Germans are embracing renewable energy as the country — the first in the world to decide to completely phase out nuclear power — moves ahead with its plan to shut down all 17 of its nuclear power plants by 2022.
Ninety-four percent of Germans responding to a survey said they found the decision to shift to “greener” energy sources either “important” or “very important,” while 3 of every 4 said they find the costs associated with making the shift either “too low” or “appropriate,” according to a report from Germany.info.
Sixty-five percent of the respondents to the survey commissioned by the German Renewable Energies Agency said they were “amenable to a green-energy factory in or close to their neighborhood.” Eight-two percent were amenable to having a solar energy factory in their neighborhood. Wind power plants also ranked high, while nuclear, coal and natural gas were ranked lowest.
The impact of the shift to renewable energy is increasingly evident across the country and its economy, already a world leader across the spectrum of renewable energy technologies and markets.
In the city of Leipzig, where 125 years ago Carl Benz was granted the first patent for “an automobile fueled by gas,” Bayerische Motoren Werke AG (BMW) announced that it is building an electric automobile in an assembly line powered entirely by wind energy.
Due to start production in 2014, four wind turbines will provide the clean, renewable power for employees to manufacture the emissions-free BMW i3 and i8 electric vehicles.
Last year, BMW joined Daimler and Audi in announcing its intention to build more zero-emissions vehicles. The automaker is investing 400 million euros (~$542 million) in its Leipzig plant to produce them.
By using renewable power and focusing more on production of lightweight, zero emissions vehicles, the total environmental impact of its manufacturing operations will be “reduced to virtually nil,” Germany.info reported.
Germany’s Federal Statistical Office reported in April reported that nearly 17% of Germany’s energy needs are being met by renewable sources, four times the total back in 1990.
Businesses and individuals in other German cities and towns are also contributing to making the transition to renewable energy. Hybrid electric buses are being rolled out in Bochum-Gelsenkirchen, Dresden, Leipzig, Lubeck and Munich.