Germany: Proof of Concept

If anyone is waiting to see whether it’s feasible for a country to depend heavily on clean renewables for its energy needs, the German model is now undeniably successful.


According to renewable energy 22% of Germany’s electricity supply is supplied by renewables. The government estimates this will increase to 40% within 7 years. As impressive as this projection may be, some describe it as conservative. On sunny and windy days, wind and solar meet more than 85% of the country’s mid-day electricity needs.

By 2015, the report suggests, the total cost for power produced by wind and solar will be roughly 7–10 euro cents per kilowatt hour, about the same as electricity generated by new gas and coal powered plants.

Germany’s economy is the strongest in Europe, it exports electricity to France, and it shut down 1/3 of its nuclear reactors during 2011.

Germany’s renewables sector provides 386,000 domestic jobs, and a recent independent poll showed 93% of Germans support the clean energy switch. High levels of windmill nimby-based resistance have apparently been easing in most regions. See the full report at Germany.

On the other hand, the government has attempted to allow solar to survive on its own merits and reduced feed-in tariffs at perhaps an inopportune time. China has been flooding world markets with cheap panels, making it difficult for manufacturers elsewhere to compete. Solon, one of Germany’s biggest producers was forced to file for bankruptcy.


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