Observing the renewable energy transition from a European perspective

Archive for the month “May, 2014”

Dessau-Roßlau Urban Gardening

140 km from Berlin, in Dessau-Roßlau, local authorities are stimulating the development of a local economy. Since the fall of the Iron Curtain in 1989, the city is in decline and lost more than a third of its original 100,000 inhabitants. As a consequence there is a lot of space available that nobody is interested in and the municipal authorities are unwilling/unable to maintain these empty spaces. In order to halt people from leaving Dessau, the city offers each of its citizens a piece of soil of 20m*20m, for free and for 10 years guaranteed. The idea of having gardens in a city is not new and has its origins in New York of the seventies, keyword “guerilla gardening“. This development could become big in a world of declining economy, increased unemployment and poverty, receding welfare state, sky-high fuel prices, and as a consequence with limited transportation possibilities.

[] – Urban agriculture


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The Crimean Fossil Dowry

Two Pentagon insiders make the case that the West screwed-up majestically with their sponsored Maidan-coup. The coup triggered the Crimeans to seek refuge in the Russian Federation. Under-reported so far is that they potentially took a considerable gift with them:


By absorbing the Crimea, Russia automatically gained control over a much larger area of the Black Sea for oil and gas exploration and exploitation, all at the expense of the Ukraine.

[] – Crimea: an EU-US-Exxon Screwup
[] – In Taking Crimea, Putin Gains a Sea of Fuel Reserves

JODI Database

Here a pointer to an interesting source of data concerning detailed national fossil fuel production, the JODI (Joint Organizations Data Initiative) database, an alternative for EIA data.


Richard Heinberg on Fracking

Youtube text: Recorded February 25th, 2014 in Vancouver, BC. Richard Heinberg speaks on his newest book, covering the short-term nature of the recent North American oil boom and the financial bubble that supports it. Heinberg covers the implications of the 2016-2017 peak in unconventional output by providing essential information for any community facing the false promises of companies planning to extract reality

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Recoverable Monterey Shale Oil Reserves Slashed By 96%

Bad news for those peak oil deniers who had hoped for a bright future with endless supply of shale oil. US authorities downgraded by 96% the estimated amount of recoverable oil buried in California’s vast Monterey Shale deposits, deflating its potential as a national “black gold mine” of petroleum. The Monterey Shale formation contains about two-thirds of the nation’s shale oil reserves. So, not 13.7 billion barrels are recoverable but merely 600 million.


We repeat: Peak Oil 2018.

World’s Top 10 Agricultural Exporters


Agricultural export in billion $ (2008):

USA 118
Netherlands 79
Germany 71
France 68
Brasil 55
Belgium 41
Italy 37
Canada 37
Spain 36
China 36

Source: FAO statistical yearbook 2010 (bottom right picture).

In other words, food exports are mainly realized by the West, a reality that reflects the food security map below:


[] – Who Are the Net Food Importing Countries?

600 MW Dutch Offshore Gemini Wind Park Takes Major Hurdle

The Dutch authorities purchased 150 4 MW windturbines to be installed in the Gemini offshore wind park, 85 km north of the Netherlands. Contractor: Siemens. Total installed power: 600 MW, or 2.6 TWh/year, enough for 1.5 million people. Order volume: > 1.5 billion euro.


$400B Russian-Chinese Gas Deal

Well done, America! By investing merely $5B in the overthrow of a legitimately elected democratic government in Kiev, using neo-nazi useful idiots as a tool for the dirty work, Washington managed to drive Russia into the arms of China and en passant deprive Europe of $400 billion worth of fossil fuel that cannot be replaced in the process. And you bet this was on purpose. Everything was done to prevent a rapprochement between Europe and Russia and keep Europe in a subservient position to the US. This could only happen due to Europe having no credible leadership, unlike Russia and China. It is time that Europe reconsiders its relationship with the US, get rid of Washington and NATO and go Eurasian.

One significant aspect though is that the gas will no longer be paid in dollar. And why should it? China has a broad palette of products to offer in exchange for natural gas from Russia.

[] – Russia and China seal historic $400bn gas deal
[] – ​‘EU has no reason to worry Russia-China gas deal will affect supplies’
[] – Who needs the United States? Not Russia and China
[] – Eric Margolis: The Deal of the Century
[] – 30-Jahres-Vertrag mit China: Was Putins Gas-Deal für Europa bedeutet

A Sunny Sunday in Germany: 74% Electricity From Renewables

On Sunday May 11, 2014, Germany broke another renewable energy production record: 74% at noon. Overall in Q1-2014, 27% of electricity in Germany were generated renewable: 40.2 billion kWh, up from 35.7 in Q1-2013. Official German energy policy: 100% renewable in 2050 (not just electricity).


Europe Wants to Break Chinese Solar Supremacy

European industry and institutions wants to reverse the tide of Chinese dominance in the market for solar panels and build a giant factory with a capacity of 1 GW per year, with 1200 employees. Initial investment required: 1 billion euro. Leading institutions behind the push: Fraunhofer Institut für Solare Energiesysteme (ISE) in Freiburg, french INES (Institut National de l’Énergie Solaire) and the private Swiss Zentrum für Elektronik und Mikrotechnik (Centre Suisse d’Électronique et de Microtechnique, CSEM). If the plans are realized, the world’s largest solar panel factory would emerge in Freiburg, near the location where the borders of Germany, France and Switzerland meet, within three years. A pilot could start next year. An important goal is to lower the price of solar panels to the tune that it can compete with China. According to some estimates, the price could be 20% below of what Chinese manufacturers are currently asking.


Our take: how about diverting 1 billion euro from the Iter fantasy project? Solar panels are proven technology and it is high time that all European households cover their roofs with panels, made in Europe, starting *now*.

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