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However, Germany has made a bold effort to respond to insufficient domestic energy supply, foreign oil dependence, and energy-related environmental damage by ratcheting up its development of renewable energy technologies. Germany has become a world leader in renewable energy. It generates the largest amount of electricity from wind power in the world, and in 2004, according to the IEA, Germany possessed 390 megawatts of installed solar power capacity and 14,600 megawatts of installed wind capacity. This represents a respective 43 and 40 percent of total installed renewable energy capacity among all OECD countries. Although renewable energy still has a modest share of overall energy consumption in Germany—hydropower and other renewables accounted for only about 6 percent of Germany's total energy consumption in 2004—Germany's capacity to generate energy from renewable sources, including solar, wind, biomass, hydropower, and geothermal energy, in order to meet its energy needs has increased annually. Germany has become the world's largest supplier of biodiesel.

Germany's energy policies continue to emphasize conservation and further development of renewable energy sources. For example, on July 21, 2004, Germany passed the Renewable Energy Sources Act (Act Revising the Legislation on Renewable Energy Sources in the Electricity Sector). One of the aims of this law, which went into effect in August 2004, is to increase the percentage of Germany's electricity derived from renewables—from 6.7 percent in 2000 to 12.5 percent by 2010, 20 percent by 2020, and 50 percent by 2050. These goals do not seem unrealistic for Germany, which, as of 2005, had already begun generating 10 percent of its electricity from renewable sources. The Renewable Energy Sources Act calls for improved financial incentives for the continuing development of not only wind power for electricity, but also hydropower, now the second-largest renewable source of electricity in Germany after wind. It also calls for more electricity derived from solar, biomass, and geothermal power. The law seemed to spur almost immediate action, as Shell's five-megawatt solar electricity plant in the city of Leipzig, Germany, went online in September 2004 and another corporation was expanding a 4-megawatt solar plant in Gottelborn, Germany, to 8 megawatts in 2006. Furthermore, in late 2003 Germany finished building its first geothermal plant, in Neustadt-Glewe. Germany's energy industry as a whole has agreed to invest 30 billion euros in constructing new power plants and other forms of energy infrastructure by 2012, and 40 billion euros in the expansion of renewable energy use.

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Solar Panel Basics

Solar Panel Basics

Global warming is a huge problem which will significantly affect every country in the world. Many people all over the world are trying to do whatever they can to help combat the effects of global warming. One of the ways that people can fight global warming is to reduce their dependence on non-renewable energy sources like oil and petroleum based products.

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