Germans Finally Take the Axe to Wind Power Subsidies

chop-wood-axe-downgrade

Germans get a power price breakthrough, at last.

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Germany’s renewable policy – referred to as the “Energiewende” – has seen €billions in power consumer/taxpayer subsidies thrown at wind and solar power at the expense of German industry, manufacturing and families.

Skyrocketing renewables driven power prices are sending once competitive manufacturers and industries to the USA to benefit from energy made cheap by its recent shale oil and gas bonanza (see our post here).

For the same reason, more than 800,000 German homes are without power simply because they can no longer afford to pay their bills (see our post here). That number can only escalate – something like 300,000 households are being disconnected from the grid annually (see our post here). And, beyond that, an even larger number suffer from what is euphemistically called “fuel poverty” – which is where a household spends more than 10% of its disposable income on energy – leaving them with the stark choice of “heat or eat” – simply because they can no longer afford both.

The fact that – for all the €billions thrown at wind and solar power – German CO2 emissions have increased not decreased – as coal-fired plants are cranked-up to keep the grid from collapsing – simply adds insult to injury (see our post here).

But, finally, it seems that German policymakers have muscled up the necessary courage to bring the renewables gravy train to a shuddering halt. Here’s Business Week on efforts to bring German power prices back down to earth.

German Lawmakers Vote to Reduce Renewable-Energy Subsidies
Business Week (Bloomberg News)
Stefan Nicola
27 June 2014

German lawmakers backed an extensive revision of the country’s EEG clean-energy law to curb subsidies and slow gains in power prices that are the second-costliest in the European Union.

The legislation, which introduces limits on how much onshore wind and biomass capacity qualifies for the full subsidies and lowers existing targets for solar and offshore wind, pulls energy policy “out of the quicksand,” Economy Minister Sigmar Gabriel told reporters after the vote in the lower house. “We have to expand renewables with more planning security.”

Chancellor Angela Merkel is seeking to curb subsidies in Europe’s biggest renewables market even as she pushes through an “energy switch” from nuclear power. Her plan would see all the country’s reactors shut by 2022 and the share of renewables rise to at least 80 percent by 2050, from about a quarter now. “Excessive” power-price gains are making the expansion of renewables unsustainable, Gabriel said earlier today.

The opposition Green Party and Die Linke voted against the bill, saying it would delay solar, wind and biomass projects and give excessive rebates to industrial companies. Germany retained most of the power-fee rebates to companies in industries such as steel, aluminum and chemicals, even after the EU was investigating whether the exemptions violate competition rules.

‘Choke’ Expansion

“There will be no price break for consumers, but there will be a price break for the industry,” Caren Lay, a lawmaker for Die Linke, said today in parliament before the vote. A plan to tax the self-consumption of solar power from plants larger than 10 kilowatts will “further choke” expansion of the industry, the BSW-Solar lobby said today.

Governing coalition lawmakers say the revision is needed and comes at the right time.

We need more cost-efficiency when it comes to expanding renewables,” said Hubertus Heil of the Social Democrats, who are Merkel’s junior coalition partners. “If you want the energy switch, you must be ready to accept changes now.”

Owners of clean-energy plants that consume their own power will have to pay 30 percent of the EEG-Umlage, a fee to finance the subsidies, starting next year. That share will rise to 35 percent in 2016 and 40 percent in 2017.

Germany seeks to add 2.5 gigawatts of solar panels, 2.5 gigawatts of onshore wind turbines and 100 megawatts of biomass energy units a year. It targets 6.5 gigawatts of offshore wind capacity by 2020.

The legislation is to be debated July 11 in the upper house by state leaders, who can at most delay it by calling for an arbitration panel. Gabriel told reporters he doesn’t expect such a move.

The government is trying to have the bill become law on Aug. 1, giving German companies time to apply for rebates, despite last-minute changes demanded by the European Commission.

Germany has the second-highest electricity prices for private households in the 28-nation EU after Denmark, according to Eurostat.
Business Week (Bloomberg News)

light-in-darkness

The principal lighting option for the 800,000 German households that
have been cut off from the grid thanks to wind power costs.

About stopthesethings

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

Comments

  1. Vic Wright says:

    Note in the comments to an article on the ABC the other day, that our green Senators are amongst the 5% highest private CO2 emitters in the world, can only suspect there is some truth in this comment. Perhaps Germany’s greens are up there too!!!
    Guess they all have a long way to fly or drive to conferences etc to save the planet from CO2.

  2. Terry Conn says:

    Greg Hunt and Ian MacFarlane are determined to take Australia down the same path as Germany. They refuse to acknowledge the problems. Dr. Wonhas from the CSIRO, a German, along with a few other European mates are all on their ‘energy white paper’ board. Their mission is to save the planet, their result,will be to destroy their children’s future or at least the future of other ‘unimportant’ Australians. Greg Hunt’s statement that the ‘true 20% RET’ is a good compromise is just another ploy to cruel young Australian’s future to satisfy his and his greenie buddies ignorant ideology. At some point Abbott and his supporters in the coalition are going to have to sack the ‘terrible duo’ or give up on trying to ‘right the economic ship’. Don’t give up Abbott, go for broke, the only alternative is a sunken ship, what’s to lose? As Maurice Newman points out in today’s Australian, if you’re eight years old or under, you lose everything your parents and grandparents had! Good luck kids.

Trackbacks

  1. […] renewables policies by winding back subsidies and tearing up wind power contracts (see our posts here and here). And Australia won’t be far behind […]

  2. […] now that the Germans have started to wind back subsidies for renewables (see our post here), the “green” jobs that were built on them are disappearing fast. Here’s Die Welt on the […]

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