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A new era begins

When David passed on the editorial metaphorical torch to me for Renewable Energy Focus, I knew it was going to be a whirlwind first month or two. That was certainly the case, kicking off with a marathon trip to Germany – taking in Berlin, Hamburg, Stuttgart and Munich in an action-packed eight days culminating at the Intersolar show.

Still, a trip to Germany seemed particularly fitting in preparation for our July/August issue. Containing our annual 22-page focus report on the global renewable power generation market, it provides a sector-by-sector analysis using the latest information from the Renewable Energy Market, Installed Power and Annual Electricity Generation (REMIPEG) database maintained by German engineering consultancy Lahmeyer International.

Tough times demand tough actions

With the global industry facing a barrage of testing conditions – trade wars, policy overhauls, and tightening economic conditions generally – the report shows it’s been a tough time for many. Of course, policy plays a pivotal role. While survival in these tough times comes down to more than that (as our solar feature Survival Strategies, talking to the industry’s leading players, makes clear), when politicians use the sector for political point scoring, the impact can take its toll, as Altium Bank’s head of energy, Adrian Reed, points out here in our online feature segment.

Germany’s industry has been lucky enough to benefit from some of the most progressive policy around for years. As Lahmeyer’s findings reveal in our latest issue (available in print or digital versions), that is one reason Germany still leads the world in terms of installed renewable energy capacity generally, while topping the European league tables for various technologies.

But again, even in Germany, the renewables sector is grappling with subsidy issues and uncertainty. At the same time, its ambitions for the future are bolder than ever before. And thanks to the folk at Germany Trade and Invest, I got to delve into precisely what it will take for Germany to achieve its grand master plan to literally transform its energy sector into one powered almost exclusively by renewables - a vision for 80% of its electricity supply to come from renewables by 2050, up from 20% today. That’s no mean feat.

Germany's great task

Can it be done? One person who thinks it can is Professor Dr. Claudia Kemfert, Head of the Department of Energy, Transportation and Environment at the German Institute for Economic Research (DIW Berlin) and, significantly, a key energy adviser to the President of the European Commission Jose Manuel Barroso. But, as she discusses in our feature (Germany grapples with energy plan), not only will it cost Germany billions, it will take some major technological wizardy from its energy firms, a major overhaul of the country’s ageing energy infrastructure, and some careful master planning on the policy front. If it fails, king coal is all set to step in and increase its already sizable share of the market.

The eyes of the world will be watching carefully. For now, like Germany’s energy master planners, the eyes of the world should perhaps take a look at the village of Wildpoldsried to see precisely how 321% of energy demand – yes 321% - can be met from renewables instead (see Wildpoldsried – a vision for the future on page 28 of the July/August 2012 issue).

On that note, hello everyone! Any and all comments welcome... This is your magazine, so do make your voices heard and feel free to contact me.

Best wishes – Gail, Managing Editor, Renewable Energy Focus

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Posted 30/08/2012 by Gail Rajgor

Tagged under: Editorial , leader , latest issue , July , August , 2012 , Germany , Renewable Energy , Market

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