Germans Spend 100s of €Billions on their “Energiewende” & Get Only 3% of their Power in Return

angry german kid

The Germans are rueing the day the bought into the great wind power fraud.

The Germans went into wind power harder and faster than anyone else – and the cost of doing so is catching up with a vengeance. The subsidies have been colossal, the impacts on the electricity market chaotic and – contrary to the environmental purpose of the policy – CO2 emissions are rising fast: if “saving” the planet is – as we are repeatedly told – all about reducing man-made emissions of an odourless, colourless, naturally occurring trace gas, essential for all life on earth – then German energy/environmental policy has manifestly failed (see our post here).

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).

German manufacturers – and other energy intensive industries – faced with escalating power bills are packing up and heading to the USA – where power prices are 1/3 of Germany’s (see our posts here and here and here). And the “green” dream of creating thousands of jobs in the wind industry has turned out to be just that: a dream (see our post here).

The ‘gloss’ has well and truly worn off Germany’s wind power ‘Supermodel’ status – as communities fight back against having thousands of these things speared into their backyards – and for all the same reasons communities are fighting back all over the world; those with a head for numbers have called the fraud for what it is; and medicos have called for a complete moratorium on the construction of new wind farms in an effort to protect their patients and quarantine their professional liability:

Germany’s Wind Power ‘Dream’ Becomes a Living Nightmare

German Medicos Demand Moratorium on New Wind Farms

And, on a practical level, those in charge of Germany’s power grid have stepped up calls for an end to the lunacy of trying to absorb a wholly weather dependent generation source into what was never designed to deal with the chaos presented on a daily basis:

Germany’s Wind Power Debacle Escalates: Nation’s Grid on the Brink of Collapse

And the economics are so bizarre, that you’d think its “Energiewende” policy had been put together by the GDR’s ‘brains trust’, before the Berlin Wall took its tumble in 1989.

In Germany, around €100 billion has already been burnt on renewable subsidies; currently the green energy levy costs €56 million every day. And, the level of subsidy for wind and solar sees Germans paying €20 billion a year for power that gets sold on the power exchange for around €2 billion.

Squandering €18 billion on power – which Germans have in abundance from meaningful sources – has them asking the fair and reasonable question: just how much power are they getting for the €billions that they’ve thrown – and continue to throw at wind and solar?

The answer is: NOT MUCH.

Germany gets only 3.3% of its energy consumption from wind and solar. Ignore the headlines
Carbon Counter
Robert Wilson
31 July 2015

“Give a man a reputation as an early riser and he can sleep til noon” – Mark Twain.

There is apparently no greater leader on climate change than Germany. Here is some evidence. This country will build almost 11 GW of new coal power plants this decade, and is in the process of licensing new lignite coal mines. It prematurely shut down 8 zero-carbon nuclear power plants in 2011, closed another one this year, and will prematurely close all remaining nuclear power plants by 2022. Germans have reassured themselves by turning from the disturbing vision of the split atom to the nostalgia of coal fires.

But where does Germany’s climate change reputation come from? It certainly does not come from achievements in reducing greenhouse gas emissions. This decade Germany’s emissions have been essentially flat, and Germany is on course to come a long way short of meeting its 2020 national targets for emissions reductions.

This planet saving reputation instead comes from what Germany has supposedly achieved with renewables. The German renewables revolution is apparently in full gear. If you want to understand what is happening in the world it is better to ignore adjectives and instead count.

Counting is instructive about the realities of renewables in Germany. According to the most recent data, Germany got only 3.3% of its final energy consumption from wind and solar installation (Eurostat data for 2013 available here and here).

Does that sound like a revolution? Obviously not.

The 3.3% figure above tells us that renewables are in fact marginal to Germany’s energy system. So where does this idea that there is a renewables revolution in Germany come from?

The answer is easy to find by googling and searching social media. This will immediately lead you to the following type of headline:

Germany Just Got 78 Percent Of Its Electricity From Renewable Sources

Another popular variant are headlines about German solar output exceeding 50% of electricity demand. The obvious problem with these headlines is that many people come to the mistaken conclusion that these record highs are somehow representative of what goes on the rest of the time. They are not.

Let’s quantify this. The record high renewables output (which included biomass and hydro, a fact rarely pointed out) occurred on the 25th July. Total wind and solar output was around about 39 GW according to Fraunhofer ISE data.

How often does this happen? This is relatively easy to find out. All we need to do is add up all hourly wind and solar output and see how it is distributed throughout the year.

I have done this in the graph below. Hourly output was rounded to the nearest gigawatt. I have then added up the number of hours when total wind and solar output fell under each GW bracket. Each bracket covers the average output over an individual hour, in GW.

In total we have about 40 brackets, starting at 0 GW. Yes, German wind and solar falls to zero gigawatts, rounded to the nearest gigawatt. Resist that temptation to write “German wind and solar now meeting 0.1% of Germany energy needs” headlines.


Mean hourly output of German wind and solar was 9.6 GW in 2014, while the median output was 8 GW. The maximum output was almost 39 GW; four times greater than the average, no matter how you define the average.

Furthermore, total wind and solar output was above 30 GW only 2.1% of the time. It was above 25 GW only 9.6% of the time.

The heavily skewed distribution shown above has clearly lead to heavily skewed perceptions about German renewables.

So each time you see headlines about record high renewables output remember this: average output of combined German wind and solar is roughly one quarter of these record highs, and German wind and solar is still just over 3% of final energy consumption in Germany.
Carbon Counter

German wind farm
Hideously ugly, insanely expensive and utterly pointless.
What’s not to like?

3 thoughts on “Germans Spend 100s of €Billions on their “Energiewende” & Get Only 3% of their Power in Return

  1. And last night a UniSA academic said SA could be self sufficient in renewables (reliant mainly on wind) by 2020????

    Desktop proficies are reliant on the program design and the data entered, as well as the ideology of the person entering and interpreting the data. FACTS are different.

    SA at 9.10am today was producing 95KW of wind from 1477MW capacity. Across the Eastern Grid there was a total of 729MW from a capacity of 3,656MW.

    On the 11 August at 9.22am SA produced 1,290MW from 1477MW and the Eastern Grid in total was producing 2,547MW again considerably less than the capacity and certainly a lot less than the requirements of SA or any other of the Grid’s States. These are moments in time, and are not averages and can change in an instant as wind speed, direction and intensity can not be controlled to meet requirements of what people wish for.

    We keep saying it if the wind isn’t blowing nothing is spinning.
    Yes over past weeks we have had gale force winds and that has enabled the turbines to turn more frequently at a high output, but at what cost to the environment and peoples health.

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