Modern societies depend upon high quality, reliable, affordable electrical power. Dependable electricity should not be treated as a toy or a game to be played with by politicians such as one finds in the US and the EU.
The German Green Party has been proud so far of its massive Energiewende disruption to Germany’s system of electric power production. The Greens along with unwitting partner Angela Merkel seemed to believe that they could replace reliable and safe nuclear power plants, with unreliable forms of energy such as big wind farms — without paying a price.
But in modern societies, the electrical power system is not a plaything for political clowns. And someone is going to pay for that mistake.
In the near future, an average three-person household will spend about €90 a month for electricity. That’s about twice as much as in 2000.
Two-thirds of the price increase is due to new government fees, surcharges and taxes. But despite those price hikes, government pensions and social welfare payments have not been adjusted. As a result, every new fee becomes a threat to low-income consumers.
Consumer advocates and aid organizations say the breaking point has already been reached. Today, more than 300,000 households a year are seeing their power shut off because of unpaid bills. Caritas and other charity groups call it “energy poverty.”
… It is only gradually becoming apparent how the renewable energy subsidies redistribute money from the poor to the more affluent, like when someone living in small rental apartment subsidizes a homeowner’s roof-mounted solar panels through his electricity bill. The SPD, which sees itself as the party of the working class, long ignored this regressive aspect of the system. The Greens, the party of higher earners, continue to do so.
Germany’s renewable energy policy is particularly unfair with respect to the economy. About 2,300 businesses have managed to largely exempt themselves from the green energy surcharge by claiming, often with little justification, that they face tough international competition. Companies with less lobbying power, however, are required to pay the surcharge.
… If the government sticks to its plans, the price of electricity will literally explode in the coming years. According to a current study for the federal government, electricity will cost up to 40 cents a kilowatt-hour by 2020, a 40-percent increase over today’s prices.
… Germany’s energy reform is its own worst enemy. Despite the erratic expansion of wind and solar projects, the backup power capacity those projects require is lacking. One study found that Germany’s expansion of renewable energy will require additional storage capacity for 20 to 30 billion kilowatt-hours by 2050. So far the storage capacity has grown by little more than 70 million kilowatt-hours. And hardly anyone is interested in maintaining the existing storage facilities.
… It is clear that the next German government will have to plan a shift in energy policy. But the price of electricity is a toxic issue in the campaign, given the bad prognoses and broken promises. In a government statement in June 2011, Chancellor Merkel had promised to keep prices stable. “The renewable energy surcharge should not exceed current levels,” Merkel said in the Bundestag. Economy Minister Rösler claimed there might even be room for energy tax cuts. When prices increased, Rösler and then Environment Minister Norbert Röttgen shifted blame instead of coming up with a solution.
… Gerda Hasselfeldt, a member of the CDU’s Bavarian sister party, the Christian Social Union (CSU), favors saddling the next generation with at least some of the costs. Under her proposal, the government-owned KfW development bank would assume some of the costs of solar panels and wind turbines. The amount could then be repaid over the course of the next 40 years. _ Spiegel Online
The most likely German scenario is for the government to double down on stupid. The proposal above to amortize the cost of industrial wind and solar plants over the next 40 years is particularly insane — the energy facilities will be nothing but junkyards by then, after having contributed very little of positive value in terms of usable electric power.
Industrial wind is particularly wasteful in terms of steel and concrete used in the construction of turbines. To say nothing of the need for expensive new highways, access roads, and new powerline infrastructure for each new installation.
As for US President Obama, he is living in a fantasy land inside his own head: He recently passed through Sweden and praised the small country’s achievements in renewable energy. The only problem is, Sweden gets almost all of its power from a combination of nuclear and hydroelectric. Sweden gets virtually none of its usable power from wind and solar — a fact that Obama failed to mention, if he even knew, or cared to know.
Meanwhile, back in Germany, power utilities and other large industrial concerns are talking about moving out of Germany, and leaving the Government and its failing Energiewende to pick up the pieces.
Green clowns in Germany, the US, and most other nations of the western world are too steeped in delusional ideology to understand what their inbred policies would do to the lives of ordinary citizens. Nor do they particularly care, one way or another.
In Australia, voters registered their disapproval. German voters are next.