Green Weenie of the Week: Germany

Well why shouldn’t an entire nation be eligible for one of our coveted Green Weenie Awards?  After all the country actually has a Green Party that has been included in past cabinets, and is often held up as an example of how a nation should embrace green energy technologies.

Except that the whole expensive scheme is falling apart.  Despites hundreds of billions of Euros in subsidies and direct investment, German greenhouse gas emissions are rising, for the second year in a row.  One reason: a revival of coal-fired power:

Lignite and hard coal power plants and gas plants delivered 12.4 percent more power in the first half year, according to figures by the Federal Association of German Electricity Association (BDEW). As a result, German greenhouse gas emissions will rise again in 2013, just as they did in 2012. Already in 2012 lignite and hard coal power plants had emitted approximately four percent more CO2. The data for the first half year now show that this trend will significantly worsen.

And Hamburg is building a new coal plant to meet demand.  One reason this is happening is that Europe’s failure to join America’s shale gas revolution (which has meant gas is cheaper than coal here now) has kept coal prices lower than gas:

In addition, coal is currently much cheaper in Europe than natural gas. According to a recent review of Germany’s energy policies by the International Energy Agency, coal is so cheap that it has de-incentivized the construction of more efficient and more flexible natural gas plants, thereby threatening the progress of the Energiewende.

Meanwhile, German solar power output is stagnant.  And winter is just a few months away.

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