Posts Tagged ‘energiewende’

Germany needs to dump the profligate Energiewende

October 22, 2014

The German economy is export driven.

As long as Greece and Spain and the weaker Euro zone countries were holding back the value of the Euro, German exports and its economy boomed. Unemployment reached extremely low levels. There was a shortage of qualified labour. But now the German economy is stagnating and the high cost for energy, resulting from the misguided, self-mutilating Energiewende, is one of the chief contributors. The total cost to German consumers and German industry is comparable to the bailouts of the weak Eurozone countries. For no benefit.

Der Spiegel (2013): German consumers already pay the highest electricity prices in Europe. But because the government is failing to get the costs of its new energy policy under control, rising prices are already on the horizon. Electricity is becoming a luxury good in Germany, and one of the country’s most important future-oriented projects is acutely at risk. …..

….. For society as a whole, the costs have reached levels comparable only to the euro-zone bailouts. This year, German consumers will be forced to pay €20 billion ($26 billion) for electricity from solar, wind and biogas plants — electricity with a market price of just over €3 billion. Even the figure of €20 billion is disputable if you include all the unintended costs and collateral damage associated with the project. Solar panels and wind turbines at times generate huge amounts of electricity, and sometimes none at all. Depending on the weather and the time of day, the country can face absurd states of energy surplus or deficit.

How the Energiewende has increased German electricity price graphic notrickszone

These are unsustainable costs. Industries dependent on high electricity consumption have found it increasingly difficult to compete against the lower electricity costs especially in the US. Investment and jobs have started shifting to areas with lower operating costs.

WSJ (sep 2014):

The project is the linchpin of Germany’s Energiewende, or energy revolution, a mammoth, trillion-euro plan to wean the country off nuclear and fossil fuels by midcentury and the top domestic priority of Chancellor Angela Merkel.

But many companies, economists and even Germany’s neighbors worry that the enormous cost to replace a currently working system will undermine the country’s industrial base and weigh on the entire European economy. Germany’s second-quarter GDP decline of 0.6%, reported earlier this month, put a damper on overall euro-zone growth, leaving it flat for the quarter.

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.

Now the business climate is sharply down, orders are falling and costs are still increasing.

Graphic: German Economy Weakens.

Der Spiegel (Oct 2014)The problem, though, is that Europe’s motor is losing steam, with a slew of bad news about the German economy in recent weeks. The latest business climate index published by the respected Munich economic think tank Ifo, which is considered to be a reliable early indicator, fell for the fifth straight month in September to its lowest level in almost a year and a half. Furthermore, German factory orders are down and exports are collapsing. And last week, the country’s leading economic research institutes issued downward revisions of their economic forecasts for this year and next.

Merkel’s new government have been on a give-away spree and that has not helped. Now finding funds to spur investment is becoming increasingly difficult. Meanwhile the ludicrous subsidies for renewable energy continue to drain the economy. The Energiewende is profligate, has no measurable benefits and has only led to more coal being burnt.

At the very beginning of its term, Merkel’s current government approved an expensive package of what amounted to pension gifts for women and older workers that is now consuming up to €9 billion a year in public finances. In their autumn economic forecast released last week, the country’s leading economic think tanks warned that the German government has “already given away a substantial amount of its room for maneuver.”

Compounding the problem is that measures taken by the government — a coalition of Merkel’s CDU and the center-left Social Democrats (SPD) — are contributing to weak growth. The think tanks predict that projects undertaken by the coalition, including allowing people to retire at the age of 63 and the introduction of Germany’s first-ever national minimum wage, will cause around 300,000 jobs a year to disappear. The CDU and SPD haven’t done much to fuel investments to counter that trend either. Interest rates in Germany may be lower than they’ve ever been before, but few companies have plans to build new factories or buy additional heavy machinery, they warn. The report states that while the many international crises do play a role — from the Middle East to Ukraine — homegrown factors do as well, especially the hostile environment created by (the government’s) economic policies.”

In Poland a different kind of energy revolution is taking place. Two new nuclear plants are being planned. Shale gas development is inevitable but is being hampered by the environmentalists. So more coal is being burned as in Germany.

The world has more to gain from a Germany with a strong economy exporting its excellent products. The pointless and profligate Energiewende needs to be dumped. Germans and Germany and the world are paying the price of pointless political correctness.

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Germans no longer being taken in by Green propaganda

September 10, 2013

The German elections are less than 2 weeks away and the only real question is what Angela Merkel’s win will look like. Whatever the result she will not find it necessary to pay too much attention to the Greens. The German Green party peaked in support a few weeks after the 2011 earthquake, tsunami and Fukushima nuclear plant accident. They reached the height of 28% support for a few days in April 2011 and entertained hopes of becoming Germany’s 3rd party. But the euro zone financial crises have ccontinued since then. The German Energiewende is turning out to be an expensive catastrophe. More coal is being burnt today than before. Heavily subsidised solar and wind energy are destabilising the grid and not pulling their weight. German electricity prices are driving industries – and jobs – out of the country. Profligate Green policies adopted under Green pressure are being seen to be the reason. They are a problem rather than a solution to any existing problem.The Greens are currently polling at about 10% support. A long drop from the heady days of 2011.

As Der Spiegel puts it:

German consumers already pay the highest electricity prices in Europe. But because the government is failing to get the costs of its new energy policy under control, rising prices are already on the horizon. Electricity is becoming a luxury good in Germany … 

…. The political world is wedged between the green-energy lobby, masquerading as saviors of the world, and the established electric utilities, with their dire warnings of chaotic supply problems and job losses.

Even well-informed citizens can no longer keep track of all the additional costs being imposed on them. According to government sources, the surcharge to finance the power grids will increase by 0.2 to 0.4 cents per kilowatt hour next year. On top of that, consumers pay a host of taxes, surcharges and fees that would make any consumer’s head spin.

It is beginning to sink in with the German electorate that “feel good” politics of the Greens which achieves little and costs the earth is not sustainable. The electorate is beginning to resent being told what to do, how to live, what to eat and how to drive. To attack meat-eating and the driving of cars as the Greens have done seems particularly inept.

Reuters: 

Greens dream of power fading as German election nears

….. Like other Germans once attracted to the world’s most successful pro-environment party, Suska is now turned off by the Greens — and his defection helps explain a sudden drop in support before Germany’s September 22 election.

“The Greens have this ‘ecological dictatorship’ feeling about them now,” says Suska, 45. “I used to always vote Greens. But not anymore. No one likes to be told what to do. It feels like the Greens are going to make everything more expensive.”

Support for the Greens, which traces its roots to the peace movement of the 1970s, hit a high of 23 percent in 2011 after the Fukushima disaster in Japan boosted the appeal of its anti-nuclear message. Within weeks of the tragedy, the Greens stunned Chancellor Angela Merkel by winning control of the state of Baden-Wuerttemberg, long a conservative stronghold.

As recently as July, the party was polling a robust 15 percent, well above its 2009 result of 10.7 percent.

But over the past two months, the Greens have seen their support crumble to 10 percent, a four-year low. The collapse, in the most crucial phase of the campaign, appears to have doomed what faint hopes the party had of returning to power with the Social Democrats (SPD), with whom it ruled from 1998 to 2005.

… Much of the party’s fall in popularity can be traced to a series of self-inflicted wounds.

One big problem is the lin… gering suspicion the Greens want to tell people what to do: drive more slowly, take the bus, turn off lights, turn down the heat, ban large livestock farming.

Their light-hearted idea for a “Veggie Day”, where Germans would skip meat once a week, has been mocked in the media and by other parties. The rival Free Democrats (FDP) went so far as to organize a barbecue to annoy the Greens.

Proposals to cut city speed limits and put an upper limit on motorways have also alienated some supporters.

“Germans don’t have a sense of humor when it comes to cars and meat,” said Yvonne Seiler, a secretary and Greens backer.

Gero Neugebauer, a political scientist at Berlin’s Free University, said: “The Greens scare away a lot of voters and their ideas just don’t excite people anymore. People don’t understand their message.”

Der Spiegel again:

…. with the vote two-and-a-half weeks away, the picture is not nearly as rosy. A poll released Thursday found that just 10 percent of Germans intend to vote for the Greens on Sept. 22. It is the lowest survey result for the once popular party since way back in 2009.

…… One of the party’s central proposals in the current campaign, for example, has been that of raising taxes on high earners and introducing a 1.5 percent tax on assets of over €1 million as a way of increasing social justice. To be sure, many of the party’s core voters support such a proposal, despite being in the upper tax brackets themselves. But it seems poorly designed should the Greens be interested in getting their new supporters to actually cast a ballot for the party on Sept. 22. Other proposals have likewise fared poorly.

Specifically, the Greens have proposed the introduction of one vegetarian day each week in workplace cafeterias across the country. “A veggie day would be a great opportunity to see how we can nourish ourselves without meat and sausage,” senior Green politician Renate Künast told the tabloid Bild on Monday.

Reality Check – Climate does not much care for Acts of Parliament

March 24, 2013

Two interesting articles today and perhaps they presage the return of some sanity to the ludicrous, Canute-like attempts to try and control climate. The first is in Die Welt (which is usually a most politically correct adherent of global warming dogma) about the nonsense that the Greens have wrought in German policy (by Sebastian Lüning and Fritz Vahrenholt reported by P. Gosselin). The second is a leader in the Telegraph calling for the repeal of the Climate Change Act in the UK.

NoTricksZone: Germany’s Energiewende [energy transition over to renewables] is being watched closely in foreign countries. Already bets are being made on whether the expensive experiment is going to work. Meanwhile increasing numbers of international experts are expressing serious doubts. In the March 20th print edition of German national daily Die Welt, Daniel Wetzel reports on a survey by the World Energy Council in an article titled “The Energiewende is an international flop”. An online version of the report is now available and bears the watered down title: “Other countries disdaining the Energiewende”:

Worldwide doubt about the success of the German Energiewende is growing. International experts are sure that the German economy is weakening. This is the finding of a survey from the World Energy Council. […] A rapid short-term shutdown of nuclear power plants along with unlimited subsidies for renewable energies: In Germany this has been viewed as the silver bullet for energy policy since the Fukushima accident. However in Europe and globally, there’s hardly a nation that views the German ‘Energiewende”’ as worth copying. These are the findings of the German section of the World Energy Council in 23 member countries, made exclusively available to Die Welt. […] The rising doubt is possibly related to the unexpectedly rapidly rising electricity prices in Germany, which are having a dissuasive effect. Stotz believes: ‘Obviously one has to be able to afford an energy transition.’ (Read more at Welt Online).

In a commentary appearing at Die Welt titled, “Germany, the odd one out”, Daniel Wetzel pleads for more prudence, and rejects climate alarmism as the most important argument for an Energiewende:

Also the necessity to rapidly end the use of fossil fuels no longer appears as urgent as it was just a few years ago. Indeed, in the meantime, fear of climate change appears to have evaporated worldwide. Global warming has been taking a break for over 10 years, and politicians in many countries appear as if they would rather await a good explanation for this phenomenon before again making the fight against climate change a high priority. Quite apart from this: one other large industrial country has just succeeded in reducing its per capita CO2 emissions to levels of the early 1960s. The best in the class when it comes to climate politics is the USA. Thanks to fracking technology in natural gas drilling, they have been able to switch off dirty coal power plants.”

“The Tory part of the Coalition is beginning to recognise some painful truths, but it is time for the Coalition to tear up its energy policy before the lights go out” says The Telegraph:

……  Because of a misguided faith in green energy, we have left ourselves far too dependent on foreign gas supplies, largely provided by Russian and Middle Eastern producers. Only 45 per cent of our gas consumption comes from domestic sources. All it takes is a spell of bad weather, and the closure of a gas pipeline from Belgium, to leave us dangerously exposed, and to send gas prices soaring. Talk of rationing may be exaggerated, but our energy policy is failing to deal with Britain’s fundamental incapacity to produce our own power.

…… It is time for the Coalition to tear up its energy policy before the lights really do go out. The first priority must be to repeal the Climate Change Act of 2008, with its brutal, punishing targets: ………  But green technology – in its current incarnation, anyway – is just too inefficient and expensive to meet our energy needs. In some of the worst weather for more than 30 years, green power still only provides a tiny fraction of our energy needs. Solar power is of limited use in our cold, dark, northern climate. And wind power isn’t much better – cold weather doesn’t necessarily mean windy weather. 

…….. He will know that American gas prices have plummeted, thanks to the US embracing the shale gas revolution. ………. Our energy problems have been deepened by the greener-than-green Liberal Democrats, with their seeming stranglehold on the Cabinet post of Energy Secretary. ………….

There is some good news, however. As we report today, government sources have said that wind power subsidies are to be cut again. This is a move in the right direction and we very much welcome it. It is to be hoped that there will be more such announcements, and concrete actions, from a government that has neglected a fundamental duty – to keep the lights on, energy affordable and our houses warm.


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