Germany's transport minister, Wolfgang Tiefensee, announced this weekend that his country plans to build up to 30 off-shore wind farms to meet the country's renewable energy targets, reports Der Spiegel. Tiefensee said he hopes to see some 2,000 windmills in the North and Baltic Seas, to provide 11,000 megawatts of electricity.
Berlin reportedly wants to source 25,000 megawatts of energy from wind farms by 2030. The country had recently passed a law designed to raise the percentage of renewable energy from the current 14 percent to 30 percent by 2020. New off-shore projects are expected to cost roughly 1 billion ($1.56 billion) each, and the first one is expected to be off Borkum Island in the North Sea next year.
Wind farms have met with much less NIMBY resistance and less arguments in Europe, perhaps because the continent has a long history of reliance on, and appreciation for, windmills, especially in northern countries. Plus, Europeans are well known for earlier adoption of measures to combat climate change and boost sustainability.
Meanwhile, in China, experts have estimated wind capacity could surge by 1,667% by 2020.
Not only is the U.S. famously addicted to oil, but Congress has continued to play bait and switch with invaluable renewable energy tax credits, the latest round of which are set to expire by the end of this year. The good news is the U.S. installed 5,244 megawatts of wind capacity in 2007, the biggest yet, and the Department of Energy has pointed out we could meet 20% of our needs with turbines by 2030.
Given the political realities and resistance, whether this will actually happen remain to be seen. One can only hope that widespread anxiety over high gas (and other fossil fuel) prices will jar the American public into taking more serious looks at renewable energy and conservation.
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