Germany installed 7.5 GW of solar power in 2011

By contrast, the US slumbered along, installing 1.8 GW of solar power in 2011. We make a great show here about renewable energy. But the truth is, many other countries are way ahead of us.

Obama just announced plans to expedite wind farms in the Great Lakes. Good! But this will probably take years to happen if at all because of lawsuits from NIMBYs, most of whom totally support renewable energy except if they might have to look at a wind farm, solar farm, or power line.

Germany apparently doesn’t have this kind of endless squabbling. Rather, they have consensus that renewable energy is a good thing.


  1. In Germany there is no real consensus at all, we are not that different from Americans.
    Of course today the majority of the population stands behind renewables, because their benefits are obvious and all the critics stand corrected.

    But there is also a fake PR-Consensus broadcasted by certain media outlets, conservative politicans and huge energy corporations. In reality the later two work hard and dirty to slow and stop the expansion for renewable energy sources. Politicans hinder the expansion restrictions and by creating uncertainty in the legal framework. Corporations use lobbyism to influence decision processes and use media outlets to launch anti-renewable energy campaigns…

    Like reports on “Dirty Wind Turbines” due to rare-earth mining in China, not mentioning that the German market is dominated by a company called Enercon, that builds the worlds most efficent turbines which do not even use rare-earth materials.

    The reason for renewables growing as fast as they are, is that there is a grass roots movement building all those windturbines, biomass plants and PV-Solar systems. It’s a movement that’s all about doing what is right and to (re)gain more self-determination / stick it to the corporations. 
    Germany was lucky enough to have a few good politicans who managed to give the people the opportunity… those politicans (famously Hermann Scheer) had a deep understanding of economics & were concious enough about the real problems of the 21st century, that they understood that a shift to renewable energy sources is an economic opportunity and a path to prosperity. If people build their own renewable energy sources there is far less space for Nimbyism, because a windturbine that generates profits for the locals, is by definition not ugly 😉

    • Thanks for the insight. Yes, the carbon lobby will always try to stop renewables. But still, Germany is a leader in installed rooftop solar and already has substantial wind power. So, while you may not have total consensus, Germany seems much further along than the US.

      I mean, the Cape Wind project off Cape Cod in Massachusetts has been delayed for at least ten years because of NIMBYS, etc.

      • Like basicly all historic developments it’s been a combination of visionary people fighting for their cause, great timing, luck and opportunity. 

        It’s true that Germany is powering ahead now. But I think it’s important to understand that it’s the result of the same struggles you face in the US today, because that way you can look at how those struggles were won in Germany.
        I hope that the german blueprint helps to push renewables everywhere. Having a place with incredibly bad renewable ressources making it work AND enjoying the ecconomic benefits of doing so, should be helpful as a place to point at when fighting for renewables in the US. 🙂

        Unfortunatly Nimbyism is also alive in Germany. 
        My city has been trying to build a new windfarm for the last few years, but the local community is fighting against it with all sorts of ridicules arguments. I hope they will be convinced sooner than later… 

        • Exactly, renewable energy does lead to economic benefits. And hopefully the US will watch and realize it can do what Germany (and Scotland) are doing.

          • I hope so too 🙂

            I guess the most important & obvious benefit is to the communities / states that install renewables and do not have coal mining / power themselves. 
            The term “local value adding” has sort of become the slogan of the German energy revolution. Instead of  literally burning 3% of local GDP and sending another 7% out of your local community, renewables allow to keep a greater fraction of your local economy to stay where it is. This vitalizes the economy, creates jobs and so on.

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