Ireland has much to learn from Germany’s Energiewende: Plugging into the power of ‘citizen energy’ thanks to cheap renewable technologies a model common across Germany, where 31 per cent of renewable energy production is owned by its citizens, who have played a huge part in what Germans call the Energiewende – the energy transition – creating thousands of different local initiatives, co-ops and innovative business models. UrStrom also has installations across the city of Mainz, including one that completely covers the headquarters of the local police. “The EU Clean Energy Package made it clear that people living in the EU have the right to create consume, and trade their own energy,” says Klaus Grieger of UrStrom. “At the moment there is a big shift to solar. We believe it’s a human right to use the sun. You cannot tax the sun!” “Even without the climate issue it’s a no-brainer,” says Prof Peter Beck of the Trier University of Applied Sciences. “You’re adding value, independence and development instead of sending your money away to Saudi Arabia and Russia. There are now 400 villages in Germany that are basically energy independent. Mayors talk to mayors and they make it work.” With Ireland under growing pressure to meet its climate targets, the government here is due to announce a new Renewable Energy Support Scheme (RESS), which will include measures to incentivise communities and promote solar energy, which has been a slow burner here. The heatwave may have proved that there is no shortage of sun, and consultants for the Department of Climate Action believe rooftop solar can be financially viable – without supports – in at least one region by 2025 and that ground mounted PV could be viable in several regions by 2030.
Irish Times 19th July 2018 read more »