Op Ed: Germany as a Role Model in Transitioning to Renewal Energy

How German citizens are taking charge of their future...

Photovoltaic system with 19 Megawatts peak near Thüngen/Bavaria (photo provided by OhWeh)
Photovoltaic system with 19 Megawatts peak near Thüngen/Bavaria (photo provided by OhWeh)

By Jane Kim, Communications Major, Sustainability Communications Intern

According to a recent article in Grist (Three Reasons Why Germany is Kicking Our Arsch on Solar), 75% of German citizens want to keep their focus on “citizen-managed, decentralized renewable energy”. Despite having one of the highest costs per kilowatt-hour, Germany is efficient in its use of energy; therefore, the average German household spends the same amount as the average US household of $100 per month. The majority of Germans, approximately 84%, say they are committed to reaching 100% renewable energy; they are active as responsible citizens. Millions of German residents chip in to get a hold of partial ownership of wind and solar power plants that are the sources of their local energy. The key to this effort is that many of them are in it together. People are investing - buying shares of energy plants that ultimately serve their population.

This article raised my curiosity.

How has this collective interest and movement into taking action to support local populations and general smart use of energy spread across the country? Is Germany fundamentally different from America in approaching this issue of energy sustainability? Are Americans less aware of sustainable efforts? Is it because of the greed among the people in control such as politicians or economists that inhibit the spread of sustainable actions throughout the country? How has Germany come so far in their transition into renewable energy? What are they doing that we are missing out on? How can we learn from Germany?

Comment below with any answers or suggestions.

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