Germany is making an ambitious effort to remake its electricity system and its citizens soon will get 30 percent of their power from renewable energy sources.
By the end of this year, scores of new wind turbines in the North Sea will be sending low-emission electricity to German cities hundreds of miles to the south, The New York Times reports.
The turbines are as far as 60 miles from the mainland, stretch as high as 60-story buildings and cost as much as $30 million apiece.
Germany’s push into renewable energy has implications far beyond its shores. By creating huge demand for wind turbines and especially for solar panels, it has helped lure big Chinese manufacturers into the market. That combination is driving down costs faster than almost anyone thought possible just a few years ago.
Electric utility executives all over the world are watching nervously as technologies they once dismissed as irrelevant begin to threaten their business plans. Fights are erupting across the United States over future rules for renewable power.
Many poor countries, once intent on building coal-fired power plants to bring electricity to their people, are discussing whether they might leapfrog the fossil age and build clean grids from the outset.