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 and the impacts on the electricity market chaotic.
Some 800,000 German homes have been disconnected from the grid – victims of what is euphemistically called “fuel poverty”. Power starved Germans, instead of freezing, grabbed their axes and tramped into their forests 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).
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:
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 a year 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 – at a piddling 3.3% – is: NOT MUCH.
For Germans, that would all be miserable enough, except that – contrary to the purported environmental purpose of their Energiewende – CO2 emissions are rising, not falling as promised and predicted.
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. And what an expensive failure it is.
Grand Debacle: Germany’s Renewable Energy Effort Turning Into A Colossal, Costly And Senseless Failure!
17 March 2016
Mike Shellenberger, President of Environmental Progress and Time Magazine ‘Hero of the Environment’, appeared dismayed when he tweeted here that Germany CO2 emissions rose over 1% in 2015, as the following chart shows:
Graph by Clean Energy Wire, data from German Environment Agency (UBA) and Green Budget Germany. More here.
In 2015 Germany’s CO2 emissions rose to 912 million tonnes, up from 902 million tonnes from a year earlier and from 906 million tonnes way back in 2009. Overall Germany’s CO2 emissions savings have trended slightly upwards over the past 7 years.
Megan Darby at Climate Home here calls the development “a blow to the country’s claims to climate leadership”.
Schellenberger has every reason to be shocked by the 2015 result.
- 2015 was Germany’s second warmest year on record, meaning fuel consumed for heating had to have been low.
- Germany has invested tens of billions of euros in its bid to switch to CO2-free energy sources. Angela Merkel top aide Peter Altmaier warned that the Energiewende would cost 1 trillion euros.
- Consumers, who were once into thinking it wasn’t going to cost much, are now paying close to the highest electricity prices worldwide. One kilowatt-hour costing close to €30 cents. Hundreds of thousands of households are having their power cut off because they can no longer afford to pay their power bills.
- Germany power grid is now more unstable than it has been in decades. That fact in combination with the high electricity prices is driving industry out.
- Germany’s per capita CO2 emissions are among the highest in the world.
- About half of Germany’s CO2 reductions since 1990 resulted from the shut-down of former communist East Germany’s inefficient state-run industry.
- Wind parks have blighted much of the country’s idyllic landscape and thousands of people are now suffering from health damage due to infrasound. Planned windparks are facing increasingly ferocious protests from nature protection and citizens groups.
- 2016 will likely also see no reductions – thanks to the low petroleum prices and colder weather so far.
Socialism and energy!
In summary Germany’s Energiewende has been an extremely costly government-intervention debacle of monumental dimensions.
We haven’t seen such a large-scale industrial mismanagement since the collapse of the USSR and the German Democratic Republic.
Recall that not only did their industry collapse into a heap of rubble, but they too also left huge environmental damage that we are still cleaning up 25 years later.
And no one in his/her right mind expects Germany to meet its 2020 target, let alone 2030. Other countries have to be insane (or have lots of money to burn) to follow the German example.