GERMANY'S SURGING SOLAR ENERGY


The German energy phenomenon is drawing attention from around the world as environmental exigencies and economic trends combine to create a political climate that actively supports renewable energy as a wave of the future.  With proactive public policy, generous financial support and dramatic technological innovation, Germany has become the world leader in the comprehensive development of renewable energy.  Bavaria's Muhlhausen Solar Farm symbolizes the new era of sensible energy and environmental responsibility.  As the largest solar generator in the world, Muhlhausen brings large scale renewable energy production to a country that is notable for its strong public support for alternative energy.  The plant represents a breakthrough in the capacity for public distribution of renewable energy and it is the culmination of bold initiatives from the public and private sectors.  The German government has established an elaborate framework for replacing coal, natural gas, oil and nuclear power with energy sources that are clean and safe.  Billions of dollars have been allocated to wind and solar power as government programs encourage an energy shift through tax incentives and industry regulations that promote sustainable energy.   Germany also emphasizes private financing for renewable energy.   European investment firms are known for embracing alternative energy ventures with enthusiasm.....And Germany has taken this support a step further with government policies that provide unwavering suppport for all aspects of sustainable energy development.  Energy entreprenuers from California, Japan and other hubs of energy innovation are relocating to the Europe for its generous system of funding and Germany is regarded as the optimum innovation center since it offers a maximum level of government cooperation.  As the world's fourth largest economy, Germany is well positioned to back its energy programs with extensive support for a financial framework that is designed to ensure a bright future for sustainable energy.  In Germany, a visionary political culture and a pragmatic economic infrastructure have been coordinated to foster a wellspring of concept innovations that are helping to propel renewable energy into the vanguard of global energy possibilities. With a carefully calibrated and multifaceted approach, Germany is emphasizing the accelerated implementaion of alternative energy. Along with incentives for large scale infrastructure and technological innovation, the German government has established legal guidelines that compel electric utilities to pay higher rates to businesses and individuals who produce solar or wind power through the existing grid.  According to German law, utility companies must purchase wind and solar energy from residential and commercial users at rates that are ten times higher than what users are charged for consumption of electricity produced from coal, nuclear power and natural gas.  As a result of direct incentives, solar panels are appearing on houses around the country and giant windmills are a common sight on German farms.  Yet the German people are not in need of incentives to support the concept of renewable energy.  A nationwide poll indicates that 80% of the German population strongly supports alternative energy and related programs for environmental preservation.  Public support has been instrumental in creating and sustaining a national commitment to renewable energy programs.  This determined public sentiment coincides with government policies that give a high priority to issues surrounding global warming.  Environmental responsibility is deeply engrained in the German political process and there is an ongoing commitment to Kyoto Protocol requirements for reducing greenhouse gas emissions.  Germany's former Environment Minister, Juergen Trittin, states:  "This is part of our commitment as a government, to make Germany the world leader in alternative energy and in taking action against global warming."  "Germany's policy is a more mixed and balanced strategy than to look under the sands of the Arabian Peninsula. This is the European way. There are 6 billion people on this globe.  You will not solve our need for energy with fossil fuels or nuclear plants......You will do it by substituting with renewables."

Brandon Press