Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Will we follow Germany on renewable energy?

"Germany's Reichstag in Berlin is set to become the first parliamentary building in the world to be powered 100 percent by renewable energy. Soon the entire country will follow suit. Germany is accelerating its efforts to become the world's first industrial power to use 100 percent renewable energy -- and given current momentum, it could reach that green goal by 2050."

That's the lead to an interesting piece from the April 3 issue of Renewable Energy World (Germany: The World's First Major Renewable Energy Economy) in which correspondent Jane Burgermeister reports that:

"In 2008, the percentage of renewables in Germany's primary energy consumption was 7.3, but that figure is predicted to increase to 33 percent by 2020 as the country thunders on ahead of other European countries in renewable energy development."

President Obama is laboring to push America down a similar road. Will he succeed?

It depends, or course, on numerous factors, not the least of which is whether he can get buy-in from the electorate, the Congress, and powerful special interests.

Some of the nation's largest electric utility companies in recent months (including New Jersey's PSEG) have been calling for a national carbon tax.

The levy would not only serve to discourage fossil fuel use and reduce greenhouse emissions, but also could underwrite some of the enormous costs of developing a renewable energy infrastructure (wind, solar, wave, hydro and geothermal power facilities) and the smart grid to deliver that energy far and wide.

A major national player that's apparently decided no to participate (at least not for the foreseeable future) is Big Oil.

In a terrific story today, (Oil giants loath to follow Obama’s green lead), the New York Times reports that:

" Even as Washington goes into a frenzy over energy, many of the oil companies are staying on the sidelines, balking at investing in new technologies favored by the president, or even straying from commitments they had already made."
Is Germany on the right track? Are the oil companies wrong not to commit their shareholders' resources?

Let us know what you think in the comment block below. If you don't see one, click on the tiny "comments" line and it will appear.

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