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Wednesday, October 8, 2014

WHY IS GERMANY #1 IN SOLAR ENERGY?

Global solar electricity production represents only 0.5% of world generation, but look at this impressive growth:


2012
20
ROW
40
60
80
2003
2004
2005
2006
2007
2008
2009
2010
2011
2012




Without question, Germany has been the top country:


A world solar insolation map:


As the data above reinforces, I can only wonder why those sub-optimal countries are so progressive, for I've traveled throughout Germany a dozen times, and there is not that much sunlight, mediocre wind regimes and a biomass supply that is mostly protected.  Embarrasing, but in terms of total solar power capacity in MW per million people, the USA is way down there in position #20.  Our solar incentives are undependable:


Japan, because of desperation is, perhaps, too haphazardly jumping into solar.  Like Germany, the country is not well-endowed with the renewables, and I've always felt that the ocean was their only hope.  Keep an eye on Bulgaria.

Why is Germany #1?  According to Jennifer Runyon of Renewable Energy World, Germany:
  • thinks huge
  • takes advantage of knowledge transfer
  • has made peace with industry allies
  • keeps eyes on the horizon
  • has gone over the top
  • but takes the road less traveled
  • and has well considered unintended consequences.
The key question is how has Germany maintained a solid economic course while incorporating solar:
  • driven by citizens and communities
  • creates new jobs
  • keeps industrial base fit for a greener future
  • regulation and open markets provide investment certainty and allow small business to compete with large corporations
  • fighting climate change and phasing out nuclear power can be two sides of the same coin
  • the solar shift also applies to transport and housing sectors
  • transition is here to stay
  • energy transition is affordable
I might further add that Germany will abandon all nuclear by 2022.  Everyone expects the country to adjust this decision, but, so far, still on course.

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Super Typhoon Vongfong went up to 180 MPH, but is now at 165, with gusts to 200 MPH:


Interesting that the predicted eye makes landfall over Miyazaki (where I will next month stay at the Sheraton Ocean Resort), then slide over Shikoku, currently projected to fly right over Osaka (where I will stay at the St. Regis), then Nagoya (yes, I'll be at the Westin), then Tokyo (again, another Westin).  I guess the good news is that I'm still in Honolulu.

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