renewable German energy

Wednesday 30 September, 2009

The Germans were at it again: the GACCoM’s Annual Renewables & Energy Efficiency Roadshow took place almost all the way out in Rosemont.  Everything you need/want to know can be found here.  There’s very little left for me to do, as long as they leave these files up.  They have posted the presentations as well as the audio/video of the event, so I could post my notes, but you can see all of the original content there.

Alternatively, I’ll provide a little history of the Germans & renewable energy.  I attended an event entitled International Perspectives on Sustainability: The Western European Example in May, 2006 hosted by Chicago Green Drinks (& no, this organization doesn’t have anything to do with the Irish in Chicago).  There it was explained to me that the German government took a leadership position by creating a level playing field for new entrants into the electricity markets so that the incumbent vested interests/utility companies  couldn’t buy/crowd/squash innovative firms out of the marketplace.  Thus alternative energies such as solar, wind, & geothermal received a much-needed boost without having to worry about huge utility companies breathing down their necks.  Consequently, since then, the companies that formed at that time have grown to produce up to 20% of Germany’s electricity, a figure which most nations can only envy.  According to the Green Drinkers at the time, there was no other nation on Earth which can touch Germany’s progress & scale in renewable energies.

Since then, I’ve learned the Germans are leaders in energy efficiency as well, for example by building passive solar houses that require little/no electricity from external sources & in some cases actually returning electricity to the grid.  By using super-insulation & triple-pane  instead of even double-pane glass windows, they create well-enclosed environments that leak little/no heat/energy, etc.  We would do well to learn from the Germans.  They’re farther along the learning curve than we are & we can benefit from their knowledge & experience in these areas.


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