Archive for the ‘Germany’ Category

It’ll cost $45 billion, but Germany proposes to eliminate coal in 19 years

January 28th, 2019
Cooling towers at German coal plants

Enlarge / The Jänschwalde lignite-fired power plant of Lausitz Energie Bergbau AG. (credit: Patrick Pleul/dpa-Zentralbild/ZB)

On Saturday, a German commission made up of federal and state leaders as well as industry representatives, environmentalists, and scientists agreed on a proposal to close all of Germany's 84 remaining coal plants by 2038. The proposal is expected to be adopted by Chancellor Angela Merkel's government, according to the Los Angeles Times.

The closures would be compensated with €40 billion ($45.7 billion) in government aid, which would be directed toward communities hardest hit by coal closures. Currently, coal is a major component of Germany's energy sector. Last year, it provided the country with 38 percent of its energy, according to the Fraunhofer Institute. The country is situated near substantial resources of cheap lignite coal.

Germany has been making strides to reduce its carbon footprint, and last year, renewable energy surpassed coal as part of the country's energy mix for the first time. Solar, wind, hydroelectric, and biomass resources together produced 40 percent of Germany's energy.

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Posted in coal, Energy, Germany, Policy, science | Comments (0)

“Security researcher” dumps files of German chancellor, legislators, bloggers

January 4th, 2019
A screenshot of the Twitter account of "_0rbit" before its suspension. Over the last week of December, files with personal data of hundreds of German politicians, bloggers, and celebrities was posted via links from the account.

Enlarge / A screenshot of the Twitter account of "_0rbit" before its suspension. Over the last week of December, files with personal data of hundreds of German politicians, bloggers, and celebrities was posted via links from the account.

Over the past week, someone using the Twitter handle "_0rbit" and describing themselves as a "security researcher" and "artist" published archive files appearing to containing personal data belonging to an array of German politicians. The apparent victims include Chancellor Angela Merkel, members of the Bundestag (Germany's parliamentary body) and the European Parliament, as well as regional and local officials.

Today, a German government spokesperson acknowledged that at least some of the documents appear to be genuine, dating back to 2017. German deputy government spokesperson Martina Fietz told reporters that "personal data and documents belonging to hundreds of politicians and public figures were published on the Internet... the government is taking this incident very seriously." The data includes home addresses, mobile telephone numbers, letters, invoices, and copies of identity documents.

While the Twitter account, Blogger page, and other websites associated with the breach have been taken down, dozens of mirror sites remain up and running. Fietz said that none of the data regarding Merkel reviewed thus far contained sensitive information—Merkel's data included copies of letters she had sent and received, two email addresses apparently tied to the Chancellor, and a fax number.

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Posted in Biz & IT, Bundestag, doxing, Fancy Bear, Germany, GRU, Policy | Comments (0)

Renewables, led by wind, provided more power than coal in Germany in 2018

January 4th, 2019
Several offshore wind turbines.

Enlarge / Gode wind farm off the coast of Germany. (credit: Ørsted)

According to the Fraunhofer Institute, Germany's renewable power sector produced more electricity than coal in 2018 for the first time ever, with renewables providing 40 percent of the year's produced electricity and coal providing 38 percent.

Of course, "renewables" include an aggregate of different sources—solar, wind, hydroelectric, and biomass—while coal is just a single fuel source (renewable energy has not yet displaced all fossil fuel use in Germany, you'll note). But coal has long been a staple of the country's energy mix, and Germany looks poised to reduce the amount of coal-fired power on its grid significantly, even shutting down its last coal mine in November. From now on, coal for the approximately 120 coal-fired power plants that still power the German grid will be imported from the US, Russia, or Colombia, according to Bloomberg.

The massive year for renewables was led by continued expansion in the wind energy sector. German wind power output was up 5.4 percent year over year, and output is expected to increase again in 2019. Alone, wind contributed to covering 19 percent of Germany's 2018 electricity demand, the largest source second only to lignite coal.

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Posted in coal, Germany, Policy, renewables, science | Comments (0)