In a recently released video interview by journalist Jörg Rehmann, University of Magdeburg economics professor Joachim Weimann explains why renewable energies have been a terrible idea for Germany so far.
Recently a high ranking expert commission set up by the German government even sharply criticized the German Energiewende (transition to renewable energies), saying it was leading the country down the wrong path. But as Prof. Weimann explains, the commission’s results fell on deaf ears.
Weimann starts the interview by explaining that the target of the Energiewende is to replace carbon-dioxide-emitting fossil fuels in order to protect our climate. One instrument used to achieve that target was Cap and Trade, in combination with the Energiewende, which Weimann says has not worked well at all. The U. of Magdeburg professor says that every cut that gets achieved in Germany gets offset elsewhere, and so net CO2 gets saved at all.
Weimann says that over the years policymakers promised and obstinately insisted that renewables were the way to go, and so ended up putting themselves in a position of which it is now impossible to back out. What leading politician is going to step forward and tell us that it was all a big mistake? “We find ourselves in quite a bind, says Weimann.
Weimann recommends that citizens step up and tell their leaders that what is currently happening is not in their interest, and that they need to exert influence media reporting on the issue. Weimann says:
It is very very difficult. Currently we have over 1000 citizens intiatives against wind power in Germany, yet they practically go unmentioned in media reporting. Compared to the resistance to nuclear energy, it is a crass disproportion. This shows us just how difficult it is to bring the issue to the forefront.”
Weimann hopes that the protests will grow until a critical mass is reached, and can no longer be ignored.
The professor points out that for years a number of institutions and experts have shown that the feed-in act is not functioning properly, that it wastes resources, and is bad policy that is having no impact on climate protection. He adds that the feed-in act entails extremely high costs, not only in terms of capital but also in terms of damage to the country’s landscape. “That means we are producing costs, and no yields. That is not good policy,” says Weimann.
Policymakers, in Weimann’s view, have long been ignoring what the scientific data and experts have told us with respect to renewable energies, but that they are refusing to back out it because they are so far deep into it and that it would be too embarrassing to do so.
Public kept in the dark by media, policymakers
According to Weimann, 80% of the German population are still in favor of renewable energies because they are not aware of the near zero-impact it is having on CO2 emissions and because they are poorly informed. It is in fact only when a wind park gets proposed nearby does a citizen really begin to get interested in what really is at stake and finds out what the true implications are. “Then they suddenly recognize the nonsense that is in fact happening.”
In Weimann’s view, renewable energy topics and calculations are far too complicated for the average citizen to deal with when they don’t feel they have to.
Total destruction of our landscape
Weimann notes that according to the Ministry of Environment, wind and solar energy in 2016 made up only 3.3% of Germany’s primary energy supply and that so far it represents only a “thimble” of the energy that is needed. And “when you compare it to the cost needed for it, not only financial, but also in terms of the burdens to the citizens who have these energy systems next door, we have to say it is first totally disproportional, and secondly that if we wish to meet our targets using wind, it would mean the total destruction of our landscape.”
So far only 3.3% of our primary energy need is being supplied by wind (28,000 turbines so far) and solar. Weimann asks us to imagine what it would take to reach the 95% target. He says the entire German landscape would be profoundly and fundamentally transformed into one massive industrial park that would lose all its attraction. In short: It’s a policy calamity.
Those were just some of Weimann’s comments and claims in just the first 17 minutes of the interview. More on this soon.