Germany. Already leading the world with theirits open immigration policies, transportation methods, and their efficient economy, areis down to theirits very last coal mine which is set to close by the end of 2018. This is a monumental step in moving the world off of the desolate ways of nonrenewable energy. Non renewable energy choices such as coal and oil make up for ¾ of the European Union’s energy sources. With Germany making this leap to a “decarbonized economy”(Wacket), others are sure to follow in their steps.
A problem all nations are destined to face when making this switch, is that it is not always sunny and it is not always windy, making solar and wind power hard to be fully reliant on. Luckily, Germany figured this one out for us too. It’s called a pumped energy storage system and it utilizes excess solar and wind power from when they are working, to pump water uphill, into a reservoir. When there is a lack of energy, the dam on the reservoir opens and the water flows downhill, spinning turbines and generating more energy. The water is then recycled through the system and the process starts again.
It gets even better. The Germans are rejuvenating the old, decrepit coal mines, using them as the reservoirs for the pumped energy storage system. If you think about it, they are the perfect candidates, since the water needs to be able to flow up and down and mines are compiled with many different levels. The engineers from the mines, in large, are the ones designing the pumped water storage systems as well. This may be the ultimate solution to powering cities and towns of the future, free of waste.
Hamilton, Valerie. “In Germany, Miners and Others Prepare for a Soft Exit from Hard Coal.” Public Radio International, 11 Dec. 2017, www.pri.org/stories/2017-12-11/germany-miners-and-others-prepare-soft-exit-hard-coal.
Kirschbaum, Markus Wacket Erik. “Germany Breaks Green Energy Record by Generating 35% of Power from Renewables in First Half of 2017.” The Independent, Independent Digital News and Media, 3 July 2017, www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/germany-green-technology-record-power-generation-35-per-cent-renewables-solar-wind-turbines-a7820156.html.
Urry, Amelia. “In Germany's Appalachia, the Last Coal Mine Is Closing.” Wired, Conde Nast, 1 Dec. 2017, www.wired.com/story/in-germanys-appalachia-the-last-coal-mine-is-closing/.