22 Dec 2014 | Ellen Thalman

In the media: Funding research vs. subsidies, matching supply and demand for renewables, how ecological are E-cars?

Die Welt

“Climate Change; The smarter way to produce energy”

It is time to find a smarter way for preventing climate change, and not a model that defies countries’ economic interests, writes the head of the Copenhagen Consensus Center at the Copenhagen Business School, Michael Wübben, in a guest commentary in Die Welt. Despite huge global efforts and discussions such as the recent UN climate conference in Lima, Peru, emissions continue to rise, while only a small fraction of the world’s power is produced by wind and sun, he says. And that power is far too expensive – both in Germany, the West and in developing countries, he writes. The money countries are forking out in subsidies to boost renewables is not well spent, he says. Instead, that investment should be made in research and development that will both increase demand for renewables and push their price below that of fossil fuel-derived power. Wübben cites studies showing that every euro spent on research and development in renewable energy will generate 11 euros for climate protection and society, as opposed to 3 “useful” cents for every euro spent on EU climate policies currently. 

Read the article in German here.



“Smart ideas rather than new power installations” 

The renewables industry is assuming a new role in helping stabilise the energy network by introducing new models to deal with fluctuating power production from wind and sun, writes Bernward Janzing in the taz. The aim is to match electricity from renewables when it is generated with demand from large customers, he says. Several companies are already working on projects, some involving special software that helps manage supply and demand in an economically optimal manner. 



“How ecological are electric cars in reality?”

Electric cars don’t spew emissions while driving, but they do use electricity that is currently still heavily dependent on coal-fired power plants in Germany, writes the Handelsblatt. Germany aims to raise the number of E-cars on its roads to one million by 2020 from 20,000 now. Citing a study by the Institute for Energy and Environmental Research in Heidelberg, the Handelsblatt says that over their lifetime, battery operated cars will have a similar effect on the climate balance as conventional cars, if they are reliant on the German electricity mix. As long as renewables do not comprise the lion’s share of that mix, electric cars will make little impact on the climate. In addition, their battery life is too short and producing the batteries is too energy-intensive.

Read the article in German here.

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