Monday, June 13, 2011

Christie & Merkel: Conflicting Views About Renewable Energy's Limits

Two high profile, political conservatives--Governor Christie and Chancellor Merkel--made recent,  contradictory announcements about renewable energy requirements.

Merkel, a trained physicist, literally watched with horror a hydrogen explosion at Fukushima and shortly thereafter immediately pulled the plug on Germany's 7 oldest nuclear plants and said that all 17 nuclear plants would be retired by 2021.

To replace nuclear, Merkel announced Germany would rely on gas and jump its renewable energy power from a current 17% to 35% by 2020.

Governor Christie meanwhile announced that New Jersey would reduce its renewable energy requirement from 30% to 22.5% by 2021, while also deploying more natural gas plants.  Christie said the  30% target was not achievable.

So Christie and Merkel agree on gas but head in different directions on renewables. 35% is achievable in Germany but 30% is not in New Jersey. What explains the different view on renewables?

Political will and politics.  Nothing more or less.  The technology options for both are identical.

But it should also be noted the similarities that remain between New Jersey and Germany.

Both also are marrying large amounts of renewable energy with gas, making them the dominant fuels of the future.  New Jersey and Germany are big examples of the renewable energy and natural gas revolution.

Merkel and Christie, however, do completely disagree about the future of nuclear plants.  Christie believes new nuclear plants should be built, and plainly Merkel does not.

Lastly, Chancellor Merkel is an example of European conservatives who accept climate science.  Former Prime Minister Thatcher, another trained scientist, is another prominent example of a European Conservative not foolishly at war with climate science.  The European embrace of renewable energy is rooted in climate science.

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