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About Arkona

Arkona is a management consulting company that helps entrepreneurs build businesses.

Headquarters Location

Shoreview, Minnesota,

United States

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Latest Arkona News

German Emissions From Electricity Rose 25% In First Half Of 2021 Due To The Lack Of Wind Power, Not Willpower

Jul 28, 2021

MUKRAN, GERMANY - APRIL 16: German Chancellor Angela Merkel leaves the stage after holding a speach ... [+] during the inauguration of the Arkona offshore wind park on Ruegen Island on April 16, 2019 in Mukran, Germany. The Arkona wind park, operated by E.ON and located 35km from Ruegen in the Baltic Sea, consists of 60 wind turbines that generate a total of 385 MW of electricity. Germany has made a strong push towards renewable energy sources over the last decade and recently announced a timetable for ending German coal-based electricity production. (Photo by Carsten Koall/Getty Images) Getty Images German emissions from electricity generation increased in the first half of 2021 by one-quarter, or 21 million tons, according to German think tank Agora Energiewende using data from AG Energiebilanzen. Gas-fired power plants increased 15%, coal power plants by 36%, and hard coal power plants by 44% according to the Agora. Experts say it’s because Germany’s economy is growing more thanks to the post-Covid recovery. "Overall, the recovery in demand is by far the main factor behind the increase in fossil fuel generation and thus also in emissions," said a German energy analyst. But the increase was also due to the lack of wind. Wind produced just 46.8 terawatt hours in the first six months of 2021 which is over one-quarter less than the  59.4 TWh they produced in the first half of 2020. Offshore wind generation, too, dropped by 16%, to 11.7 TWh during the period. It’s true there was a slight increase in solar power generation, wind was abnormally high in 2020, and things could improve next year. In contrast to 2020, there were no above-average wind and sun conditions in 2021. But increased electricity from solar was from more solar panels, not more sunlight, and there weren’t nearly enough of it to make up for the loss of electricity from wind turbines. It’s notable that sunlight was down in the first half of 2021 even as solar panel installation was up. Meanwhile, Germany is closing nuclear plants this year and next, which will result in more use of coal and natural gas, and thus increase carbon emissions. MORE FOR YOU Germany’s rising emissions and electricity costs illustrate in dramatic fashion that modern nations cannot rely on weather-dependent energy sources to power their high energy economies. For environmental advocates of low-energy living, that has long been a feature, not a bug, of renewables. But Germany’s rejection of modern energy may also stem from its ambivalence over whether or not it wants to be a nation. The End of the Energiewende Wind energy has made electricity in German and Denmark the most expensive in Europe EP Earlier this year, Germany’s federal government auditors  found  that the country would need to spend over $600 billion between 2020 to 2025 to maintain grid reliability. "The Federal Audit Office sees the danger that the energy transition will endanger Germany as a business location,” they wrote. To avoid that danger, Germany will be forced to import energy from other nations with operating nuclear plants including France, Belgium and the Netherlands. Of the  56%  of German electricity that came from carbon-free sources in 2020, 24% overall came from nuclear, hydroelectric dams, and biomass, which are far more reliable than solar and wind. Analysts say the closure of nuclear plants is directly responsible for higher electricity prices. Germany has the most expensive electricity in Europe and wind-heavy Denmark has the second most expensive. In the first half of 2020, German electricity prices were 43 percent higher than the European average. Surely electricity prices will go down in the future, as renewables advocates have long claimed? Not even ardent supporters of renewables are claiming this any more. "Overall, the German market will maintain a high price level in the long term, especially after 2025," said an expert. As a result, Germany’s renewables experiment is effectively over. By 2025 it will have spent $580 billion to make its electricity nearly twice as expensive and ten times more carbon-intensive than France’s. Renewables Are For Returning to the Past Windmill in Bremen Germany PX Fuel Environmental groups including Greenpeace insist that the rising carbon emissions are due to lack of willpower on the part of German Chancellor Angela Merkel, a lame duck if enormously respected political figure in Europe. They have protested Merkel as insufficiently supportive of the climate crusade. But the real problem is that Germany is trying to rely on weather-dependent energy sources. As for Merkel, she’s been a friend to anti-nuclear Greenpeace. In 2011, after the Fukushima accident in Japan, she declared Germany would phase out nuclear energy. The underlying motivation, according to many Germans, is that Germany is trying to get over its guilt for the Holocaust and World War II by harmonizing with nature through renewables. “Germans would then at last feel that they have gone from being world-destroyers in the 20th century to world-saviors in the 21st,” noted a German  reporter for Handelsblatt. Renewable energy supporters champion this vision for Germany. “The real impact of Germany's subsidies,” tweeted author Ramez Naam, “was to drive down the cost of wind and solar for the whole world and enable future global deployment.” But the German Energiewende has always been about more returning the world to Germany’s pre-Holocaust and pre-industrial past, not taking the world into a post-fossil fuels future. In 1982, a German historian named Rolf Peter Sieferle wrote a book, The Subterranean Forest, which proved, using physical heat measurements, that the industrial revolution in Europe during the 17th and 18th Centuries could not have occurred without coal. Wood simply didn’t provide enough energy to power the machines. It was too energy-dilute, and scarce. Its core findings were reinforced by a 2010 book, Energy and the Industrial Revolution , by an Oxford historian, which used the same method of physical calculations to show that, without coal, the industrial revolution could not have happened. In 2017, Sieferle published another book, Finis Germania, which argued that Germany was effectively committing suicide. After World War II, Germans allowed themselves to believe that its culture was fundamentally pre-modern and non-Western, in order to displace the guilt and shame they felt over the Holocaust. “If Germany belonged to the most progressive, civilized, cultivated countries,” wrote Sieferle, “then ‘Auschwitz’ means that, at any moment, the human ‘progress’ of modernity can go into reverse.” Germans embraced a kind of negative nationalist essentialism. They convinced themselves that they were guilty for the sins of their parents and grandparents during World War II. And their ancestors’ sins were essential to their national character. Germans were therefore beyond redemption. Such self-demonizing essentialism has been taught to generations of German schoolchildren in the same way that, today, some American schoolchildren are being taught that they are guilty, by virtue of their race, for slavery and the genocide of Native Americans during the 19th Century. The only way Germans had to fully expunge their guilt, Sieferle argued, was to destroy German culture, which it was doing by accepting large numbers of immigrants, and not assimilating them, through globalization, and supposedly altruistic actions like the Energiewende. “A society that can no longer distinguish between itself and the forces that would dissolve it is living morally beyond its means,” he wrote. “Germany “is helping construct a European Union meant to supplant the German government in many of its traditional competencies,” wrote Christopher Caldwell in The New York Times in 2019. “Germans appear to want to disappear.” Sieferle committed suicide shortly before the book was published, further dramatizing its reception. Finis Germania was near-universally denounced by German elites as an “extremist tract." Some charged Sieferle with being secretly anti-Jewish, like the country’s pro-renewables philosopher, Martin Heidegger . Die Zeit said it was a “brazen obscenity,” and the nation’s Nonfiction Book of the Month yanked the book from its promotion. But there is no evidence that Sieferle was anti-Jewish, his research and arguments, including the ideas in Finis Germania, are broadly accepted by the academic mainstream, and he was until recently an advisor to Merkel. Sieferle denounces the Holocaust as a “Verbrechen,” or “crime.” And he called anti-Semitism “a delusional, irrational and ignorant ideology.” In fact, it was Sieferle’s criticism of victim ideology, which essentializes Germans as evil victimizers, which rankled woke German elites. “Not only are the victims ascribed a moral superiority,” he wrote, “the wrongdoers and their symbols are ascribed an eternal depravity.” Germany had cancel culture before America did. Wrote Caldwell, “the German culture of “Vergangenheitsbewältigung” (or “coming to terms with the past”) limits open discussion... because it is meant to.” It is notable that Germany was doing the same thing with the Energiewende, or energy transition. The goal is to return Germany to energy sources it used not just before the Holocaust but also before the industrial revolution. Doing so creates the fantasy of achieving harmony with nature and returning to low-energy agrarian economy. But back in the real world, price still trumps harmony ideology. Germany used more coal than natural gas in 2021 than during the same period in 2020 in order to save money given higher recent natural gas prices, and Germany will also be a net importer of electricity. Sieferle’s book became a best-seller, despite efforts to quash it. “As critical anger rose,” noted Caldwell, “so did sales. Soon the book was selling 250 copies an hour, according to its publisher, and ranked No. 1 on Amazon’s

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