The Global Switch to Renewable Energy

In spite of the Fukushima disaster, the Japanese government is planning to restart those of the country’s nuclear power plants that are currently down for maintenance and stress tests as well as to extend the maximum lifetime of Japanese nuclear reactors to sixty years. That’s a lot longer than the nuclear reactor lifetime extensions pushed by the Merkel government in Germany and then hastily withdrawn once public opposition to nuclear power exploded after Fukushima. But even in overwhelmingly pro-nuclear Japan, opposition is growing.

Meanwhile the phaseout of nuclear and fossil power is continuing elsewhere in the world. For example, Scotland is aiming for 100 percent renewable energy by 2020, supplied mainly by on and offshore windfarms as well as tidal and wave power.

Germany is also well on the way to phase out nuclear power. The share of renewable energy is currently at twenty percent and growing. More importantly, 51 percent of all renewable energy in Germany is generated not by power companies but by private citizens and farmers, i.e. people like us. Indeed, the decentralization of energy generation is another great advantage of the switch to renewable energy, albeit one that’s rarely mentioned.

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