Two college students from Kiel, Germany, the capital of the northern state of Schleswig-Holstein with a population of 240,000, brought their perspectives on renewable energy to GlobalAtlanta during a journalism internship in September.
While comparing daily use of renewable energy in Germany to that in Georgia, it was clear to Konstantin Stamm and Giovanna Waldner that Germany’s renewable energy is more advanced.
“It’s common to have solar energy in Germany,” said Mr. Stamm, especially in comparison to Georgia, where solar energy is hard to find. “In Kiel, the cars are smaller, the houses are mainly multi-family homes and you see photovoltaic systems on rooftops.”
Mr. Stamm and Ms. Waldner, who are both students at Christian-Albrecht University, noted that solar energy has a large market in Germany, as both private houses and industrial buildings use it as a primary energy source.
Ms. Waldner described a situation with regard to wind energy. She mentioned that wind turbines are a common feature of northern Germany’s countryside, whereas Georgia makes little use of wind energy in its coastal regions.
Based on research conducted as a part of their internship, both students agreed that one of the primary deterrents in Georgia’s development of renewable energy could be the price of fuel.
“Compared to Germany, it’s half the price,” said Mr. Stamm of the low cost of gas in Georgia. He further predicted that Georgia’s environmental consciousness and use of renewable energy sources would increase as the price of fuel increases.
Nevertheless, after attending the GreenBusiness Works Expo in Atlanta, the interns interpreted the current enthusiasm in developing renewable energy in Georgia reflected at the event as a good sign that the state is moving in what they see to be the right direction.
In addition to researching renewable energy practices in Georgia, the students were also encouraged to observe cultural differences between Germany and the United States.
Bigger cars, a greater use of air conditioning and the friendly atmosphere in Georgia were all factors that surprised Ms. Waldner and Mr. Stamm.
Both students characterized American business culture as open and inviting and were grateful for their internship in Georgia in broadening their cultural perspective.
Their research on Georgia’s energy policies can be viewed here.