Economic miracles seem to occur at high frequency around the world; the Japanese did it after World War II, China is doing it now and Germany, the leading industrialized country in Europe, is doing it again, converting their economy to renewable energy resources.
Germans Accept Global Warming & Its Potential Costs
And the Germans don’t plan to change their way of life: patterns of consumption are not expected to change significantly allowing their status as a highly industrialized country to continue. But at the heart of their thinking and determination is that the costs associated with this transformation are less than those that would be associated with out of control climate change future generations would face.
The German motivation to move to renewables has to do with both economic and environmental factors. According to Jochen Flasbarth, President of the German Federal Environmental Agency the drivers are: climate change, reducing energy imports from foreign sources, and a desire to lead the world in green manufacturing.
Strategy In Brief
The German strategy is threefold: first, exploit the best renewable energy resources by region; this would involve choosing the right combination amongst solar photovoltaics, wind, biomass, and geothermal. Second, a more efficient transfer of power between different regions of the country, and third, reduce imports.
The German renewable energy industry now employs 400,000 people, a 90% increase since 2004. German government policies have supported the expansion of renewable resources and played a critical role in the quick scale up of wind power, solar power and other renewable electricity sources. Government support has led to a high level of investor interest because investments in renewables is considered safe.
Germany’s plan will lead to a 90% reduction in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and will occur as its energy sector, currently producing about 80% of emissions, is transformed.