FERC Chairman: U.S. Should Study the German Renewable Energy Economy

Energy Brief:

The head of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) said today that the U.S. should pay attention to how Germany manages its vibrant renewable energy sector.

“We should be able to learn from them,” said FERC Chairman, Jon Wellinghoff, at the Arizona Solar Summit held in Phoenix today and yesterday. “We haven’t pursued that extensively.”

Germany is considered one of the world leaders in renewable energy. Twenty percent of that country’s electricity comes from renewable sources, primarily wind and solar power. In the United States, just five percent of our electricity comes from those sources.

Wellinghoff told participants at today’s meeting that FERC is looking for ways to expand renewable power.

In the video below Wellinghoff answers this question from the floor: “When we talk about renewable energy, have we looked at Germany? Have we looked at their grid? Have we studied the dynamics of how all this solar, which is about 3% of the total energy in Germany, how that’s working, how it’s not working? Are there any lessons to be learned from the way Germany is managing [renewable energy]? ”

The two-day Solar Summit was hosted by Arizona State University’s Sandra Day O’Conner School of Law and organized by Kris Mayes, the former Chair of the Arizona Corporation Commission (which sets utility rates in the state), and current director of the Program on Law and Sustainability at the ASU School of Law.


The Climate Change Front: A Video Update from Glacier National Park

Glacier National Park

If you’ve been thinking of taking the fam to spectacular Glacier National Park in Montana, you’d better do it soon. In fact, this summer would be a good time — unusually heavy winter snowfalls have added to the glaciers’ mass. But, says research ecologist Dan Fagre, the picture ten years out is far less promising.

“If you come here [then], you will find at least remnants of glaciers,” says Fagre in a USGS video released this month. “I think many of our glaciers will have become so small that they are hardly worthy of being called a glacier…”

The five-minute video features three scientists answering questions about climate change from visitors at the National Park. It’s a short, jargon-free report on how a changing climate is robbing future generations of one of our national treasures.