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Hermann Scheer dies

October 15, 2010

One of Germany's most outspoken environmental politicians has died at the age of 66. Hermann Scheer, a Social Democratic member of the German parliament, won the alternative Nobel prize for his work on renewable energy.

Hermann Scheer
Scheer is known for supporting renewable energyImage: picture-alliance/ ZB

A leading environmental supporter in Germany's political arena, Hermann Scheer, died on Thursday evening at the age of 66. Scheer's party, the Social Democrats, announced his death early on Friday, without giving any details.

Scheer was known internationally for his pro-environmental politics. He was a supporter of renewable energy and wrote many books and articles outlying his ideas. Two in particular, "A Solar Manifesto" and "Solar Economy," are considered leading publications on renewable energy.

Supporting renewable energy earned Scheer many international awards over the years, including the alternative Nobel prize, the Right Livelihood Award, in 1999.

On the forefront of European renewables

A solar panel
Solar energy was a particular favorite of Scheer'sImage: Fotolia/Franz Metelec

Politically, Scheer was a member of the center-left leaning Social Democrats. He joined the party in 1965 and was first elected to the German parliament in 1980.

In 1988, he founded the non-profit European Renewable Energy Association Eurosolar and served as its president. Thirteen years later in 2001, he created the non-profit World Council for Renewable Energy and served as its general chairman.

Scheer was also a driving force behind the creation of the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), an intergovernmental organization for promoting the adoption of renewable energy worldwide.

Domestically, Scheer was a chief architect of the German National Renewable Energy Act, perhaps one of the most far-reaching pieces of legislation passed by the then red-green coalition of Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder.

Through a system of feed in tariffs, the bill has managed to lift German renewable energy production from around 6.4 percent of electricity generation to over 16.3 percent in less than a decade.

"He was one of the first who understood the potential of renewable energies and developed practical and political strategies for their implementation," said Stefan Gsaenger, secretary general of the World Wind Energy Association.

"The great success of renewables around the world would have been impossible without him."

Author: Matt Zuvela (dapd, dap)
Editor: Rob Turner