Craig Morris

Born in New Orleans, Craig Morris has been based (not biased!) in Germany since 1992. He is the author of Energy Switch: Proven Solutions for Renewable Future (2006). As director of Petite Planète, he also regularly translates articles and studies related to renewables. At Always Greener, he blogs about miscellaneous mundane matters.

Feed-in tariffs — the new school of thought

As a boy growing up near the Louisiana Gulf Coast, I remember looking out of the car window at times and seeing gigantic flames over the bayous: gas flares. Around 1970, the flaring of natural gas peaked. Oil prices were so low back then that marketing gas would not have been profitable. Today, far less natural gas is flared off both in terms of volume and, consequentially, as a percentage of our much higher current energy consumption. Oil prices have, of course, risen dramatically over the past 40 years, but environmentalists have also been working hard to get oil and …

Why solar won’t topple in Germany

Since the new center-right coalition won the elections a few weeks ago in Germany, onlookers from the U.S. have been expecting the country to drastically cut its support for solar. Proponents of U.S.-style policies, such as tax credits and Renewable Portfolio Standards, have also been hinting that Germany will be yet another example of how the solely production-based “feed-in rates” can overheat a system. (Germany will install close to two gigawatts of solar this year. When Spain installed 2.5 gigawatts last year, the Spanish considered the market overheated and imposed a ceiling of 500 megawatts per year.) But finally, word …

The Spanish solar collapse

There has been a lot of talk in the U.S. about the collapse of the Spanish solar market this year, commonly held to have been a solar bubble. However, few U.S. commentators seem to understand the Spanish market enough to go beyond the standard quip that the Spanish were simply throwing too much money at solar — and that feed-in rates were the culprit. A closer look reveals what Spain’s real problems were, and where those problems could happen in the U.S. as well. With feed-in rates, the extra money required to make renewables profitable generally does not come from …

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