Hermann Scheer, the father of German laws on renewable energy and passionate promoter of an economy based on solar energy and renewable sources, suddenly died at the age of 66 last Thursday. While his biography and many of his ideas can be easily found on the net and in various essays he published, I would like to remind what he managed to communicate to many, including the undersigned: a complex vision of a new, more pacific, democratic and clean society, achievable through a strategy for spreading solar energy and providing citizens with energy autonomy. A global vision and a prospect for future that is very rare these years. Besides, such ideas arrived from a politician, but also sociologist and economist: an all-accomplished thinker.
This man had innovative visions and ideas, but he also knew how to implement them, with his rigorous militancy as SPD parliamentarian. The German feed-in tariff is the proof of this; many countries were then inspired by it to adopt laws in favour of renewables.
People thought him to be an extremist of solar energy, but his rational model for a radical and quick transition towards renewables, leaving fossil and nuclear sources behind, made many people understand that it was not utopia, but a long-term project that required the efforts of many components of society. Some results would arrive following that direction. The world has actually gone a long way from his first publications (Solar Manifesto and Solar Strategy).
Scheer denounced the marginalisation of renewable energy in the political sphere and in research. In this connection, he often mentioned a famous quote by Albert Einstein in his speeches and books: “The methods that have caused out problems are unable to solve these problems”. For Scheer, the solution to the crisis of the world energy system would never arrive relying on those who are managing it today. He would speak about conflicts, losers and winners of this energy transition, and he named the strengths that oppose the change. He proposed local and global solutions and strategies.
The theoretical framework he built up is still very important for those who want to devote themselves to this sector, a propelling force that will continue for many years to come. For this reason, Italians are eagerly waiting for his last work, “Der Energetische Imperativ“, that has just been published in Germany and will soon be translated into Italian by Edizioni Ambiente. A book that points out the roads to be taken up for accelerating the creation of an economy based 100% on renewable sources.