How Far Will Germany Go on Fracking? Understanding the Proposed New Legislation

The debate on shale gas and fracking has polarised Europe, with some countries positioning themselves decidedly against fracking and others drawing up plans to use this technique. In Germany, the future of shale gas is still uncertain, but the year 2015 could be decisive. The country’s shale gas reserves are sizeable: according to the BGR...
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Germany and Brazil – Two Very Different Pioneers of Renewable Energies

This August, Chancellor Angela Merkel, Energy Minister Sigmar Gabriel and other ministers will travel to Brazil for intergovernmental consultations. They should seize this opportunity to breathe new life into cooperation on renewables under the German-Brazilian energy partnership. Closer cooperation with Brazil – a country that has been an important frontrunner of the global expansion of...
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Electricity Market Design: Will Demand React to Variations in Power Supply?

In the electricity sector, generation has always been driven by demand. But the Energiewende could turn this paradigm on its head. In what’s known as ‘demand response’, demand reacts to market signals and electricity consumption adapts to the level of generation from photovoltaic and wind energy. To give an example: on a winter’s evening German...
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Energy Transition in France: Following in Germany’s Footsteps?

Recently, the Eiffel Tower in Paris was equipped with two small vertical wind turbines, which, while they spawned many news articles, have a generation capacity that is rather symbolic. In the same week, the French Parliament debated and voted on an extensive new bill laying out the country’s plans for transforming its energy supply and...
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The Solar Price Revolution

"The Solar Price Revolution": A commentary by Klaus Töpfer

A silent revolution is under way. In November, Dubai announced the construction of a solar energy park that will produce electricity for less than $0.06 per kilowatt-hour – undercutting the cost of the alternative investment option, a gas or coal-fired power plant. The plant – which is expected to be operational in 2017 – is...
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The Water-Energy Nexus: Seeking Integrated Solutions

World Water Day Banner

Today is World Water Day. This year’s motto, ‘Water and Sustainable Development’, is in keeping with the prominent role sustainable development is expected to play in 2015. In September the United Nations will agree on a set of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). While the previous Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) focussed on eliminating poverty, now the...
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Solar Energy in Germany and China: Dynamics of a Policy-Driven Market

In its most recent report, the German government’s Expert Commission on Research and Innovation criticised Germany’s feed-in tariff for renewable energy and the associated costs for electricity consumers based on two central claims. Firstly, the rapid diffusion of renewable energy – so the commission argues – has no effect on the reduction of greenhouse gas...
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