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Green New Germany


Introducing season 3 of The Impact!

The 2020 candidates have some bold ideas to tackle some of our country's biggest problems, like climate change, the opioid crisis, and unaffordable health care. A lot of their proposals have been tried before, so, in a sense, the results are in. 

This season, The Impact has those stories: how the big ideas from 2020 candidates succeeded — or failed — in other places, or at other times. What can Sen. Elizabeth Warren's proposal to fight the opioid crisis learn from what the US did to fight the AIDS epidemic? How did Germany — an industrial powerhouse that invented the automobile — manage to implement a Green New Deal? How did public health insurance change Taiwan?

In this bonus episode Jillian and team fly to Germany to investigate a law that looks a lot like part of the Green New Deal some Democrats are proposing in the US.

Subscribe to The Impact on Apple PodcastsSpotify, or your favorite podcast app to automatically get new episodes of the latest season each week.

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This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
Hello, welcome to another episode of we've done the box media podcast network, I'm Mathew with Lycia today, there's going to be seeing a little bit special for you guys, there's a new season season, three right, the impact it is out this past couple of weeks, we're presenting one of the episode that we think is going to be be especially interesting. Two weeds readers add the show, has a new house, chilean wine, Burger, Helma hey. She is here today to talk a little bit about it. So what's this season all so this sea, then we're looking. The big ideas from people who are running for president in twenty twenty and we're looking at how those ideas have worked and other places are at other times. So the episode that we thought
the weeds listeners, what it really enjoy is about a lie in Germany. That looks like part of what the green new deal would do in the United States call. So as a what what was the law was. A cough, though, is called a feed in tariff witless alive basic, the collective fee from every single German who use electricity and it uses that money to pay above market rates to people who create renewable energy and sell it back to the grid. So it's I give a guarantee that if you put some solar panels like how sir have em, I don't like a windmill in your backyard yeah that the utility will pay you, just sort of make it worth your while exactly an end even make a lot of money. On top of that must have that right and so what what happened to the work that you have to? Listen to find out, it's been an interesting mix. I think you can say that Germany,
One of the main reasons why any a vast can afford solar panels, ordered the ability to invest in a wind turbine by its also had some unintended consequences. You'll hear we need a couple in the episode who has to really keep track of like every spark of electricity. In there
Heard men they are and welfare, they don't have a lot of extra money in their renters that they can invest in a solar panel on the roof or anything like that, so they don't benefit from the programme, but they have to pay into it and electricity bills in Germany are the highest in Europe, so enemy, and you know it for people who are just general fans of of policy. You know all these things intersect with each other right and so that the Germans have had this very sort of low deficit can a mania through at the same time, so they haven't done things that might you know defray some of these costs, like everything with germs, do, is fully paid for so that means these tariffs come out of people's electrical bills. Yet exactly and one of the big critiques, the practice has been that
They didn't set up the tariffs to go down quickly enough, so people were still getting paid, a pretty high price, like fifty cents or so per kilowatt hour, even up to two thousand nine, when solar panels were already getting way more efficient, so they were making a item. They are creating a lot of electricity and making a lot of money and all that money was coming out of german consumers of electricity. But the biggest impact right at me, like one critique that you ever hear of environmental policies like the world, is so big. You know it's like. What can we do? That would even make a dent in part of why this is so important. Is that it's not just about the renewable energy there was created in Germany right, but that because people were buying these solar panels, they develop
technology to to make them much more cheap, exactly the kind of kick started, a market ram and in Germany and I drove demand and actually than China started producing them, and that's you're? A reason? Why do you now solar panels became somewhat affordable and also one of the funniest things about this is like if you ve ever been to germ, I mean I know you have been here: it's not very sunny that now it is an interesting things. I think most of the renewable energy that's created, or the majority of it is from wind right. Germany's were now not for its sunshine before it's like industrial prowess right, and so they actually did get quite good ad manufacturing soberness. I won one time this is years ago. I guess when this must have a new, but I went to
a solar city factory in a city called Leipzig. They were, but it was just like cloudy all the time I was like. What are you doing with us yeah? I guess the idea. Is you collect everything that you can so now in the US? Solar panels are much less expensive than they were ten years ago and we don't live in the sunniest part of America, but it's like. If you live in Phoenix You get cheap solar panels. You really get Shakespeare. Germany, really in a lot of ways, eight, the cost for the rest of the world to have to have that capacity. Echo is anything like particularly surprising that that you picked up here. That people should look out for, I guess in general I was impressed or maybe a little surprised by the press, quality of the environmental movement in Germany that the guy behind this big idea, his name is Hunt Joseph Foul one of the things he said to us in the course of our interviews is that it can't be
movement if we're going to really make change, we need to have political regulations, so it enough He has the Green Party disguised as a member of the Green Party and a as of ninety. Ninety eight got into power on the federal level and really took their momentum and past environmental legislation, and but they also, you know that one of the issues about this idea. Is that some german company is got exemptions from the feed and tariff at the beginning that I wouldn't have to pay such a high cost of electricity so company that make like aluminum are things that, where electricity is their biggest cost, so this guy, Mr Fowl, was like you. It's fine. We're gonna, give them exemptions, because this regulation not succeed in Germany. If we create problems for the biggest industries, That was really interesting. I dont I'm I'm not as tapped into the environmental,
men in the United States, but I felt like it was just a very practical approach to to creating policy and they were willing to accept a lot of. I guess who called technically like her horizontal inequity right, which psych similar situations. Bananas are treated somewhere That's because, like it really wanted to get it right, and so if people could say, will you ve a crush the aluminum industry? It wouldn't gotten done so. There's no, like reason really. To exempt them right. I mean, I think, the ideas like they won't be able to compete globally that now lobby against their. So one of the problems with this lies that now a lot of other companies have lobbied to get exemptions who he believes doesn't in the long run. Right like this is not going to be the policy framework right that the tariff that that's high and with so many exemption recorded, but it sorted, jump, started change and then
still. She used to this come in the in the Red Green collection, negligee, YAP answer, which survived across a bunch of different political regime. Did it got amended an end and that one of the reasons why these sir charge on people's electricity belt has gone out so this man, hair fell, did not have kindly say about Angela Merkel and end the city you buy. Yes did survive, and in some four areas it then that's quite different from its. The german party system is less polar bear way. Less polarized Latin America sets of this kind of thing sticks yeah. I what that's great. You know. I think people really gonna like this absurd, there's been a lot of demand from listeners for more climate. Environmental content is one of the most important stories that's played on the world it and a whole great series looking at sort of models for
see that's here ass, a thank you so much generally irregular listen. This is like a habit has Gillian. This is really the grass all over. This habit house is perched on a hill and a tiny town in northern Bavaria. Germany picture like a better. No it up a little fairy tale. Log cabin the add there, these flower boxes on every window, its literally built into the sight of a hill? The roof is like covered in grass itself. It Mary retail gluten tog. Couldn't I found your comment? Yes, your house's of AIDS in this little habit house, a regular sized man named huh Joseph fell revolutionise the way the world gets? Its energy handiest gives us a tour of his home, which is the most eco friendly place. I've ever seen he walks over to the inn greenhouse covered in plants with its own. Well, this is a water from when he takes us outside to a homemade
HANS where apparently ponds Joseph swims everyday in Minha time swimming, it protects you from the sea, but the reason we are here is because of what's on top of the house on us walks us into the back yard, so we can see onto his route. So you, Susan solar opponents, on my love for solar panels of building up to ninety one. So these are the solar panels that lake or the reason the world has renewable energy
it's a big claim yeah, but, but here is out here, Germany used to get nearly all of its energy from fossil fuels are nuclear power, but as of last year, it was getting almost half of its energy from renewables like solar and wind and look. Germany is a perfect with regards to green energy. It is a country that still loves its coal, but shifting to nearly half renewables is huge and it is arguably because of HANS Joseph fell. The solar panels on his roof gave him an idea that Changed his tiny town, then all of Germany and now potentially the world from the box media Potass network. This is the impact Gillian Limburger this season, we're looking at the big ideas from people running for president in twenty twenty were investigating how those ideas, work or didn't work.
In other places or at other times, like the green new deal, it's a plan really a set of resolutions to fight climate change. Renewable energy would be a big part of that. Almost all of the democratic candidate for President have endorsed it. Massive investments in wind, solar and other sustained. Technologies double the amount of renewable energy. All new building in the United States has to be carbon free. We have to build a green infrastructure. Today on the show. I'm partnering with my friend Kenny Malone Homo Gillian High Kenny Kenny as a co host on the excellent and pr podcast planet money and we went to Germany because its had a policy in place for the last twenty years. That's not too far off from the green new deal, Democrat.
Are proposing for the US. Germany's green new deal change the way the country gets its power, but it also left some Germans living in the dark. I can't see anything electric that's running. We started turning it off when we were going to bed like literally in the dark yeah Like the power strips like the plug strips those are turned off. We talked with the man from the Hobbit House. Hans Yosef fell in his backyard under a trellis covered in grape vines. This is beautiful, every will be silence because sometimes the farmers in Havana coming with loud machines, HANS Joseph does not look like your typical eco warrior. He's wearing a button down. Shirt he's got short cropped hair he's a tall guy in his late. Sixty s looks like everything, tired bureaucrat, which is what he is Han dose was a school teacher, but his political.
We are started about thirty years ago when he ran for City Council. Around the same time, he installed those solar panels. Oh it was so expensive. I remember it was about seventy thousand deutsche mark. That's nearly eighty thousand dollar, in today's money and back then the panels were really pretty inefficient, expensive and kind of crappy, and that is why practically no other houses and haunt you, Town had them did people know you as the guy with solar panel. Yes, I was very famous There's HANS solar panel hunts effects of solar freak, the solar freak for hunts Ios. If those panels were not a good financial, invest
they were an environmental investment. They were worth it to him because he wanted to do his part to stop climate change. However, small that was at hand you Sidney with that for renewable energy to actually make a difference. It couldn't just be a luxury for solar freaks like him and had to make sense financially for everybody. But how does that happen? When HANS Joseph thought about this question? He thought about other technologies started off really expensive, but eventually ended up way cheaper. Do you remember what your first scientific calculator cause it
had to pay ve handled Deutsche mark. Three hundred deutsche marks back in nineteen. Eighty would be like five hundred today dollars and that was buying HANS, Joseph, a pretty basic calculator as astute, and it was very, very expensive, but I needed ten years later, you got it twelve on torture. Mark on this last point is that new technology is always really expensive, but if you can somehow just kick start a market for that thing, the price should come down over time. There would be economies of scale
there would be technological breakthroughs. There's this snowball effect in so HANS Ios have started to think about how to get that snowball rolling for cheaper solar panels. This was back in the early nineties and he started talking about this idea with other officials from neighbouring towns. Some people in often advising myself and hunt Joseph in this band of Mary solar freaks, came up with a plan to use something called a feed in tariff It first times in my hometown, wealth the first feet in tariff for solar was paid in the world. I feed in tariff is a weird phrase, is not great brandy. It's not it's not that it has a big idea, so we should talk about a for a second year. If HANS Joseph is the man who helped to give the world she green energy. The feed in tariff is the one key policy idea that helped him do that. The very very basic
idea is this. You are going to take a little bit of money from everyone who uses electricity, but is the tariff part of feed and tariff yes, and then we give that money to people who are investing in renewable. Turkey, like solar and wind and hydro power, and all that people who are free being more green energy into the grid defeat in the feed in tariff hunts. Yes, if got to try this out on a local level, first than others these in Germany were like. Maybe we should do this fund for, None the Munich adopted it and then hand. Yes, as political party in the Green Party, they got into power on the national level and he got his chance to try this feed in tariff out on the entire country. It was this huge experiment. Can you create a market kind of over
night, by tipping the financial scale away from fossil fuels and towards renewable energy? The big question really was: would this shift in incentives be enough to convert like regular Germans into solar freaks like HANS Joseph, Are you so good morning we drove you two tiny town in Germany, the full of cows columns our back. That's where we broke a milk vending machine. We did break of milk vending machine their unfortunate accident, but we also got to meet a man named used
straighter can, I just say, I'm a little disappointed that you're wearing sandals, but they're, not Burke and stocks are just yours who send us, because my feet are stressing sunlight back in two thousand. Five solar panels seemed like kind of a lousy deal. They were inefficient and expensive, but then use turned about HANS Yo Sieves feed in tariff. The deal was, if used, put up solar panels, he could sell that solar electricity back to the grid and the government would guarantee him a price, a very high price of fifty cents per kilowatt hour for twenty years. The solar panels would more than pay for themselves, so use started, putting them up how many panels you haven't total wholly museum. Turkey, too, you have so many you ve lost count. Hearts used
us inside his house and pulls up this very colorful solar electricity spreadsheet. Does the company give you this or no? No, I did it myself. You did all of this yourself, yeah sure this is elaborate. According to use numbers. He makes about three five hundred euros per year: selling solar electricity back to the grid. He is more than paid off his solar panels again. The way this works. This isn't some government subsidy. Everybody's electricity bill is going to go up a little bit so that somebody like us can get this very high guaranteed price for his solar electricity. So if you want to think about who is really paying for this, it's people who are not taking the advantage of the feed and tariff who are not putting up solar panels? Were you one of the first people in your neighborhood to put the panels on? Yes, I think so, and did you look at your neighbors and think her Sir there's like your no, no, no, no. I didn't, but I have been thinking. Why don't you do it?
Then you should put your own panels up and also get the money like me. We should mention that use getting very high guaranteed price because he put his panels up fifteen years ago back when the technology was way more expensive. Somebody putting panels up today would get a lower guaranteed price, but either way the cost of the panel's gets covered, and that is a beauty. Of the design of the feed in tariff. It turns renewable energy from a luxury item into a solid investment. It transforms the solar curious into full on solar freaks Jes again full on solar freak and feed in tariff originator. Ponzi also fell so winded. This become a success story in Germany. How did you see it become accepted and successful, we could see a lot of new solar panels. You should drive insults Bavaria, you will
see one village after the others is a half of the rooftops. Only solar rooftops. It is very, very good and sure enough. We saw his big idea at work all over the country and its not just solar panels. Lots of things are incentivize by the feed and tariff wind turbines, biomass plants and yes, solar panels. So many solar panels, you're the solar freak you drive around in its like new solar freak, another solar freak. Yes, we have xo plenty solar freaks, but times ahead of us The king, solar hunt, zoos idea, helped grow a whole new mark for renewable energy technology, solar and wind companies started popping up in Germany. And then all over the world. Eventually, China started producing these renewables as well and prices. These expensive technologies plummeted. Just like HANS Joseph had predicted.
Like he had seen with his scientific calculator and share renewal energy is not a luxury item anymore, but after the break, how some Germans ended up, paying way more than their fair share for this transition?. Welcome back so, as we said earlier, the thing about the feed in tariff is that, if you are not personally produce sing your own renewable energy. Somehow you are essentially paying for the people who are at first. This wasn't such a big deal just a little bit of extra money on people's electricity bills, but a few things happened yesterday to shift in the financial burden of this energy transformation.
A couple of those reasons are kind of complicated. There is a change in the way energy raids got calculated. Technologies got better faster than people expected, but one particularly interesting and maybe unsurprising problem was big. Company exemptions went hand. Yes, they fell envisioned this programme. He was like I'm a reasonable guy. I know that a few of our companies need exemptions in order to sell compete globally. However, ass time went on more and more companies managed to weasel their way out of paying into the feed in tariff, even though it was totally clear to HANS Yossi. If that these are the kinds of companies that needed an exemption. Vc companies, like must as an English, Companies who kills a chickens will meet my must be exempt chicken killing comment,
we have ten thousands of companies who are accepted, and in the beginning it was really just five or six companies. Yes, but that's a big switch. All of these changes meant that regular german citizens had to pay a greater share of the switch to green energy and their electric bills started going up. Yes, the surcharge is too high. It must not be so high, but it isn't too high to be a burden for the german economy and for the ass people. The thing about this feat in tariff is that it is designed to create winners and losers. If you invest in renewable energy, you win and you are essentially being paid by people who didn't invest, but there is a whole category of people who cannot invest people for example, can't install solar panels on their roofs because they are renters or people
Don't have the money lying around to invest in a wind turbine? These are the people who are being asked to disproportionately pay for Germany's change over to green energy, and often these are poor Germans, whose electricity bills have been going up really fast. Germany has had to develop an entire programme. I kind of electricity special forces to help people deal with soaring electricity costs growth. If we tackle on one of these special forces visits what they call a call a check at an apartment in Dusseldorf in Dusseldorf, Mme Sundew, minimum Zulus, He's from German from Nigeria and who is this. This is Jordan and his nine months old. Now,
We walked into Sunday and Delors apartment. We noticed it was. It was unusually quiet in dark. It was summer, but there were no fans running. There is no air conditioning, although window shades for down, but basically no lights were turned on. We ask Sunday and allow asked about this. I can't see anything electric that's running even like the power strips those are turned off yeah when we started Bonito lasts Mundt dollars and Sunday have three kids and share. Five people can use a lot of electricity at their bills. That is really high, like a fifth of their household income, because if we look like this is a small journey, we can do this money and make it you gave occasion. So Dolores called Strum spar check this government nonprofit hybrid, that goes to people's houses and tries to find every possible way to cut down on electricity. For example, they told the lorries and Sunday that hot water use a lot of
Christy, so they should take shorter showers. This by the way, a minor point of contention between Sunday in Dolores, like yesterday, good till I come out and say: how long do you stay? As has happened? They gonna do much money in it, but I have long has although he has no hair, that's it. Delores is taking shorter showers. Sunday is watching fewer soccer games on their big screen tv and they're, even switching off their power strips when they're, not using them. In Germany, it has become very expensive not to keep track of every spark of electricity in your house. The country has the highest electricity prices in Europe. So you're paying a lot for electricity, and ultimately, it is helping Germany transition to green energy, even if it can you a lot of money. Are you, okay, with with that
You can see the cameras tinge and the climate is changing. She says it's already too late, but if we can help we have to, we have two Dolores gestures at her son, Jordan, meaning we have to think about the future of our planet, for my kid sake, and surveys show that most Germans are like Dolores there. Okay, with paying the extra money for this greater good. They feel the costs of climate change are going to be really high, much higher than anyone's electric bill? Everyone who spent fitting when we have climate protection again hunters have found king solar freak the man behind the renewable plan was this. A success. Did this work is the biggest success would be no other nor in the world's stimulated that's an positive effect for climate protection, because climate
Protection, you can make only be zero emission technology as his came with a faded tariff. There's a very reasonable argument that, because of HANS Joseph fell and this feat in tariff solar and wind and other renewable energy technologies are now affordable, even good investments for a huge number of people and businesses all over the world, including in the United States. If the, U S, adopts the green new deal, it will be complicated. We'll have to make changes. Germans were willing to do that despite the risks and costs, but whether or not Americans are willing to do the same because of Germany, green new deal. The american version would be a lot cheaper. The period in the food where we have to pay for clean technology, renewable technology is over thanks.
Germany thanks to Germany, yes and others, but mostly Germany had touched to somebody had to pay the initial price to get that green energy market started Germany and more specifically, german electricity. Consumers did just that. This episode was produced by Alexey Horowitz Gauzy, with help from Bird Pinkerton, an editing from Bryant her staff and Alex Goldmine. The acts editor is emu draws dusk. I dared Tom mixes and scores the show with help from Paul mountains. We had music from eight p M Paddington, bare and esteem by jukebox, the ghost think you'd alluring cats, Zack COM,
Anne Marie Cabal Danbury for all their help with marketing and engagement, and thank you always to Sarah Cliffs leaves Nelson is boxes editorial director for podcast special thanks to Barbara call for nickel outburst. Ok, you're, hot man, a net merits and Stefan shots, and a very, very special thanks to Mr Lugosi who drove us on the autobahn, showed us his beloved windmill and tried to get german cows. To talk to us mean. Are you sure they're gonna make noise, DR friends for boys you coming from far away from the sound they're just staring at you,
I am always in English is not due to the issues of turf, legitimate and kept it I'll get its own loud middle class in the swedish here I'd. So if you I got up- and I hope you do- I- you should subscribe to the impact on the box menu progress that weren't you have set out everyone's days. You can fill that keeping avoid life between weeds episodes check it out and which will be back on Friday.
Transcript generated on 2021-05-21.