Affordability, decentralization bolster renewables in Europe

By CGTN’s Guy Henderson

Climate change was a key sticking point at this year's G20 summit, which wrapped up Saturday in northern Germany's port city Hamburg.
The US has pledged to pull out of the Paris Accord – while hosts Germany want to forge ahead. Does the wrangling really hamper the drive to save the planet though?
The Lacher family believe that the next phase in the global green revolution, starts at their house. Reichart and his wife Christine live an almost carbon neutral life in the Bavarian countryside.
Their consciences are clear – and they say it’s more affordable anyway. The Lachers are part of a groundswell of people across Germany who now control their own resources.
Life was a little more difficult a few years ago for families looking to go green, but energy storage technology is rapidly developing. German company Sonnen Energy said their household battery sales are doubling every year.
They see the energy world gradually de-centralizing.
Christoph Ostermann, CEO of Sonnen Energy. /CGTN Photo

Christoph Ostermann, CEO of Sonnen Energy. /CGTN Photo

“Germany is in the unique position of being the lab of the world... what is happening here today will happen everywhere, it’s just a question of time. Renewable energy is competitive today. The transition towards renewable energy will definitely happen – so what happens here right now will happen everywhere,” said Christoph Ostermann, CEO of Sonnen Energy.
Sonnen now has a factory in the US as well, and it ships its products mostly to other parts of the developed world. 
Dong Energy, an off-shore wind farm developer, is celebrating the completion of two new projects off the north German coast. They’ve just taken on two more, both without any government subsidies, which is a world first.
Dong executives call it a “man on the moon moment” for what is a larger, more centralized approach.
“I mean look at the United States of America: to a large degree, it’s corporate America that is leading this drive towards more renewables so it’s consumers behind it who say: I want products, I want to buy from companies that source their power from renewable sources. And once you’ve reach that point It’s not down to the next election, and then everything will go backwards. I think you start to be much more firmly rooted in the corporate world, in the consumer world: and these are very powerful forces,” said Samuel Leupold from Dong Energy.
CGTN’s Sean Callebs spoke to Yixiang Xu, new research initiative fellow at the American Institute for Contemporary German Studies, on the cooperation between China and Germany on climate change.