For three weeks in late April and early May, I traveled throughout Germany* researching that country’s energiewende, literally, “energy change,” — a transformation from a fossil-fuel economy to a renewable-energy economy (that produces only small amounts of green house gases). Germany has by no means completed the transition. But it is on the way.
Most remarkably, especially coming from the United States where politics has become polarized and toxic, Germany’s ambitious goal is supported by all major political parties. The only debate is over how to get there and how fast to go.
In the coming weeks, I’ll be publishing a series of articles about the Energiewende tour (as I like to think of it) at InsideClimate News. Later the articles will be expanded into a multi-media eBook, with photos, videos, slideshows with narration and recorded interviews with some of the major actors in Germany’s unmatched progress toward building an economy that is both environmentally and economically sound — and supports democracy and citizen participation. If all this sounds too good to be true, well, that’s exactly what I thought when I began my trip. But several thousand miles and dozens of conversations later, I agree with Hans-Josef Fell, the author of Germany’s renewable energy act: “This first thing we need to change is our belief in what is possible.”