As Germany continues its transition away from older, dirtier fuel to clean, renewable power, they are witnessing growing support within the country. A poll conducted by the German Renewable Energies Agency found, among other things, that 94 percent of Germans find the heightened push toward greener energy either “important” or “very important.”
The survey, commissioned by the German Renewable Energies Agency and carried out by the marketing research company TNS Infratest, asked Germans how they felt not on renewable energy per se, but specifically on the oftentimes inconvenient lifestyle adjustments that such an energy transition might entail. According to the results, Germans are disposed to more than mere acceptance of cleaner power – they are ready to participate in the changeover to it.
In addition to the 94 percent of Germans referred to above, another 65 percent are readily amenable to a green-energy factory in or close to their neighborhood. Specifically, respondents were most eager to have a solar energy facility as their neighbor, with a full 82 percent agreeing to it who had already experienced the sun-loving panels down the street. Wind power also received high marks, while plants harvesting nuclear energy, coal and natural gas finished lowest.
However, none of this takes into account the necessary expense entailed by transitioning infrastructure, personnel and even appliances. Would not this elicit a more negative response? Not a bit; in fact, the poll-takers merely shrugged at costs, with 25 percent saying that the evolution to renewable energy should be more pricey. In all, more than three out of every four find the costs associated with promoting green energy either “too low” or “appropriate.”
In the first half of 2011, renewable energy accounted for over 20 percent of Germany's energy needs, a proportion it has never before reached. The 57.3 billion kilowatt hours produced by wind, water, sun and other sources combined for 20.8 percent of the total energy Germany needed, according to a study released Monday by the German Association of Energy and Water Industries.
Compared to 2010, the opening six months of 2011 saw production of almost seven billion more kilowatt hours of energy. In percentage of overall energy used that translates to 18.3 in 2010 compared with 2011's 20.8.
Leading the charge for the renewables was once again wind, accounting for 7.5 percent of combined use (6.6 percent in 2010). Behind wind were biomass (5.6), photovoltaic, or solar (3.5), water (3.3) and rounding things out was energy from waste or other sources at 0.8 percent.
Germany has set 2020 as a benchmark for reaching 35-percent reliance on renewable energy. Moreover, all of this comes within the context of Germany's related pledge to end production of atomic energy by 2022. With eight nuclear plants already shuttered, that goal is well underway. However, part and parcel to ending nuclear energy is replacing it with something else. If the results of this latest survey are any indication, not to mention Germany's increased dependence on renewable energy in the first half of 2011, then the nuclear shutdown is being accompanied by a blossoming of green power.