Self-Produced Electricity Booming in Germany

August 22, 2014

Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article. 

1. exemplify /ɪgˈzɛm pləˌfaɪ/ (v.) – to be a good example of something
Example: The company’s rapid success exemplifies the benefits of hard work.

2. tax /tæks/ (n.) – the required amount of money paid to government based on one’s income or properties
Example: All employees are required to pay government taxes.

3. self-sufficient /ˈsɛlf səˈfɪʃ ənt/ (adj.) – having the capability to provide for one’s needs without the help of others
Example: The self-sufficient town produces its own electricity.

4. there is a catch /ðər ɪz eɪ kætʃ/ (idiom) – to say that something ideal has a disadvantage
ExampleThere is a catch to not paying taxes monthly. The government will collect payments after five years with an added rate.

5. exemption /ɪgˈzɛmp ʃən/ (n.) – a situation of being excused from an obligation
Example: Senior citizens often have exemption from accomplishing government requirements.


Read the text below.
More and more residents in Germany are exemplifying efficient energy usage by producing homemade electricity.

Among all European countries, Germany has one of the most expensive electric bills. The country was also reported to consume 600 terawatt-hours (TWh) of energy every year. To eliminate the use of fossil fuels and to achieve cleaner energy production, Germany recently implemented an energy transition project.

Out of Germany’s 600-TWh energy consumption, about 50 TWh come from renewable energy resources like gas turbines [TUR-bins, -bahyns] and solar panels. In addition, self-produced electricity appears to be an economical option, as the German government does not require taxes from residents or companies with self-sufficient power supply. On the other hand, subscription to traditional power companies requires customers to pay taxes, which cost one-third of the customers’ monthly bill.

Kurt Bock, head of the chemical company BASF, said that the company might have to pay half a million euros to the government if self-produced electricity was taxed. BASF currently uses electricity from the company’s three gas plants located in southwestern Germany. Carmaker Daimler’s [DAHYM-luh r] plant manager Willi Reiss [reys] also believes that having a self-sufficient energy source helps the company to properly manage electricity costs.

While self-produced electricity seems advantageous in many aspects, there is still a catch. Energy production from wind and sunlight can be minimal at times due to the weather’s unpredictability. Also, investing on self-produced electricity can be costly, especially for big establishments.

Hildegard Mueller [HIL-duh-gahrd MYOO-ler, MUHL-er, MIL-] of the German Association of Energy and Water Industries added that self-producers do not contribute to the country’s efforts on energy transition, mainly because of the tax exemption.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.  

Discussion A

·         If given the chance, would you try producing homemade electricity? Why or why not?
·         In your opinion, how will traditional electric companies be affected by the rise of self-producers?

Discussion B

·         What are other ways to save energy? Kindly discuss.
·         Do you think renewable energy sources will soon replace current electricity providers? Why is that so?

August 22, 2014