Germany’s green energy revolution—it’s energiewende—has been a disaster. The solar panels and wind turbines meant to replace the nuclear reactors and fossil fuels the country previously relied on have come at a premium, and these costs have been passed on to consumers. Both industries and households are struggling under the yoke of high electricity prices, and there’s no end in sight. As a result, the political backlash has now moved from the fringes to the mainstream, with even the German media calling for an end to the green lunacy. Spiegel reports on what it calls the “aggressive and reckless expansion of wind and solar power”:
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.
It’s worth reading the whole thing. Spiegel’s reporting digs deep beneath the good-vibes veneer that greens have plastered over this farcical plan. All of it points to the obvious fact that the costs of uncompetitive technologies have to be paid by someone. In Germany, these costs fall disproportionately on the poor.
[Angela Merkel image courtesy of the European People's Party]