Tuesday, April 15, 2014

USA Should Go for Renewable Energy like Germany

By Anthony Vigna

In the United States, environmental advocates constantly fight about the use of energy. Often, those that oppose actions toward renewable resources speak as if a world run on wind, solar, or water energy is too utopian to ever become reality. However, the utopian society that critics think would never happen is already in the process of being created outside of the United States, as Germany projects that 80% of its energy will be renewable in 2050.

Germany’s progress with solar panels in the past couple of years strongly backs that goal up. In July 2013, Germany generated 5.1 terawatt hours (TWh) of electricity solely from solar panels, a new record for a country that set their previous record of 5.0 TWh with wind turbines that January.

This is impressive for a number of reasons. Germany is a country that generally gets little sunlight since it’s generally cloudy in that area, yet it still generated a ton of electricity with its solar panels and even holds the world record for energy generated with them. Secondly, utilizing wind energy helped set their previous record. That shows that they used two different renewable sources of energy that both worked exceedingly well.

The most important piece of information to draw from this record is that it will be surpassed once again in the future. This kind of initiative will help Germany reach its alternative energy goal to be effective in sustaining the environment. This proves that alternative energy sources work and should be utilized all around the world; so its mind boggling to me that other countries are behind the times.

According to an article in ThinkProgress, “America’s own German-style solar boom may be just around the corner. Residential solar installations in 2012 reached 488 megawatts — a 62 percent increase over 2011 installations. Jon Wellinghoff, chairman of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) recently told Greentech Media that solar is growing so quickly, ‘it could double every two years.’ He continued that other renewable sources will supplement solar, ‘but at its present growth rate, solar will overtake wind in about ten years. It is going to be the dominant player. Everybody’s roof is out there.’”

People often say that solar power would never work, but it clearly works in cloudy Germany. If it works there, imagine what kind of energy the United States would be generating if they were widely adopted here, considering that we have exponentially more sunlight. Solar panels would be efficient in every way possible. In this regard, I want the United States to become more like Germany. They have proved that it is possible to create a utopian society with renewable energy, so it’s our turn to follow in their footsteps and head toward a sustainable future.

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