Solar Energy, the Primadonna Power: a lecture by Dr. Hermann Scheer
From: 09 July 2008 To: 09 July 2008

Photovoltaic energy (PV) is the primadonna of renewable energy technology. Currently, it only generates just a small part of total renewable energy  supply, less than wind, hydro power or biomass. It also bears by far the biggest potential, larger than that of all other renewable energy sources,  larger than anything to which fossil fuels and nuclear power could ever aspire. Photovoltaics are the most promising of all energy technologies, giving us the best option to overcome global energy crises.

Solar energy radiation is the only primary source directly exploitable every place on Earth. It therefore offers everyone free access to energy, and  moreover to electricity, that most modern and multifaceted form of energy services. Thus, PV facilitates energy freedom for everybody, free from discrimination, artificial national borders and administrative hurdles, and free from dependency on energy monopolies.

Moreover, PV technology makes modular electricity production possible. Every single PV module can work independently, whether it measures 5 square centimeters or 5 square meters, giving the technology unique flexibility.

More importantly, PV modules can be installed within a few hours, big PV power plants in just weeks–in contrast to the several years of construction required by fossil fuel or nuclear power plants. This makes photovoltaics   particularly attractive in areas of the world where rapidly increasing energy demand has to be met. Installation can be carried out exactly where the   electricity is needed, avoiding the construction of a costly transmission network. It can therefore provide electricity immediately to two billion  people without any connection to the power grid.

Dr. Hermann Scheer:

Born in 1944, Hermann Scheer graduated from highschool in 1964. He attended the Officers School of the German ederal Army from 1964 to 1966, serving as lieutenant during 1966-67. Hermann studied economics, sociology, political science and public law between 1967 and 1972 at the University of Heidelberg and the Free University of Berlin. He received his PhD in Economic and Social Science in 1972. Dr. Scheer was appointed Assistant Professor at the Technical University of Stuttgart in the Faculty of Economics, 1972-76. He worked as system analysts at the German Nuclear Research Center from 1976-1980.

Dr. Scheer was first elected member of the German Parliament in 1980,  re-elected in 1983, 1987, 1990, 1994, 1998, 2002 and 2005. He served as Chairman of the Arms Control and Disarmament Committee 1990-93.  Since 1983 Hermann Scheer has been delegated by the German Parliament to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, and served as Chairman of the Committee on Agriculture between 1994 and 1997.  He holds a Doctor Honoris Causa, bestowed by the Technical University of Varna (Bulgaria).  Dr. Scheer has chaired as well as initiated numerous international research and development conferences.

Dr. Scheer’s work is dedicated to a broad shift in the energy basis of  modern civilization: from fossil and nuclear resources to renewable energies. He has demonstrated both necessity and feasibility of this   transition in his five books: The Stored Sun (1987), The Solar Age (1989), Solar Strategy (1993), The Solar Economy (1999) and Climate Change. From the Fossil to the Solar Culture (2002). In addition, Dr. Scheer has also authored more than one thousand articles.

In 1988 Dr. Scheer founded the non-profit European Renewable Energy Association EUROSOLAR, and in 2001 the non-profit World Council for Renewable Energy (WCRE), serving as President and General Chairman, respectively, of the two non-governmental organizations on an honorary basis. Through these institutions Dr. Scheer elaborated his original policy concepts for renewable energy disseminations, and initiated legal frameworks in Germany and the European Union. He has done so both in his capacity as a Member of Parliament, and by advising governments and parliamentarians in Europe, Africa, Asia and Latin America.

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