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Thursday
Nov052015

National Geographic: Germany’s energy transition as a model for the world

The October 2015 issue of National Geographic Magazine with the cover photo of Earth and “Cool It” features an informative article by Robert Kunzig entitled “Germany Could be a Model on How We Get Energy in the Future.” Kunzig provides the straight story on the evolution of Germany’s pioneering path to “energiewende” which translates to an energy transition from centralized power from coal and nuclear to distributed energy with renewable solar and wind power.  

The story is part of a National Geographic series on climate change and the latest installment under “Fix It.”  In line with Beyond Nuclear’s agenda, the story marks to birthplace of the “energiewende” in Whyl, Germany and the coalition of southwestern German farmers and nearby Freiburg university students who by direct action occupied and halted the construction of the Whyl nuclear power plant.  The coalition grew with antinuclear power movement merging with the citizens movement to oppose nuclear weapons in Germany and then even larger with the renewable energy movement.  What has evolved is a German energy revolution from the growth of grass roots individual investments in wind and solar power to larger citizen associations and cooperatives that now combine to make up fully half of the current national investment in renewable energy.  The struggle to democratize energy and ownership has arrived a country’s conventional centralized power utilities with coal and nuclear look to slow down the transition to renewables.