Poll: Germans Continue to Embrace Renewable Energy, but with an eye on the price tag



According to a new poll, 82 percent of Germans support the country’s transition to renewable energy, known as the Energiewende. The poll by the Federation of German Consumer Organizations (Verbraucherzentrale Bundesverband) found some discontent with some aspects of the project, however, particularly with the cost.

Some 52 percent of respondents called rising energy prices a disadvantage of the Energiewende. At $0.35 U.S per kilowatt hour kWh, the price German consumers pay for electricity is among the highest in Europe. Danes pay the most $0.40/kWh and Bulgarians the least $0.11/kWh.

Overall, the poll found that Germans are willing to pay more for electricity they consider safe, i.e., non-nuclear and non-polluting. Part of the increased cost comes from a surcharge for renewable energy that is paid to individuals or groups that produce “clean power” and sell it to the grid. The program, called a Feed-in Tariff FiT, has helped create a solar photovoltaic PV boom across Germany.

The installed capacity of PV the theoretical maximum amount of electricity that could be produced if all solar panels were running at 100 percent capacity in 2003 was less than half a gigawatt GW. A decade later, that figure stands at 34 GW – and growing.

Actual solar power production across Germany can be seen in real time on a site run by German solar technology manufacturer, SMA.

via Solar Power Remains Popular in Germany, Despite Cost | Earthzine.

Climate Smart Southwest – Conference

September 20 and 21 in Tucson, Arizona


xl8njrm0This conference is being organized by the Arizona Chapter of Physicians for Social Responsibility (PSR) with the support of a coalition of co-sponsoring community and national organizations as well as local leaders. The purpose is to build new and fortify existing cross-cultural, community, and governmental partnerships to educate and engage community action to address the anticipated public health impacts of climate change in the Southwest.

Why It’s Very Important: Extreme weather events in the Southwestern U.S. and adjacent Borderlands are on the rise and with them, higher incidences of health-related impacts such as heat stress, newly emerging infectious diseases, asthma and other respiratory illnesses. Moreover, as the “hottest, driest part of the United States,” our region is already experiencing longer and more intense heat waves and the threat of wide scale power blackouts, a “dramatic spike” in forest fires, severe dust storms, and changes in the amount and timing of rainfall and seasonal snowmelt that threatens water resources and food security. While these events are alarming, communities in the Southwest are preparing for these risks and other impacts outlined in the new National Climate Assessment through planning and prevention strategies aimed at reducing our vulnerability to extreme weather and local climate impacts.

Who Should Attend: Community and neighborhood leaders, formal and informal educators, citizen activists, government and non-profit agency personnel; Climate scientists, and health professionals in the Southwestern U.S. Northern Mexico, and First Nations who have an interest in community based action for preparedness to develop more resilient neighborhoods, towns, cities, borders regions, and tribal lands; National leaders and members of PSR, environmental groups, and policy making agency representatives.

For more information or to register for the conference, click here.

via Conference: Climate Smart Southwest.

National Wildfire Preparedness Upped to Highest Level


Fires burning across central Idaho (Photo credit: NASA)

United States wildfire managers today raised the National Preparedness Level to its highest point, Level 5, for the first time since the summer of 2008. (See news release below). The designation signals a high level of wildfire activity that is putting a strain on the nation’s fire-fighting capabilities.

Large fires are burning throughout the West, in Alaska, Arizona, California, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming.

The National Interagency Fire Center (NIFC) in Boise, Idaho, issues daily updates on all major (and many minor) wildfires.