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Initiative for an International Renewable Energy Agency

Energy Autonomy
Energy Autonomy.
The Economic, Social and Technological Case for Renewable Energy. Earthscan/James & James, December 2006.

Feed-In Tariffs - Boosting Energy for our Future
Feed-In Tariffs - Boosting Energy for our Future. A guide to one of the world's best environmental policies. World Future Council brochure, June 2007.


Article published in The West Australian, June 7th, 2007

Hermann Scheer has a message for Australia. "There is no excuse," he says. "Not a single excuse for Australia not to adopt similar legislation." Dr Scheer, a member of the German Parliament, is regarded as the architect of Germany's energy feed-in laws, which encourage renewable energy production.

He sees his role in his country’s Renewable Energy Act as one of his most successful policy innovations. His efforts also saw the implementation of the 100,000 photovoltaic solar energy roof program - the world’s first mass installation scheme. In addition to his political duties in the Bundestag (Germany’s federal parliament), Dr Scheer is also president of EUROSOLAR - the European Association for Renewable Energy - and the general chairman of the World Council for Renewable Energy.

His seminal books on renewable energy transition A Solar Manifesto and The Solar Economy have been applauded internationally as blueprints for the rest of the world to follow. And he believes Australia could do much worse than to heed his advice to embrace the German example. "If Australia would shift to renewables it would become part of the new energy, the coming energy systems of the world and it would promote Australian technology," he says. "The  countries who do it first will be the leading countries for renewable technologies. It is a key technology for the future. "When visiting Australia I have spoken with all political parties and there is a political will on the part of some individuals and not others."

Dr Scheer believes the greatest obstacle to the adoption of large-scale renewable energy initiatives is a lack of public information about the potential of the technology. Renewable energies are hugely underestimated while at the same time flawed information is disseminated that leads to wrong assumptions, he says.

"Small-minded science is ignoring the meaning of renewable energy," he says. "Society made itself dependent over a period of more than 100 years on conventional energies and the result is that it is now a burden on the economy and civilisation.

"The big question is can we replace that in time with renewable energies. But without shifting the renewable energies there is no future. Australia's population, its industrialised nature and its high education levels should make a transition to renewable energy simple.

"It is most easy. If people say you can’t do it, then you should look to which payroll they are on. There's not a technological reason. There's not an economical reason. It is only a political reason. Politics protects the conventional power sector and subsidises it."

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