Germany Targets Switch to 100% Renewables by 2050
Jan 25, 2011 - Reuters - Guardian.co.uk
Germany could derive all of its electricity from
renewable energy sources by 2050 and become the world's
first major industrial nation to kick the fossil-fuel
habit, the country's Federal Environment Agency said
The country already gets 16% of its electricity
from wind, solar and other renewable sources – three
times' higher than the level it had achieved 15 years
"A complete conversion to renewable energy
by 2050 is possible from a technical and ecological
point of view," said Jochen Flasbarth, president
of the Federal Environment Agency.
"It's a very realistic target based on technology
that already exists – it's not a pie-in-the-sky
prediction," he said.
Thanks to its Renewable Energy Act, Germany is the
world leader in photovoltaics: it expects to add
more than 5,000 megawatts of photovoltaic capacity
this year to reach a total of 14,000 megawatts. It
is also the second-biggest wind-power producer after
the United States. Some 300,000 renewable energy
jobs have been created in Germany in the last decade.
The government has set goals for cutting greenhouse
gas emissions by 40% between 1990 and 2020, and by
80-85% by 2050. That goal could be achieved if Germany
switches completely to renewable sources by 2050,
About 40% of Germany's greenhouse gases come from
electricity production, in particular, from coal-fired
Flasbarth said the Environment Agency's study found
that switching to green electricity by 2050 would
have economic advantages, especially for the vital
export-oriented manufacturing industry. It would
also create tens of thousands of jobs.
"The costs of a complete switch to renewables
are a lot less than the costs to future generations
that climate change will cause," he said.
Last month a report by the UK's Centre for Alternative
Technology in Machynlleth, mid Wales, said Britain
could eliminate all its carbon emissions by 2030
by overhauling its power supply.