Germany has enriched our lives with many great things; beer. bratwurst and well engineered cars. And my personal favorite, basketball superstar Dirk Nowitzki. But could Germany also give us the model for a clean future fueled by renewable energy?
In the last decade, Germany has made impressive gains towards building out it’s infrastructure of renewable energy. Germany is outpacing the world now generates 7% from wind alone, accounting for 39% of the world’s wind power. An estimated 96,000 jobs in Germany are in the wind industry alone.
In terms of solar, along with other European countries, particularly Italy and Spain, Germany is looking to increase solar power capacity anywhere from 200% to 500% in the coming years. In fact, Germany is closing in on Japan as the world’s leading solar energy producer.
What’s impressive about Germany is the commitment to renewable energy. Rather than being satisfied with their current position, the Germans are actively pushing on all fronts and have a goal of being 100% renewable by 2050. That’s quite a lofty goal, but with their commitment to change and innovation strongly supported by both conservatives and progressive political parties, buying into going green, their goals have a good chance of becoming a reality.
German officials have made solar an attractive investment for home owners by setting a guaranteed price for the excess electricity sold back to the electric companies. Solar installation by home owners has been so strong over the last few years, that the government has had to scale back the incentives. Germany isn’t known for its sunshine.
Who knows maybe in a couple decades we’ll be looking at renewable energy as another great product the Germans brought to the mainstream? Maybe if we citizens in other countries committed more firmly to alternative energy like solar, wind, and water we’d be leading the way with them.