Germany: 100% renewable energy and beyond
Jul 8, 2013 - CleanTechnica - reneweconomy.com
While many countries still discuss whether or not a 100% renewable energy system – or “just” a 100% renewable electricity supply – is even theoretically possible, Germans seem no longer bothered by such unscientific doubts. To make matters “worse,” some of them (including myself) are even convinced that a transition to a 100% renewable energy system can and should be accomplished within only a few decades’ time.
Some people might find this different perception of the problems we face to overcome the energy crisis of the 21st century so puzzling that they would rather choose to believe that the Germans have simply gone mad. Luckily, nothing could be further from the truth, and I’ve got a few nice examples that might explain the German mindset.
Think Big In Small Pieces
The German push towards a renewable future is often portrayed through the tunnel vision of the author’s worldview and the common themes of the political debates in her or his home country. Quite often, this kind of quality journalism turns a “minimum price law based on technology costs – in combination with guaranteed market access for all investors”(Feed in Tariff) into “generous, (tax-funded) subsidies”. Another popular myth among so called “professional journalists” is that what is happening in Germany is due to on some kind of “big government” program. Obviously, this domestic narrative-driven reporting is not very interested in looking at important details that could explain the big picture.
One of the most important details being missed by most of those common limited observations is the fact that the renewable energy success of the last decade was mainly driven by some pioneering regions, counties, and municipalities. Those local communities moved forward with conviction, while many others have remained dormant willingly or hindered by state governments that blocked investments by passing arbitrary anti-renewable regulations in favor of conventional power companies.
Luckily, some state elections and the spread of knowledge about the positive effects of renewable energy deployment for local economies have removed a lot of the brake blocks of the past. So, what can be accomplished within a decade if local initiatives get the opportunity to shape their energy future without obstruction?
Germany Top 3 Renewable Counties
To showcase what we know about what is at least possible, here are the top 3 out of 295 Landkreise (Counties / administrative districts) in terms of the renewable share in their regional power mix. Most of their success is based on investments during the last 10–15 years based on technology that is now outdated.