GACCoM Promotes U.S.-German Partnerships in the Renewable Energy Industry

The conference will allow German and American companies to exchange ideas and discuss opportunities for partnerships in renewable energy projects around the world.

Chicago, August 10, 2004 - The German-American Chamber of Commerce of the Midwest, Inc. (GACCoM) is building relationships between German and American companies to promote and expand business opportunities in the field of renewable energies, an industry that will continue to grow as the U.S. works harder than ever to reduce its dependence on foreign oil. To encourage this cooperation, GACCoM is sponsoring a conference on wind and solar energies to be held in Chicago on Monday, October 11, 2004. The conference will allow German and American companies to exchange ideas and discuss opportunities for partnerships in renewable energy projects around the world.

At a time when regenerative energies are being recognized to be a viable alternative to petroleum and fossil fuels, the industry - wind and solar power, in particular - has burgeoned and promises to continue to grow exponentially in the coming decades.

Germany is a world leader in developing renewable energy. Over the past 15 years, government and the private sector cooperated to make Germany less reliant on oil imports. In 2000, the German government set a goal to double the proportion of its renewable energy sources by 2010. The government forecasts that by 2050, half of Germany's entire energy consumption will be provided by solar, wind, and other sources of renewable power.

The German electricity market is the largest in Europe. Consumption in Germany of electricity from renewable sources, most notably wind power, has more than quadrupled since 1991, to 29.1 billion kilowatt-hours in 2004 (about 8% of Germany's total electricity consumption).

Germany is the global leader in wind power, with 39% of the world's wind power being generated in German facilities. Today, Germany has approximately 15,600 wind turbines - up from 350 in 1990. With a size of just 1/25th of the U.S., Germany has a capacity of 14,960 megawatts. In comparison, the capacity of wind energy reaches only 6,300 megawatts in the United States.

Solar power is also big business in Germany. In 2003 alone, solar energy companies generated revenues of over EUR 800 million (approx. US $890 million). The success of solar energy in Germany is due in large part to economic incentives from the German government. In 1999, the "100,000 solar roof panel program" was enacted, which provided low interest loans to homeowners who installed rooftop solar panels. The program ended last year after successfully reaching its target of a 300-megawatt capacity (up from 50 megawatts in 1999), enough to provide electricity to 80,000 households. Today, Germany has the world's second largest solar power sector with a 400-megawatt peak capacity. In 2000, the Renewable Energy Act was passed, in which producers of solar energy get a fixed price of EUR 43 cents (approx. US $0.50) for each kilowatt-hour of solar power provided to the net.

The future of the renewable energy industry in the United States is bright. In this election year, both presidential candidates have placed renewable energy sources at the center of the larger energy plans. President George W. Bush offers tax incentives to promote the use of renewable energy, and plans to increase funding to research and develop next generation energy technology. Sen. John Kerry proposes to have 20 percent of electricity in the U.S. generated by renewable sources by 2020 - an effort that will create more than 500,000 new jobs. America's effort to safeguard the environment and free itself from dependence on foreign oil will ensure the rapid growth of the renewable energy industry over the coming years.

GACCoM's mission is to further, promote, and assist in the expansion of bilateral trade and investment between Germany and the United States.

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