Library filed under Energy Policy from Germany
The renewables industry is demanding Chancellor Angela Merkel ends an impasse over a damaging planned distance rule for onshore wind and a cap on support for solar power. Both issues were supposed to be tacked at a meeting today with the premiers of Germany’s 16 states, but energy issues were adjourned due to pressing discussions on the Coronavirus.
“The industry estimates that, given that power demand is growing, an expansion (of onshore wind) by 5,000 MW per year is essential in order to reach the 65% target by 2030,” they said in a joint statement. Their data showed operators installed only 1,078 megawatts (MW) of new onshore capacity in 2019.
Power prices in Germany are among the highest in Europe, not least due to the costs arising from the launch of renewable energy sources – but many customers continue to support the country's energy transition regardless. While wholesale electricity prices on average have been in decline in recent years, surcharges, taxes, and grid fees raise the bill for Germany's private households and small businesses. However, market observers say that power costs are often not even high enough for customers to look for cheaper alternatives.
Skeptics fear that the country is on a risky path. Sufficient renewable energy sources might not be available in time to compensate for the loss of fossil and nuclear power. Though renewables account for around 40 percent of Germany’s electricity supply, there are limits to further expansion ...In some rural parts of Germany, people are fed up with ever growing “wind parks”; more citizens are protesting new — and often taller — wind turbines in their neighborhoods. And there is growing resistance to the new paths needed to transport electricity from coasts to industrial centers.
“Overall, the renewables expansion is not sufficiently rapid to meet Germany’s generation targets for 2030,” Berlin-based Agora said in an annual analysis. The slower installation partly reflects delays to the planning and permissioning of onshore turbines applications because of objections to their construction. Disagreements over financing and general inertia by authorities have also slowed down related grid expansion to transport wind power north to south.
The Social Democratic Party (SPD) has proposed a new answer to people complaining about wind farms in Germany: offering money to those willing to live near them. "Those people who accept windmills in their neighborhood, and so make the expansion of renewable energy possible, should be rewarded," SPD environment spokesman Matthias Miersch told the Neue Osnabrücker Zeitung newspaper.
But the days when Germany was the largest market for wind turbines in Europe are over. Now there is a slowdown in the industry. In the first half of 2019, the expansion of wind power on land almost came to a standstill. Only about 150 wind turbines were newly built, about 80 percent less than last year.
This nasty political and regulatory climate creates too much uncertainty for investors, just as the German government prepares to phase out wind-energy subsidies. That a vicious circle will ensue, understandably, worries the renewables industry. A recent study carried out for the engineering lobby group VDMA predicted that, if the current obstacles persist, employment in the onshore wind industry, which stands at 64,200 people today, will drop by 27% by 2030.
The most common grounds for complaint in Germany is the protection of birds and bats, which can be endangered by wind turbines. Procedural mistakes, monument protection, noise pollution, health effects and the effects on the local landscape are other common reasons why wind farms are objected to in the EU's largest country. "It is worrying when you think how urgent the need to expand renewable energy is," says Canning. Yet there are many people around Europe who passionately disagree with him.
News that Greta Thunberg is visiting Alberta should be welcomed by all Canadians.
Germany’s government clearly missed all three self-imposed targets associated with a shift to tenders in the allocation of support for renewable energy, a joint study by the World Wind Energy Association (WWEA) and the Renewable Energy Association of North Rhine-Westphalia (LEE NRW) has found.
According to its findings, more than 70 percent of the legal objections are based on species conservation, especially the threat to endangered bird species and bats. ...In addition to species protection, it is primarily conflicts with noise protection that are leading to legal objections against wind power projects. They are responsible for 17 per cent of legal cases. Monument protection are behind six percent of lawsuits.
Europe installed 2.9GW of new onshore wind capacity in the period, down from 3.3GW in the first half of 2018, while offshore wind additions rose to 1.9GW in the first half, up from 1.1GW added in the year-ago period, industry group WindEurope said. Germany experienced its worst half year in terms of onshore installations since 2000, with only 252MW added.
An additional factor exacerbating the renewables crisis is the fact that, two decades after the enactment of the Renewable Energy Sources Act (EEG), 20-year guaranteed feed-in tariffs will begin expiring next year for the first wind, solar and biomass facilities. Some of those who installed solar panels back then -- often farmers and homeowners -- are still receiving 50 cents for every kilowatt hour they feed into the grid. Today, larger facilities receive just 5 cents per kilowatt hour.
In 2011, German Chancellor Angela Merkel announced the country was turning away from nuclear energy in favor of a renewable future. Since then, however, progress has been limited. Berlin has wasted billions of euros and resistance is mounting.
“This is now the 3rd German onshore wind auction in a row that’s been under-subscribed,” explained WindEurope CEO Giles Dickson. “It’s clear the permitting process is not fit for purpose. It’s taking longer and longer to get a permit. The Bundesländer are reluctant to identify new locations for wind farms. And even if wind farms do get a permit, many then get caught up in legal disputes, which is pushing up costs.
The Federal Agency for Nature Conservation makes an ecological absurdity of the energy transition that anyone can see: the protection of the world's climate destroys the native nature.
Germany saw a sharp fall in the number of new onshore wind turbines installed last year, industry groups said on Tuesday, and warned there was little prospect of a recovery without government help.
If the annual energy balance for renewables is more positive from year to year, then such celebration is based on a very one-sided view of pure production volumes. Little is said about the contribution of renewables to a reliable power supply.
The consumption of resources to implement the energy transition is "unparalleled". The federal ministries and the subordinate authorities employed around 675 full-time people last year, 300 of them in the Federal Ministry of Economics alone, spread over 34 divisions and four departments. In addition, there are at least 45 committees at federal and state level that deal with the energy transition. The effort that is made here almost contradicts one of the main goals of the energy transition: the economical and efficient use of scarce resources.