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Germany says no to Iraq war, no to Libya war, but takes lead in wind and solar, turning renewable energy vision into reality

By WcP.Watchful.Eye - Posted on 01 April 2011

left: Germany leading world in solar power; right: French fighter planes soar over Libya
Choice for mankind sharing one planet - where to spend big? To make our only Earth greener, or grayer?

Upper left: Germany Launched "5M" wind turbine, which is designed and built by Germany's REpower Company.
Center left: Germany has considerably increased the number of windfarms on off-shore locations.
Lower left: For the first time in the Solar Decathlon, a home that has produced twice the amount of energy as it used, won the first prize. And it did so in a very unusual way.
Upper right: French fighter jets soared over Libya.

Center right: French Mirage 2000 jet fighters are lined up awaiting a mission to Libya, at Solenzara 126 Air Base, Corsica island, France.
Lower right: Smoke billows as seven explosions rocked the Libyan capital Tripoli earlier this week. New air strikes have reportedly claimed at least 40 civilians.

Renewable Energy is a Reality and not a Vision. Germany gains more energy from solar technology than Japan gains from all its nuclear reactors. Development in this area occurred much faster in the last years than many expected. Ten years ago no one would have believed we could gain 17 percent of our electricity supply from renewable energy.


Klaus Topfer on the Nuclear Exodus - The catastrophe in Japan calls us to reflect about the energy concept of our government, ex-environmental minister Klaus Topfer says. Renewable energy is already a “reality.” [This interview published in: Die Tagesanzeiger, 3/26/2011 is translated from the German on the Internet,]

Germany Takes Lead in Offshore Wind - Germany is arguably one of the few countries that has not only met but surpassed its climate goals. It surpassed its environmental goals in 2010 – two years early- and is on track to meet is 2020 goals. Germany is taking the lead in offshore wind development and believes they have secured number one status with its new offshore wind park located off the Baltic Sea coast. The project is set to enter the testing phase. This week, the country is wooing renewable energy and environmental technologies to Germany during the AMERICANA conference in Montreal, Canada.

“For decades Germany has shown a dedicated commitment to environmental technologies. Only through sustainable industrial policy can we continue to foster innovation and generate economic growth independent of resource consumption. With this philosophy, Germany has created the ideal conditions for innovative cleantech companies to reach a large and sophisticated market,” said Thomas Grigoleit, Director of Renewable Energies and Resources at Germany Trade & Invest in Berlin.

Germany is arguably one of the few countries that has not only met but surpassed its climate goals. It surpassed its environmental goals in 2010 – two years early- and is on track to meet is 2020 goals. One way the country has met its initiatives is through the use of renewable energy such as wind and solar. As Europe’s leading wind energy generator and the world’s top solar power producer, Germany is now tackling some of the industries leading challenges including energy storage to compensate for a fluctuating renewable energy supply and smart energy management technologies. The country is also looking at electric mobility as an important component, with renewable electricity slated to increase as a proportion of total energy consumption.

Yet energy is not the only area upon which Germany has set its sights. The country is also researching water efficiency in agriculture and food production. With the introduction of various new research and development incentives with significant funds behind them, Germany is supporting projects contributing to the reduction of water consumption in the food supply chain.

The German PV market experienced an extraordinary year of growth in 2010, with a substantial peak in June, the month before the largest cuts in Germany’s feed-in tariff (FiT) program became effective. Germany saw an annual increment of 7,400 MW newly installed PV power last year. “This means the new solar capacity installed in 2010 was almost twice as high as that of 2009,” stated Matthias Kurth, President of the Federal Network Agency.

Germany: Sarkozy remarks dangerous: Germany has slammed French President Nicolas Sarkozy's comments about the possibility of Europe's military intervention in the Arab world. "I am very concerned by the latest public remarks, including from European partners, that we are not just talking about Libya but also about other Arab leaders," Germany's Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle told a Berlin radio station on Friday.

Referring to Sarkozy's speech at a European Union summit in Brussels late Thursday, Westerwelle said it was "dangerous" to threaten military action against autocratic Arab leaders other than Gaddafi.

"I warn against having a discussion in Europe about the possibility of military intervention everywhere in North Africa or the Arab world where there is injustice,” he said, adding that "I see this as a really dangerous discussion with difficult consequences for the region and for the Arab world as a whole."

The French president had warned Arab leaders of military intervention in case any similar movements happen in their countries, AFP reported. "France calls for there to be no violence against protesting civilians, it is their right to demonstrate," Sarkozy said. "Every leader, and [every] Arab leader in particular, needs to understand that the reaction of the international community will be the same every time."

France is at the forefront of military action against Libyan leader which many believe aims at capturing the vast oil resources of the North African country. "We do not see it as a solution that we threaten every Arab leader with military intervention by the international community and Europe every time," Westerwelle said.

Last Saturday, France, Britain and the US launched airstrikes on Libya, firing more than 120 Tomahawk Cruise missiles and conducting bombing raids on key Libyan targets. The United Nations Security Council passed Resolution 1973 on Thursday, permitting military measures to be taken in order to implement a no-fly zone in Libya.

The attacks have come under harsh criticism as they have led to the death of scores of civilians. Arab League Chief Amr Moussa said on Monday that the invasion was in violation of Resolution 1973, which calls for the protection of civilians.

At least 114 people, including civilians, have been killed and 445 others injured in the week-long campaign of US-led military airstrikes, the Libyan state TV quoted Health Minister Khaled Omar as saying at a press conference in the Libyan capital, Tripoli, on Saturday.

On Libya, France steps forward to assume spotlight - Since the Libyan crisis began last month, France has repeatedly jumped into the lead: first to recognize the Libyan opposition, first to launch fighter jets over Benghazi, first to call for an international conference about Libya’s future, first to destroy a Libyan warplane in motion. According to a poll published this week by France Soir newspaper, two-thirds of the French public approve of the way he has handled Libya, a vote of confidence sure to boost an overall approval rating that had dipped below 30 percent.

Cooperation over Libya has completed the turn away from what one senior French official called “past quarrels,” a reference to the breach in relations over France’s unyielding opposition to the 2003 U.S. invasion of Iraq and the days when French fries were renamed “freedom fries” in the Senate dining room.

NATO to investigate reports of civilian deaths in Libyan airstrikes - NATO has launched an investigation into allegations that airstrikes on Libya carried out by the international military alliance resulted in the deaths of at least 40 civilians. Lt. General Charles Bouchard, the Canadian heading the NATO mission, said he was "aware" of a news report citing an Italian Catholic bishop based in Tripoli, who claims that 40 civilians died in the capital's Buslim district after a building collapsed following a bomb raid.

NATO commander warns against attacks on civilians in Libya NATO’s operational commander is warning forces attacking civilians in Libya that they would be “ill-advised” to continue such activities. Lt. Gen. Charles Bouchard, a Canadian now heading the international operation, says the transition of command from the U.S. had been “seamless with no gaps.” Lt. Gen. Bouchard briefed reporters from his command centre near Naples on Thursday, his first day as commander of the international operation.

New York Daily News - 40 civilians reportedly killed in NATO air strikes on Tripoli; Defense Secretary to address congress

Germany Launched 5 MW Wind Turbine, which is designed and built by Germany's REpower Company. This Wind Power Turbine officially launched at a dedication event in Germany this week with over 600 guests from business and politics.

Germany country now emerging as one of the strongest wind power markets in world. In figures, wind power already meets more than 30 percent of the electricity demand in the German states Schleswig-Holstein and Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania.

The largest wind turbine in the world, a 120-meter (394-feet) capable of generating 5 MW at full output has officially inaugurated and connected to the German electrical grid.

Germany approves nearly 1,800 wind turbines in offshore seas

Germany has issued permits so far for 25 wind farms in its offshore seas, with nearly 1,800 wind turbines to be erected on stone foundations in shallow waters, a senior marine official said Monday.

The data was released in Hamburg by Christian Dahmke of the Federal Agency for Marine Transport and Hydrography BSH, which approves the plans after checking that the turbines will not obstruct shipping. The first farm, code-named Alpha Ventus, is already being built.

Of the permits, 22 are for the North Sea and three for the Baltic. Dahmke said a total of 55 applications had been filed by electricity companies and investors. German Transport Minister Wolfgang Tiefensee forecast that the ultimate number of approvals would be 40 wind farms, which he said would create 30,000 new jobs in the region.

That many could generate 12,000 megawatts of electricity, enough for 12 million homes, he told the newspaper Hamburger Abendblatt. He said he would seek cabinet approval Wednesday for regulations on the new zones.

The aim was to install 25,000 megawatts of capacity by the year 2030. The newspaper published a map of the seven preferred sites, all at places in Germany’s exclusive economic zone, outside the 12-mile territorial zone.

The German plans to build wind farms offshore, each consisting of dozens of turbines, lagged for more than a decade because of engineering problems, fears that they would become a danger and investor caution. Denmark is much further ahead in building turbines at sea.

For the first time in the Solar Decathlon, a home that has produced twice the amount of energy as it used, won the first prize. And it did so in a very unusual way. Every year the US Department of Energy has a solar competition for the best house that gets 100% of its electricity from solar panels. Most are content to supply 100% of their electricity from solar, by simply covering the roof with solar panels.

Germany’s entry; the two story Cube House was unique in that the entire house is covered by solar panels, something that most solar installers would not recommend, because walls are at the wrong angle to the sun. Walls are at 90 degrees, not the 20 or so which is the optimal angle for solar panels.

The 11 kW solar panel system was comprised of 40 solar panels (monocrystalline silicon) for the roof with 250 thin-film (copper indium gallium diselenide) panels for the walls.

These panels flipped out are at about70 degrees. At this angle they produce less power from the same panels, but a little more than if they were straight up the wall at 90 degrees. On a North facing wall this can be as low as 50%.

In addition, thinfilm is itself a less efficient solar producer, although better at ambient light conversion - so they were a better choice for this maverick wall solar idea than PV.

Bucking the common wisdom is nothing new for Germany. That is how that nation, with as little sun as Massachusetts, somehow leads the world in solar roofs. The government there simply pays people to make solar power with a Feed in Tariff, requiring electric utilities to buy from anyone who sends power to the grid, from their roof, or their field. So people do.


Photos Courtesy of: Wind Turbines | Wind Power Generators, DPA, Solar Decathlon, Citrus Times, AP, and Turkia / Getty

nice story

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