German Green Tech Pioneer Hermann Scheer Dies

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Hermann Scheer, the man who crafted the legislation that turned Germany into a solar and wind powerhouse, died last week. His innovation wasn't technical, but it may prove more important than any individual breakthrough technology. Scheer got a series of feed-in tariffs through the Bundestag. The tariffs subsidize renewable energy production directly, a system that has arguably worked a lot better than the American tax incentives schemes that our legislators have favored.

His most recent book is "Energy Autonomy: The economic, social, and technological case for renewable energy."

Hermann Scheer, the German parliamentarian and author who played an instrumental role in getting the solar industry and renewable energy in general moving, has died at the age of 66. 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.

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Alexis C. Madrigal

Alexis Madrigal is a senior editor at The Atlantic, where he oversees the Technology Channel. He's the author of Powering the Dream: The History and Promise of Green Technology. More

The New York Observer calls Madrigal "for all intents and purposes, the perfect modern reporter." He co-founded Longshot magazine, a high-speed media experiment that garnered attention from The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and the BBC. While at Wired.com, he built Wired Science into one of the most popular blogs in the world. The site was nominated for best magazine blog by the MPA and best science Web site in the 2009 Webby Awards. He also co-founded Haiti ReWired, a groundbreaking community dedicated to the discussion of technology, infrastructure, and the future of Haiti.

He's spoken at Stanford, CalTech, Berkeley, SXSW, E3, and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, and his writing was anthologized in Best Technology Writing 2010 (Yale University Press).

Madrigal is a visiting scholar at the University of California at Berkeley's Office for the History of Science and Technology. Born in Mexico City, he grew up in the exurbs north of Portland, Oregon, and now lives in Oakland.

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