Renewables dominate headlines in Germany, UK, France

» By | Published 22 Feb 2013

It seems that energy policy has never been such a hot topic – at least judging by the huge media attention it is now receiving.

Today, and this week generally, has seen a blizzard of European media coverage of energy policy – with wildly differing perspectives, and arguably also in quality of reasoning.

Today in Germany, Environment Minister Peter Altmeier is strongly criticised in the heavyweight Suddeutsche Zeitung for “misleading” statements on the cost of renewables. It is claimed he exaggerates the cost and is not helping his country’s transition from nuclear to renewable energy.  Suddeutsche Zeitung accuses the Minister of creating uncertainty and fear.

In the UK the Daily Telegraph reports that an MEP has published a book attacking wind energy in Scotland. The newspaper highlights claims in the book about the amount of rental income gained by, often aristocratic, landowners from wind turbines erected on their land. The Times reported that “the MEP’s views remain outside the political mainstream north and south of the border”.

The book-writing MEP attacks the idea of making Scotland “the Saudi Arabia of renewables”, an idea The Economist sees as “not too far-fetched.” For The Economist, Scotland’s renewables industry is a strength, and the paper worries that “the biggest shadow over Scotland’s renewables industry is cast by independence” potentially making it harder for Scotland to export electricity generated by renewables to the English market.

Meanwhile French newspaper ‘Le Figaro’ prints an opinion article condemning the alleged cost of reducing nuclear energy’s share of electricity production from 75 to 50% in France, and replacing it with renewables. A previous article by the same author was called “Nuclear, a responsible and considered choice”. A very different view of nuclear is presented in The Guardian.