Europe has the highest concentration of national sustainability efforts in the world. In 2015 Nordic countries once again assumed a leadership role along with France. In addition to being an economic giant Germany is also an environmental titan. Germany is ranked fourth in the Global Green Economy Index.and seventh in a RobecoSAM study. Germany has distinguished itself as an early adopter of clean power and it has a secure place in history as a renewable energy pioneer.
The country has passed legislation in support of renewable energy and it is producing results. In 2015 Germany set solar power records and surpassed some major renewable energy milestones that are the envy of governments around the world.
German efforts extend beyond renewable energy and encompass green building. Germany was ranked number 6 in the world by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) in 2014.
The German government led by Angela Merkel has joined other major powers in endorsing ambitious climate objectives. This includes a statement calls for, “deep cuts in global greenhouse gas emissions,” and “decarbonisation of the global economy over the course of this century.”
Germany is not a newcomer to climate action and Merkel has been at the forefront of this movement for two decades. In 1996 Merkel was a German representative in the European Council of environment ministers that were the first political body to declare the goal of keeping temperatures below 2C was the goal.
Germany is a world leading renewable energy power getting as much of three quarters of its daily demand from clean sources. On July 25, 2015, Germany obtained 78 percent of its electricity from renewable sources.
Year after year German production of renewable energy has increased. In 2015 Germany generated 193 billion kilowatt hours (billion kWh), or one third of its energy from renewable sources up one fifth from the year before.
Cleantech not only reduces the countries emissions it is providing jobs. Nearly 800,000 jobs people work in the cleantech sector and 214,000 people work in renewables in Germany.
The German government has supported the growth of renewable energy and managed to radically reduce its dependence on fossil fuels. As part of a policy called “energiewende” (energy transition) policies Germany is embarking on complete de-fossilization. Germany is already on the cusp of getting 34 percent of its energy from renewables a target it had set to achieve by 2020. The country expects to get 100 percent of its electricity requirements from renewables by 2050.
Cities across Germany are ramping up their renewable energy capacity. The small German town of Feldheim gets all of its electricity from renewables and Munich, Germany’s third largest city is working to get all of its electricity from renewable sources by 2025. The city of Frankfurt has pledged to have zero carbon emissions by 2050.
Frankfurt ‘s comprehensive energy management scheme has decoupled growth from emissions. The city has reduced its emissions by 15 percent since 1990 and grew its economy by 50 percent. The nation as a whole has also succeeded in decoupling economic growth and emissions. Germany’s GDP has grown while their GHGs have fallen.
German cities also support for car free zones and green spaces. There German city of Hamburg has what may be the most climate friendly motto’s in the world: “Understanding climate change — reducing climate change — master the effects of climate change.”
In 2015, Hamburg announced plans to eliminate fossil fuel powered cars in the next couple of decades and cover a two-mile section of the Autobahn with greenspaces. These “roof-parks” will cover 60 acres and have forests, gardens, and trails.
Germany’s support for renewable energy also extends to other countries. In 2015 the nation gave India a 125 billion Euro loan for green energy projects. The Indo-German partnership is designed to fund transmission infrastructure of renewable energy projects. The German loans will fund green energy projects in Himachal Pradesh and Andhra Pradesh.
Germany is a model for the world that is a real world refutation of some of the criticism leveled against renewables. The fossil fuel lobby frequently point to the problem of intermittancy of renewables (eg the sun is not always shining and the wind is not always blowing). However, as pointed out in a Bloomberg article, Germany proves that intermittancy can be overcome.
In this short film, Germany Trade & Invest focus on Germany’s Renewable Energy Revolution. Scientists, industry leaders, and politicians review the country’s achievements, next steps, and the opportunities the energy transition offers.
Germany is an Economic and Environmental Leader
Germany Surpasses Renewable Energy Milestones
German Law Supports Renewable Energy
Renewables Supply 60 Percent of Germany’s Energy
Merkel’s Reelection and German Green Energy Issues
The Growth of Global Solar Energy including Germany
Global Clean Energy Investment including Germany
CDP Identifies Germany as the Global Sustainability Leader
The 10 Leading Wind Energy Countries
Germany and the Global Competition for EV Supremacy
Germany Abandons Nuclear for Coal
Merkel and Harper: Two Opposing Energy Visions of Energy