Germany is leading the renewable energy industry for the last couple years, far in front of most of the rest of the world. What do you think would happen if the US followed suit and put in place the same or similar policies? Would we be able to catch up? Would we finally have some energy independence?
First off, the US doesn’t have an overall renewable energy policy. Each state is left to do what it feels like with no overall governing force. Subsidies are still going to oil and other dirty forms of energy. Some money is being pushed into renewable energy; however, it is still a fraction of the amount being spent every year. Developing clean energy policies is a necessity to get us on track and money needs to be spent on these forms of energy.
Germany has clear set goals and the government is funding the projects to make it happen. They have already reached over 20% energy produced by renewable energy and are quickly moving towards their goal of 35% by 2020. Honestly, I think they will make it there before. I’ve even had the firsthand experience seeing a nuclear plant in Germany completely surrounded by wind power stations and the nuclear plant was off. That was an amazing sight (I wish I grabbed a picture though).
Best of all, corporations don’t own the majority of the renewable energy in Germany. Actual citizens own the power. Here in Florida for example, FPL owns some renewable energy plants and gives money to homeowners who want to put solar on their house. Sounds great, right? Not really, as FPL only gives a tiny amount of money, all of which is gone within minutes of the funds being released. If you don’t have a good solar company fighting for you, you will miss out on getting it. And what about the extra power you feed into the grid? FPL won’t pay you for that. They’ll give you a credit towards your bill if you ever use more than you produce, but after a year, the credits are reset back to zero. A win for FPL, but a loss for homeowners wanting to use solar and use the credits to help pay for the change.
Well that’s Florida and people dealing with FPL. Other states have other policies and there are power companies that will actually pay you for your excess power. But what about states like Arizona. They are now charging their customers who use solar energy a fee. The fee is small, but what is it going to do to solar installations in Arizona. Especially since the sun is great in Arizona, making solar a great option for homeowners and businesses alike.
Instead of fighting this renewable energy changeover, the government needs to get on board and push good policies to get us finally in the right direction. Instead of dropping pennies out there to help homeowners make the change, put policies in place that stops the feed of subsidies going to oil, coal and other dirty forms of energy and get the money where it will have a better ROI. Instead of literally burning the money away, let’s let it shine for many years to come by implementing better renewable energy policies in the US. The US is moving towards renewable energy, but putting country wide policies into place will ensure our energy independence faster and more efficiently in the new year.