Media conglomerate Axel Springer AG is known in Germany for its populist and archconservative tone. What most don’t know is the degree to which it also owns publications across Central Europe – in which it spreads deep-seated skepticism of Germany’s energy transition, remarks Paul Hockenos.
Can the Ukraine crisis force Germany to backtrack on the Energiewende? No, regardless of Poland’s off-the-cuff critique. But it’s fueling anew the debate in Germany over supply security. Renewables could go a long way toward bolstering Germany’s energy security vis-à-vis Russia, while energy-saving measures could be the true clincher.
The Baltic states, overwhelmingly dependent upon Russian energy supplies, experience most directly the high costs of their neighbor’s political pressure on the EU. Paul Hockenos wonders if diversification including renewables could provide these countries some relief.
Germany’s Energiewende has also impacted Poland and the Czech Republic, but these effects are rarely discussed or well-understood by German lawmakers. EU-wide energy policies are needed in order to ensure that Germany’s transition to renewables is permanent, sustainable, and fair to its neighbors.
For countries with widespread and established emigrant communities, crowdfunding can be a means to support sustainable development at home, reports Paul Hockenos.
CSU party leader and Bavarian Minister-President Horst Seehofer’s sudden about-face on Südlink, the planned long-distance transmission corridor for renewable energy running through his state, is little more than political pandering to cosmetic concerns without accounting for long-term needs.
Innovative policies, including higher contributions from industry, home energy efficiency improvements, and consumer awareness of price differences between suppliers, are called for to help Germans lower energy prices during the switch to renewables, argues Paul Hockenos.
Could the Balkans export renewable energy to mainland Europe in the near future? Paul Hockenos investigates if western European investment and the resources of South Eastern Europe would create a win-win situation for everyone involved.
Renewables and climate protection, so goes common wisdom, are costly endeavors that inevitably throw a spanner in industrial economies geared for growth. But an excellent new study conducted by PricewaterhouseCoopers Advisory for the European Climate Foundation contradicts this ostensible truism. As Paul Hockenos explains, it shows that while the transition to a low-carbon energy system may indeed cost money, economies can grow – not despite low-emissions policies, but also because of them.
Germany’s northernmost region Schleswig Holstein was the first to establish an Energiewende ministry, which is now lead by the Green Robert Habeck. Paul Hockenos explains how the State became a pioneer of renewables – and the challenges that come with being the forerunner.