Even the Germans got burned by green energy

Germans are usually much more cunning with their money, but they got sucked in by the green economy scams:

Germany once prided itself on being the “photovoltaic world champion”, doling out generous subsidies—totaling more than $130 billion, according to research from Germany’s Ruhr University—to citizens to invest in solar energy. But now the German government is vowing to cut the subsidies sooner than planned and to phase out support over the next five years. What went wrong?

Subsidizing green technology is affordable only if it is done in tiny, tokenistic amounts. Using the government’s generous subsidies, Germans installed 7.5 gigawatts of photovoltaic capacity last year, more than double what the government had deemed “acceptable.” It is estimated that this increase alone will lead to a $260 hike in the average consumer’s annual power bill.

According to Der Spiegel, even members of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s staff are now describing the policy as a massive money pit. Philipp Rösler, Germany’s minister of economics and technology, has called the spiraling solar subsidies a “threat to the economy.”

Germany’s enthusiasm for solar power is understandable. We could satisfy all of the world’s energy needs for an entire year if we could capture just one hour of the sun’s energy. Even with the inefficiency of current PV technology, we could meet the entire globe’s energy demand with solar panels by covering 250,000 square kilometers (155,342 square miles), about 2.6 percent of the Sahara Desert.

Unfortunately, Germany—like most of the world—is not as sunny as the Sahara. And, while sunlight is free, panels and installation are not. Solar power is at least four times more costly than energy produced by fossil fuels. It also has the distinct disadvantage of not working at night, when much electricity is consumed.

Great, they put in alternate energy systems and their power prices is skyrocketing…I guess it could be worse they could have put in a RMA and hamstrung new generation capacity for decades.


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  • mihalku

    My first comment on Whale Oil. I find this article wanting in detail. So Germany’s power prices are increasing? Why? Is it because the subsidies are only being paid for by other power users? If so that’s dumb legislation. For their Government to complain that the scheme is too successful is very short-sighted (most politicians can’t see past the end of their term in power) and the article makes no mention as to how much coal and oil may be saved per year, or how many fewer new power stations may be needed? Those savings will justify the present expenditure.

    I have always believed that here in NZ, we are being conned by those Government departments which exhort us to save power. Given that the capital investment in power generation has been set up to generate a substantial dividend – including a WRITE -UP of the value of dams and plant under Clarke-Cullen – any saving in power consumption will automatically result in increased in power charges for fewer units, whether individually we save power or not.

    Then again, perhaps some exceptionally forward-thinking Government official has recognized that bulk power generation has a limited future of acceptable dividends.  Was it he who recommended selling off the generation companies now, whilst their income appears secure?

  • Not to worry – only 40 years to go before Nuclear Fusion by the French comes along

  • mihalku

    Hmmm, not sure if that comment is intended to be jocular or serious? I am a fan of all things modern and paradigm-shifting. Trouble is, at 69, I’m not likely to see it come to pass.

    • Both. The French seem to be on the leading front in all things Nuclear Technology, whether that be the next generation fission reactors, the black hole/antimatter device at CERN or spending quite a lot of Euros on the next research fusion reactor. I read in the Business Herald last week that a joint effort led by the French was under way to construct a Nuclear Fusion Reactor. The purpose is to build on the Work of the British JET Fusion reactor and try to sustain a fusion reaction that produces more energy than it consumes for longer than 8 seconds.

      If it is successful then 2050 we should be seeing commercial scale fusion reactors providing the juice to our industry and cities. The true power of the sun at our finger tips, none of this solar power stuff kiddies, I am talking a reactor that would produce 15,000,000C of heat which is the same temperature as the core of our sun.

      That was the serious bit.
      The not so serious bit, trust the Frogs to not be pissing round with solar and wind but with some serious stuff – fusion! EU power, brought to you by French Fusion Power, cause we did not piss round with green technology

  • mihalku

    Ben, how do I find your blog or website?

    • Click my name when I reply to posts here at WO to see my blog.

  • mihalku

    Ben, where do I find your blog/website?

    • Agent BallSack

      Welcome to WhaleOil first of all, its a great wee blog to be enlightened, angered, amused all in the space of one post :)
      People with blue hyperlink names are links to blogs etc. In Bens case it’s voakl.net

      • ABS is on the money – on both fronts that is :)