Manage episode 251119720 series 1641972
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.
Further listening and reading:
- Vox’s David Roberts on how government policy helped make solar technology affordable
- Vox’s Umair Irfan and Tara Golshan on Sen. Bernie Sanders’s Green New Deal
- Vox’s guide to where all the 2020 candidates stand on policy, including climate change issues
Jillian Weinberger, @jbweinz
Vox is a news network that helps you cut through the noise and understand what's really driving the events in the headlines.
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