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Germany now gets more than 20% of its electricity from renewable sources, and Germany is just getting started.  Renewable energy expert Paul Gipe reports that “renewable energy supplied nearly 21% of [Germany’s] electricity during the first half of 2011.”  Last year, the German Federal Environment Agency announced that a study showed that Germany could get 100% of its electricity from renewables by 2050.  According to the U.K. Guardian, “the Environment Agency’s study found that switching to green electricity by 2050 would have economic advantages, especially for the vital export-oriented manufacturing industry. It would also create tens of thousands of jobs.”

In comparison, what we’ve accomplished in the U.S. is less than exceptional.   Looking at the most recent data (2010), just over 10% of our electricity comes from renewable energy sources (according to RenewableEnergyWorld.com’s analysis of data from the most recent U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) Monthly Energy Review).

ELAW is working to bring lessons from Germany to lawyers in the U.S. and around the world so they can help their countries adopt strong policies supporting renewables.  While some countries have already followed Germany’s lead and have adopted feed-in tariffs and the other policies needed to move toward a more sustainable future, many more have yet to follow.

If you’re in Eugene and would like to learn more about shifting energy production to renewables, I invite you to join ELAW on October 8, 2011 (save the date!) at the Good Works Film Festival at  Bijou Art Cinemas. ELAW will be co-presenting  The 4th Revolution: Energy Autonomy, a film which follows 10 environmental activists in 10 countries on four continents as they work to shift energy production to 100% renewables.  We can all learn more about the innovative steps other countries are taking to move toward a sustainable future,  and I hope you will join us.

Jen Gleason
Staff Attorney

Solar Panels on Tamarack Wellness Center in Eugene

Solar Panels on Tamarack Wellness Center in Eugene

I think Oregon is on the verge of adopting a law that will allow Oregonians to put solar panels on their rooftops and sell all of the electricity they generate to their local utility at a fair price. I’ve been in Salem, Oregon several times over the past few months – witnessing and participating in “sausage making.”

The Oregon House of Representatives passed HB 3039 to the Senate with a 47-11 vote.  The current version of the bill includes many features — some of which are good and some that are not so good. The bill contains a pilot project for distributed solar generation, which means individuals can generate electricity and sell it back to their utility.  As the bill moves to the Senate, ELAW will be working to bring home lessons learned in Europe and make sure Oregon creates a strong pilot project, modeled on Germany’s successful renewable energy program.

Jennifer Gleason, Staff Attorney

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