Hermann Scheer, german renewable energy pioneer, dies

Scheer, along with fellow Bundestag member Hans Josef Fell, crafted Germany’s feed-in policy in the early 90s. As a result, approximately 60 percent of the world’s wind farms and 70 percent of its solar panels are located in the country. Other countries saw how renewable energy allowed Germany to add to its grid and its employment rolls and slowly, but with increasing speed, began to follow suit.

"If we can defeat climate change, it will be because of Hermann Scheer," said Travis Bradford, the managing director of the Prometheus Institute and a professor of renewable energy at the University of Chicago.

“Hermann Scheer was the George Washington of the renewable energy movement,” said ACORE President, Michael Eckhart in a prepared statement.

Scheer founded Eurosolar, the Bonn-based NGO that led so much of the popular promotion of renewable energy in Europe, as well as the International Renewable Energy Agency. He was the author of numerous publications, including: "The Solar Strategy," "A Solar Manifesto," and "The Solar Economy."

Scheer was the main architect of Germany’s pioneering Renewable Energy Act, which set up a system of incentives paid for by utilities to encourage hundreds of thousands of home owners and investors to build solar and wind power systems.

Thanks to the legislation, Germany gets 16 percent of its power from green sources, triple the level of 15 years ago, and wants to raise that to 30 percent by 2020. The law, passed by the SPD-Greens government in 2000, has been adopted in more than 50 countries.

In Germany, it has led to the creation of more than 350,000 jobs. About half of the world’s grid-based solar electricity is produced in Germany, which now has about 18 gigawatts of solar power capacity or the equivalent of 18 large coal-fired power plants.

Germany is also one of the world’s leaders in wind energy.

Scheer, named as one of Time magazine’s five "heroes for the green century" in 2002, won the Alternative Nobel Prize in 1999 for his commitment to renewable energy. Britain’s Guardian newspaper included him on its 2008 list of "50 people who could save the planet".

Scheer advised governments and parliaments in Europe, Africa, Asia and Latin America, and his books such as "The Solar Strategy", "A Solar Manifesto" and "The Solar Economy" have been published in English and other languages.

He was the founder and president of the European Association for Renewable Energies (EUROSOLAR) and chairman of the World Council for Renewable Energy (WCRE) since 2001. The two non-governmental organisations helped set up legal frameworks for renewable energy in other countries.