Monday, June 25, 2012

The Lord Helps Those Who Help Themselves

Repost from A New World
By Bill Hewitt, author of A Newer World (UNH Press)
June 19, 2012

I wrote in April about Germany’s ambitious goal of deriving 100% of its electricity from renewables by 2050.  It seems to me that they’re going to get there a lot sooner than 2050.

Solar electricity world record: Germany cranks half its power with PV was the headline recently from SmartPlanet.  Germany hit a breathtaking 22.15 gigawatts of PV output on May 25th.  There are several astonishing things about that, one of which is that the US may get to 3 GW of installed capacity this year, a drop in the bucket compared to Germany’s herculean output.

Why is the US such a laggard?  For one thing, the renewable energy feed-in tariff that Germany pioneered, led by the renewable energy visionary Hermann Scheer, has enabled independent power producers there to build out this enormous capacity.  What’s another amazing aspect of all this?  It’s that the amount of PV available during the day – when power is in greatest demand – actually enables a lowering of peak prices.  That’s unheard of in the power business, but the Germans are doing it, as I pointed out in my post from April about 100% renewables.

As Reuters indicates in its article on Germany’s breakthrough, the 22+ GW of power provided about a third of the nation’s needs on a workday, Friday the 25th, but half the next day when offices and factories were closed.  With Germany’s 29 GW of installed capacity in wind – the largest amount in Europe – there’s really no stopping them from carbon-free power, or, as Hermann Scheer described it, a technology-driven energy economy.

Read Bill Hewitt's entire article "The Sun Shines on Germany"

1 comment:

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