A German economic development official is encouraging Wisconsin renewable energy firms to cross the Atlantic and do business there. That's because Germany plans to discontinue nuclear power and go all-renewable.
If plans stay as they are now, Germany's nine remaining nuclear power plants will shut down within a decade. Germany plans to use nearly exclusively renewable energy by the year 2050. John Gatto is president of the economic development agency for the largest German state, North Rhine-Westphalia. Gatto told a sustainable energy conference in Milwaukee that the German chancellor has some very ambitious plans for alternative energy.
"Angela Merkel wants to put 5,000 new wind turbines in the North Sea over the next few years — 247 acres per wind turbine. The area's going to cover probably about five times the size of all the boroughs of NYC, combined."
Gatto says such a large project would need better energy transmission and storage technology. so he says there are opportunities for energy companies from places like Wisconsin.
"We welcome U.S. companies, companies from Wisconsin and the Midwest and elsewhere to come talk to us at the state level, the federal government level. There are subsidies there that support these undertakings: some are coming, some are going."
While a whole country doing away with nuclear power might seem far fetched to some, Gatto says Germany's plan is bipartisan. In a few months, another Wisconsin nuclear plant is scheduled to close, meaning that in the last 35 years, the state will have gone from three commercial nuclear plants to one.