Big problems with Green Policies in Germany

German Green Party co-leader Claudia Roth

German Green Party co-leader Claudia Roth

I’ve been hearing for some time about the serious problems which Germany is experiencing with its green policies — and indeed the problems they are creating for adjacent countries like the Czech Republic, which has to cope with power surges through the network when the wind actually blows.  Now the FT reports on the latest difficulties.

Of course Germany is seen as a champion of green policies.  But following their decision to close Germany’s nuclear sector following Fukushima, Germany is now building or refurbishing 25 coal-fired power plants (a small part of the 1200 or so new coal-fired plants in the pipeline around the world).  It seems that Chancellor Angela Merkel wants to freeze renewable subsidies — equivalent to €16 billion last year — ahead of the elections.  Household energy prices are higher and subsidise industrial consumers, but prices have risen following decision to abolish nuclear power.

Currently (as in Britain) there’s a plan for industrial intensive energy users to pay a minimal part of the necessary surcharges, with a bigger share falling on households.  The German Coalition sees the danger to its industrial base, and wants to protect companies.  But the Greens and the Social Democrats want to ease the burden on households, and put more costs on industry, apparently oblivious to the competitiveness risks.

(Our policy would be to ease the burden on both households and industry by dropping renewables and renewable subsidies entirely – see www.affordable-energy.eu). Peter Altmaier, German Federal Minister for the Environment, says  “The debate about electricity prices is smothering any discussion about the chances of the energy transformation.”

It’s clear that German households’ ability to absorb the cost of the renewable energy programme is reaching breaking point, and is becoming a major political issue.  German industrial consumers currently pay around the EU average for their electricity, so their competitiveness will suffer as a consequence of taking the cost burden.

Curiously, there does not yet seem to be substantial party political discussion about the mistakes of German energy policy — only disagreement about who should pay.  Give it time.

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9 Responses to Big problems with Green Policies in Germany

  1. Eric Smith says:

    Perhaps we in the UK should odopt Germany’s policy on coal fired power stations? After all the Green party here plays no part in government.

  2. tallbloke says:

    German grid stability and safety in a changing renewables is covered in this presentation by Dr Renate Hagedorn of Deutscher Wetterdienst – The German Weather Service.
    http://downloads.royalsociety.org/audio/KAV/TM/2012_07/Hagedorn.mp3
    She explains how the juggling act gets trickier as the renewables component increases.

    This was one of the presentations I heard when I attended the Royal Society’s ‘Handling uncertainty in weather and climate prediction, with application to health, agronomy, hydrology, energy and economics’ workshop organised by Prof. Tim Palmer last year.
    http://royalsociety.org/events/2012/uncertainty-weather-climate/

    The other presentations are well worth a listen too.

  3. Once upon a time I was quite an admirer of the post-war German models for the banking and industrial sectors. Despite her professed “all for one and one for all” Angela Merkel has led a strategy of hypocrisy that does enormous disservice to her own country-people and those of the EU. OK, Germany came through rough times and its industries did very well but we shouldn’t forget that the country did so because matters were stacked in its favour in the early years of the EU.

    25 new coal-fired power stations? Hardly a contribution to carbon-reduction…despite Angela metaphorically kneeling, clad in ecologically sourced sack cloth, at the alter of carbon-induced Climate Change! How do people like Angela Merkel get away with such ‘spin’ and how dare she and her EU efn (friends-in-fraud) and ‘EUro-undemocracy’ attempt to dictate anything to the UK? we don’t need much more than a small jump of logic to see that Ms. Merkel and her EU pals are actually pushing member states into a state of conflict that is not far removed from the wars the EU has claimed it has prevented. Beyond the pale old chap, beyond the pale….hrrrumph!

  4. Linda Hudson says:

    The Germans will not allow their manufacturing base to be ruined by any party whether they be green, blue, orange, or yellow polka dot, and that my dear friends, is a near future certainty!

  5. David Curtis says:

    Hi Roger, So its another “Winner” of a policy from the eussr, like CAP & CFP.

  6. Fanakapan says:

    Is this not how Democracy is supposed to work ? Obviously the Germans, being the first to be captured by the Green Fright of the mainstream parties, will be the first to discard policies designed to Shoot the Green Fox, when it becomes (is becoming) apparent that they are hitting Otto Normalverbraucher for no good reason. Equally obviously such a move will lead to other States moving in the same direction, until even Diddy Dave see’s the need to finish off his father in law’s nice little earner ?

    Thats how things generally work in the Democratic world ? and I’m having trouble seeing how UKIP can spin this into an example of EU Authoritarianism ?

  7. Chris. says:

    Sudden fluctuations in Germany’s power grid are causing major damage to a number of industrial companies. While many of them have responded by getting their own power generators and regulators to help minimize the risks, they warn that companies might be forced to leave if the government doesn’t deal with the issues fast.

    http://www.spiegel.de/international/germany/instability-in-power-grid-comes-at-high-cost-for-german-industry-a-850419.html

    http://www.spiegel.de/international/germany/instability-in-power-grid-comes-at-high-cost-for-german-industry-a-850419.html

  8. Phillip Bratby says:

    Germany is going to be a fine example of how to turn an advanced nation into a 3rd world country within a generation. The UK is following (Pied Piper anyone) Germany down the road to ruin.

  9. Linda Hudson says:

    Trust Germany, they will not let anything or anyone ruin their leading nation status!

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