The big news of the week is Eon is leaving conventional energy. The surprise to many people is that Eon has not done this before. Nursing huge losses as a result of ignoring renewables, hit by the nuclear shutdown and having to close gas and coal plants the company has decided to concentrate on renewables and “energy services” such as smart grids. As this blog has covered before the energiewende has led to problems but also a huge switch to renewables and a decline in coal fired power (despite what the critics say).
The fact that Eon is leaving conventional energy is a huge boost for renewables and will be very significant worldwide. All the big German energy companies have a long to go on this front since the great majority of renewable generation in Germany is owned by private individuals, community groups or regional companies. Less than 5% of non-hydro renewables is owned the German “big four”. Like Denmark this community ownership has largely neutered opposition to onshore wind. Also most wind farms are a few turbines (the picture I took above being a fairly typical view) not huge commercial conglomerations like in the UK or US where there is little community ownership
The final reason Eon is leaving conventional energy is the new German climate bill passed last week which mandates a 40% cut on 1990 emissions by 2030. This will lead to closure of more gas and coal fired power plants.