March 01, 2016

Comparing Ambitious Energy Reforms: The German Energiewende and New York State REV

Jonathan A. Binder and Patrick E. Foster

Throughout the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, European-American intellectual exchange has often been a key driver of technological and organizational achievement. In 1896, for example, electricity was first successfully transmitted over a significant distance, twenty miles from Niagara Falls to the population center of Buffalo, New York. This engineering feat was a boon to the economy of early New York State and the country as Buffalo, a gateway of commerce and industry, became a city electrified from a central, renewable energy source. One of the fundamental innovations that allowed this long-sought accomplishment to be realized was the application of the European Nikola Tesla’s theories of alternating current to the problem of conveying a stable current over long distances. This technology is now fundamental to energy transmission throughout the world.

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