Journeyman Films has a great short film on the energy revolution happening in Germany. It focuses on two villages, Schönau and Feldheim.
One interesting point is that the film translates the German term for feed-in tariffs as ‘subsidies’. According to Renewables International, the word actually translates as “funding”:
The video is not, however, without its problems. For instance, the German word “Förderung” is repeatedly translated as “subsidy,” which properly translates into German as “Subvention,” not Förderung, which more properly means support or simply funding. The Germans avoid calling feed-in tariffs “subsidies” for good reason – they are not subsidies. Rather, feed-in tariffs specify a minimum price that utilities must pay producers of green power. Similar government-mandated pricing exists in many countries for a wide range of products and services – from books to medicine.
Here in Japan, there are similar fixed prices for copyrighted materials such as books and music, so I can understand the issues. Subsidies to me usually suggest government/tax payer support such as loan guarantees, or direct and indirect payments such as the nuclear industry receives in the USA – very different than feed-in tariffs which are paid by electric utilities and consumers.
Regardless, the video is superb and gives a good overview of the democratic nature of the energy revolution happening in Germany. Please enjoy!