The parallels between Germany and South Australia are as uncanny as they are frightening. The common feature being, of course, their ludicrous attempt to rely on sunshine and breezes.
Like South Australians, 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 hereand 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: 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 €200 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.
Like the Germans, South Australians are, for precisely the same reasons, witnessing the willful destruction of hundreds of businesses and thousands of jobs, while thousands are being deprived of power and tens of thousands more are struggling to pay their rocketing power bills.
South Australia’s base-load power supply has been wrecked by heavily-subsidised wind power – a product of massive Federal subsidies dished out under the Large-Scale Renewable Energy Target (see our post here).
The consequence being that, every time the wind drops out, spot prices rocket from around $70 per MWh to $2000-$4,000, frequently hitting the regulated market cap of $14,000 per MWh.
South Australia is now heavily reliant upon coal-fired power – dragged from Victoria over a couple of interconnectors which fail on a regular basis – as well as highly inefficient, fuel-hungry Open Cycle Gas Turbines and diesel generators, smashing claims that SA’s renewables efforts are ridding the planet of the dreaded CO2 gas.
Germany is in much the same boat: the market perversion, caused by its colossal subsidies to wind and solar power outfits, has crushed not only its energy hungry industries, it’s crushing its biggest power generator, RWE in the bargain. And, in the mother of all ironies, CO2 emissions continue to skyrocket. Here’s Andrew Follett of the Daily Caller with the latest on Germany’s debacle.
Green Energy Could Cause the Largest Bankruptcy in German History
6 July 2016
One of Germany’s largest electrical companies is facing bankruptcy due to the enormous amounts of money it poured into green energy, according to a report published Wednesday by the German newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung.
The German utility Rheinisch-Westfälisches Elektrizitätswerk (RWE) was forced by the government to shut down many of its profitable nuclear reactors and build expensive wind and solar power. The government’s mandate to replace nuclear reactors with wind or solar power cost over $1.1 trillion. The company has a 46 percent chance of going bankrupt within the next two years, according to investment groups.
“It is the sheer distress which is behind the project. That’s because RWE needs huge amounts of money very pretty soon. Especially for its nuclear phase-out,” Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung reported Wednesday. “A good 10 billion euros have been reserved already. But that is hardly enough. The Initial public offering (IPO) is presumed to generate the additional resources that are required. RWE cannot afford to accumulate more debt. It is already loaded with €45 billion [$50 billion in] long-term liabilities on the balance sheet, almost eight times its equity, a menacing rate, while the rating agencies have given RWE just above ‘junk’ status.”
RWE’s overall earnings fell by almost 10 percent between 2014 and 2015 and are predicted to fall by up to 14 percent this year. The company’s attempt to sell stock reeks of an effort to raise the money required to stave of bankruptcy.
“If the IPO goes wrong, then RWE is – as is usual for companies without a future – a case for the administrator,” the paper continued. “It would be the largest bankruptcy in German economic history.”
RWE’s only hope to avoid bankruptcy may be a lawsuit by German utilities suing the government for $21 billion in damages due to the country’s plan to shut down all nuclear reactors by 2022.
The shutdown plan has certainly done enormous damage to utilities, destroying their main sources of profit and increasing the price of electricity throughout Germany. The average German pays 39 cents per kilowatt-hour for electricity due to intense fiscal support for green energy. The average American only spends 10.4 cents per kilowatt-hour.
Nuclear power’s decline has created an opening for coal power, according to a Voice of America article published in November. Coal now provides 44 percent of Germany’s power, despite the fact that coal ash is actually more radioactive than nuclear waste.
In the year 2000, nuclear power made up 29.5 percent of Germany’s energy. In 2015 the share dropped down to 17 percent, and by 2022 the country intends to have every one of its nuclear plants shutdown.
This shift caused Germany’s carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions to actually rise by 28 million tons each year after Germany’s nuclear policy changed. Germany’s government decided to abandon nuclear energy after the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster in Japan galvanized opposition.
Electricity from new wind power is nearly four times as expensive as electricity from existing nuclear power plants according to analysis from the Institute for Energy Research. The rising cost of subsidies is passed onto ordinary rate-payers, which has triggered complaints that poor households are subsidizing the affluent.