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Germany and Spain are waking up to the inevitable truth about renewable energy, especially offshore wind. They are now realizing the projects cannot survive without subsidies and that they make energy much more expensive to households and businesses. In an age of austerity, they are a luxury even Germany, Europe's economic powerhouse, cannot fully afford any more.
The green lobby in Europe is so strong that it has pushed EU politicians to oppose virtually every kind of reliable non-renewable energy. ..."Ordinary families and small and medium-sized businesses are essentially subsidizing the investments of green do-gooders," who can afford to install solar panels on their homes and their businesses. But what's really starting to cause citizens and policy-makers to question their green energy agenda, is that soaring energy costs are driving energy-intensive industries in Europe to move to the United States.
EU carbon permit prices have collapsed as the Continent's economic crisis curbs energy demand. Utilities and industrial firms have less need to emit CO2 above their statutory limits. Total emissions in the EU fell by nearly 10% between 2007-2011, according the most recent data. The low price of carbon allowances is good for consumers who don't have to absorb the extra regulatory cost in what they pay for energy.
The facts in this opinion piece are accurate. The Prime Minister of Bulgaria has resigned and elections will be held in May, 2013.
With Spain in the grips of recession, the government wants to lower consumers' light bills. In Germany, Chancellor Angela Merkel faces an election in September and hopes to win points with voters by putting a stop to rising electricity bills. The independent steps have been slammed by businesses as German and Spanish politicians move to finance cuts for consumers by passing on the costs to companies.
For an industry all puffed up about its supposed environmental virtue, green energy sure is attracting a dirty crowd. Witness its latest entrant, Italy's Mafia. The mob knows a good fraud when it sees one. Mafia soldiers have moved in on the something-for-nothing world of green energy.
Worldwide, the blogosphere pulses with indignation about solar subsidies.
But the peculiar thing about all this wrath is how rarely it is directed at what is becoming a remarkably destructive aspect of renewable energy: its ability to drive down wholesale electricity prices.
According to Connie Hedegaard, the European Union's commissioner for climate action, "People should believe that [wind power] is very, very cheap."
In fact, this is a highly problematic claim. While wind energy is cheaper than other, more ineffective renewables, such as solar, tidal and ethanol, it is nowhere near competitive. If it were, we wouldn't have to keep spending significant sums to subsidize it.
The turbine enthusiasts of yore are horrified at Flevoland where turbines sprouted arbitrarily in the landscape.
The turbines have become much bigger, environmentalists concede. They have become more understanding of protests against the visual pollution of the landscape, especially if it is allowed to go on without any cohesive environmental planning.
"The U.S. should expect a loss of at least 2.2 jobs on average" for every one created should it continue down the same investment path as Spain. We have, and if Spain remains our role model for creating "green jobs," as suggested by President Obama, then expect to see our renewable bubble burst in a couple of years with similar results.
A new study called "Worth The Candle?" by the consulting firm Verso Economics confirms the experience of Spain and other countries: The creation of "green" jobs destroys other jobs through the diversion of resources and the denial of abundant sources of fossil fuel energy.
The Spanish and Germans are doing it. So are the French. The British might have to do it. Austerity-whacked Europe is rolling back subsidies for renewable energy as economic sanity makes a tentative comeback. Green energy is becoming unaffordable and may cost as many jobs as it creates. But the real victims are the investors who bought into the dream of endless, clean energy financed by the taxpayer.
In private, the best-informed analysts now agree that Britain's environmental policies have put the country on track to have the world's most expensive electricity. This is mainly because our competitors are almost certain to choose cheaper routes to emissions reductions, such as natural gas, or to shun emissions reductions altogether.
The good thing about bubble-bursting is that it triggers change, however painful it can be. Myths that were nurtured for years fall apart unceremoniously, replaced by needed reality.
This is the reckoning Spaniards face, especially starting in January when their power bills increase nearly 10 percent.
Last Friday the government cut the subsidy to windmills and solar panels, again. This included cutting solar subsidies retroactively, in one sense, in that those who bought in at astronomical guaranteed returns for 25 years are taking a haircut even though they were locked into the Ponzi pyramid before some pollos starting coming home to roost.
Then, this week, the government approved another increase in the price of electricity for households and small business.
Spain's politicians, in something of an emergency move, have just stuck Spanish households and small businesses with a hefty new energy tax to go into effect tomorrow. Yeah, that oughta help matters.
This latest in a series of energy tax hikes is intended to help pay down the burst renewabubble, which they also realize they can't just end but must perpetuate.
The ongoing expansion of wind power is an intrusion into the countryside, with a extent and effect comparable with the 1900s expansion of hydro power in the rivers in north Sweden. Wind turbines have a significant visual impact on landscape and the anxiety that they create must be taken seriously. There has been no serious research into how they affect people. It can almost be considered a violation of human rights when local opinions are met with indifference by government authorities.
With the market for wind shrinking, Denmark's Vestas, the world's largest wind-turbine company, recently announced it is closing five production facilities in Denmark and Sweden and laying off 3,000 workers ...The coming collapse of the renewables industry - largely a creature of backroom lobbying for government favours by multinationals - is also evident on this side of the ocean.
The planned massive expansion of wind power is at the expense of both environment and the economy. The question should therefore be decided at the ballot box, writes Jonny Fagerström (Svenskt Landskapsskydd (Swedish Landscape Protection Association), and economist Marian Radetzki.
Wind turbines, despite being so very green themselves, are antipathetic to nature. On forested hillsides, they require the clear felling of woodland; on low-lying coastal sites, they necessitate the draining of wetland to facilitate the construction of access roads and enormous concrete foundations. ...In spite of the cost, wind power generates only about 4 per cent of the electricity used in Denmark: the truth is that almost all of it is wasted.