In the months following the Fukushima nuclear disaster, Germany was one of the first industrialized countries to denounce nuclear power and halt the construction of any new nuclear facilities. And considering 23% of Germany’s energy comes from nuclear power, this will prove to be no easy task.
In the coming years, Germany will be embarking on a massive redevelopment of its energy market, with renewable energy as the cornerstone of its energy future.
What will Germany’s Future Energy Portfolio look like?
In part, Germany is heading out into unchartered territory. Although it has turned its back on nuclear, it hasn’t yet detailed a comprehensive plan to make up for that lost source of energy.
One of Germany’s most ambitious undertakings will be an offshore wind farm six times larger than New York City which will require 2,800 miles of high voltage power lines (slightly longer than the distance from London to Baghdad). The whole program will require investing in untested technologies and policies and cost a cool 200 billion euros ($263 billion).
If successful, the project will go a long way in ensuring Germany generates 35 percent of its power from renewable sources by 2020 – 20 percent higher than 2010 levels.
Will Germany Be the ‘Green Energy’ Leader of Tomorrow?
Right now Germany is setting itself up as a renewable energy leader and truly competitive economy in the 21st century. If it succeeds in its ambitious renewable energy goals, it could very well become a model of sustainable growth for other countries.
Mind you, it does have its competition.
China has embarked on renewable energy goals of its own and has recently ramped up its solar targets to 15 GW of capacity by 2020. Furthermore, China’s solar panel manufacturers have been doing exceptionally well on the global market, as they have been able to produce panels cheaper and in larger quantities than many other manufacturers.
Whichever country achieves the best position now will acquire a substantial competitive advantage in the future global economy.
What are your thoughts on Germany’s ambitious renewable energy program? Do you think it will serve as a model for other countries’ growth?
Image CC licensed by Michael Pereckas: Huge wind turbine blades, Germany