Hermann Scheer, pioneering German Parliamentarian and renewable energy advocate, died earlier this month. Scheer was the driving force behind Germany's Renewable Energy Act, thanks to which Germany last year accounted for half of all worldwide solar electricity installations. I recently came across one of his last ever interviews, done by Amy Goodman over at DemocracyNow.org. The interview covers everything from the Energy Act, to the impact of political corruption on the transition to renewable energy, and the importance of energy independence.
After 30 years in the German parliament working on energy issues, Scheer has enormous insight into the political dynamics that surround renewable energy. I've posted a few of my favorite quotes below. Scheer's life work is a great example of how change happens, not just by fighting against how things are, but by building something new that makes the current situation obsolete.
--- From the Interview (see here for a full transcript):
"The tragedy of our present civilization is that it became dependent on marginal energy sources. The marginal energy sources are fossil sources, fossil resources and nuclear, based on the raw material uranium. The gigantic energy potential is the renewable energy potential always all coming from the sun, including its derivates, like wind and the photosynthetic-produced—photosynthetically produced materials, organic materials, plants, hydro-base. And the sun offers to our globe, in eight minutes, as much energy as the annual consumption of fossil and atomic energy is. That means to doubt—the doubtings if there would be enough renewable energy for the replacement of nuclear and fossil energies, this argument is ridiculous. There is by far enough."
"It is a fight. This is a structural fight. It is a fight between centralization and decentralization, between energy dictatorship and energy participation in the energy democracy. And because nothing works without energy, it’s a fight between democratic value and technocratical values. And therefore, the mobilization of the society is the most important thing. And as soon as the society, most people, have recognized that the alternative are renewable energies and we must not wait for others, we can do it by our own, in our own sphere, together in cooperatives or in the cities or individually. As soon as they recognize this, they will become supporters. Other—this is the reason why we have now a 90 percent support against all the disinformation campaigns. They have much more money and possibilities to influence the public opinion, but they lost this. They lost this conflict. In the eyes of the people, they lost the conflict. They are the losers already."
This post originally appeared on Alex's excellent personal blog openalex.