July 1, 2014
Dear EUROSOLAR and World Council for Renewable Energy Members, Colleagues and Friends -
Rising tensions reveal a deep crisis of government and the integrity of political leadership. Needed as never before – and sorely lacking are forward looking statesmanship, and a keen concern for ethical stewardship, of private responsibility and public accountability. Seen from central Europe this need for – and paucity of - this kind of political leadership is glaring. Around the world fossil-fuel enhanced and nuclear power driven ethnic, political and military tensions abound, with global complicity in the form of energy interest and investment collusion evident in the manifold upheavals that grip the world from the Ukraine to the China Sea.
In our own area of the geopolitical landscape EUROSOLAR is proud to have both Russian and Ukrainian Sections, in our vision of a peaceful and prosperous world dedicated to overcoming the fundamental fallacies, flaws and failures of history that are so evident in the fossil and nuclear energy regime. Only by embracing basic rights and civic needs in both the Ukraine and Russia, across China and Japan, across the African continent and throughout civil society in the Middle East from Israel to Iran can we maintain the hope that springs from a solar society, a renewable world in which the energy fuelled tensions are becoming history. As a beacon of hope, Crimea itself is home to one of the world’s largest solar power plants, developed by Austria’s Activ Solar, demonstrating the power and hopeful benefits of the feed-in tariff. Annual global investments in renewable energy have surpassed combined new investments on fossil and nuclear generation, and the planet’s most innovative industries are dedicated to and deriving great benefits from working in the inexorable turn to a renewably powered economy, industry, infrastructure and society. Equally, the intensity of global innovation in heat and power storage, intelligent networks, renewable electric mobility, and even the stabilisation and reduction of atmospheric greenhouse gas concentrations is rising exponentially.
And yet, some of our leaders are not content to simply embrace the ease and seeming inevitability of a hopeful, positive future. Even as fossil combustion fuelled global warming processes gallop towards a climate tipping point – the point of no return in any hope for mitigating action – some powerful agents still work to push their vision of a bygone era: a return to the Energy Dark Ages, the fossil and nuclear fuel bonanzas of the 20th century. Even the once-stellar solar resolve of the German government and parliament has weakened under relentless European government and incumbent industry pressure to water down, neutralise or even reverse the successes of the past, the famed 'Energiewende'. These countervailing forces - signs of the very success of the renewable energy transition – continue to dabble in such climate absurdities as the increasingly feeble support for emission trading schemes, or carbon capture and storage – CCS. These futilities are matched by irresponsible calls for subsidies for coal fired power plants – and open support for natural gas fracking by the leading figures of current coalition government. Here I am especially proud of EUROSOLAR’s active German section protesting the systematic ‘deformation’ of the feed-in tariff and other essential tools in the struggle to complete the Energiewende.
EUROSOLAR holds the course with a series of important declarations, campaigns, events and partnerships. Please allow me to give you an update of our event schedule – opportunity to meet and advance ideas and commitments:
- In Istanbul, the by now seminal IRENEC 2014 – the 4th International 100% Renewable Energy Conference
- In Versailles the World Forum and Congress on the Renewable City under the patronage and co-organisation by EUROSOLAR and the WCRE will be held on 10 and 11 July 2014.
- On October 13 and 14 we will stage the German language Municipal Utility focused Renewable Energy conference in Kassel.
- On 18 November we hold our German-language International Renewable Energy Storage Symposium on Legal Frameworks and Finance questions in Berlin.
- The European Solar Prize ceremony and conference will be held on 24 November.
- The new year will commence with our 9th International Renewable Energy Storage (IRES 2015) itself: held in cooperation with and at Messe Düsseldorf and OTTI e.V., March 9-11 2015.
2015 will be another rich year of activities – please see www.eurosolar.org and www.wcre.org for details.
Your energy, ingenuity, loyalty and support are essential in these times of crisis, times that are also filled with a wealth of opportunities in working towards the renewable, the solar age.
Prof. Peter Droege
General Chairman, World Council for Renewable Energy