Germany announced that 17 percent of the electricity used in homes in the country comes from renewable sources, and that it doubled the number of solar installations in the country in 2010 alone. Germany is the largest photovoltaic solar market in the world, with 7 gigawatts (GW) of capacity installed in 2010, or approximately half of the global market.
Germany is also one of the largest producers of wind power on the planet, with 27 GW of installed capacity. This roughly represents 16 percent of all wind power in the world, and makes it Europe’s biggest user of this form of clean energy.
Germany is setting a goal of 35 percent renewable energy by 2020, and 80 percent by 2050, both of which make U.S. goals look modest at best.
Under the Obama administration’s energy plan, the United States is hoping to have 10 percent renewable energy by 2012 and 25 percent by 2050, all the while reducing greenhouse-gas emissions by 80 percent. The president’s report says that the United States should be a leader in climate change, but given the budgetary and political climate in Washington, it appears that Europe is and will continue to be the real driver.