Germany Leads the Way: Using Energy Tariffs to Increase Alternative Energy Use
This article asserts that no country has made a more profound and consistent commitment to rewewable energy as the world's third largest industrial economy - Germany.
Germany's Renewable Energy Sources Act gives generators of renewable electricity (which includes individual households) the right to sell excess energy back to the grid. It also specifies the specific rates to be paid for different alternative energy resources.
Since 1991 when their program was launched, the Germans have installed more than 14 gigawatts of wind-generating capacity, more than twice the amount constructed in all of North America. In 2003 Germany installed more than 20,000 solar-electric systems. This year they expect that number to increase by another 50 percent.
The article argues that these tariffs have made Germany into one of the world's leading manufacturers of alternative energy generating equipment creating tens of thousands of jobs.
Spain and France have also adopted the use of energy tariffs to promote renewables. Spain already produces 10% of its electricity from wind power and aims to triple this by 2010. France has 14 gigawatts of applications for permits on its books.
Currently there are eleven countries in the world using renewable energy tariffs and China is said to be actively considering them.
The article's author, Paul Gipe, calls on more countries to adopt them so they can experience the benefits of significant growth in the use of renewables.