Library filed under Energy Policy from Germany
Currently, public support for Energiewende is still high but the rising cost has become a growing concern, and last month the new energy minister, Sigmar Gabriel, vowed to cut subsidies for wind, solar and other renewables ...Unless the new government manages to reconcile national priorities with the dynamics of its federal system, the mood could quickly turn against Germany's green revolution.
Whoever thought power from the wind and sun is free? Germany has discovered that it is, in fact, very expensive indeed, and the nation is legislating a dramatic reversal in its support for renewable energy.
This subsidy is costly. The difference between the market price for electricity and the higher fixed price for renewables is passed on to consumers, whose bills have been rising for years. An average household now pays an extra €260 ($355) a year to subsidise renewables: the total cost of renewable subsidies in 2013 was €16 billion. Costs are also going up for companies, making them less competitive than rivals from America, where energy prices are falling thanks to the fracking boom.
The EU's reputation as a model of environmental responsibility may soon be history. The European Commission wants to forgo ambitious climate protection goals and pave the way for fracking -- jeopardizing Germany's touted energy revolution in the process.
The forced closure of RWE's Biblis nuclear power plant after the Fukushima accident was unlawful, the German Supreme Administrative Court has ruled. The utility is now likely to sue for considerable damages.
However, consumers also will have to pay 18% more for subsidies paid to renewable power producers in 2014 through the green levy, which is estimated to pay out some Eur21.5 billion ($29.3 billion) to eligible operators of renewable installations next year.
Germany’s wind and solar power production came to an almost complete standstill in early December. More than 23,000 wind turbines stood still. One million photovoltaic systems stopped work nearly completely. For a whole week coal, nuclear and gas power plants had to generate an estimated 95 percent of Germany’s electricity supply.
It is only one sentence in the coalition agreement, but it could mean the end of Germany’s green energy shift (Energiewende). The Christian Democrats (CDU) and Social Democrats (SPD) want to force the renewable industry to pay for conventional back-up energy generation.Translation provided by Philipp Mueller
The offices of German state-controlled lender HSH Nordbank, which had financed the wind park, were also searched, Retemeyer said. German wind turbine supplier Enercon said it had been visited but was not a target of the investigation. HSH Nordbank provided 225 million euros ($304.3 million) in financing for the 96 megawatt (MW) wind farm.
A love affair with renewables brings high prices, potential blackouts and worries about 'deindustrialization.'
The nationwide Energiewende, or energy revolution, aims to turn the country from nuclear over to renewable sources, like solar and wind. This policy, which has required the expansion of infrastructure and the construction of new wind farms, has resulted in steeply rising costs with, thus far, questionable environmental advantages.
Before the Obama Administration marches America to renewable-energy nirvana, it may want to inspect what success looks like in Europe. The Continent is much closer than the U.S. to realizing its dream of replacing carbon energy sources with wind and solar, and the dream is starting to look like a nightmare.
Germany will threaten jobs and hamper growth if it persists with expanding renewable energy at the current pace, a chemical lobby said. Continuing with uncapped subsidies to renewable developers and removing aid for companies that use a lot of energy risks 211 billion euros ($285 billion) in gross domestic product and 1.3 million jobs by 2030.
Michael Limburg, vice-president of the European Institute for Climate and Energy, told CNN that the government's energy targets are "completely unfeasible." The rapid transition to renewables is economically "insane," arguing that wind farms will cost at least 13 times more than traditional coal plants.
Lieberknecht's call is the most vocal yet within the CDU to end incentives ...It indicates that all aspects of the subsidy system are up for review after Sept. 22 elections. Politicians from all parties have urged action to bring down consumer power bills following a boom in solar and wind generation.
Germany's drive to increase renewable energy sources has created the biggest discrepancy between consumer and producer power prices in 15 years, turning the cost of electricity into a political battleground before the Sept. 22 national election. Because of taxes and charges that subsidize the country's 550 billion-euro ($734 billion) plan to expand solar and wind power, residential bills are more than twice the amount that utilities pay to deliver the electricity.
"We need a drastic policy shift. They haven't paid any attention to costs. These are now huge." German electricity costs are ratcheting up faster than elsewhere in Europe, and are now twice US levels. Households and the "Mittlestand" backbone of the economy are carrying the burden, paying cross-subsidies to exempted sectors of heavy industry. "Spiralling energy costs will soon drive us into the wall. It has become dangerous."
Last year, wind, solar and other nonfossil-fuel sources provided 22 percent of the power for Germany, but the country increased its carbon emissions over 2011 as oil- and coal-burning power plants had to close gaps in the evolving system ...Germany's power grid has been strained by new wind and solar projects on land, compelling the government to invest up to $27 billion over the next decade to build roughly 1,700 miles of high-capacity power lines and to upgrade lines.
Wind-power advocates used to uphold Germany as the super-country of the future, and it still is, if you are in favour of wind generation for its own sake. The amount of German electric power supplied by wind is approaching 10 per cent of national demand, even as big North Sea projects meet with unexpected technical and environmental delays. The German government has guaranteed a high, fixed, long-term feed-in tariff for renewable energy projects, including wind turbines.
Harvey acknowledges the enormous costs at which renewables innovation has been achieved in Germany, writing that escalating costs of the Energiewende "need to be controlled" ...But he also obfuscates many inconvenient facts, particularly those that suggest that current problems facing the Energiewende represent more than temporary setbacks.