This blog is hosted on Ideas on EuropeIdeas on Europe Avatar


Prosperity versus pollution in Germany

The energy transition known as the “Energiewende” in Germany is key to Europe’s economic success in the future. It is not just about putting up wind farms and solar panels in order to reduce greenhouse gas emissions: it is also about using energy storage to create smart energy and transport systems, that will no longer be dependent on burning the fossil fuels of coal and oil. The knowledge gained by the implementation of the energy transition in Europe, will itself become an export commodity to countries such as China and India, which are desperate to move away from polluting coal fired power stations, not only to fight climate change, but also to improve the air quality for their own citizens.

There is some resistence to EU environmental protection regulations from those “Bundesländer”, federal states in Germany, that have traditionally depended upon coal for employment. In an article of 22nd August 2017 published on the website of entitled, “Braunkohle-Länder fordern Klage”, which translates as lignite states call for legal action: it was reported that the Minister President of Saxony, Stanislaw Tillich had written a letter to the Minister of Economic Affairs, Brigiite Zypries, of the German federal government complaining about stricter EU regulations limiting the emissions of mercury and nitrogen oxide from lignite burning power stations. Tillich – who was writing on behalf of his own state of Saxony and three other states of Brandenburg, North Rhine-Westphalia, and Saxony-Anhalt involved in the open-cast mining of lignite and electricity generation from burning lignite – said that to keep to the EU’s regulations would be technically impossible.

However the answer for Germany’s future economic prosperity will not be to fight against the EU’s climate protection and anti-pollution regulations, but rather to phase out the open-cast mining of lignite altogether. In the process new technology will be developed to bring many more local clean energy power sources onto the electricity grid. This will involve retraining and re-employment of management and workers – who previously worked in the fossil fuel energy sector – to implement the energy transition successfully. Instead of resisting the EU’s environmental regulations: politicians, energy companies and unions should now be lobbying the EU institutions for grants to help with these structural changes of energy supply towards renewable energy and storage technology, that will phase out fossil fuels, in order to create a clean and sustainable energy future.

©Jolyon Gumbrell 2017



Recent Articles

Climate change and war

Published on by | Comments Off

An art exhibition in Germany illustrated the tragic price of the migration crisis that is now effecting Europe. The theme of an art installation called Lampedusa 361 was about refugees who have drowned in the Mediterranean, while trying to make the sea crossing from Africa to Europe. The installation which has been exhibited in Dresden […]

The Brexit business exodus

Published on by | Comments Off

One of the consequences of Brexit is that companies and organisations – which have head offices in the UK – are now looking to relocate their business premises to other European countries. Brexit is all about risk because the UK will be giving up the safety of the European Single Market, when the country finally […]

Water, Agriculture and Renewable Energy

Published on by | Comments Off

How could we save Europe, help refugees and fight climate change at the same time? It would be hard to deny that the refugee crisis – caused by wars in Syria, Iraq, and Afghanistan – has put a terrible strain on Europe, as millions of people from these war torn regions have sought refuge within […]

A vote for destruction

Published on by | 1 Comment

Since June 23rd volumnes of analysis and comment have already been written in newspapers and online, about the United Kingdom’s decision to leave the European Union as the result of a referendum. However, nobody fully understands all of the consequences of Brexit, as 43 years of treaties – between the United Kingdom and her nearest […]

The European Hydrogen Road from Sheffield to Bochum

Published on by | Comments Off

A chain of hydrogen refuelling stations from Sheffield to Bochum could be the first stage in joining up the dots of hydrogen road transport across Europe. The first commercially operating hydrogen refuelling station in this chain is already in place at the Advanced Manufacturing Park near to Junction 33 of the M1 in South Yorkshire, […]

A renewable energy deal for Europe

Published on by | Comments Off

A renewable energy deal for Europe could provide employment, revive Europe’s economy, and fight climate change. Renewable forms of energy such as wind and solar power along with the component of energy storage, will not only fight climate change by reducing CO2 emissions, but also provide fuel for motor vehicles and be the basis of […]

The obsolescence of coal and oil

Published on by | Comments Off

If it were not for the traumatic events Europe is experiencing at the moment – the refugee crisis as thousands of people flee the war in Syria and Iraq, and head towards Europe; or the horrific terrorist attacks in Paris – then a very different story would occupy Europe’s media. It would be the revolution […]

UACES and Ideas on Europe do not take responsibility for opinions expressed in articles on blogs hosted on Ideas on Europe. All opinions are those of the contributing authors.