Sustainability Impacts of Industry 4.0

Can you be an engineer and ‘still’ ponder the big questions of humanity? This question presented itself to me last year, when I was looking to take a new direction in my career after a number of years in classical engineering jobs. So, there’s no Nobel Prize or Fields Medal for engineering? Oh well. But...
Continue reading...

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...
Continue reading...

The 2015 Paris Climate Change Agreement – UN Climate Conference in Bonn Brings Clarity for Legal Architecture

The eleven-day UN Climate Change Conference in Bonn drew to a close last Thursday and with it the deliberations among international climate law experts in which I myself participated. The main aim of the Bonn meeting was to work on a draft text for the long-awaited climate change agreement. This agreement is due to be...
Continue reading...

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...
Continue reading...

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...
Continue reading...

A Heady Cocktail for Growth that Lacks Tonic

Wider den Wachstumswunschpunsch: ein Einwurf von Philipp H. Lepenies

Growth, too, isn’t what it used to be. Nowadays, it has to be ‘qualitative’, ‘pro-poor’, ‘inclusive’, ‘sustainable’, ‘green’, or even ‘smart’. And if one attribute doesn’t suffice, a mix of all of them will do: “smart, sustainable and inclusive growth” (EU Commission), “sustained, inclusive and sustainable growth” (UN) or “inclusive, pro-poor, green growth” (World Bank)....
Continue reading...

Civic Participation in the Energiewende: What Germany Can Learn from Denmark

Citizen-led energy initiatives are a cornerstone of the German Energiewende. But 2014 was a tough year for them: considerably less energy cooperatives were founded by citizens than in 2013, and the political framework for such initiatives changed drastically. In 2012 almost half of the total installed renewable energy capacity in Germany was owned by private...
Continue reading...