|In March 2002, I joined a delegation from members of the associate Parliamentary Renewable and Sustainable Energy Group (PRASEG) on a visit to Germany to look at that Country’s approach to the encouragement of renewable energy technologies.
Germany has had specific renewable support legislation for over 10 years and more than 15,000 jobs have been created many in otherwise economically weak areas The country is now a world leader, exporting technology worldwide. Some regions now get almost a quarter of their electricity from green sources and this total is set to grow further as the country's nuclear power stations are decommissioned at the end of their working lives.
German support system for renewable energy:
The cornerstones of German government policy for sustainable Energy are:
DENA, the German energy agency is a company owned by the German government and the Kreditanstalt fur Wiederaufbau (KfW). It networks the various players within the energy sector and is set up with the aim of implementing energy efficiency policy, promoting renewable energy sources, climate protection and sustainable development. Website: www.deutsche-enegie-agentur.de
The Federal Association of Combined Heat and Power (BKWK) was founded in January 2001, with the power to tackle climate change and to safeguard resources by supporting CHP and increasing the proportion of electricity generated by CHP. Website: www.bkwk.de
The Parliamentary Study Commission on Sustainable Energy is a cross-party study committee of the Bundestag set up in February 2000 for the duration of the parliament. Their final report aims to develop long-term scenarios and policy recommendations for the parliament, the central element of which will be energy conservation, energy efficiency and renewable energy.
REpower Systems, based in Hamburg, promotes the development and application of renewable energy systems. Specialising in wind power plants in the on and offshore sector, services include the development, licensing, production and sale of technologically sophisticated wind power turbines and project planning for wind farms So far, REpower have been able to benefit from the experience of producing and installing more than 650 wind power turbines worldwide, with a total output to a 400MW (see picture below) REpower are looking to the UK market, not only to sell their products but also their know-how, to let local British companies benefit from German technological experience and skills
The PRASEG group next to a wind power turbine
Germany has led the way in promoting renewable technologies. As well as fiscal support, planning policies have been crucial to gaining acceptance and support for wind farms. Large numbers of wind generators dotted the landscape as we drove through Schleswig-Holstein. Yet the State government has designated a maximum of one per cent of the land mass in which such developments will be permitted. Communities in the area so designated, and not just the landowner, benefit from such developments, in contrast to the situation in the UK where there is resentment that landowners can scoop all the development gain. No wonder wind energy will this year provide 25% of the State’s electricity! Let us hope that, with the Renewables Obligation coming into force on 1 April this year, the UK will be on the verge of creating thousands of new manufacturing and engineering jobs, as in Germany.
The Renewables Obligation requires energy suppliers to meet 10 per cent of their electricity requirement from renewable sources (wind, water, solar, biomass) by 2010. This and further measures that are beginning to come through, for example the Chancellor's announcement in the Budget of new capital allowances for environmental technologies, could lead to the creation of a whole new industry: building wind and wave farms, solar energy arrays and biomass plants.
Prior to my trip to Germany I visited Solar Century with the Parliamentary Renewable and Sustainable Energy Group. Solar Century is a company of solar technology designers and engineers providing technical solutions with the aim of creating clean energy. They particularly specialise in photovoltaic technology which has tremendous potential to make every home self-sufficient in its energy requirements.
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