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Thread: Over Half of Germany's Renewable Energy Owned By Citizens & Farmers, Not Utility Companies

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    Over Half of Germany's Renewable Energy Owned By Citizens & Farmers, Not Utility Companies

    Germany's promotion of renewable energy rightly gets singled out for its effectiveness, most often by me as an example of how to do things well versus the fits and starts method of promotion common in the US. Over at Wind-Works, Paul Gipe points out another interesting facet of the German renewable energy saga: 51% of all renewable energy in Germany is owned by individual citizens or farms, totaling $100 billion worth of private investment in clean energy.

    Breaking that down into solar power and wind power, 50% of Germany's solar PV is owned by individuals and farms, while 54% of its wind power is held by the same groups.

    In total there's roughly 17 GW of solar PV installed in Germany—versus roughly 3.6 GW in the US (based on SEIA's figures for new installations though the third quarter of 2011 plus the 2.6 GW installed going into the year).

    Remember, Germany now produces slightly over 20% of all its electricity from renewable sources.

    The thing that got me though, other than the huge lead in solar PV installations Germany has over the US, thanks to good policy, and the fact that so much wind power isn't owned by utilities, is what slightly over half of renewable energy being owned not by corporations but by actual biological people means—obviously a democratic shift in control of resources and a break from the way electricity and energy has been produced over the past century.

    A good thing: Decentralized power generation, more relocalization and reregionalization of economic activity, the world getting smaller while more connected and therefore in a way bigger at the same time... taking a step backwards, and perhaps sideways, while moving forwards.
    http://www.treehugger.com/renewable-...companies.html

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    Great stuff, even more reason to support renewable energy sources. I wish we would see the same types of investment and initiative here in Norway.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hersir View Post
    Great stuff, even more reason to support renewable energy sources. I wish we would see the same types of investment and initiative here in Norway.
    I really do not understand the people who scream about how evil it is when the government supports renewables (and don't even mention subsidies as though oil and nuclear didn't recieve significantly more), it's like they think "well crusty hippies want a clean planet and they smell so that means I have to be a souless shill for oil companies".
    Denn das Schöne ist nichts
 als des Schrecklichen Anfang, den wir noch grade ertragen,
 und wir bewundern es so, weil es gelassen verschmäht, uns zu zerstören.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ablutive View Post
    I really do not understand the people who scream about how evil it is when the government supports renewables (and don't even mention subsidies as though oil and nuclear didn't recieve significantly more), it's like they think "well crusty hippies want a clean planet and they smell so that means I have to be a souless shill for oil companies".

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sindig_og_stoisk View Post
    The way it should be. This is one of the good things about German (and more generally, Northern European) economic culture and society that I greatly admire: working citizens collectively owning and operating enterprises such as public utilities, financial institutions, such as credit unions and medical insurers, and local companies owned and operated by local people for the people of a particular area. I am greatly in favour of private enterprise in an open (but not unregulated) market operated and owned by private citizens for private citizens; I am not in favour of unbridled greed ideologically dressed up as "democratic capitalism" (how I hate that phrase) of the few at the expense the many. Socialistic? Perhaps, but I think it has more to do with wanting a rational commonsensical approach to private ownership and private enterprise in the distribution of resources than any real ideological motivation.

    It is significant that even here in far-off Australia German "collectivist" enterprises were copied: An Australian who was an NCO flying-crew member in the Royal Australian Air Force detached to the RAF just after the war was sent to the British Zone of Occupation in Allied-occupied Germany (practically all of northwest Germany at that time in her postwar borders), and so impressed was he at German farmers' and other groups' credit unions in Northern Germany that he brought the concept and the mechanics of how they were organised and operated to Australia and so started the credit-union movement in Oz--and it has never looked back. I have used credit unions over private banks all through my adult life and would never use a private bank, especially the inefficient, incompetently run, blood-sucking monstrosities here that parade as banks: Australian banks are not good "corporate citizens."
    Between the devil and the deep blue sea.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ablutive View Post
    I really do not understand the people who scream about how evil it is when the government supports renewables (and don't even mention subsidies as though oil and nuclear didn't recieve significantly more), it's like they think "well crusty hippies want a clean planet and they smell so that means I have to be a souless shill for oil companies".
    Honestly, the trouble might be mere ignorance. These people seem utterly unaware of the massive subsidies and other forms of support that oil, coal and nuclear receive. Apparently, they seem to think that oil, coal and nuclear might not be renewable but that it at least is cheap and consistent with free market economics. Nothing could be further from the truth, but that is apparently the idea that a lot of people have.

    It appears to be more of a problem in the USA then in Europe where people seem happier to have their government support renewables. And if Mitt Romney wins the White House the problem will get a lot worse as he has just announced that he will end tax breaks for wind power but not oil, coal or nuclear. The political climate over there is simply more polarised and any "pro-environment" stand by a GOP candidate, regardless of how sensible it might be, is political suicide:

    http://www.treehugger.com/environmen...ind-power.html

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