The world’s largest economy, the United States, is falling further behind many other countries in development of renewable energy. On Thursday, a report was released by, Germany’s energy association (BDEW) showing that Germany produced 67.9 billion kilowatt hours (kWh) of renewable energy in the first half of 2012, a record high and an increase of 19.5% from the same period last year.
Renewables now account for 25% of all energy production in Germany, up from 21% last year. The (BEDW) said this reinforces Germany’s position as a leader in green technology.
Meanwhile, the International Energy Agency (IEA) reported that 88% of the electricity generated inside Brazil in 2011 came from renewable sources. The global average is 19.5%. Hydroelectric power was included under the renewable umbrella. The IEA also reported that renewable energy accounted for 44.1% of all energy in Brazil in 2011 including imported energy. This compares with a global average of 13.3%
In the United States, only 11.8% of our energy came from renewable sources in the same period.
A U.N. study shows that China now leads the world in investment in renewable energy knocking the U.S. out of first place. China’s $52 billion was almost one-fifth of total global investment of $257 billion on renewable energy last year. The United States had investments of $51 billion. Germany, Italy and India rounded out the list of the top five countries
Japan announced earlier this summer that it is phasing out its nuclear generation and replace it with solar and other renewable energy systems. It has enacted price incentives to stimulate solar energy.
Italy, Spain, and nearly every nation on earth have decided to boost their renewable programs. One major outlier is the United States. Our policies are going the opposite direction. Republicans in Congress and in many states have almost declared a war on green energy. They are on a mission to stop government assistance to green energy and eliminate EPA rules and provide other incentives for fossil fuels.
Last Thursday when Germany was announcing its success in increasing renewable energy, a Congressional Committee in Washington voted to pass a bill which would eliminate our government’s loan guarantee programs for renewable energy. The week before, it held another with-hunt disguised as a “fact finding hearing” targeting the solar industry in the U. S.
It is no surprise that the United States is falling further and further behind in clean, renewable energy. Congress is bent on making sure we remain the largest contributor to carbon emissions on the globe.
While Congress voted to eliminate loan programs and other assistance for renewable energy, it has voted twice in this year to continue $4 billion dollars a year in subsidies for oil, gas, and coal companies despite the fact these companies continue to record record breaking profits.
The Republican House has voted three times to force construction of the Keystone XL pipeline before environmental studies are completed. Committees have added amendments three times to bills to stop the EPA from enacting rules on coal dust, and other pollution. Republicans are fighting any attempt by the EPA to enact regulations on the fracking industry to protect water supplies.
Earlier this month the Colorado Public Utilities Commission (PUC) killed an appeal and affirmed its cuts to incentives for solar by nearly 50%. The way the program is now structured, the remaining money will be gobbled up by large projects leaving small and medium size solar customers and installers out in the cold.
The Colorado decision comes at a time the state is ravaged by drought and the worst wild fires in the state’s history. Fires have destroyed hundreds of homes and taken lives. Property damage is over half a billion dollars in just two of these fires. Climate change has been identified as a major contributor to the weather patterns causing the drought and fires.
The problem is Republicans deny the science behind climate change. Congressional Republicans have received over $23 million dollars in campaign contributions from oil and gas companies so far this election. That buys a lot of “science” and even more policy.
Are Americans willing watch the world dominate us in generation of clean, renewable energy, but also in the jobs and economic boost that a robust renewable program can deliver?
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