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Claire Carlton (EcoChange)
Works at Build Your Business Online
Attends University of Newcastle, Australia
Lives in Port Stephens, Australia
454 followers|14,321 views


Brilliant article a must read. Clear arguments backed by sound facts. Come on Australia surely we could do this and more
German renewable energy strategy explained

Ecellent and up-to-date summary of the German renewable energy strategy by Amory B. Lovins, American consultant, experimental physicist and 1993 MacArthur Fellow.

What's so special about Germany?
It is true, Lovins write, that Germany is not the most outstanding example among countries with limited hydro power. Denmark passed 40% renewable electricity in 2011. Portugal raised its share of renewable electricity from 17% to 45% in just five years, 2005 to 2010, reaching 70% in the rainy and windy first quarter of 2013. But unlike these economies Germany is an industrial giant, disproof of claims that highly industrialized countries, let alone cold and cloudy ones, can do little with renewables.

"Germany has doubled the renewable share of its total electricity consumption in the past six years to 23% in 2012. It forecasts nearly a redoubling by 2025, well ahead of the 50% target for 2030, and closing in on official goals of 65% in 2040 and 80% in 2050."

Effortlessly phasing out nuclear power
Lovins continue to explain how Germany is able to phase out its nuclear power without "making the lights go out, the economy crash, carbon emissions and electricity prices soar and forcing Germany to import power" as some skeptics feared., 

"[In fact] none of that happened. In 2011 the German economy grew three percent and remained Europe’s strongest, buoyed by a world-class renewables industry with 382,000 jobs. Chancellor Merkel won her bet that it would be smarter to spend energy money on German engineers, manufacturers, and installers than to send it to the Russian natural gas behemoth Gazprom. Germany’s lights stayed on. The nuclear shutdown was entirely displaced by year-end, three-fifths due to renewable growth. Do the math: simply repeating 2011’s renewable installations for three additional years, through 2014, would thus displace Germany’s entire pre-Fukushima nuclear output. Wholesale electricity prices fell 10-15%. Germany remained a net exporter of electricity, and during a February 2012 cold snap, even exported nearly 3 GW to France, which remains a net importer of German electricity."

Base load power being out-competed
Everyone with an interest in energy markets have seen how traditional base load power like coal and nuclear are fighting a losing battle against renewable, fuel-free power. Nowhere is this trend as clear as in Germany. Lovins too make this observation:

"German renewables’ dual trajectories of declining costs and rising installation rates are sending big ripples through the electricity system. Rating agencies are downgrading major European utilities because renewables — now over one-third of Europe’s generating capacity — have almost zero running cost. They can thus underbid fossil and nuclear plants, making them run fewer hours and earn lower prices, and thus slashing their profits. For example, German wholesale power prices have fallen about 30% just in the past two years to near eight-year lows, putting big utilities that under-invested in renewables under severe profit pressure."

Germany’s FiT and Electricity Rates
Critics have wrongly blamed renewables and the surcharge for Germany’s high household electricity prices.

"Many coal and nuclear subsidies came for decades from tax revenues. But Germany stopped subsidizing photovoltaics nine years ago and has adopted a more rigorous, egalitarian, effective, and transparent system of buying the power mix it wants and paying for it through an electric-bill line-item. Those renewable charges present a key choice: you can earn them back — and more — by choosing to invest in renewables personally, the way 65% of Germany’s renewable capacity is now owned. You pay the surcharge like most German citizens, but you also reap the feed-in tariff for your renewable generation. Even customers who choose not to invest in renewables, the surcharge is a tiny drop in the bucket. From 2000 to 2012, only two-fifths of the increase in the household electricity price was due to the renewable surcharge. The 2012 renewable surcharge cost the average German three-person household about ten euros a month. That’s about 3% of the household’s total energy costs, or 0.3% of its total expenditures, or less than 0.2% counting its offsetting cost reductions. You need a magnifying glass to see it."

Energy efficiency and economic growth
Lovins rounds up his article by summarizing German energy productivity.

"Germany is becoming the world’s most energy-efficient country. Since 1990 the country’s weather-adjusted primary energy use fell 11% while its real GDP rose 37%. This powerful trend is just getting started: Germany intends by 2050 to cut its absolute greenhouse gas emissions by 80-95% below the 1990 level, double its overall energy productivity from the 2020 level, and supply 60% of its total final energy renewably."

"Germany’s renewable share exceeded 1.5 times the nuclear share by mid-2012. Germany is installing 8 GW of solar power each year (more in the past three years than the U.S. added in the last 30). The feed-in tariff, now below $0.19/kWh for small PV systems, falls monthly. As liberalized power markets in Europe and the phase-out of German coal subsidies gain traction, renewable costs and subsidies are falling, and Germany’s relatively stable policy has built a world-leading clean-energy industrial base."

"Germany’s methodical and determined energy turnaround offers proof that a heavily industrialized, world-class, politically pluralistic market economy can run well on a self-financing combination of efficiency and renewables."

"The losers in the German market are those who assumed the energy turnaround couldn't work. The winners are those who applied their capital and skills to make it happen."
Justin Scoggin's profile photoClaire Carlton (EcoChange)'s profile photo
Yes it is
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This could cause a stir in the science world. Will be interested to see what Andrew turns up
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Claire Carlton (EcoChange)

Climate Change News Stories  - 
Is your country in the list? Mine is. Shame really. We need to stop our reliance on coal
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Good news, now for some action. Obama helping to raise the profile of climate change is good for the world but the US must take strong action now by supporting renewable tech development and price on carbon
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Sounds like a plan I'm in anyone else?
It’s a new plan to save the planet - end $1 trillion a year payments to polluters and stop runaway climate change. President Obama wants action on this and is chairing a meeting of key leaders in 3 da...
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Good morning from Australia just read this shocking post on Grist and have to say I agree "Where is the climate movement on this issue" does anyone know?
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Sue T
done +Claire Carlton! with added commentary
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In her circles
388 people
Have her in circles
454 people
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Just for Valentine Day. Lets make it a special love day folks.
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Shame on humans and yes there is in Australia in the list of course but at least we now have a price on carbon
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Now this is multi purpose art.
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Thanks to +Sue Travers for sharing this post and totally agree and love your rant. Us little all powerful people need to speak out
How exactly is it in the “best interests of the Nation” to sell coal that belongs to that nation at a discount so the fossil fuel industry can strip mine and ship it to Asia?
How is it that in Australia, they have more "rights" over precious arable land than farmer owners, use and pollute dwindling potable water supplies, destroy the environment, get subsidies to do this and still moan they're treated unfairly? Meanwhile education is squeezed of funding, the poor get poorer, and the mining companies get richer.
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Sue T
thankyou +Claire Carlton I knew farmers were being treated badly, but it was Tim Flannery and John Dawe's recent programme The Great Divide that I found incredibly disturbing. It's far, far worse than I'd realised. We need our farmers - we can't eat coal.
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In her circles
388 people
Have her in circles
454 people
DAVE MUIR's profile photo
maryam habib's profile photo
Michael Swanson's profile photo
Albert Campi's profile photo
Christian Egeberg's profile photo
Fouad Hamdan's profile photo
Sveinn Atli Gunnarsson's profile photo
Rachel Heslin (RSHeslin)'s profile photo
Laurent Petit's profile photo
Environmental Digital Communications
  • Build Your Business Online
    Director, 2012 - present
  • Eco Change
    Environmental Digital Media, 2006 - present
  • Global Campaign for Climate Action @tcktcktck
    Director of Digital Media, 2010 - 2011
  • World Wide Fund for Nature Intl (WWF)
    Manager of Climate Social Media and Climate Witness Programme, 2007 - 2011
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Port Stephens, Australia
Connecting people and planet to promote change
People are the solution to environmental change. This is my #Eco Warrior space

As an ecologist, digital media specialist and founder of Eco Change and my newest and most exciting venture Build Your Business Online (BYBO), I bring a unique combination of scientific knowledge and online experience to the environmental and small to medium business sectors. With over 16 years experience, I am a forerunner in the green digital media and communications space. Personally passionate about the planet I have dedicated my life's work to creating meaningful dialogue that progresses us towards a sustainable low carbon future for all.

I want to help small to medium businesses on how to use the internet to build their online presence so their customers find them, fall in love with them and never leave them. I also hope that if more businesses use the internet to connect and do business that it will reduce their footprint and that I may be able to help spread the eco love around. 

Build Your Business Online was founded in January 2012.

I was juggling environmental work with digital media work for local businesses but was getting a little tough. I had the same desire to help local businesses and I am now working hard to expand my new business. Please follow me @buildyourbizonline Twitter @BYBObiz and my Facebook Page @BYBOBiz

I love tech gadgets, the internet and believe that social media is changing our world and the way we interact in some very fundamental ways, mostly for the better. 

Strange - before I was a full time environmentalist I used to work in the IT industry from when I was very young and now feel like I am going back to my roots but in a green, social cyber way. I remember when Microsoft first hit the scene, we all hated it. There is one thing I have learnt and this is to never say never when it comes to technology and the internet. 

People Power rocks!

Love outdoors, gardening, dogs, family, friends, ocean, things in miniature, bike riding, being green and not in this order

Bragging rights
People and Planet and Digital Media are my passions
  • University of Newcastle, Australia
    Digital Media Masters, 2009 - present
  • Charles Sturt University
    Ecology, 1998 - 2001
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