Yesterday the Wall Street Journal reported (“Germany’s Expensive Gamble on Renewable Energy”) on the high cost of the climate-related energy fanaticism of Germany’s green shirts (why not?), which is now starting to take a tangible toll on the country’s economic competitiveness:
Average electricity prices for companies have jumped 60% over the past five years because of costs passed along as part of government subsidies of renewable energy producers. Prices are now more than double those in the U.S. . .
One government estimate projects the Energiewende by 2040 to cost up to €1 trillion, or about $1.4 trillion, or almost half Germany’s GDP and nearly as much as the country spent on the reunification of East and West Germany. . .
Yet nearly 75% of Germany’s small- and medium-size industrial businesses say rising energy costs are a major risk, according to a recent survey by PricewaterhouseCoopers and the Federation of German Industry. . .
The renewable energy surcharge levied on German households and businesses has nearly tripled since 2010 and now accounts for about 18% of a German household’s electric bill. All told, the subsidies amount to about €24 billion a year, according to Germany’s economics ministry.
So, what country do the climatistas here admire most? Naturally: Germany, precisely because of its policy uber alles approach. Scott and I both wrote here last fall about Ron Binz (“Mercedes Binz”), who Obama wanted to head FERC. (He was even too much for the Democratic Senate.)
Of course, if Germany really cared about greenhouse gas emissions, perhaps they might keep their GHG-free nuclear power fleet operating. As the Journal article shows, Germany really isn’t reducing fossil fuel use very much; renewables are just displacing nuclear. How is that a climate win?
Moreover, because of grid instability problems with wind and solar power, and questions over the long-term reliability and cost of Russian natural gas, guess what Germany is going to do? More coal.
Reuters reported yesterday:
Germany will continue to need coal-fired power plants, its energy regulator said, warning that Europe’s biggest economy should not rely solely on renewables or risk increasing exposure to Russian gas as it shuts down nuclear plants.
“Those who call for an end of coal power generation don’t have much interest in a reliable energy policy,” Jochen Homann, president of the Federal Network Agency (BnetzA), told an energy industry conference on Wednesday.
“We will close further nuclear plants; these capacities need to be replaced,” he said, adding that coal power was vital to achieve this.
What both the Journal and Reuters missed in their stories is that Germany is actually building new coal plants. Here’s the map:
How many ways can you say “Greenfail”?
Now the non-trivia question: with all the cheerleading for the explosive growth of renewable energy (and exploding birds at some solar sites as well), what was the fastest-growing source of energy by total output over the last decade? I’ll just let this Bloomberg headline give you the answer:
The findings are another indication that consumers are prioritizing cheap fuels over efforts to rein in greenhouse gas emissions blamed for global warming. Coal is the dirtiest fossil fuel, and use of it expanded at utilities from China to Germany.
Wait, where? Germany? Did you say Germany? Neat trick—using more of the cheapest fossil fuel but having the highest electricity costs in Europe. Starting to make me wonder about German engineering.