with core meltdowns: Three Mile Island (1979), Chernobyl (1986), Fukushima 1 to 3 (2011). The consequential costs cannot yet be quantified conclusively.

The disposal of highly radioactive waste poses puzzles. A reliable proof for the next 100’000 years cannot be provided. The Sustainability Platform points out that the costs for the disposal of existing nuclear power plants are already insufficiently covered (Response to the Complementary Delegated Act).

Globally, no insurance company can be found that offers liability insurance against severe nuclear accidents. Recent new nuclear power plants in Europe are experiencing exorbitant cost and construction time overruns, making them – and their owners – very unpopular on the stock market. The glossy annex won’t change that.

Gas-fired power plants can only be named “green” if they are fed with gas from renewable sources. Instead of hydrogen and e-fuels, there exist other cheaper flexibilities on the electricity market. Thermal storage or contractual load shedding by large consumers that can align with cheap, fluctuating renewables.

The day-ahead markets on the German electricity exchange recorded 298 annual hours with negative prices (2020). The trend towards “cheap sunshine hours” in the electricity market is enabling new business models for flexible energy-intensive industries that operate without fossil gas-fired power plants.

Large-scale batteries and the further development of intra-European electricity trading are also cheaper and suitable for providing the necessary back-up for solar and wind power with already existing water storage systems. In the USA as well as in Australia, batteries with the capacity of coal-fired power plants are replacing new gas-fired power plants. Germany has slept through this trend, hence the greenwashing of natural gas. As with the fairy tale of the “clean diesel,” there is a huge need to catch up. With technology-neutral incentives and a de-blocking of grid expansion, new fossil gas-fired power plants would be unnecessary.

Money for the “nuclear renaissance”

Alleged transitional technologies being built now will remain in operation for decades. Building new capacity with inflexible base load will lead to renewable energy curtailment, much to the detriment of the desired transformation.

The intent behind the absurd “Annex” is not to attract private investment. The question with nuclear power was, and still is, how to get to new governmental subsidies in a supposedly competitive electricity market. The EU’s “Green Deal” includes a budget of over 1000 billion euros, based on revenues from CO2 certificates and unclaimed Covid credits.

Lazard, a New York-based investment bank, provides annual cost comparisons for electricity from new power plants. New nuclear power plants have become risky and effectively unaffordable for private investors. Wind and solar power are now four times cheaper. The pro-nuclear EU member states want to see the “nuclear renaissance” paid for by Brussels, by subsidies from the “Green Deal”. For this reason, the obsolete risk technologies need a green coat. Hence the new taxonomy. Private investors who are serious about responsible investment will be left out in the cold.

Today, the Energy Watch Group published a statement on the currently ongoing revision of the Swiss Energy Act and the Electricity Supply Act.

The result: The draft presented by Switzerland’s Federal Council is neither compatible with the Paris Climate Agreement, nor does it enable the long overdue nuclear phase-out or energy independence from from autocratic states such as Russia.

The Federal Council’s current draft’s goal of a climate-neutral Switzerland by 2050 is inadequate – not only in terms of compliance with the 1.5°C limit agreed on in Paris, but even for limiting global warming to 2°C. Moreover, the war in Ukraine illustrates that additionally the European dependence on the fossil-nuclear energy system is untenable due to its security risks.

In order to ensure Paris compatibility and to end the untenable dependence on the fossil-nuclear energy system, the target must be adjusted towards 100% renewables for all energy sectors by 2030.

Read the full policy paper (in German) here.

New article by Hans-Josef Fell for Energy Post:

A massive expansion of domestic renewable energy stops wars, not just climate change.

A massive expansion of domestic renewable energy generation over the last decade would not only have saved the planet from a future climate catastrophe, it would be stopping wars today Firstly, 70% of Russia’s state revenues come from oil, natural gas, coal and nuclear energy dealsState revenues fund its military. Secondly, an EU dependent on imports from any geopolitical adversary will always struggle to impose sanctions on it. Fell explains that if the EU cuts energy imports from Russia it cannot easily get supplies from elsewhere, leading to a further increase in prices, more inflation, economic hardship and therefore political consequences at home. Reversing dependence on imports will take time, and Europe is now paying for the lack of foresight, says Fell. Yet wind and solar prices have been dropping for a decade, are now at record lows and are still getting cheaper. Studies for “100% renewables” have been available for a long time. So nations should start implementing them.

Import dependence is a security risk

For decades, there have been warnings about how the strong energy import dependence of industrialised nations like Germany in the fossil and nuclear sectors poses a major security risk. Today, we see a massive increase in these geopolitical distortions and the threat to peace in Europe as a result of strong energy dependencies.

Indeed, the lack of a shift to domestic renewable energy, especially in the last decade under Angela Merkel’s chancellorship, was one of the main reasons why Germany and the EU did not have sufficient political means to counter the Russian deployment of more than 130,000 Russian troops on the Ukrainian border. One of the reasons why Russia’s military attack on Ukraine, which is against international law, could not be prevented is due to the fact that Russia is in a very powerful position because of the EU’s immense energy dependenceIt is now taking advantage of the fact that the EU and Germany, under pressure from the gas and oil lobby, have continued to rely on fossil fuels instead of domestic renewable energies over the past decade.

The EU’s massive dependence on energy raw material supplies from Russia has led to great political powerlessness in the conflict over Ukraine. The recognition of the Independence of Donetsk and Luhansk as independent could not be prevented by the West, because the West kept buying energy from Russia, even during these last six months with significantly higher revenues for Russia’s war chest. About 70% of Russia’s state revenues come from energy deals with oil, natural gas, coal and nuclear fuel.

Russia’s riches are based on the revenues from oil, gas and coal

Russia has thus been able to accumulate considerable wealth with the revenues from oil, gas, coal and nuclear fuel, which allowed Russia’s massive armament in the first place. At the same time, the EU’s energy dependence has led it to believe that it cannot do without Russian energy supplies. In order to secure energy supplies, the EU could not quickly announce, let alone carry out, threats of sanctions. It is certainly no coincidence that the escalation of violence against the Ukraine comes at the very moment when the EU economy is already in a massive crisis due to high fossil fuel prices.

Not certifying Nord Stream 2 is a long overdue step

In response to Russia’s recognition of the regions of eastern Ukraine, the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, and the German government announced sanctions. They had remained very nebulous the weeks before, which led to fear that these sanctions would remain as weak and ineffective as the EU and US sanctions after the occupation of Crimea. With Russia’s attack, we do see now that Russia hardly takes these sanctions seriously either.

Chancellor Scholz’s announcement to not certify the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline is a long overdue step. This shows that t his fossil gas policy, which was enforced recently in the coalition agreement, was wrong from the very beginning and disregarded its inherent geopolitical dangers.

President Putin knows very well that the EU has its back to the wall

President Putin is very well aware of the fact that Germany and the EU cannot significantly endanger Russia’s crucial state revenues in the short term or even in the medium term. A ban on imports of Russian gas, oil, hard coal and nuclear fuel elements would lead to an economic burden for the EU that goes far beyond today’s energy price increase.

A collapse of the economy due to missing or expensive energy raw materials, uprisings of the population due to cold flats and missing fuel for cars and trucks, food shortages and raising prices for food due to missing or expensive fertilisers, pesticides and transport energy would soon be the consequence.

Strong increases in the prices of natural gas (+60%), oil (+43%) and hard coal (+180%)

With an oil price of just under 100 US dollars per barrel, even today 23% of German companies already classify the current energy prices as threatening to their existence, 65% speak of a “strong challenge”.

Many media as well as companies still see taxes and levies as the main cause of the increase in energy prices. However, the sharp increases in the prices of natural gas (+60%), crude oil (+43%) and hard coal (+180%) since mid-2021 are the main cause for this development, as they are driving up energy prices despite the sharp drop in solar and wind energy costs.

Oil & Gas lobby

Most of these companies, that are now under massive pressure, from BASF to OMV or other natural gas companies, share a large part of the blame and are responsible for their own plight. It was these companies, who lobbied against the expansion of renewable energies for decades. They hindered political support for renewable energies and failed to create sufficient renewable energy investments in their own companies. All warnings that this could lead to a dire dependence with rapid price increases were ignored so that they are now facing the shambles of their own actions.

Further price increases are to be expected

The rise in commodity prices has many causes, ranging from speculation to the current geopolitical tensions, wars, accidents and terrorist attacks. It is especially the decline in production of fossil raw materials in important producing regions, especially OPEC, that causes this development. Overall, the production of fossil raw materials, especially oil, is increasingly unable to meet demand. Further price increases are to be expected. The day Russia attacked Ukraine, the price of oil jumped above the 100 US $ per barrel mark.

The energy importing countries are now feverishly seeking diversification from Russian energy supplies. However, this will not lead to an increase in the total production. Shortages in the market will continue to increase and with them commodity prices will as well. The shortages have driven up energy prices in all sectors: power generation, transport, heating, industry. The unexpected outage of one third of the French nuclear power plants has put additional pressure on electricity prices in the EU, showing that nuclear energy cannot contribute to lowering electricity prices either.

The EU is stuck in a dilemma that cannot be resolved in the short term

The EU hence is stuck in a dilemma that will not be solvable in the short term. Finding effective sanctions that seriously affect Russia do not seem to be working. However, the EU is not able to impose strong sanctions in the one and only sector of the Russian economy that is seriously vulnerable, the energy sector, as this would lead to the greatest economic hardship and to popular uprisings due to the heavy dependence on energy – as the recent survey on the existential fears of businesses mentioned above shows.

Thus, the EU cannot adopt sanctions that would seriously affect the Russian state and it is not surprising that all the EU rhetoric of “effectively and severely burdening the Russian economy” hasn’t been taken very seriously in Russia.

Berlin cannot approve an embargo

The Ukrainian Ambassador to Germany, Andriy Melnyk, had made one thing clear a few days ago: among other things, he demanded an embargo by Germany and the EU on Russian gas, oil and coal exports, as well as the end of the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline. As a matter of principle, he is right with these demands as this is the only way to seriously hit Russia’s economic power.

However, it is obvious that this will not be taken up by the government in Berlin: it cannot, because the consequence would be the collapse of the German economy. In the short time required, the missing energy supply from Russia cannot be replaced by alternative energy suppliers – nor will this be possible in the future because of the shortage tendencies on the world markets.

Russian energy supplies to the EU cannot be replaced in the short or medium term

Who is to replace the large Russian energy supplies to the EU in the short or medium term? The few supplier countries under discussion, such as the USA, Australia, Central Asia, North Africa or the Middle East, will not be able to organize the replacement in a few years and certainly not next winter. In addition, many of these countries are governed by unjust regimes, which foreshadows the next geopolitical upheavals.

Fossil energy prices, which have risen considerably in recent months, are the result of a shortage of fossil energy on the world market. Demand exceeds supply. So where would the missing quantities of oil, natural gas and coal in the EU come from, for an energy embargo against Russia, if they are currently already insufficient to cover global fossil energy demand?

Russia can sit back

Should the EU nevertheless impose an embargo, it would be cutting its own throat. Russia could sit back, wait for the economic collapses and popular uprisings in the EU and then dictate its terms for renewed energy supplies.

After all, Russia has amassed a financial reserve worth hundreds of billions with the revenues from energy sales. The reverse scenario is that even now at war, Russia could ignore contractual supply obligations and turn off the oil and gas taps on its own authority. The powerlessness of the EU would then come to light very quickly.

Previous expansion of renewable energies far too weak

Germany’s and the EU’s self-created dependence is a result of the extremely weak expansion of renewable energies. Solar radiation and wind do not have to be imported, neither from Russia nor from other countries.

A steep expansion of renewable energies in the last decade could have led the EU out of its dependence and powerlessness towards supplier countries like Russia. This is exactly what the G7 energy ministers demanded after the occupation of Crimea, precisely in order to achieve more energy independence from Russia. It has not happened. On the contrary, the annual expansion of renewable energies in Germany and the EU – politically decreed, for example, with the amendments to the Renewable Energy Sources Act (EEG) – has further collapsed. This is precisely what led to the EU’s current geopolitical powerlessness in the face of Russia’s military threats against Ukraine.

Ukraine is dependent on Russia’s energy supplies as well

Besides, the Ukrainian ambassador’s brisk demand for an energy embargo must also be seen in the light of his country’s own impotence. Ukraine still obtains large amounts of energy from Russia: electricity via the interconnection with Russia and Belarus, oil and coal as well as most of the fuel elements for the Ukrainian nuclear reactors.

To receive transit fees, Ukraine still insists on the transit of Russian natural gas to the EU and overlooks the fact that in doing so, it finances the Russian state budget and therefore the military threats against its own country. It is significant that the Ukrainian ambassador called for the end of Nord Stream 2, but not for the end of the transit of Russian natural gas on Ukrainian soil.

Share of renewable energies in Ukrainian energy supply well below 10%

For more than a decade, I have been pointing out in ministerial talks and hearings in the Ukrainian parliament in Kiev that as long as Ukraine keeps on buying large amounts of energy from Russia, it is completely powerless politically in the face of Russian aggression.

A steep expansion of renewable energies in Ukraine within the last decade would have been the right strategy to gain political independence from Russia. However, this hasn’t happened and the share of renewable energies in Ukraine’s energy supply is still well below 10%. The Ukrainian impotence towards Russia is therefore also partly self-inflicted.

For more than a decade, there have been ongoing warnings of geopolitical upheavals and even wars as a result of fossil energy dependence as well as calls for a rapid switch to domestic renewable energies.

In my Bundestag speech on February 11, 2011, on the EU energy summit, I stated: “The black-yellow German government failed to initiate the urgently needed transformation process towards a full supply of renewable energies while exploiting the large potential of energy savings. Europe is in danger of becoming more than 70% dependent on energy raw material imports from increasingly insecure supply countries. Instead of finally focusing on the development of the inexhaustible and free domestic energy resources from solar radiation, wind, hydropower, and geothermal energy, the EU summit is focusing on increasing import dependency from politically unstable supplier countries with new pipelines and terminals.”

The German Armed Forces also warned against dependence

The Transformation Centre of the German Armed Forces had also strongly warned of the serious security threats associated with a shortage of energy resources in its 2010 Peak Oil Study:

P. 17: “Oil-importing states are forced to be more pragmatic in their foreign policy towards oil suppliers and must subordinate normative aspects to the primacy of security of supply. On the part of the oil-producing states, a political instrumentalization of their power position and a corresponding formation of alliances along ideological lines of conflict is quite plausible.”

p. 25: “In addition, bilateral supply ties for gas could more easily turn into effective politically dependency relationships that override traditional political orientations or integration into alliances”.

p. 26: “Above all, an expansion of nuclear energy, however, exacerbates the problem of proliferation.”

These warnings of the of the German Armed Forces Transformation Centre from 2010 speak for themselves, but have nonetheless always been thrown to the wind.

Goal: establishment of a domestic energy supply in the EU and Ukraine, 100% from renewable energies

After the hopefully imminent end of the war, the clear realization of global politics must be to build a domestic energy supply in every country, especially in the EU and the Ukraine based on 100% renewable energies. This would deprive Russia of the revenues, which have been flowing into Russian high armament, and would make the political decisions of the EU and Ukraine more independent, since a collapse of the economy due to rising energy prices and energy shortages would no longer have to be feared.

Quite the contrary: renewable energies are now the most cost-effective way of generating energy, even as a reliable energy source with a mix of 100% renewables and storage technologies. Scientific studies, which show that the transformation to a full energy supply with renewables is not only possible within a decade, but would even be much cheaper than the fossil nuclear energy system, have been available for many years.

This geopolitical liberation strategy, which can be realized in the medium term, would simultaneously care for climate protection and reduce the long list of economic and social burdens caused by fossil fuel price increases, including increasing droughts, food shortages, heavy rains, storms, rising sea levels and other catastrophes. On the other hand, these catastrophes caused by global warming will lead to additional geopolitical distortions, which are likely to cause warlike tensions or wars in other places, as it is currently the case in the Ukraine.

Source: https://energypost.eu/a-massive-expansion-of-domestic-renewable-energy-stops-wars-not-just-climate-change/

Details & Webinar-Link: http://ewg-restore-duhz34gqyp.hans-josef-fell.de/wps/100-erneuerbare-energien-fur-berlin-brandenburg/

New short study by the Energy Watch Group (EWG) finds:

Electricity would already be cheaper today with a full supply of 100% renewables

27.10.2021 – Berlin | In the coalition negotiations for the new German government, both ambitious climate protection and the reduction of electricity prices play a central role. The previous government still expects only 45% renewables in the electricity mix by 2025. A new short study by the Energy Watch Group offers an answer to the rising energy costs: The study calculates that a full supply with 100% renewables would already be economically competitive today compared to the current energy system based on coal, natural gas and nuclear. By 2025 at the latest, an energy system based on 100% renewables would then be significantly cheaper than power generation with fossil fuels.

“Since around 2017, the electricity generation costs for solar and wind power have fallen far below the electricity generation costs of conventional power plants such as natural gas, coal or nuclear. However, this new development is largely dismissed in societal discourse with the claim that total system costs, including storage, would be far higher than those of conventional power generation. The study proves that this claim is outdated and simply wrong.”, adds Hans-Josef Fell, President of EWG.

The latest developments in the price decline of renewables and storage technologies in conjunction with the price increases of conventional power generation leave no room for doubt: Since 2021, supply-secure power generation from 100% renewables is cheaper than power from newly built conventional power plants, even including storage costs. From 2025, even conventional power plants that have already been built and depreciated will no longer be able to compete economically with newly built full-supply systems with 100% renewable energy. These findings are obtained by modeling the development of electricity prices based on current data.

“In the next few years, conventional existing plants will no longer be economically viable to operate due to the lower costs of renewable full supply. This means that a historically favorable extensive self-sufficiency in all energy sources will be within reach in Germany and also worldwide. This revolution in the fundamental conditions of energy supply can be seen as an opportunity and must be used for immediate climate protection. This means that all energy investments must be immediately withdrawn from fossil fuels and directed into renewable energies,” says Dr. Thure Traber, lead author of the study.

Download the Short Study here in English and German.

Download the Press Release here in English and German.

Press contact:

Sophie Marquitan – presse@energywatchgroup.org

New Study: Current policy frameworks hinder expansion of renewable energies worldwide and undermine climate targets

Hier gehts zur deutschen Pressemitteilung

 

Berlin (December 18, 2020) – While governments around the world spend billions of dollars to rebuild economies in times of the COVID-19 pandemic, they fail to steer investments into the urgently needed energy transition. Not only are the deployment targets across the globe far too low to deliver the exponential growth of renewables required and therewith meet the objectives of the Paris Agreement, but also the increasing use of renewable energy auctions creates substantial additional barriers to achieving exponential growth. The latter is the result of a new study commissioned by the energy policy think tanks Energy Watch Group, World Future Council/Global Renewables Congress and Haleakala Stiftung. In particular, this finding applies to the market segments of small and medium sized renewable energy projects, which can significantly enlarge total deployment capacities and are also crucial for local employment and regional development.

The report, which based its extensive analysis on empirical observations in more than 20 countries worldwide, concludes that a wider policy mix is urgently required to allow for an aggressive expansion of renewable energies. The authors recommend adjusting the use of individual policy instruments depending on the market segment:

  • Continued use of auctions for large-scale projects
  • Use of feed-in tariffs or feed-in premiums for small and medium sized projects
  • Use of self-consumption policies for very small-scale projects

Six key shortcomings of auction-centered energy policy frameworks:

  1. Auctions fail to provide fair access to everyone and deter small-scale actors.
  2. Auctions do not promote a variety of project sizes, as larger projects are typically successful in outbidding smaller ones, frequently excluding small and medium-size projects.
  3. Auctions foster market concentration by favouring financially strong and large actors.
  4. Auctions impair important conditions that support the acceptance of new projects.
  5. Auctions often suffer from under-subscription, project cancellations or delays, hampering the timely achievement of renewable energy expansion targets.
  6. Auctions do not guarantee low remuneration levels, nor have they caused the recent cost reductions of renewables.

“The findings of the report clearly show that auctions are a crucial factor hindering the exponential growth of renewables. This alarming trend jeopardizes international governments’ compliance with the climate targets agreed in Paris, as the switch to low-cost and technologically mature renewable technologies is key to drive emissions down to zero.” says EWG’s president Hans-Josef Fell. “In many parts of the world, renewables are now the cheapest source of energy generation. At the same time, the socio-economic benefits of renewables are not sufficiently reaped and investments into green energy are stagnating.”

New data published by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) confirm that investments in renewable energy have been declining since 2017, a trend that is likely to continue throughout 2020/2021 as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. “Auctions have become a popular instrument for the deployment of renewables while fulfilling other development goals. IRENA has extensively studied the strengths and weaknesses of auctions and continues to analyze innovative designs that can achieve the multiple objectives of procuring renewable power at the lowest price, maximizing the socio-economic benefits, ensuring project timely completion, and supporting the integration of higher shares of variable renewable energy into the system. The findings of this new study provide valuable insights for further analyzing the effectiveness of policy designs for these objectives.” comments Francesco La Camera, Director-General of the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA).

Anna Leidreiter, Project Lead Global Renewables Congress at the WFC, emphasizes: “Renewable energies have to provide the lion’s share of electricity, heating, cooling and transport-related needs in the next decade. To meet this ambitious goal, everyone needs to be part of this transition. We need political frameworks that open up the energy market for new players. This study shows that auctions alone cannot serve this purpose.”

”If the EU really plans to put the Paris climate targets into practice, the new Renewable Energy Directive must give EU Member States full flexibility to choose their own policy instruments – in line with the energy sovereignty enshrined in the Lisbon Treaty. To this end, scrutinizing state aid for renewable energy must be restricted.”, states co-author Dörte Fouquet of Becker Büttner Held (BBH).

Mark Z. Jacobson, one of the scientific voices behind the Green New Deal, observes that in the USA, “the expansion of renewable energy at the utility level has worked quite well with the spread of Renewable Portfolio Standards. But we must also strengthen community-based, decentralized as well as medium-sized investments in clean, renewable energy in order to achieve the objectives of the upcoming Biden administration, namely a completely emission-free power sector by 2035. To this end, the study provides valuable science-based policy recommendations.“

The full study by Dr. David Jacobs (IET – International Energy Transition), Katherina Grashof (IZES), Dr. Pablo del Río (Spanish National Research Council – CSIC) and Dr. Dörte Fouquet (Becker Büttner Held) is available below.

Media contact: Charlotte Hornung / +49 30 609898815 / hornung@energywatchgroup.org

The press release is available in English & German.

 

Full Study Executive Summary English Executive Summary German
Click here Click here Click here

 

About the Energy Watch Group
The Energy Watch Group (EWG) is an independent, non-profit think-and-do tank based in Berlin. We are dedicated to accelerating political action towards renewable energy and climate protection through scientific analysis, policy advice and dialogue.
www.energywatchgroup.org

About the World Future Council/ Global Renewables Congress
Global Renewables Congress (GRC) is a new network of parliamentarians dedicated to upscaling renewable energy solutions. It was initiated by the World Future Council (WFC) and co-financed by the Deutsche Bundesstiftung Umwelt (DBU) and Mercator Foundation.
www.renewablescongress.org, www.worldfuturecouncil.org

About Haleakala Stiftung
The Heleakala Stiftung was founded in 2008 by Dr Paul Grunow and Frauke Eysell and is fiducially managed by GLS-Treuhand e.V.. The foundation supports people and initiatives that help to make the world more sustainable for mankind and nature. This applies in particular to the implementation of educational projects, respect for human rights and the environmentally friendly restructuring of our energy supply with renewable energies.
www.haleakala-stiftung.de

The rocky road to truthfulness in climate politics

Key messages

It is widely scientifically recognised that a global temperature increase by more than 2°C threatens to lead to a so called Hothouse Earth scenario in which human civilisation as we know it can no longer exist.

While point of no return is near, this possibly extinctive threat is not perceived as such by the political world, the media and to some extent not even by science itself. Political goals and scientific scenarios which still involve the use of fossil resources and therefore include greenhouse gas emissions after 2030, meaning after exceeding 1.5°C, inevitably lead to a Hothouse Earth.

For this reason, scientists designing scenarios based on climate neutrality by 2050 must clearly articulate that such a path cannot be a contribution to averting a global climate catastrophe. In most cases, however, such scenarios do not contain any warnings of that kind. In doing so, some climate scientists also contribute to the fact that humanity is not taking the necessary measures to combat the climate crisis.

The central Paris target of 1.5°C will be exceeded by 2030 at the latest, and even compliance with 2.0°C will only be achievable through an immediate and profound change of course. Anyone who claims that the Paris agreement could be met with the target of climate neutrality by 2050, like the European Commission, is simply deceiving the public.

At the same time, it is technically and economically possible, albeit with the greatest efforts, to implement a global zero emissions economy in conjunction with large carbon sinks by 2030. This requires political will with a clear agenda, which is supported by climate-sensitive media, and backed up by sustainable economic structures and the efforts of each and every one of us.

Anyone who considers such rapid change unrealistic should at least admit that they cannot propose an alternative way of combating the climate crisis and safeguarding human livelihood.

Read the full Policy Paper right here: Download

The path to climate neutrality by 2050 misses the Paris climate targets

Policy Paper: The path to climate neutrality by 2050 misses the Paris climate targets

New Report on Stimulating Community Energy Investment

(9 December 2020) Citizen-led renewable energy projects – commonly known as “community energy” – can play an important role in the energy transition and a post-COVID recovery by maximising the local socio-economic benefits of renewables and increasing public support for the energy transition.

The International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) Coalition for Action’s latest white paper reviews measures that stimulate and sustain community energy. Although renewable energy investments by citizens and communities have gained traction in many countries, knowledge exchange on a global level has been limited. This paper fills the gap by showcasing policy measures and financing mechanisms that reflect best practices and offering recommendations to governments and financial institutions on how to accelerate community energy development and reap its benefits.

To scale up community energy investments, the Coalition for Action recommends the following seven actions for governments and financial institutions:

  • Build awareness and develop a shared understanding of community energy.
  • Adopt targets and policy designs that value citizen participation and local socio-economic development.
  • Establish dedicated agencies or one-stop shops to support community energy.
  • Facilitate community access to capital through targeted public finance.
  • Support innovative financing mechanisms and business models for community energy projects and the most vulnerable.
  • Encourage aggregation of and collaboration between community energy projects.
  • Integrate community energy in energy access and local development programmes.

To view the IRENA Coalition for Action white paper, please click here.

The press release is available in English & German.

Media contact: Charlotte Hornung / +49 30 609898815 / hornung@energywatchgroup.org

 

Statements by the EWG’s co-authors of the community energy white paper

Charlotte Hornung

“The active involvement of citizens and communities worldwide has helped to keep the costs of renewable energy low and the acceptance of the energy transition high. And yet community energy projects still face significant challenges that limit their enormous potential. We therefore call upon policy-makers to urgently establish framework conditions that create a level playing field for community energy and do not leave this key actor behind.”

Hans-Josef Fell

“The community energy white paper clearly shows that community energy is indispensable for the rapid deployment of renewable energy in order to meet the global climate goals. Especially the EU member states and particularly Germany are called upon to immediately implement the EU directive on the support of community energy. Legislators all over the world should grant fixed feed-in tariffs for investments up to 50 MW instead of auctions, as civic investors usually cannot participate in auctions.”

About the Coalition

The IRENA Coalition for Action brings together leading renewable energy players from around the world with the common goal of advancing the uptake of renewable energy. The Coalition facilitates global dialogues between public and private sectors to develop actions to increase the share of renewables in the global energy mix and accelerate the global energy transition. www.irena.org/coalition

About the Energy Watch Group

The Energy Watch Group (EWG) is an independent, non-profit think-and-do tank based in Berlin. We are dedicated to accelerating political action towards renewable energy and climate protection through scientific analysis, policy advice and dialogue. www.energywatchgroup.org

Leading Renewable Players Urge Governments to Re-align Recovery Measures with Paris Agreement

(7 December 2020) With the Paris Agreement celebrating its fifth anniversary this week, all eyes are on the world’s governments to urgently scale-up climate action.

In a renewed call to action, over 100 leading renewable energy players, as members of the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) Coalition for Action, urge governments to correct course. By placing a renewables-based energy transition at the heart of an economic recovery from COVID-19, governments can foster economic resilience and secure a climate-safe future.

Throughout the COVID-19 crisis, governments have demonstrated their capacity to mobilise efforts and recovery packages at historically unprecedented levels. While some countries have announced more ambitious climate commitments as part of their measures to achieve sustainable and resilient economies post-COVID-19, many others have yet to take decisive actions to move towards a green recovery.

To date, G20 countries have committed at least USD 233 billion in supporting the fossil fuel sector and fossil fuel-dependent industries. These billions represent a missed opportunity to accelerate the energy transition and to power long-term job creation and investment opportunities at a time when we need them most.  The International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA)’s post-COVID-19 recovery agenda shows that investments strategically targeted at renewables can put the world on a climate safe path and generate wider socio-economic benefits. Every million dollars (USD) invested in renewables would create three times more jobs than in fossil fuels.

“The COVID-19 recovery measures must be used consistently for a transformation towards a global zero-emission economy based on 100% renewable energy. Only this way, we can ensure climate and health protection at the same time – as a renewable energy transition will also eliminate harmful air and water pollution, thus reducing the number of people in high-risk groups for COVID-19,” says Hans-Josef Fell, President of the Energy Watch Group, a Berlin-based think tank and member organisation of the IRENA Coalition for Action. “The current crisis has shown that rapid and serious government intervention to protect the wellbeing of citizens is possible. Similarly, consistent decisions are now needed for measures that coherently realize environmental protection on the basis of health care and climate protection.”, David Wortmann, member of the Coalition’s Steering Group and Board Member of the Energy Watch Group, adds.

Building on its previous call to action released in April 2020, the Coalition for Action now urges governments to reset their recovery priorities through the following six actions:

  1. Re-evaluate stimulus measures and correct course to ensure a green recovery in line with global climate objectives.
  2. Raise policy ambitions and clarify long-term plans for renewable generation and consumption, both centralised and decentralised.
  3. Ensure energy markets can deliver continuity and stimulate investment and growth in renewables.
  4. Prioritise renewable energy as a key component of industrial policies.
  5. Align labour and education policies with a just energy transition.
  6. Intensify international co-operation and action on COVID-19 while recognising renewable energy as a key part of the solution.

Through these six actions, governments can align their economic recovery from COVID-19 with their climate plans, deliver on their commitments under the Paris Agreement, and come back stronger than ever from the COVID-19 crisis.  Now is the time to use the momentum of a green recovery to continue building broad public support for the transformative decarbonisation of societies and pave the way for equitable, inclusive and resilient economies.

For a more detailed view of the IRENA Coalition for Action’s renewed Call to Action, please click here.

The press release is available in English & German

Media contact: Charlotte Hornung / +49 30 609898815 / hornung@energywatchgroup.org

About the Coalition

The IRENA Coalition for Action brings together leading renewable energy players from around the world with the common goal of advancing the uptake of renewable energy. The Coalition facilitates global dialogues between public and private sectors to develop actions to increase the share of renewables in the global energy mix and accelerate the global energy transition. www.irena.org/coalition

About the Energy Watch Group

The Energy Watch Group (EWG) is an independent, non-profit think-and-do tank based in Berlin. We are dedicated to accelerating political action towards renewable energy and climate protection through scientific analysis, policy advice and dialogue. www.energywatchgroup.org