While Germany likes to fancy itself as being among the “global leaders” in tackling climate change by expanding green energies, the country has in fact taken very little action recently to back up the appearances.
If anything, Germany is more in the green energy retreat mode. There are good reasons for this.
German flagship business daily “Handelsblatt” reported here yesterday how Germany’s wind energy market is now “threatening to implode” and as a result “thousands of jobs are at risk“.
José Luis Blanco, CEO of German wind energy giant Nordex, blames the market chaos on “policymakers changing the rules“. Subsidies have been getting cut back substantially.
The problem, Blanco says, is that worldwide green energy subsidies are being capped and wind parks as a result are no longer looking profitable to investors. The Handelsblatt writes that “things have never been this bad“.
50% drop in new German parks
The online Hasepost here reports that while in 2016 some 4600 megawatts of new German wind power capacity were installed onshore, the figure will fall almost 50% to 2450 megawatts of new power by 2019. The fall could even be greater.
Blanco told Handelsblatt:
In the next two years we will see a substantial collapse in the installation of new wind parks in Germany – we will have to react to this.“
Recently Germany moved to scale back subsidies for new wind parks because the power transmission grid has not kept par with the rapid wind park installation, and as a result the grid has become riddled with inefficiencies and has become increasingly prone to grid collapses from unstable power feed in. Also consumer electricity prices had been skyrocketing.
Citizens groups increasing their protests.
There has also been growing protests against wind parks by citizens groups. Angela Merkel’s campaign stops are increasingly being met in part by wind energy protesters. Yesterday in Brandenburg Merkel was met again by wind energy protesters, who however were over-shadowed by a raucous 1500-strong crowd of right-wing protesters shouting “Merkel must go!”
Despite the loud protests, Merkel’s party remains poised to win the coming late-September national election handily, as she and her party lead the rival SPD socialist party, led by Martin Schulz, by double digits.
Wind energy, once greeted with open-arms a decade ago, is now increasingly unwelcome and getting the door slammed in its face.
Yesterday at the East German Energy Forum in Leipzig, both the centrist CDU and the SPD socialists were in agreement: brown coal (lignite) must remain a part of Germany’s energy mix, the online Lausitzer Rundschau writes. Speaking before 400 industry representatives, Brandenburg’s Minister President Dietmar Woidke (SPD) complained that green energies are foremost “unreliable energy sources“.
Saxony Anhalt Minister President Reiner Haseloff (CDU) called for more realism, saying that “brown coal belonged to east Germany until 2050″.
Saxony Minister President Stanislaw Tillich (CDU) called the European Commissions limit values for CO2 emissions “as going beyond the technical possibilities“.
What does this all tell us? Despite all the hype over green energies in Germany, the general sentiment and movement in the country show a very different picture.