Through their energy transition campaign Energiewende, Germany is well on its way to phasing out its nuclear plants in favor of clean, Renewable Energy. Generating 35% of its power from wind, solar, hydroelectric, and biomass in the first half of this year, it is reported that on Sunday, May 8, around 1 p.m., Germany’s renewable infrastructure was supplying about 87% of the energy being consumed. This Sunday, the country created more output than needed, driving electricity prices below zero for the entire day, meaning that producers had to either shut down power stations or pay consumers to take the electricity off the grid.

Committed to cut its carbon emissions 40% below 1990 levels by 2020, Germany invested 25 billion euros ($26 billion) in renewable energy in 2016, most of it paid for through an additional surcharge added to power bills. Although Germany is close to the same latitude as Calgary and does not get as much sun as more southern countries, in 2010, they had already become the world's largest solar market with 44% of the solar panels installed globally being installed in Germany. Although their power bill has increased around €20 ($23.61), the majority of Germans say it is well worth it.

A recent survey by the Agency for Renewable Energies concluded that 95% of Germans surveyed wanted more renewable energy resources.

Will America embrace renewable energy?

While President Trump pulled the United States out of the Paris agreement and plans to invest in coal, many Americans want more renewable energy resources. However, tactics in America are quite different.

As Germany is roughly the size of Montana, many see a federal movement toward renewable energy in the United States as too big a job. So smaller governments are stepping up their activities.

Hawaii passed its 100% renewable electricity mandate in 2015 with a 2045 target to get off of fossil fuel and into clean energy. California is striving to make 60% of their energy from renewables by 2030 with a "zero-carbon" requirement for the other 40% by 2045.

Renewable energy being implemented by U.S. cities.

Yet some American cities are already leading the way. Greenburg, Kansas implemented wind power to become the first city in the United States to go 100% renewable in 2013, with Burlington, Vermont following them in 2014, and Aspen, Colorado in 2015.

The Sierra Club launched their #ReadyFor100 campaign, a nationwide effort to get 100 cities and 100 organizations to commit to transitioning to 100% renewable energy. The organization states that their latest milestone is having 150 mayors across 33 states say they are ready for 100% clean energy. The Meister Consultants Group even offers a free pdf to guide cities through the transition to clean, renewable energy, focusing on mapping the city's energy landscape, identifying available strategies, and organizing for energy transition.

Although Germany may be leading the way, many Americans are hoping to follow the lead.