The energy turnaround

The energy turnaround

The energy revolution has already begun in Germany, but unfortunately it’s running out of steam. The government isn’t really supporting today’s energy concept and the companies don’t get enough incentives to invest high amounts in new infrastructure. On the one hand the German government decided to phase out nuclear energy by 2022 and on the other hand it cut the subsidies for renewable energy. The political indecision is far away from a strategic energy concept for the future and jeopardizes the energy supply of the country. The politicians haven’t obviously drawn a lesson from the nuclear catastrophes in Ukraine (Chernobyl 1986) and Japan (Fukushima 2011). If the government doesn’t fully support the energy turnaround, than one day the lights will go out in Germany. (To the delight of candle producers)!

Progress or no progress, taxpayers continue footing the bill.

What is the energy turnaround?

The change from fossil or nuclear energy sources to a sustainable energy supply based on renewable energies. That is easier said than done! We have already the technology to produce ‘clean’ energy. However we need new infrastructure all over the country (and Europe). That means additional transmission lines are needed to get the energy to where it is needed most. This is the biggest challenge and the most expensive part of this concept. Most of the countries are reluctant in that case because they don’t or can’t afford an energy turnaround. The longer the authorities don’t give a clear message to the public the less the industry will invest in renewable energy and its infrastructure.

Despite everything

There are great developments in the field of renewable energy and its technology. Nowadays there are organizations which try to accelerate the development of the energy turnaround.

Within 6 hours deserts receive more energy from the sun than humankind consumes within a year.

The DESERTEC Foundation is a global civil society initiative which invests in renewable energy
concept for the future. It’s a non-profit foundation that grew out of a network of scientists, politicians and economists from around the Mediterranean, who together developed the DESERTEC Concept. Founding members of DESERTEC Foundation are the German Association of the Club of Rome, members of the international network and private individuals.
Desertec has some ongoing projects all around the world. All projects include the solar technology.
Project Ivanpah in California: It’s a BrightSource’s LPT solar thermal system. It is the first project that will deliver power to serve some companies. Investors are NRG Solar, Google and BrightSource. Ivanpah project is currently the largest solar plant under construction in the world.
How does it work? A 392 megawatt gross solar complex uses mirrors to focus the power of the sun on solar receivers. More than 140,000 homes will get enough energy.
Project Coalinga in California: This is the world’s largest solar thermal enhanced oil recovery demonstration facility. The 29 megawatts thermal solar-to-steam facility will support enhanced oil recovery efforts at Chevron’s oil field in Coalinga, California. The solar facility demonstrates solar thermal technology’s ability to cleanly and cost-effectively support enhanced oil recovery efforts in California and around the world.
These projects are only some of Desertec’s actions on this field.

It is known that we can’t ensure our energy supply on the base of only solar technology. Solar energy is only useful when the sun is shining. During the night you have to use the stored energy which can be limited. Therefore we’ve to invest in every kind of renewable energy like wind power, biomass, solar, hydro, geothermal etc. The connection of all possible energy sources to one network will ensure the supply and this grid will reduce our dependence of fossil energy and nuclear power. Nevertheless we are walking on a rocky road. For example: When you build solar facilities in north- African countries than you have to consider the political instability in those countries. Moreover wars, revolutions, corruptions, bad infrastructures, shortness of supplies are only some obstacles.
But that’s for sure, fossil energy is limited. Therefore we need an elaborate energy concept for the future which is mandatory for all countries in the world. Finally the reduction of carbon dioxide will relieve our environment and the coming generations will be grateful to us.


5 responses to “The energy turnaround

  1. Hi Ferhat,
    a very interesting post indeed. You chose renewable energy as a topic, which I found great, because as you rightfully said “fossil energy is limited” and we have to start taking action for our and our children’s future!
    I thought your article was very well structured and I liked how the subheads introduced each part of your post without you having to repeat yourself! However you start off mainly talking about Germany and then loose it during your post. Next time I suggest incorporating further examples concerning the topic you started off with.
    Furthermore I thought your pictures and quotations were very strong, I immediately found them fascinating. Sadly you did not further elaborate on them – for example “progress or no progress, taxpayer continue footing the bill”. Because this is a very strong statement I would have loved to know who said this and maybe learn a little bit more about.
    Another thing you have to take into account is that your picture of the world did not enlarge, therefore your readers cannot see what is written on it. In addition I would consider leaving more white space between the two projects to separate them visually for your followers.

    Still a very good, interesting and current post I especially enjoyed the humorous remark “To the delight of candle producers” – genius. And I will definitely continue reading your blog posts!

  2. How interesting that I just had a tiny debate at the dinner table about renewable energies. For me it is obvious that we have to invest heavily in renewable energies. One of my counterparts argued that it takes so much energy to build a new windmill that it actually would make sense. to build them. That might be true, but what a weak argument! It might take more energy, but imagine we reach a point where we are able to produce about 90 percent of our energy needs through renewable energies. Every additionally built windmill will be a “clean” windmill.

    I agree with Nicpic, you structured your article very well and made excellent use of subheadings. Nevertheless, I would have liked to see that you focussed a little more on your opening topic, which is renewable energies in Germany. I’m also interested in your personal opinion. Should everybody follow Germany? Is Germany a role model, is it just a guinea pig? Are willing to pay 30 percent more for your electricity if it’s “clean”?


  3. Hello Ferhat,
    This issue on renewable energy has indeed been bugging us for some time. But till now there has not been much progress. Sooner, we will be done with fossil fuel and then, it will be too late.

    On your part on the Government, I feel that there is more that they can do. Like you have mentioned, infrastructure is one of the major opposition to access to renewable energy. The high cost make it difficult for private companies or even join ventures to get a whiff of the actual amount of capital required. Hence, only the Government has the actual Capital to realise the infrastructure. Like other Government projects(railway systems), they could lay out the initial infrastructure and capital then outsource the services to private companies. And get back their investment on capital in time. The Government needs to start the ball rolling.

  4. Hey Ferhat,
    It is funny how you mixed a serious current issue with humour, for example when you said that the candle producers will be happy about it. I think the use of solar energy is a great thing, especially in the subtropical areas like deserts etcetera, because especially there we could generate really a lot of energy. The reduction of carbon dioxide is controversial, because there are still many countries which do not care about it (or at least they do not do anything against it). But I think this will change in the future with the further development of these technologies. You could have included some links but all in all well done!

  5. Pingback: Retrospect #4 : Slowing it down | BLOG OR DIE TRYIN'·

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