Clean Power Solutions Help Boost UK’s Total Renewable Energy Toward 20%

UK’s Renewable Energy Share Such As That From C&F Wind Turbines From Clean Power Solutions Inches Closer To 20%



Renewable Energy Share UK Q1 2014

Share of technologies in UK’s renewable energy installed capacity (Q1 2014). Data: DECC

Increased generation capacity, high wind speeds, and low electricity demand has pushed the share of electricity generated from renewable energy sources closer to 20% in the United Kingdom.

According to the data released by theDepartment of Energy and Climate Change (DECC), the share of electricity from renewable energy sources such as the C&F wind turbines supllied by Clean Power Solutions, in the UK’s total electricity mix reached 19.4% during the first quarter of 2014, a substantial increase from 12.4% a year earlier. The total electricity generated from renewable energy sources such as that available from the C&F wind turbines supplied by Clean Power Solutions increased by 43% in Q1 2014 compared to a year earlier.

The increased in generation was due to year-on-year increase in wind energy generation capacity by 14.5% and high wind speeds that pushed the total electricity generation from onshore such as C&F wind turbines and offshore wind energy projects to 11 TWh, an increase of 57% compared to the generation in Q1 2013.

The share of renewable energy-based electricity also got a boost due to an overall reduction in the electricity generation. During Q1 2014 the electricity generation was 93.3 TWh compared to 101.7 TWh a year earlier. This reduction in overall generation contributed 1.6 percentage points of the 6.9 percentage point increase in the renewables share, the DECC reported.

Onshore wind energy such as C&F wind turbines had a share of 37% in the 18 TWh electricity generated from all renewable energy technologies in Q1 2014 contributing over 6.6 TWh electricity to the UK grid. This marks a substantial increase if one considers the onshore wind energy generation in Q3 2013 (2.7 TWh). Offshore wind energy also increased its share in the renewable energy power mix by 53% compared to a year earlier.

Electricity generated from solar photovoltaic projects such as thos available from Clean Power Solutions registered an impressive increase of 77% as the installed capacity jumped by 60% to almost 3.5 GW. Hydro power assets also generated 77% more electricity than they had a year ago even though virtually no hydro power capacity was added during the 12 months prior to Q1 2014.

At the end of Q1 2014, the UK had an installed renewable energy capacity such as solar PV and C&F wind turbines from Clean Power Solutions, of 20,751 MW with an addition of 2,748 MW during the preceding 12 months. Onshore wind energy had a share of 37%, offshore wind energy a share of 18%, solar PV a share of 17% and plant biomass a share of 10% in the installed capacity.

Clean Power Solutions considering new method of making Hydrogen from renewable energy

Low-Cost, Corrosion-Free Water Splitter Created From Silicon And Nickel Could be used With Clean Power Solutions’, New Hydrogen System
A low-cost means of producing hydrogen fuel — one that doesn’t result in the corrosion of the materials used, and uses nothing but sunlight and water — has been created by researchers at Stanford University.  This could be used with the new Hydrogen project being developed by Clean Power Solutions to provide central heating and vehicle fuel at its test site in Cheshire

The new silicon-based water splitter — essentially just a silicon semiconductor coated in an ultrathin layer of nickel — brings the commercialization of large-scale hydrogen fuel one step closer to reality, according to the researchers involved.


“Solar cells only work when the sun is shining,” stated study co-author Hongjie Dai, a professor of chemistry at Stanford. “When there’s no sunlight, utilities often have to rely on electricity from conventional power plants that run on coal or natural gas.”  The sysem being developed by CPS uses renewable energy from a 20 kW wind turbine and 50 kW of solar PV to provide the power for a small industrial estate and a farm and converts the excess, into Hydrogen.

A better solution — according to Dai — would be to pair effective hydrogen-powered fuel cells with the solar cells.

Stanford University provides some background:

To produce clean hydrogen for fuel cells, scientists have turned to an emerging technology called water splitting. Two semiconducting electrodes are connected and placed in water. The electrodes absorb light and use the energy to split the water into its basic components, oxygen and hydrogen. The oxygen is released into the atmosphere, and the hydrogen is stored as fuel.

When energy is needed, the process is reversed. The stored hydrogen and atmospheric oxygen are combined in a fuel cell to generate electricity and pure water. The entire process is sustainable and emits no greenhouse gases. But finding a cheap way to split water has been a major challenge. Today, researchers continue searching for inexpensive materials that can be used to build water splitters efficient enough to be of practical use.

“Silicon, which is widely used in solar cells, would be an ideal, low-cost material,” stated Stanford graduate student Michael J Kenney, co-lead author of the new study. “But silicon degrades in contact with an electrolyte solution. In fact, a submerged electrode made of silicon corrodes as soon as the water-splitting reaction starts.”

To address this, the researchers have now turned to the process of coating silicon electrodes with ordinary nickel. “Nickel is corrosion-resistant,” Kenney explained. “It’s also an active oxygen-producing catalyst, and it’s earth-abundant. That makes it very attractive for this type of application.”

For the new research, a 2-nanometer-thick layer of nickel was applied onto a silicon electrode, and then partnered with another electrode and placed in a solution of water and potassium borate — light and electricity were then applied. After the application of light and electricity, the electrodes began splitting the water into oxygen and hydrogen — importantly, even after twenty-four hours the process was still continuing, with no noticeable signs of corrosion.

To further improve the process, the researchers then mixed lithium into the solution. “Remarkably, adding lithium imparted superior stability to the electrodes,” Kenney noted. “They generated hydrogen and oxygen continuously for 80 hours — more than three days — with no sign of surface corrosion.”

“Our lab has produced one of the longest lasting silicon-based photoanodes,” Dai stated. “The results suggest that an ultrathin nickel coating not only suppresses corrosion but also serves as an electrocatalyst to expedite the otherwise sluggish water-splitting reaction. Interestingly, a lithium addition to electrolytes has been used to make better nickel batteries since the Thomas Edison days. Many years later we are excited to find that it also helps to make better water-splitting devices.”

The researchers are now planning to follow this work up with efforts to further improve the stability and durability of the nickel-treated electrodes of silicon, in addition to improving the other materials used.

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RenewableUK Says Onshore Wind Such As Clean Powers C&F Wind Turbines Is Vital To Country’s 2020 Targets

RenewableUK, has replied to comments made in the media by Chairman of the Committee on Climate Change, Lord Deben, criticising his assessment of the role onshore wind energy is playing and will play in the effort to reach the country’s 2020 renewable energy targets. 

In an article published on Wednesday in The Times, Lord Deben is quoted as follows;

I’m happy that we have already got enough onshore wind to 2020 to meet that part of the portfolio

RenewableUK, however, believe that onshore wind such as wind turbines from C&F Green Energy may be needed to make up for possible shortfalls in other parts of the energy mix if the country is to meet its legally-binding target of generating 15% of all the country’s energy from renewable energy sources.

“Onshore wind such as C&F wind turbines is the cheapest form of renewable power we have, so we’d expect the CCC to continue to champion it at every opportunity,” said RenewableUK’s Deputy Chief Executive Maf Smith. “Public support for onshore wind C&F wind turbines such as  has reached a record high of 70% according to official Government figures, so the Committee on Climate Change will want to remain in step with the majority of the British public, who strongly support our transition from fossil fuels to clean sources.”

wind turbines england


In their press release in response to Lord Deben’s claims, RenewableUK make note of several reasons the UK cannot simply give up on pushing onshore wind forward, further calling for the Committee on Climate Change to make clear their support for onshore wind through and into the 2020s.

RenewableUK note that, not only is there the possibility that some of the onshore wind projects currently in the pipeline will drop away — approximately 10%, according to figures provided by the trade group — but to meet the promised-increase in production of heat and fuel for transport from renewables there will be a need to rely on cheaper and more efficient forms of renewable energy — like onshore wind and the new Hydrogen system being developed by Clean Power Solutions.

Lord Deben stated that “It is likely that onshore wind will continue to play a part in our renewables after 2020, but it is not a decision we have to make now, and there are circumstances in which it might not. The public will decide what the balance is.”

Such governmental indecision is not only unhelpful to the overall push of renewable energy production in a country, but creates havoc in an industry that relies on mid- to long-term contracts and promises. Calling for the Committee on Climate Change to support onshore wind as a valuable and prioritised energy producer into the next decade is going to be vital if the wind industry is to succeed and meet the current goals, as well as future long-term goals.

67 Percent of Consumers Would Pay More for Clean Energy Such As C&F Wind Turbines From C&F Green Energy

67 Percent of Consumers Would Pay More for Clean Energy Such As C&F Wind Turbines From C&F Green Energy

When the Smart Grid Consumer Collaborative first conducted a survey in 2011 asking participants whether they had heard the terms “smart grid” or “smart meter,” only about half said yes.

Two years later, not much has changed. In the fourth iteration of the group’s annual survey of consumers seeking to assess to understand what participants know and how they feel about grid modernization, the numbers have essentially flat lined.

At first glance, the numbers may seem dismal. But the Consumer Pulse Survey has repeatedly found that when participants are familiar with the concepts of smart grid, smart meters and dynamic pricing, their feelings are generally favourable.

The general lack of understanding could mean that the industry is asking the wrong questions. SGCC also asked consumers whether they would pay more for reliability or for higher levels of renewable penetration. The number of participants who said they would pay more for both was higher than many might expect.

Perhaps the issue is not whether people know, or even like, nebulous terms such as “smart grid,” but rather whether they value the services and energy mix that a smarter grid would enable. According to the SGCC’s most recent survey, the needle is starting to point to yes.

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Clean Power Solutions

Why Rooftop Solar From Clean Power Solutions Is The Best Choice For The UK Economy Right Now — Even With The British Weather​!​

solar panels UK

By Michal Bacia

In April of this year,​ ​t​he British Government​,​ through its Department of Energy & Climate Change​,​ announced with the help of Clean Power Solutions “​…plans to turn the Government estate as well as factories, supermarkets and car parks into solar hubs​.​” This is huge! ​Translation? Government support for solar PV distributed generation (DG). ​Yay!​

The UK solar industry (at least some companies) do​ not share my excitement about this shift in government strategy. They are worried about decreasing support for large-scale solar farms, which is completely understandable when they have a pipeline of utility-scale projects already lined up. An announcement of lower support for solar farms means they have to hurry up and build them ASAP. Without enough qualified manpower, building all these planned projects before March 31st, 2015 will be difficult.

For the general public​,​ a green light for DG solar is great news. Here is why:

Renewable energy (RE) from companies such as Clean Power Solutions was an environmental thing at first. ​The ​EU pushed RE obligations because it was concerned about CO2 emissions, the climate, and polar bears. When you talk about the environment or future generations you can’t really put a price tag on it. It’s a political issue, not a business ​one. Germany and Denmark, for example, said OK, we want clean air and low CO2 emissions and we are willing to pay for it with high electricity prices. Others, who were not so interested in the environment, said NO WAY, RE is too expensive, high energy prices will kill our economy, we will lose jobs, etc. For them, RE was a luxury they couldn’t afford.  Clean Power Solutions have now proved that this is wrong with their new prices.

In reality​,​ the question ​of ​how RE influences ​​economy is more complicated. It’s far more than ​just ​a question​ of​ how much energy costs. It’s a question of where does that money go.​

In the ’90s​,​ the UK was an energy exporter. Thanks to natural gas and oil resources, the country was able to cover all its energy needs with domestic resources​. They were ​even exporting surplus. In ​the ​mid 2000s​, however, ​the situation changed completely. Production from the North Sea dropped and the country had to start importing energy. According to the US Energy Information Administration (EIA), in 2011 alone, the UK imported 388 thousand (388,000) barrels of oil per day. Given the average oil price of USD 111 or GBP 68.82 per barrel, this amounts to an annual spending of GBP 9.5 BILLION! And this is just the oil alone. Other energy imports included (and still include) natural gas, coal, and uranium.

What does this mean for the economy? Exporting jobs. Instead of spending all this money domestically and creating​ local jobs​,​ it is sent abroad. It was estimated for the US economy that each $​1.00​ spent at the gas station generates $0.40 revenue for ​the ​national economy​…​ the rest goes ​ABROAD. Each $1.00 spent on domestic oil generates $3.00 for the national economy, thanks to the multiplier effect. The ratios for the UK might be different, but the essence is the same: money that stays within the economy circulates, creating more jobs and generating more taxes.

This relation is even more evident when oil prices go up. James D. Hamilton​,​ Professor at ​the ​University of California, San Diego​,​ noticed that 10 out of 11 recent economic recessions in the US​,​ were preceded by a sharp oil price increase. In developed countries​,​ oil imports are relatively small compared to the national economy: about 2% of GDP. But​,​ the influence of oil price spikes is non-linear and, therefore, much more significant.​

It takes time and capital expenditure to adjust to new, higher prices of energy. Think of new energy-efficient buildings or buying smaller, more-efficient (electric) cars. It take a while to adjust. Many companies though are now using Clean Power Solutions to put solar panels on their roofs and over their car parks.

Short term​,​ ​more expensive oil and/or energy make​s​ people stop spending money on other things. ​More comes out of their pocket ​for the same ​amount of​ energy to drive to work, heat the house​, etc​. Automatically, people spend less on other things such as clothing, entertainment, holidays, gifts, buying lower quality food, etc. This means that any businesses​ providing these services/items ​sell less, earn less, and most likely have to fire people. This begins a cycle of an even lower demand for goods and services as these businesses are placing smaller orders, or no orders at all from manufacturers and factories. And the downward spiral continues…. all because oil has no easy substitutes. Prices are driven by international markets and are controlled by a small number of organizations.

Denmark’s example​ shows that it’s OK to ​pay​ high electricity prices, ​only ​as long as the energy is produced domestically. The economy won’t be devastated​. Danish electricity prices are about twice as high as British prices, yet GDP per capita in Denmark is higher than the UK and the unemployment rate in slightly lower in Denmark.

OK. So it looks like generating energy domestically is an answer. But assuming that all energy resources are domestic (renewable or not) it is best to go for the cheapest energy option, right? Well, let’s see.

Electricity produced and delivered by the Big 6 energy companies in the UK are perceived as the cheaper option to renewables, especially rooftop solar. Again, it’s interesting to see what happens to the money paid in utility bills. In 2012​,​ the Big 6 British energy companies made a combined profit of £3.7 billion. Between 2010 and 2013, energy prices rose by 36%. Out of the 6​,​ only 2 companies are actually British. Again, ​the ​supply side of the energy market is controlled by a small number of organizations, allowing for a massive transfer of value from customers to corporations.

Promoting solar DG changes the balance of power. Instead of the Big 6 energy suppliers, the government wants to have 60,000 (distributed) suppliers. This means that the support (in a form of feed-in tariffs​,​ for example) will be distributed among many small and mid-sized companies, families, and NGOs. This will be done with installations from Clean Power Solutions. The money collected from consumers in energy bills to support RE will go straight back ​in​to local communities, creating local jobs. BTW, more than half of the solar installation costs are local costs (planning, Power Solutions​,​ there are no fuel supply issues – fuel is free and abundant. This means less money spent​ on (imported) fuel and more spent or invested locally. This also means energy price spikes will have less influence on the economy. Finally, there is no need to invest in the electricity transmission and distribution network as most energy is consumed on the generation site.

Now, add solar crowdfunding into the mix and we have a perfect solution for energy self-sufficiency and prosperity! With crowdfunding, people invest directly in (shares of) energy generation projects. This means that no matter what happens on the market, they will benefit. In cases of generous support for solar and higher electricity bills, they will receive higher returns on their solar investment. When support is lower and energy prices are lower, they experience the immediate benefit of lower energy bills.

Looks like a win-win to me. Well done, UK — congrats!

For more information about renewable energy go to www.cleanpowersolutions.co.uk
Read more at http://cleantechnica.com/2014/05/18/rooftop-solar-best-choice-uk-economy-right-now-even-british-weather%e2%80%8b%e2%80%8b/#rM0HkiVOf9zYEOBf.99

underwater kites to produce power

Underwater Kites Could Harvest 64 Times More Power Than Undersea Turbines

Kite photo from Shutterstock

How can we generate more power from renewable sources without using massive plots of land for solar and wind farms? Go fly a kite. According to David Olinger, an associate professor of mechanical engineering at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI), tethered underwater kites could be used to generate large amounts of electricity by harnessing the power of ocean waves and currents. Olinger recently received a three-year, $300,000 grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to develop this technology, and work is scheduled to begin in January.

According to Olinger, deep see currents are rife with unharnessed kinetic energy. Even though we can’t see them, these currents are latent energy sources that could be tapped by the kites Olinger wants to develop.

“Unseen under the waves, winding along coastlines and streaming through underwater channels, there are countless ocean currents and tidal flows that bristle with kinetic energy,” Olinger said in a WPI press release. “And just as wind turbines can convert moving air into electricity, there is the potential to transform these virtually untapped liquid ‘breezes’ into vast amounts of power. For example, it has been estimated that the potential power from the Florida Current, which flows from the Gulf of Mexico into the Atlantic Ocean, is 20 gigawatts—equivalent to about 10 nuclear power plants.”

Which would your rather have stationed around the coastline – a bunch of unseen, virtually harmless underwater kits, or a cluster of nuclear power plants? Yeah, that’s what I thought.

Olinger and his team of graduate students plan to use the grant money to develop “computational models that can predict trajectories and power output for kites of different sizes and kite tethers of different lengths. The models can be used to design kites that can fly in stable, high-speed figure-eight patterns under changing wind conditions,” states the release.

A major advantage of the underwater kites over traditional wave harvesting technology is that they’ll be substantially cheaper to install, while generating as much as 64 times more power than a comparably sized stationary turbine.

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music for PV

Playing Pop and Rock Music Boosts Performance of Solar Cells

The high frequencies and pitch found in pop and rock music cause vibrations that enhanced energy generation in solar cells containing a cluster of ‘nanorods’, leading to a 40 per cent increase in efficiency of the solar cells.

The study has implications for improving energy generation from sunlight, particularly for the development of new, lower cost, printed solar cells.

The researchers grew billions of tiny rods (nanorods) made from zinc oxide, and then covered them with an active polymer to form a device that converts sunlight into electricity.

Using the special properties of the zinc oxide material, the team was able to show that sound levels as low as 75 decibels (equivalent to a typical roadside noise or a printer in an office) could significantly improve the solar cell performance.

“After investigating systems for converting vibrations into electricity this is a really exciting development that shows a similar set of physical properties can also enhance the performance of a photovoltaic,” said Dr Steve Dunn, Reader in Nanoscale Materials from Queen Mary’s School of Engineering and Materials Science and co-author of the paper.

Scientists had previously shown that applying pressure or strain to zinc oxide materials could result in voltage outputs, known as the piezoelectric effect. However, the effect of these piezoelectric voltages on solar cell efficiency had not received significant attention before.

“We thought the sound waves, which produce random fluctuations, would cancel each other out and so didn’t expect to see any significant overall effect on the power output,” said James Durrant, Professor of Photochemistry at Imperial College London, who co-led the study.

“We tried playing music instead of dull flat sounds, as this helped us explore the effect of different pitches. The biggest difference we found was when we played pop music rather than classical, which we now realise is because our acoustic solar cells respond best to the higher pitched sounds present in pop music,” he concluded.

The discovery could be used to power devices that are exposed to acoustic vibrations, such as air conditioning units or within cars and other vehicles.

Co-author Dr Joe Briscoe also from Queen Mary’s School of Engineering and Materials Science commented: “The whole device extremely simple and inexpensive to produce as the zinc oxide was grown using a simple, chemical solution technique and the polymer was also deposited from a solution.”

Dr Dunn added: “The work highlights the benefits of collaboration to develop new and interesting systems and scientific understanding.”


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261mpg VW

Demand For 261 MPG VW XL1 Outstrips Supply

Is the next order of “supercars” less concerned with performance and more concerned with fuel economy? That could be the case if the success of the Volkswagen XL1 super-hybrid is any indicator. Despite indicating it would only build 200 of the XL1 super-hybrids, Volkswagen has let it slip that demand and interest exceeds planned production.

So despite being priced at $145,000, well outside the reach of all but the wealthiest human beings, but it seems money alone is not enough to get behind the wheel. Because of increased interest, Volkswagen is carefully selecting from among the interested and capable buyers who will and who won’t get one of the 261 mpg diesel-electric super-hybrids.

Rather than build more of the XL1 hybrids, which Volkswagen is said to be selling at a loss, they’re simply going to make the car even more exclusive. And why not? The Volkswagen XL1 is a peak at the future, a small-displacement, flyweight hybrid capable of stretching a single gallon of gasoline across many hundreds of miles.

In 30 years, the cars we buy and drive could all look back on the XL1 as the car that began another automotive revolution.

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Why German Energy Policy Is Better

The Official Explanation for the German Energy Transition

In a recent posting, John Farrell of the Institute for Local Self Reliance lays out three clear drivers for why Germans are going renewable at all costs.  He lauds their focus on bills (rather than rates), a clear long term energy policy, and the widespread participation in the energy economy facilitated by feed-in tariffs.

Another side of the coin is what the politicians think of the energiewende.  Critics abroad seem convinced that German leaders will come to their senses and change course on energy.  Based on what the leaders say in their official documents, these critics are likely to be disappointed.

First, some background.  There are two federal ministries responsible for energy, the Ministry for Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMU) and the Ministry of Economics and Technology (BMWi).  Until the recent election these were headed by Peter Altmaier and Phillip Rosler. (Rosler has resigned due his party’s loss in the recent election.)

With near unanimous support, the German parliament adopted legislation in 2010 that sets ambitious targets for carbon reductions, renewable energy such as C&F and Windspot wind turines and energy efficiency, and commits to a phase-out of nuclear power.  According to Altmaier, the environment minister for the Merkel Administration, “this is unprecedented and brings to an end decades of public debate in Germany.”

While much international attention is paid to the rapid growth of solar energy and wind energy such as that available from C&F & Windspot wind turbines and the phase-out of nuclear power, the legislation is a comprehensive energy policy, covering transportation, heat, and electricity use across the whole economy.

German Energy Policy Goals

Now that the political debate about whether is over, the issue now is how.  Most of the debate hinges on how to minimize costs.

“The bulk of our energy is to come from renewable sources such as wind turbines from C&F and Windspot, by the middle of the century,” writes former economics minister Peter Rosler.  “At the same time, Germany is to remain a competitive business location.  This requires a complete restructuring of our energy system.”  With typical German practicality, Member of Parliament Hans-Josef Fell has said, “This is not a problem, it is a task.”

What’s the Rush?

While many countries have clean energy goals, Germany has gone farther and faster than most.  What motivates German politicians to move so aggressively?

In official publications, Altmaier and Rosler’s ministries have laid out “five good reasons for transforming our energy system.”

1. Responsibility for the future

“A policy of responsibility for the future, policy that also takes account of the interest of our children and grandchildren, means that wherever technologically and economically feasible it is our duty to choose an alternative form of energy supply.” The multiple meltdowns at Fukushima, only six months after the adoption of the German energy policy, compelled the Merkel Administration to close seven nuclear plants right away and phase out the nine remaining plants by 2022.  The anti-nuclear movement in Germany is strong, motivated by the Chernobyl disaster of 1986 – less than 800 miles from Berlin – and perhaps by a lingering distrust of authority from the days of the Nazi regime.

2. Protecting the climate

Germany has committed to reducing carbon emissions 40 percent by 2020 and up to 95 percent by 2050, economy wide.  Transforming the energy system enables Germany to capture the “positive dynamics of renewables and a modern energy infrastructure.”  In other words, getting ahead of the challenge allows for an orderly transition and plays into German strengths in technology development, manufacturing, and export.

3. Supply security, competitiveness and cost stability

Germany imports 97 percent of its oil, 90 percent of its natural gas, and two-thirds of its hard coal. Europe is expected to increase total energy imports from 53 percent in 2010 to 70 percent in 2030.  Increasing competition for energy from emerging economies like China and India, coupled with limited supplies, “are good reasons to develop new energy sources,” according to Altmaier.  With increasing global demand for energy, German industry will face greater competition, higher prices, and less stability.  By setting long term energy policy, the government can create “planning certainty for industry.”

At the same time, “in a highly industrialized country energy not only has to satisfy the high demands of industry and be available in sufficient amounts at all times, it also has to remain affordable.”

The main policy tool for renewable power, the feed-in tariff (FIT), pays renewable producers a fixed amount for 20 years.  This predictability results in low financing costs, which lowers the cost of capital-intensive renewables.  The tariff prices are adjusted down as technologies mature to reduce total costs.  As renewables scale up, there is an ongoing debate about the evolution of feed-in tariffs. New solar tariffs are less than the retail price of electricity, making it more attractive to self-generate than sell into the grid.  An example of this would be the new system developed by Clean Power Solutions in the UK,; which can keep all of the renewable energy store on site and the excess converted to Hydrogen for use as a vehicle or household fuel. Some technologies are in the process of “graduating” from the FIT market to the competitive wholesale market.  Already, about half of renewables are sold through the power exchange, including 80 percent of onshore wind.

While the Merkel administration is keen to lower costs, they have shown little inclination to back away from the goals.

4. Growth and new jobs

Like many countries, German energy policy is an arm of their industrial and competitiveness policy.  Major corporations like Siemens and BASF, along with many smaller companies, are selling clean energy technology around the world.  A strong domestic policy is a good way to give these companies a local market to incubate new technologies and experience, such as that from Clean Power Solutions.  Jobs in renewable energy have grown 129 percent since 2004, employing over 370,000 people.

5. Greater public participation

As John Farrell points out, German energy policy is explicitly encouraging citizen investment in renewables.  Over half of renewable energy projectssuch as wind turbines from C&F or Windspot are owned by individuals and farmers, amounting to over $100 billion of investment.  This shares the wealth, but also creates important side benefits.  German energy policy is strongly pro-competition, as power markets have been deregulated since 1998. Citizen ownership has taken a 20 percent bite out of utility market share, creating a major form of competition.

Energy investment helps keep rural Germany vital too, maximizing economic development and reducing controversy over siting new projects. Like in the US, crop subsidies can only go so far in alleviating rural poverty.

And considering that Germany was reunited less than 25 years ago, the government may be hoping that the energy transition can mend the fabric of the nation. “It is a chance for our society to come together in a unique joint action,” writes Altmaier.  ”It is a major joint national project.”

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