June 22, 2006


The North and eastern German landscapes have changed a lot since the mid Nineteen Nineties. Today the landscape is dotted with spectacular homogeneous windmills or wind turbines, some of which are 100 meters high. In the regions of Lower Saxony, Schleswig-Holstein and in Saxony-Anhalt thousands of Windmills have emerged to provide power to the national grid. One such turbine can generate a million kilowatt hours a year, powerful enough to provide electricity needs of a small village. They provide a beautiful view specially when you are taking the Autobahn (highway).

Since 1997, Germany has overtaken the United States as the world’s leading producer of wind energy. It is estimated that Germany now has approximately 10,000 such wind turbines.

"Germany is now the world leader in renewable energy. 10% of its electricity requirements are now supplied by wind, solar, bio-mass and small hydro. Experts say that this will grow to 20-25% within 15 years, when nuclear is scheduled to be phased out." (source)

The only problem is that the wind energy is very expensive. Extracting one kilowatt/hour of energy from the wind costs four times as much as using fossil fuels. A law which tells the electricity providers to buy power from wind turbines at a designated price, secures the windmill owners. That is why the opposition to wind power is growing as it is not a profitable business.

The state of the remaining traditional windmills in eastern Germany is dilapidating. They face extinction as they are either being modified or simply being brought down.

I think technological advancements will make electricity generation from windmills less expensive in the coming years. It is great to see that Germany is clutching on to this form of energy eventhough it is not economically a better choice. I think after 50 years, when the major oil and coal reserves of the world are almost emptied, Germany will not face a crisis being depended on fossil energy.


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