A group of decision making officials from Minnesota and Iowa went to Germany to explore the German renewable energy revolution as part of a University of Minnesota program. This was actually the second visit to Germany to explore their innovative energy programs.
They reviewed German energy & heating systems, a hydrogen powered car, visited a hybrid power plant and a community in Feldheim that generates more power than they consume. The Feldheim community has a combination of a biogas plant, solar panels and a wind farm. The Brandenburg area that was visited produces 60% of their energy from renewable sources.
Both Minnesota and Iowa are already leaders in renewable energy with Iowa generating 20% of the state’s energy from wind and began their renewables effort in the 1980’s. Minnesota has a considerable number of wind farms in the south regions of the state that have been growing at a rapid rate.
Germany company Juwi Wind is constructing a new wind farm in SW Minnesota in the Worthington area where massive wind farms already cover the landscape. Minnesota has created very favorable conditions for growth in renewable energy including a state law that requires nuclear power operators to pay into a fund for renewable power as they expand their storage of nuclear waste in the state. The Prairie Island nuclear plant was required to pay $9 million towards renewable energy to compensate for their impact on the state.
German renewable energy innovation has even reached to North Carolina where Charlotte has become a US base for German energy companies to expand their technology into the US.
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