Green New Germany

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By Vox Media Podcast Network. Discovered by Player FM and our community — copyright is owned by the publisher, not Player FM, and audio is streamed directly from their servers. Hit the Subscribe button to track updates in Player FM, or paste the feed URL into other podcast apps.

Two decades ago, Hans-Josef Fell quietly started a revolution in his home country, with a law that looks a lot like part of the Green New Deal endorsed by many Democratic candidates. That law transformed Germany, and that has the potential to change the world.

Fell found a way to make renewable energy technology — like solar panels and wind turbines — cheap. His law allowed Germans to sell the renewable energy they create to the grid at a really high fixed price. Germany paid that fixed price through a surcharge on every electricity consumer’s bill.

Demand for renewables grew so much in Germany that China started to mass produce solar panels and wind turbines, which drove the price down. Now, people all over the world can afford this technology. But the law has also had some unintended consequences. Due to some amendments and market forces, the surcharge on Germany’s electric bills have skyrocketed. Electricity has become a burdensome expense for Germans living on welfare, and the high cost has even left a few spending a lot of time in the dark.

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Host:

Jillian Weinberger, @jbweinz

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31 episodes