Wind Power Costs send Germans back to the Stone Age

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Power starved Germans take matters into their own hands.

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If you’re going down to the German woods today, beware of a big surprise.

Although it won’t be cuddly Teddys with well-stocked picnic baskets and wonderful games to play – chances are it’ll be a power starved German armed with an axe, looking to filch a pile of timber to cook his bratwurst and warm his home.

In the last couple of posts we’ve looked at the social and economic disaster that is German renewables policy.

The Germans launched into massively subsidised wind and solar power with power prices rising 80 per cent in real terms in little over a decade. Unable to pay skyrocketing power bills, 800,000 German households have been disconnected from the grid – with that number growing by 300,000 each year. In addition, almost 7 million German households are suffering “fuel poverty” – forced to choose between eating or heating.

Always a resourceful lot, power-starved Germans have grabbed their axes and have headed back to the woods in an effort to obtain that which their insane renewables policy denies: affordable energy. However, it seems their new timber-driven energy economy is premised on a “user-doesn’t-pay” model that has left German foresters unamused.

Here’s Spiegel Online’s look at Germany’s return to the Stone Age.

Woodland Heists: Rising Energy Costs Drive Up Forest Thievery
Spiegel Online
Renuka Rayasam
17 January 2014

With energy costs escalating, more Germans are turning to wood burning stoves for heat. That, though, has also led to a rise in tree theft in the country’s forests. Woodsmen have become more watchful.

With snow blanketing the ground, it’s the perfect time of year to snuggle up in front of a fireplace. That, though, makes German foresters nervous. When the mercury falls, the theft of wood in the country’s woodlands goes up as people turn to cheaper ways to heat their homes.

“The forest is open for everyone to enter and people just think they can help themselves, but they can’t!” says Enno Rosenthal, head of the forest farmers association in the northeastern German state of Brandenburg. “Naturally, those log piles belong to someone and there is a lot of money and work that goes into them.”

The problem has been compounded this winter by rising energy costs. The Germany’s Renters Association estimates the heating costs will go up 22 percent this winter alone. A side effect is an increasing number of people turning to wood-burning stoves for warmth. Germans bought 400,000 such stoves in 2011, the German magazine FOCUS reported this week. It marks the continuation of a trend: The number of Germans buying heating devices that burn wood and coal has grown steadily since 2005, according to consumer research company GfK Group.

That increase in demand has now also boosted prices for wood, leading many to fuel their fires with theft.

Rosenthal said just last weekend someone stole an entire bundle of oak wood worth about €150 ($199) from a private forest in the town of Neuruppin outside of Berlin. “Many foresters come back to their wood piles and find them a little smaller or even gone,” he says.

Gray Zone

About 10 percent of the firewood that comes out of Brandenburg’s forest every year is stolen, resulting in losses of about €500,000, Rosenthal estimates. In the southern German state of Bavaria some 5 percent is absconded with annually says Hans Bauer, head of the state’s forest owners association.

“A gray zone has developed,” says Rosenthal. “Normally if you sell sausages, you create a business and pay taxes, but with wood some people are laxer.” He says many people steal wood and then resell it via ads in the newspaper. Such sales, needless to say, tend to be of the under-the-table variety.

Other thieves are more spontaneous, says Bauer. Often people will just drive by a pile of wood and see it as invitation to steal, he says. “Drivers just stop, open up their trunks and put the wood in and drive off,” he says. “It’s that easy.”

Bauer says that a couple of years ago, a driver loaded up €2,000 worth of wood into a truck and drove off. He was eventually caught and paid a fine to the forest owner. But Bauer says such retribution is rare.

Extreme Measures

Bauer now advises foresters to keep wood deep in the forests away from busy thoroughfares and to make logs too large to fit in regular cars, keeping temptation for casual thieves at bay.

Often, however, even those measures aren’t enough. Rosenthal said that just a few years ago foresters would leave log piles in the forest for up to a year to dry. Now, though, he says they aren’t kept for more than a month before moving to more secure locales. “Keeping the wood under your own surveillance is the best protection,” says Rosenthal.

In the western German city of Hessisch Lichtenau other foresters are taking a more extreme approach, according to local daily the Hessische/Niedersächsische Allegemeine. In recent years, two major tree heists have taken place in town and the state experiences losses of millions of euros as a result. The paper reports that now some foresters are outfitting log piles with GPS devices to track thieves.
Spiegel Online

With hundreds of thousands of (former) German power consumers with no power at all – millions struggling to pay for power – and no relief in sight – German foresters are fighting a losing battle. Deprive people of the basic necessities of life and they will do whatever it takes to replace them with the closest thing available.

Cooking a meal and warming a home were – until pretty recently – matters which Germans, no doubt, largely took for granted. Thanks to the insane cost of their renewable policy – for a substantial and growing number of German households – these basics are now beyond reach.

As we have pointed out before, the costs of wind power fall disproportionately on the poorest and most vulnerable in society (see our posts here and here).

What might make a few inner-city lefties feel good – for the few moments in their day (if ever) that they consider energy policy – carries with it the social cost of deprivation and exclusion that is a form of unjustified punishment. Access to affordable power is a matter of social equity: but social equity is now running a poor second to “green” ideology, as – thanks to the exorbitant cost of wind power – electricity has been turned into an “aspirational” good for those at the bottom of the socioeconomic heap.

With Australia following Germany’s lead on wind power policy, we’re well down the track to a return to the Stone Age. Australia’s “wind power capital”, South Australia (population 1.6 million) has more than 50,000 homes disconnected from the grid because they can no longer afford to pay their power bills – with more being cut-off daily. These people have taken to lighting their homes with candles – and cooking on wood stoves and barbeques. As to why South Australians suffer the highest power prices in the world (see our post here); and as to how the clowns that pass for their political betters are helping it happen there (see our post here); and in Victoria (see our post here).

So, unless Australia scraps its insanely expensive, totally ineffective and, therefore, unsustainable Renewable Energy Target – like the Germans – we’ll be sharpening our axes and heading off on Stone Age timber gathering adventures of our own.

stone age cave dweller

Wind power costs sends them back to the future.

About stopthesethings

We are a group of citizens concerned about the rapid spread of industrial wind power generation installations across Australia.

Comments

  1. pesto23 says:

    This article may have some relevance if Germans used electricity to heat their homes. The majority of german households do not use electricity, rather they use either gas or oil powered central heating.

    • More than 800,000 German households do not use electricity for any purpose, as they cannot afford it and have been cut from the grid. But you would say wholesale energy poverty is not relevant because it affects people other than you. There is a word for that…

  2. Reblogged this on Climatism.

  3. Jackie Rovenksy says:

    The process of causing power poverty is only the tip of the iceberg. The cost of power to produce, transport, pack, freeze and keep fresh the food we purchase in the stores which also rely on energy to operate tills, and keep food fresh, as well as light the stores is passed on to the end customer, so food poverty is much like the iceberg, with the mass lurking below the surface that is much bigger than the tip.
    For the millions who don’t have room to grow their own fruit and vegetables, or keep animals to provide eggs and meat, life will become a matter of trying to feed their families – this can only end in hunger, anger, theft and in some cases civil unrest.
    The way to stop society hitting the iceberg is to stop the insanity of continuing down the road we have been going.
    We need policies that consider every aspect of cause and effect, and not just as the current policy has done by saying – yes it will cost more initially but that’s OK people will get used to it – with never actually looking further than their navels to see what that statement actually means and where and when ‘initially’ ends.

  4. No CW, Wind’s only purpose is to make the greens feel less guilty when the weather gets nice. It takes more fossil fuel to generate electricity when there is wind connected than if there is no wind at all. See my videos valmartinireland you tube

  5. You keep taking away the necessities of life from people, they will eventually take the law into there own hands to survive, as cold and hungry people are doing in Germany. This has been caused by the wind weasel and greentard goons, with their fraudulent wind fan scams. Blind Freddy can see what is happening, even if Goverments can’t.

  6. STT, I’m confused, I thought the idea of renewable energy, particularly wind energy, was to reduce Co2 emissions, which are a result of burning fossil fuels to generate electricity and this in turn would help cool the planet.

    Now you are telling me, that because renewable energy is such a success, people are cutting down more trees, which are half way through the process of becoming fossil fuel anyway and burning them to save renewable energy.

    That makes about as much sense as Dave Clarke telling us we have to have 197 wind turbines in our back yard, to produce renewable energy, while he chops up trees, which are half way to becoming fossil fuel anyway and burns them in his cottage at Crystal Brook, he has said as much.

    Wouldn’t it make more sense to forget about planting wind turbines in 350 cubic metres of concrete, I have never seen one grow yet and plant a whole lot more trees. The trees would lower the Co2 emissions while they are growing and everyone could use the wood for cooking and heating. As in forestry, the plantations would be rotated with new growth forests coming on all the time.

    What is a more renewable energy source than that?

    I knew I was ahead of my time with my wood fire and now I feel much better, to know that I have actually been using renewable energy all the time.

    We’d better tell the Ceres boys to forget about turbines and just plant some trees, everyone will be much happier and think of the embarrassment it will save them, when after all the effort they have put in, Ceres goes belly up, because they can’t find anyone silly enough to invest in their pipe dream. The little Greek God might even be able to use some of that wood in his bio mass plant. that might be more of a sure thing than what his hot rocks are at the moment.

    CW.

    • David Mortimer says:

      Its a little wonder that people are confused. “Renewable” doesn’t necessarily translate to “clean”. Forestry is renewable, but we still have to burn the wood to get power and in the process, it produces CO2, so it isn’t “clean”.

      Wind might be “clean” but because of its randomness, it has to be backed up constantly by non-clean generation, so it isn’t really “clean” and because we can’t make the wind blow just when we want it to, it isn’t “renewable” either.

      Nuclear isn’t “clean” in terms of hazardous waste produced, but it doesn’t produce CO2 emissions, so is it clean? Once used, its power generating capability is finished. We can dig up more, but that is not strictly “renewable”.

      Confusing, isn’t it. I wonder if the general public have their brains around “clean” and “renewable”? I don’t think so.

Trackbacks

  1. […] – Stop These Things – Wind Power Costs send Germans back to the Stone Age – Skyrocketing electricity costs are seriously hurting poor people in Germany. Article points […]

  2. […] Some 800,000 German homes have been disconnected from the grid – victims of what is euphemistically called “fuel poverty”. In response, Germans have picked up their axes and have headed to their forests in order to improve their sense of energy security – although foresters apparently take the view that this self-help measure is nothing more than blatant timber theft (see our post here). […]

  3. […] and most vulnerable, as a result, is a political crime against the people (see our posts here and here). The ONLY purported justification is “saving the planet” by reducing CO2 emissions in […]

  4. […] Wind Power Costs send Germans back to the Stone Age […]

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