51% of German renewables owned by citizens

A “Citizen Power” conference will be held in the historic chamber in Bonn in July where the world’s first feed-in law was enacted in 1991.

Germany, a country where 51% of the renewable energy generation is owned by its own citizens, will be hosting an international conference on community power from 3 to 5 July 2012 in Bonn, the former capital.

The “law on feeding in electricity” (to the grid) was introduced by conservative Bavarian farmers frustrated with their utility’s intransigence to connecting their small hydro plants with the grid. The “feed-in” law was passed overwhelmingly by the conservative government of Helmut Kohl, and quickly ushered in a revolution in the way electricity was generated in Germany, spreading rapidly from Bavaria in the south all the way to the Danish border in the north. Farmers, individuals and community groups could, for the first time, emulate their Danish neighbors by installing their own wind turbines and selling the resulting electricity at a hoped-for profit.

The Bonn conference is timely. Interest in community ownership of renewable energy generation is increasing not only in Europe but also in North America. In 2010, 51% of the more than 50,000 MW of renewable energy capacity in Germany was owned by farmers or individual citizens. This represents a staggering $100 billion in private investment.

German farmers alone have installed 1,600 MW of biogas plants and 3,600 MW of solar photovoltaic (solar PV). For comparison, in 2010 there was only 60 MW of biogas plants and 2,200 MW of solar PV in the entire USA.

Source: Paul Gipe
Photo Courtesy: Renewable Energy Magazine

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  • 10 Jan, 2012
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