Thursday, December 29, 2011

By watching Germany can we find out if renewable energy works for US?


Whether or not Germany can power its future entirely on renewable energy is an interesting observation not because what it says about Germany, but about the rest of us. As I see it, we are asking whether a country who is going full-out on renewable energy, energy sources that don’t pollute, warm-up, or jeopardize the planet, can do it—or will they fall back on the same old fossil fuels and nuclear energy? What we are really saying that Germany’s experiment with renewable energy is a test as to whether a country can free itself from the traditional energy sources that have a stranglehold on our economies?

The answer to the question that other countries are waiting for is simple: Yes, Germany, or any other country, can certainly provide its people and businesses with solar, wind, geothermal, and other renewable energy sources—and they must. All eyes should be on ourselves, not Germany.

All Eyes On German Renewable Energy Efforts : NPR “FELDHEIM, Germany (AP) — This tiny village of 37 gray homes and farm buildings clustered along the main road in a wind-swept corner of rural eastern Germany seems an unlikely place for a revolution. Yet environmentalists, experts and politicians from El Salvador to Japan to South Africa have flocked here in the past year to learn how Feldheim, a village of just 145 people, is already putting into practice Germany's vision of a future powered entirely by renewable energy.” (December 29, 2011) NPR : National Public Radio : News & Analysis, World, US, Music & Arts : NPR

It is not a technical question as to whether Germany can power itself with renewable energy. It can be done with a change in the way we use energy. We can change our energy use and conserve energy, and make our appliances and buildings energy efficient. We can use less; we can use battery storage, smart grids, and we can tolerate to see our land and waterscapes dotted with wind turbines. We can change the relatively inexpensive way we are powering our existence that has not equated the price of environmental degradation into that mix. We can stop massively subsidizing the fossil fuel industry and prevent how much money they give to our Congress and stop the ability of lobbyist to have an unfair advantage in our political system for their industry.

But we won’t. We want to wait to see if Germany can make renewable energy work while not upsetting the world-marketplace so we don’t have to act. It’s a silly and dangerous game we are playing: we want our cake and eat it too. We want to have a sustainable planet and continue to pollute and warm the planet at the same time. But doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results is insanity defined.

What we are really asking is whether or not we want to be bothered, if we want to be inconvenienced, if we want to upset and move to a sustainable energy system rather than the systems now in place. We are asking that Climate Change not be true and even if it is do we have a long enough time to continue on as we are without really doing anything major on how we get energy? We are asking whether Germany can change to a renewable energy future without upsetting the present order of world economics, where the fossil fuel industry and nuclear industry rule.

We are doing something in the US to encourage renewable energy, but not nearly enough:

EPA Finalizes 2012 Renewable Fuel Standards WASHINGTON -- The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) today finalized the 2012 percentage standards for four fuel categories that are part of the agency’s Renewable Fuel Standard program (RFS2). EPA continues to support greater use of renewable fuels within the transportation sector every year through the RFS2 program, which encourages innovation, strengthens American energy security, and decreases greenhouse gas pollution. The Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 (EISA) established the RFS2 program and the annual renewable fuel volume targets, which steadily increase to an overall level of 36 billion gallons in 2022. To achieve these volumes, EPA calculates a percentage-based standard for the following year. Based on the standard, each refiner and importer determines the minimum volume of renewable fuel that it must ensure is used in its transportation fuel.  (December 29, 2011) U.S. EPA Newsroom - News Releases

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