Destinations Magazine

It’s Not Easy Being Green

By Stizzard
It’s not easy being green

BRANDENBURG used to be called the sandbox of the Holy Roman Empire for its poor soil and marginal geography. Today a more appropriate moniker might be “the wind farm of the European Union” for all the spinning turbines that tower over the flat landscape. In Bavaria’s Holledau region endless rows of hop bines still undulate through the hills as they have for centuries; but today they share the south-facing slopes with solar panels. Germany’s Energiewende (“energy transition” or “revolution”) has transformed its countryside. 

The main tool in this transition is a policy of subsidising renewable power. Germany guarantees investors in green energy that their electricity is fed into the grid before that from conventional sources, and at high prices fixed for 20 years. Thanks to this support, the share of renewable energy in German electricity generation has gone from 3.6% in 1990 to 30% last year. But although green energy is subsidised in most of the EU and America, Germany’s efforts are unusually generous. Consumers pay the price of the subsidies—more than €20 billion ($ 22 billion) each year—through their electricity bills…

The Economist: Europe

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