TreeHugger has a post on German efforts to develop renewable energy technology - Germany: Unveiling Our Energy Future Before Our Eyes And Putting the Power Back In Our Hands.
In a four-part series by Der Spiegel, the paper explains how Germany is taking charge of the future energy revolution and it is all happening today. From mega projects like smart grids and deserts covered in lakes of solar panels, to the smaller house-hold projects like cutting edge appliances and mini-power plants in every basement, Germany is taking this whole efficient energy production idea very seriously, and as The Environment Report reports, they have managed to cut their carbon emissions 23% since 1990 by supporting and taking a chance on many of these ideas. While American energy markets are almost fearful of what that knowledge might mean, preferring to not allow consumers to have any idea even how much electricity they are using from day to day. Germany on the other hand is putting all of the power back in the hands of the consumer and allowing them to produce their own electricity and make an extra buck or two if they are proactive enough.
Germany has chosen six regions in which to "test" many of these ideas under their label E-Energy, which will include tens of thousands of homes and hundreds of companies in the project. The idea is to see if homes can produce all of the energy that they need from within the home, and then earn a check for any excess energy produced and then returned back to the grid. Many of the world's largest energy and technology companies from around the world are already on board, and helping to foot part of the 140 million Euro bill. Germany estimates that a successful program could save the country 10 terawatt-hours of energy every year, the equivalent of 2.5 million households.