Bloomberg reports that Germany is planning to spend 200 billion euros ($263 billion), aka 8% of its 2011 GDP, on an enormous plan to shift to renewable energy.The plan will include “offshore wind farms that will cover an area six times the size of New York City” and “erect power lines that could stretch from London to Baghdad” according to Bloomberg. It’s certainly an audacious move.
But more than that, its also an unusually risky move. The plan is, in its very nature, experimental.
What with the complete phase-out of nuclear power, Germany has to find something to make up for the closure of 17 power-plants — the plan is to have 35% of Germany’s power come from renewables by 2030, a big jump, and even further to 80% by 2050.
And the big issue isn’t money or will. It’s actually the technology itself that is holding Germany and other countries back.
“If Germany succeeds, it could be a role model for economies all over the world,” Claudia Kemfert, DIW’s senior energy expert tells Bloomberg. “If it fails, it will be a disaster for Germany’s politicians, society and economy.”
Kirsten Korosec at Smart Planet points out that perhaps the most remarkable thing about Germany’s plans is that compared to European neighbours — such as Sweden, Austria, Spain and Slovenia — the country’s aims are not that huge.
But unlike those countries, Germany cannot fall back on hydroelectricity and must strive to push forward the technology for wind farms and solar.
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