From Thomas L. Friedman’s column in The New York Times, May 5:
…What the Germans have done in converting almost 30 percent of their electric grid to renewable energy from near zero in about 15 years has been a great contribution to the stability of our planet and its climate….
Oliver Krischer, the vice chairman of the Green Party’s parliamentary group, told me: “I have a friend who comes home and, if the sun is shining, he doesn’t even say hello to his wife. He first goes downstairs and looks at the meter to see what [electricity] he has produced himself…. The idea now is that energy is something you can [produce] on your own. It’s a new development.”
And it has created so much pushback against the country’s four major coal/nuclear utilities that one of them, E.On, just split into two companies – one focusing on squeezing the last profits from coal, oil, gas and nuclear, while the other focuses on renewables. Germans jokingly call them “E.Off” and “E.On….”
One problem: Germany still has tons of cheap, dirty lignite coal that is used as backup power for wind and solar, because cleaner natural gas is more expensive and nuclear is being phased out….