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Europeanising the German energy transition


The hot topic rolling in all news journals in Germany is about phasing out its nuclear power and starting to embrace renewable energy resources. It is a bleak idea to me as how Germany being the most powerful industrialized country in Europe has come with a bold decision. Is it a proxy-imperial economic subjugation?

German’s nuclear power turmoil took a serious turn after the mishap occurred at Japan’s Fukushima disaster.

When India is looking at “Opportunity cost” at this time, such things raises doubts and becomes a blanket argument while it is reviewing the existing nuclear programme. Germany is the first European country to phase out Nuclear power as it is getting exhausted with its nuclear resources and its deficit needs are met by imports. Germany’s environmentalists had hoped that phasing out nuclear plants would provide way for to “Go Green”.

Substantially, there are compounding problems in phasing out nuclear power:

  1. Renewable power sources will be costly. Consumers must be ready to pay more for electricity.
  2. A country relying entirely on renewable energy lead to variability problems in load sharing.
  3. The initial losses due to the investment will need to be enforced through subsidies
  4. This might have ripple effects across Europe thereby countries have to spend more on transmission systems who tend to follow Germany’s footsteps.

May the trash be with me….in a German Way

October 15, 2011 1 comment

Being an expat in Germany, I was thinking to write a topic on waste management for some time now.

While in Bangalore, out of the several menaces I had in my daily routine, garbage throwing ceremony happens to be a thrilling and lofty event. Seriously the problem I had was in carrying that stinking white thin plastic bags till the end of the street; identify a suitable place in the unkempt property adjacent to my house and watch for any onlookers; some are so keen watching me from their building’s first and second floors. The throwing event happens in less than a second.  At times the missile impact causes the sloppy plastic bag to open its knot and whole stuffs come out. That instant my insight hurt me for doing such ignominious activity to the environment.

I am lucky to throw them without anyone’s notice but once luck never favoured me as I got blasting from my neighbour asking not to throw in the vacant plot. He was complaining that it has become a waste dumping land to everyone and especially me (finger pointing at me). After that incident, my conscience was so feeble that I will not be able to originate a pile of my suffs on someone’s property.  But it didn’t stop….

There used to be garbage collecting tractor vehicle passing through all the streets in our area. Its visit happens everyday morning but the vehicle is superfast that when I hear the tractor entering the street, I had to rush packing the stuffs and by the time I come out of the house, the vehicle would have vanished.

Once I tried to place the stench bag at my corridor believing someone will dispose on seeing them but immediately heard a lady voice from the window. It was my ground floor neighbour and heard her saying, “Please don’t keep it here, dogs will pull it down and make it a mess in the entrance”.

How unfortunate, isn’t?

Where in this world can I go and dump those stuffs?

From that weekend, I had to spend considerable time to fill the waste in several bulged plastic bags, wait for the vehicle and had to dump them. Weekends were spent for waste management!!

Few years back while i was in my native, the municipal corporation announced a scheme that every family would receive 2 plastic cans to segregate the garbage -one for degradable and other for non-degradable items. All house hold women were ecstatic when they got the cans –white and green. My typical Indian mom brought the cans and told me “They have issued this for garbage, it is big enough and the plastic is good…I will use it to store masala items and will be air tight”. What an idea sirji??

The next time when I went to my native, I could see that plastic cans reached a majestic position in the loft and of course the masala items preserved safely in those air tight containers. I was wondering why Government has to spend so much money to create employment, manufacture and distribute those air tight containers to store only “masala items” to these home makers??

During my next visit, the green and white plastic cans were missing in the loft and when I asked my mom she said “Nowadays the guy is not taking our garbage in our “customized” can unless he sees those 2 color cans outside, so we have use them desperately for garbage”.  She had to sacrifice her containers for this waste management initiative of the government.

This is one good example as we Indians are forced to abide the law unless it is reinforced.

Germany and waste management

Protecting the environment is a hot issue in Germany. I like the “sorting enthusiasm” which Germans have been following strictly. In offices you could see four color bins-green, blue, yellow and brown meant to segregate glass, paper, packaging and bio-waste (organic substances) respectively. We can see these cans in every German household as well. This is a national color coding scheme for the bins in Germany.

One interesting recycle strategy is the compulsory deposit-return systems meant for drinks containers. I get deposit of  0.25 for all single-use containers between 0.1 to 3 litres which I use in my day today life. How interesting isn’t?

My colleagues and neighbours here will rat me if I violate these garbage rules!

Mirthful experience between the languages-English and German

September 9, 2011 1 comment

Communication is very easy sometimes if our opponent is able to understand and get all our intentions. As I have to mingle with autocratic people, language barrier remains a daunting challenge.

Some funny experiences here….

1. One fine morning, I wanted to go to registration office. As in Germany, it is mandatory to register the individual’s visa after arrival. Since it is far from my hotel, I opted to take a taxi. I dialled the number of the taxi guy and conversed in English.

SR: “I want a taxi today from Wemdinger strasse 4 at 7:15 A.M”

Taxi: “Morgen, no taxi”

SR: “I need taxi now, not tomorrow morning (Morgen in German means morning)”.

Our dialogue ball bounced back and forth like a ping-pong match and at last he acknowledged saying “OK”.

German punctuality has been a typical prejudice for several people and a story ages back to a clock (first clock) constructed by a locksmith, Peter Henlein. It was called “The Nuremberg egg”. The clock worked very exactly and that’s why lot of people got into trouble because they had to be punctual especially Germans. My kudos to Indians for getting exception here since we didn’t invent a clock..lol

Getting back to my taxi waiting story, he turned me down when I peeked out of the window… Yes, there was no taxi and I could see only my deserted street. Doubting German punctuality??

I dialled the same number again. The taxi guy picked the phone and I had to repeat the above statements again. This time it was clear to me that he was not ready to come and said very clearly “Morgen, No taxi”.

Bottom line: I could infer that he was ready to come the next day morning but not today morning…

2.My experience at a supermarket when I wanted to buy a SIM card for my VOIP connection went ruthless.

I approached a girl near the billing counter. (Generally in all shopping retails what I have seen in Noerdlingen, only women are employed at billing counters. I don’t know why…ofcourse in my earlier trip to Canada too!!)

SR: “I want to buy a SIM card”.

She immediately understood and gave me the pack. I had a query as what would be the least recharge amount every month if I want to use it for internet alone.

Ofcourse my doubts are always good enough but the same should be conveyed to the German shop vendor and make them understand. But how?? … This time I preferred to have a translator. She could identify her friend the so-called “Do you speak English?” in the most passable way.

The other girl came in and asked me “what do you want?”. I got freaked when she spoke in English. I asked her my lengthy 2 sentenced question in an easier and in a slow pace.

“I want to know whether this SIM need recharge every month or not. What is the minimum recharge amount? ”.

Both the girls were puzzled and came to a common understanding looking at each other and said “yeah..yeah..we have recharge”. The other girl at the billing counter was about to print a bill for 5 Euros.

Bottom line: Out of the two difficult sentences I uttered, their common understanding was I wanted to “Recharge” the mobile and can be done in their shop.

I literally ran out of the shop hitting forehead and laughed out loud…Pathos of my situation 🙂

Noerdlingen-a Bavarian town in a crater

September 4, 2011 2 comments

Alas!! It has been more than 10 days since I came to Noerdlingen and will erode if I don’t write about the city…well then my impressions about this small town will be the highlight of this post.

Noerdlingen, a town in the state of Bavaria has population of around 20,000 people. This town sits near the impact point of a meteorite,  Noerdlinger Ries, happened 15 million years ago has a visible  depression of the crate even now. As a tourist attraction, the town holds one of the 3 city walls in Germany with five gates, a covered walkway connecting 16 towers with total distance spanning around 3 kms.

I do like the Grocery stores and the big supermarkets with in numerous varieties to purchase especially non-veg items.

At times I never miss to hear a guard crying near the church bell tower at St. Gothic church in the middle of the town even during late nights.

Old buildings converted into houses, hotels and shops are few good attractions.

The attractions may pull me one side but the necessity to speak German makes me docile. In few months, I may start writing some German phrases on my own…watch this space for more 🙂