Smart Grid

Separating Fact from Fiction In Accounts of Germany’s Renewables Revolution

Amory Lovins l RMI Blog  15 August 2013

RMI Blog

I recently wrote about—and debunked—the renewables “disinformation campaign” that spreads misinformed and falsely negative stories about the growth of renewable energy. A special focus of such disinformation has been reportage on Germany’s efficiency-and-renewables revolution. The impressive success so far of the German Energiewende (energy turnaround) is an important existence proof for the world, because Germany is cloudy, high-latitude, heavily industrialized, highly competitive (it rivals America’s merchandise exports with one-fourth its population), and the world’s fourth-biggest economy.

Perhaps because German success would therefore belie the supposed necessity of fossil-fuel and nuclear energy, some media regularly report the Energiewende’s failure or supposed impossibility. As I highlighted, Germany’s renewables revolution is in fact highly successful and strong as   ever, but that hasn’t stopped three myths from gaining traction in the media: 1) Germany’s supposed turn back to coal, 2) how renewables undermine grid reliability, and 3) how renewables subsidies are cratering the German economy. None of those are true, and here’s why.

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The Great Green Grid A Smart Grid That Lets Us Better Control Our Energy Use May Finally Be Ready to Launch

renewable4panel1278102398SG_opener.jpgIt's time for a smarter grid.

The U.S. power grid is woefully behind in terms of needing an upgrade. Technology has advanced, but we have lagged in taking advantage of it. While the Smart Grid does raise some questions about privacy, it answers many more about how to maximize efficiency. 

Efficiency, and the ability to include the many forms of renewable energy, are the world's best hope of getting a handle on climate change. The grid needs to be updated anyway, so detractors who claim that nuclear power is the only answer because of its baseload capacity, are incorrect. The new grid will be able to store new energy sources.

The big power plants cause the same breakdowns and intermittency they accuse renewables of. The Smart Grid will actually help eliminate those problems. Change always requires adjustment, but this adjustment will benefit all of us.

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Nuclear Power is not the Answer