In the wake of the Fukushima nuclear disaster, Germany quickly declared that it would phase out nuclear power as a domestic energy source. As a result, the wind energy sector boomed. But now, citizens affected by the industry say their energy is more expensive, their homes are less tranquil (due to windturbine motors), and the environment is worse off (due to deforestation and wildlife deaths). “The question is: How many forests must be sacrificed, how many horizons dotted with wind turbines, to meet Germany’s new energy targets? Where is the line between thoughtful activism and excessive zeal? At what point is taxpayer money simply being thrown away?”
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Making matters worse for the economics of the wind industry is the dampening international demand for the renewable resource. “The two most important countries for wind power have both reined in further construction projects. The United States is instead going for cheaper ‘fracking,’ the controversial method of using hydraulic fracturing to extract shale gas. China, on the other hand, has problems with its power grids, which is dampening its enthusiasm for wind turbines.” Put simply, Germany’s biggest infrastructure project is a mess. Everyone wants to get away from nuclear. But at what price?