GERMANY – DREAMS COME TRUE!

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Germany and German culture caught my attention a long time ago and became one of the most desirable countries to visit. After numerous problems encountered on the way to my dream, finally I succeeded! Finally! I’m going to Germany for three weeks! Thanks to my friends who have decided to get married and invited me to their place for engagement.

Overflowing with emotions, I tried to plan thoroughly my trip for be able to see all possible places possible with my modest budget. But it turned out even better than I could imagine.

The main place of my stay was Bonn – the capital of the Federal Republic of Germany (1949 -1990).

My main attention was paid to a cultural program which included visiting countless number of museums, churches, walks along the river, parks, and of course included “cultureless” adventures.

Various museums were visited, the famous Bonn Beethoven Museum and the museum of Egyptian culture in the University of Bonn, archaeological, historical, national, and for me as an architect were the most interesting art and architectural museums. For the first time in my life I saw the originals of famous artists such as Picasso, Andy Warhol, Salvador Dali, Max Ernst, Malevich, Ernst Ludwig Kircher, Marc Chagall, Otto Dix etc.

Because of this “cultural injection” I was in paradise, and like a drug addict I searched actively for the next “dose of art ecstasy”.

Incidentally, with regard to drug addicts, there is in Germany a special Government programme for drug addicts with strict control and drug addicts get for free their optimum desirable drug dose. So everyone is happy: for the addicts there is no need to rob, kill for “a moment of happiness,” plus well controlled what they use and where, also HIV protection. Very clever position, isn`t it ?! 😉

But let`s come back to one of my favorite topics – art museums. Of course, I was inspired and excited. Some of the masterpieces by world – renowned genius was fascinating, but some of them was weird.

Simply I love this series of works 🙂

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This work by Jasper Johns is best known for his painting Flag (1954-55), which he painted after having a dream of the American flag. But this installation looks like the execution of Tartars rather than art. So, I realised that prefer his works with flag.

Beethoven House and Square

Bonn Minster Church and sculpture in front of Bonn Minster

A particular interest for me was Government Buildings and I had the luck to visit all of them: Bundestag, UN building, World Conference Center,  Deutsche Welle, and not governmental but quite famous – Post Tower, which is the headquarters of the logistic company Deutsche Post DHL. The Post Tower is a 162.5-metre, 41-storey office building in Bonn, Germany. It was designed by German-American architect Helmut Jahn and won the 2002 Silver Emporis Skyscraper Award.

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I was pleasantly surprised and delighted with a huge number of solar panels and wind turbines that I saw there.It was the feeling that all power sector based on the Renewable Sources.

WP_20160330_13_02_26_ProThe love to renewables we can see even in museums, one of the examples was made by Isa Genzken, is a contemporary artist who lives and works in Berlin

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


In search of new adventures, I explored the cities closest to Bonn (Cologne, Koblets, Dusseldorf.  We also went to Hamburg a major port in northern Germany.Moving on Bonn-Hamburgautobahn I hoped to see some German cities, towns, buildings, but unfortunately no. But the number of windmills impressed me. It was the feeling that time to time I was in a windmill forest.

Also I was pleased with the number of electric vehicles on Germany’s streets: BMW i3, Tesla Model S, Mercedes-Benz, Volkswagen etc.

According to the NPE the market preparation phase has seen Germany move toward becoming a leading supplier of electric cars, with 17 vehicle models from its own domestic car makers. One of the reason for increasing number of electrovehicles is the increase of number charging stations, which are one of the big issues for electric transport (I`m not talking about new regulations on the sector).This is because they all operate on the basis of one of the two technologies. In the first case, as the power source battery used in the second – the hydrogen engine.


About Hamburg, I could write a lot, but I will mention only one of the unusual events for myself, which I have visited, this is Miss Kenya Germany 2016.

Beautiful girls introduced their culture, African music etc. The atmosphere  was so inspiring that I joined and even succeeded (to my own surprise) in a hip hop battle afterwards! 🙂

Miss Kenya Germany 2016, Hamburg: FatumaHanke and her amazing support by folk dancing Maasai

Wind energy essential for Ireland’s future, but communities must benefit

By John Arnold

By John Arnold

We in GEAI have published our position paper on Wind Energy with some controversial conclusions. Our main position is that “The development of wind energy is an essential part of the development of low-carbon energy generation in Ireland but such development must have genuine benefits for and buy-in from the Irish people.”

Our EVS volunteer and researcher Irina Tiugan explains, “We fully support wind energy development, on-shore and off-shore, but not the approach that has been taken so far to such developments; communities must be at the core of the planning process. If communities are involved in wind energy projects, they have more chance of success. In Germany, France and Scotland, we have seen that the involvement of the community in the development process has led to general acceptance and a faster implementation of the project. In other words, if people genuinely benefit from local wind energy projects, opposition to them is far less.”

The potential of wind energy to contribute to creation of a low-carbon Ireland is huge. Ireland is the second windiest country in Europe after Scotland, and it has a great potential for wind power. At present, wind produces less than 20% of Irish electricity consumption while the country spends billions every year importing fossil fuels.

GEAI fully supports and encourages community ownership of wind energy projects and small neighbourhood wind energy projects.  “Many studies show that if people have buy-in they will accept wind energy development”, said Irina.

We encourage Government to move effectively towards a collaborative planning approach in the development of wind energy as a national resource owned by and benefiting the Irish people. “With this Position Paper we want to contribute to a scientific-based debate around wind energy in Ireland, as well as to help in building a  sustainable, low-carbon and fair country,” Irina concluded.

An overview of fracking in the EU

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The European Union lacks a common policy on fracking. Some countries are convinced supporters while others have banned it for safety and environmental reasons. This disagreement between the member states prevented the passing of a Directive regulating shale gas exploitation, resulting in the European Commission being restricted to adopting certain “recommendations“.

Recently the European Parliament published a briefing document highlighting the fracking policies of the members states. There are three groups: those that support fracking, those against, and those that still don’t know if they support or not. The UK is a very particular case, because it lies on both sides of the divide.  The following summarises the report:

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England (UK).  The British Government is in a “dash for gas”, despite some of the governing coalition MPs supporting a ban on fracking due to its environmental and health impacts. During the parliamentary debate, the Government accepted a Labour amendment that banned fracking from 40% of the shale gas areas previously offered for exploration.

Northern Ireland (UK).  The Stormont Executive has issued four exploratory licences that include the possibility of fracking. Two of them are still active. Drilling is about to take place in Ballinlea, near the Giant’s Causeway, and in Carrickfergus, beside a water reservoir near Belfast. Another licence was terminated by the Government but it is still open for new companies to apply.

Poland. This country has the largest resources in Europe, according to the US Energy Information Authority. However, the first exploration wells have shown disappointing results, and prompted some operators e.g. Chevron and Exxon, to leave Poland.  New laws to facilitate fracking have been passed but in June 2014 the EU Commission “opened legal proceedings against Poland, on the grounds that the new law infringes the environmental impact assessment (EIA) directive by allowing drilling at depths of up to 5000 metres without having assessed the potential environmental impact.”

Denmark. Despite being one the main promoter of renewable energies in Europe, Denmark approved exploratory drilling in 2014.

Spain. Spanish government supports shale gas development after putting a break on renewable energy development. Some of the regions have tried to ban fracking, but the Constitutional Court have declared that those moratoriums are unconstitutional.

Lithuania. The European Parliament report shows that this Baltic country “is the process of introducing “investor-friendly shale gas regulations”, but companies like Chevron “pulled out the country citing an uncertain legal framework”.

Romania. This country lifted an earlier ban in 2013 and is supportive of shale gas. The reports point out the “Chevron started exploratory drilling in  in May 2014”.

 

Countries against

Bulgaria. In January 2012 this country imposed a moratorium on fracking and revoked licences for shale gas exploration.

France. In 2013 French Constitutional Court upheld a ban on fracking approved two years before. France has some of the largest estimated shale gas reserves in Europe but President François Hollande has promised to maintain the ban on fracking as long as he is in office.

Scotland (UK). In January 2015 the Scottish Government called for a moratorium on fracking.  “This moratorium will continue until such time as the work I have set out to Parliament today, including a full public consultation and a full public heatlth impact assesment, is completed”, Scottish Energy Minister Fergus Ewing said. Moreover, Scotland is expecting to get control over minerals rights in the enlargement of Home Rule promised after the independence referedum last year.

Wales (UK).  The Welsh Assembly called the Government to do “everything within its power to prevent fracking from taking place in Wales until it is proven to be safe in both an environmental and public health context.” The Welsh Government wants to achieve the same level of control over mineral rights as Scotland.

 

Maybe 

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Ireland. Our country declared a moratorium on fracking in 2012, when the Government decided not to issue any licences until the completion of a 2-years research program. Three licensing option were granted in 2010, but no decision will be made until 2017, when the research is finished.

Germany. The biggest European economy still doesn’t have a policy on fracking. The president of the Federal Environmental Agency said that “as long as there are no firm statements on the risks of this technology and how they can be controlled, there should be no fracking activity in Germany for the purpose of shale and coalbed gas extraction”. “But fracking has not been prohibited“, she remarked.

Netherlands. The European Parliament report points out that “shale gas exploration in the Netherlands gas been suspended, while a study to be completed in 2015 on its environmental and social effects is carried out.

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