Could Germany Become The Next Shale Hotspot?

Nuclear power is out in Germany, but could shale gas soon be included in the historic German energiewende?

Up until now, opposition to hydraulic fracturing has also been very strong. But the German government is flirting with the idea of allowing oil and gas drillers to begin fracking. There has been a de facto moratorium on fracking in place for several years, but a new proposal, if passed, could open up the country to drilling by the end of the decade. Under the proposal an expert panel of six government officials would be granted authority to approve fracking at depths greater than 3,000 meters below the surface. Continue reading

Germany Considers Coal Phase Out

In 2011, Germany decided to shut down its nuclear reactors within a decade, a bold response in the aftermath of the Fukushima meltdown. The so-called energiewende – or energy transition – is an audacious plan to rapidly switch from large baseload nuclear power to renewable energy, primarily from solar and wind.

A second energy transition is being considered in Berlin. The German government is negotiating with utilities to close coal-fired power plants in order to slash carbon emissions by 22 million tons by 2020, according to Reuters. That could lead to the closure of 8 gigawatts of coal capacity. Continue reading

African states push back on Chinese oil deals

NIAMEY, Niger – In Niger, government officials have fought a Chinese oil giant step by step, painfully undoing parts of a contract they call ruinous. In neighboring Chad, they have been even more forceful, shutting down the Chinese and accusing them of gross environmental negligence. In Gabon, they have seized major oil tracts from China, handing them over to the state company.

China wants Africa’s oil as much as ever. But instead of accepting the old terms, which many African officials call unconditional surrender, some cash-starved African states are pushing back, showing an assertiveness unthinkable until recently and suggesting that the days of unbridled influence by the African continent’s mega-investor may be waning. Continue reading

Germany to Store Europe’s Energy

Power transition will result in domineering monopoly.

Whether it’s storing money, gold, armaments or sustainable energy, 2013 has seen Europe’s largest country rapidly gobble up key assets, positioning it as continental chief operating officer.

Recently Germany’s government approved €150 million of new investment capital to maintain its Energy Transition policy, or Energiewende. The program is managed by the Ministries of Economics, Environment, Education and Research.

This phase of stimulus is dubbed “sustainable power grids” and comes as part of the government’s sixth stage of energy research. Once created, these power grids will act as smart distribution centers managing supply and demand. The research has established an “Internet of Energy,” which forecasts a 10 percent reduction in domestic utility costs and a 20 percent reduction for commercial businesses. Continue reading