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Dr. Hermann Scheer

Founding Board Director In Memoriam

Born in 1944, Hermann Scheer attended the Officers School of the German Federal Army from 1964 to 1966, serving as lieutenant during 1966-67. Hermann studied economics, sociology, political science and public law between 1967 and 1972 at the University of Heidelberg and the Free University of Berlin. He received his PhD in Economic and Social Science in 1972.  Dr Scheer was appointed Assistant Professor at the Technical University of Stuttgart in the Faculty of Economics, 1972-76. He worked as system analysts at the German Nuclear Research Center from 1976-1980.

Dr Scheer was first elected member of the German Parliament in 1980, re-elected in 1983, 1987, 1990, 1994, 1998, 2002 and 2005. He served as Chairman of the Arms Control and Disarmament Committee 1990-93.  Since 1983 Hermann Scheer has been delegated by the German Parliament to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, and served as Chairman of the Committee on Agriculture between 1994 and 1997.  He holds a Doctor honoris causa, bestowed by the Technical University of Varna (Bulgaria).  Dr Scheer has chaired as well as initiated numerous international research and development conferences.

 His work has been honoured with the inaugural SolarWorld Prize (1998), the inaugural World Prize on Bioenergy (2000), the Alternative Nobel Prize (Right Livelihood Award, 1999), and the Gold Medal of the Union for Small Hydropower. TIME Magazine recognised him in 2002 as one of five “Heroes for the Green Century.” He also received the World Wind Energy Award (2004).

Dr. Scheer’s work was dedicated to a broad shift in the energy basis of modern civilization: from fossil and nuclear resources to renewable energies. He demonstrated both necessity and feasibility of this transition in his five books: The Stored Sun (1987), The Solar Age (1989), Solar Strategy (1993), The Solar Economy (1999) and Climate Change. From the Fossil to the Solar Culture (2002). In addition, Dr Scheer has also authored more than one thousand articles.

The Solar Strategy (1993) has been published in eight languages; the English version is entitled "A Solar Manifesto". The Solar Economy (1999) is distributed in eleven languages; the English publication is “Solar Economy”. These two volumes are acknowledged as the most widely read books on renewable energy worldwide, combining new technological, economical and cultural issued with policy recommendations, from the local to the global scale. They suggest that the transition to renewable forms of energy with the aid of modern technologies will lead to a “solar information society.” This shift creates the most important and promising structural change of civilisation since the beginning of the industrial age and leads to manifold benefits for societies: mitigating climate change, and overcoming national security issues, addressing the mounting water crisis, cleaning the cities, improving the health of the people, revitalizing the agricultural economy, creating new industrial jobs and fighting underdevelopment and deprivation in the developing world.

In 1988, Dr. Scheer founded the non-profit European Renewable Energy Association EUROSOLAR, and in 2001 the non-profit World Council for Renewable Energy (WCRE), serving as President and. General Chairman, respectively, of the two non-governmental organizations on a honorary basis. Through these institutions Dr Scheer elaborated his original policy concepts for renewable energy disseminations, and initiated legal frameworks in Germany and the European Union. He has done so both in his capacity as a Member of Parliament, and by advising governments and parliamentarians in Europe, Africa, Asia and Latin America.

In these roles Hermann Scheer’s most successful policy innovations were accomplished:

- the fully implemented 100,000 photovoltaic solar energy roof program
  in Germany, the world’s first mass implementation program;

- the German Renewable Energy Act, which has made Germany the leader in
  renewable energy installation, with a strong emphasis on decentralized,
  locally/privately owned renewable energy capacity below 5 MW per installation.

- full tax exemption for all biofuels, affording a lower price level for renewable
  fuels when compared to fossil fuels.

The revolutionary German National Renewable Energy Act (Erneuerbare-Energien-Gesetz, EEG) provides the major boost for the renewable energy technology industries sector, generating more than 150,000 new jobs and triggering annual renewable energy growth rates of 30 percent. Based on these exemplary results, more than 50 other locations have adopted this model, adapting it to their own requirements.

Dr. Scheer was the intellectual founding father of the Renewables 100 Policy Institute. At his urging, the organization was founded to advance the global 100% renewable energy goal, which he believed to be both critical for human civilisation and feasible. Dr. Scheer died in October 2010.  His spirit, analysis, principals, and passion will continue to inform the efforts of Renewables 100 Policy Institute.