Possibility of and Opportunities from the Implementation of an Energy System Powered only by Renewable Energy
On 26 August 2011 at the conclusion of the first I-CITE study tour, Renewables and Rural Energy Opportunities, the Ecologic Institute hosted a Dinner Dialogue at Augustiner am Dom in Munich with MdB Hans-Josef Fell of the German Green Party and Member of the German Parliament.
Hans-Josef Fell addressed the possibility of and opportunities from the implementation of an energy system powered only by renewable energy. He spoke to the group of 20 participants about the importance of strong political support and ambitious targets for realization of this goal.
MdB Hans-Josef Fell discusses renewable energy policy with Jeff Nelson, General Manager of East River Electric Power Cooperative in South Dakota
The motivations for realizing this future, both in Germany and also globally, Hans-Josef Fell attributed to three main drivers:
- Renewable energy and the biological capture of carbon dioxide are desperately needed to address the challenge of climate change;
- A renewable future can help avoid the host of economic, political, and environmental challenges from the current energy system of so-called conventional energy supplies (fossil fuels and nuclear) – challenges that are likely to increase in severity over time;
- Renewables open the door for the development of new businesses and new business strategies, where entrepreneurs can harness innovation to create jobs and build new industries.
"The transition to a 100% renewable future will not be easy or inexpensive," Fell reminded that participants. "By taking all costs into account and removing subsidies for fossil energies, however," Hans-Josef Fell asserted that "electricity from a new solar park is already cost-competitive with that from a new nuclear power plant and wind is cost-competitive with coal." The main obstacle for renewable energy is finding the funding for initial investments, since most costs are incurred at the planning and construction phases of the project – afterwards, the fuel (i.e. wind, sunlight) is free, except biomass. Despite this, renewables are not selected in many cases, due to the front-loading of costs. "Finding solutions to this challenge," Fell noted, "will open the door to the cost-saving potential of renewables."
Following Hans-Josef Fell's remarks, the participants engaged in a lively discussion with Hans-Josef Fell ranging from a discussion of the role of GMO crops, to the absolute potential of bioenergy resources, as well as the need for sustained political will to see the vision of a 100% renewables future to fruition. The Dialogue was moderated by Dominic Marcellino, Fellow, Ecologic Institute Washington DC.
- Ecologic Institute Project: I-CITE: Transforming Economies through Community
- First I-CITE Study Tour: Renewables and Rural Energy Opportunities
- Dinner Dialogue: Emergence of German Renewable Energy laws, and Germany’s feed-in tariff (FiT) mechanism - Christine Kamm
- Hans-Josef Fell's web site [German]