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.
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.
If there is too much power coming from the grid, wind turbines have
to be shut down. Nevertheless, consumers are still paying for the
"phantom electricity" the turbines are theoretically generating.
Occasionally, Germany has to pay fees to dump already subsidized green
energy, creating what experts refer to as "negative electricity prices."
On the other hand, when the wind suddenly stops blowing, and in
particular during the cold season, supply becomes scarce. That's when
heavy oil and coal power plants have to be fired up to close the gap,
which is why Germany's energy producers in 2012 actually released more
climate-damaging carbon dioxide into the atmosphere than in 2011.
If there is still an electricity shortfall, energy-hungry plants like
the ArcelorMittal steel mill in Hamburg are sometimes asked to shut down
production to protect the grid. Of course, ordinary electricity
customers are then expected to pay for the compensation these businesses
are entitled to for lost profits.
Wheee! Ain't that green energy freakin' WONDERFUL?
And a real interesting thing:
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.
Wealthy liberals screwing poor people so the liberals can feel virtuous; sound familiar?
Speaking of which,
Still, the government is pressing ahead with wind expansion, and the
plans are breathtaking. By 2020, offshore wind turbines are expected to
generate up to 10 gigawatts of electricity, theoretically as much as
eight nuclear power plants. To attract investors, the government has
created the best possible subsidy conditions, so that operators will be
paid 19 cents per kilowatt-hour of offshore electricity, or about 50
percent more than from land-based wind farms. The government has also
assumed the liability risk for the wind farm operators. If anything goes
wrong, taxpayers will bear the cost.
And this is about what you'd expect from the clowns:
In the current election campaign, the parties are blaming each other for
the disaster. Meanwhile, the federal government would prefer to avoid
discussing its energy policies entirely. "It exposes us to criticism,"
says a government spokesman. "There are undeniably major problems,"
admits a cabinet member.
And Deity knows they can't deal with criticism while people are freezing in the dark...
I don't know much about electronics, but this sounds like absolute bullshit to me:
TV viewers can also save a lot of electricity, albeit at the expense of
picture quality. "For instance, you can reduce brightness and contrast,"
his booklet suggests.