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The US isn’t an energy model and Germany has been doing this for years with no impact

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The US isn’t an energy model and Germany has been doing this for years with no impact

Stefes, 11 - associate professor of political science at the University of Colorado

(Christoph New York Times, http://www.nytimes.com/roomfordebate/2011/09/20/why-isnt-the-us-a-leader-in-green-technology/us-should-emulate-germanys-renewable-energy-model?pagewanted=all)

For now, the United States is a good example of how not to get there. While some states have set ambitious goals for the expansion of renewable energy, a concerted effort at the federal level is missing. Instead, the Obama administration has continued to rely on an already existing patchwork of tax breaks, loans and research and development spending that has done little to provide entrepreneurs with a nurturing investment environment. In a market that is so heavily tilted in favor of conventional energy sources, governments need to provide some reassurance to investors in green technology.

In contrast to the U.S., Germany has for two decades relied on a comprehensive policy instrument to promote renewable energy: feed-in tariffs. This model requires utilities to buy electricity from renewable energy operators at a fixed rate that is guaranteed for 20 years, providing entrepreneurs and banks with a stable investment environment. Since introduction of the first feed-in tariff in 1991, the share of renewables in the electricity sector has increased from less than 5 percent to about 20 percent, with 30 percent envisioned by 2020 and 80 percent by 2050. Renewable energy has thereby become a boom industry, employing around 300,000 workers today, with 500,000 expected by 2020. Utilities have passed on the extra costs to the end consumer. Yet consumers’ electricity bills have increased by less than 5 percent because of these tariffs, and customers have had no major objections.

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