German Windpark Operator Rakes In $3 Million For Power That Was Never Produced

Germany’s energy feed-in act forces power companies to buy up green electricity from wind and solar producers at exhorbitant prices and guarantees the green energy producers fat profits.

Windparks are paid even power that doesn’t get delivered. (Photo by: Philip May.  GNU-Lizenz für freie Dokumentation,)

But what happens when the sun shines and the wind blows too much, and the power companies don’t need the power?

Answer: the power companies ask the green producers to stop production. But now comes the hitch: If the power companies don’t need the power, German law still requires the power companies to pay green producers for the energy that they would have produced had they not been asked to shut down. Therefore solar panel and windfarm operators get money whether they produce or not. No risks!

One example, according to leading German daily Bild here, is a windfarm operated by Green Party activist Reinhard Christiansen (58). The “Bürgerwindpark” (People’s Windpark), which was built 12 years ago for €8.5 million, at times produces more energy than E.ON power company actually needs, and thus often gets asked to shut down. However, E.ON must pay for the ungenerated power.

The result? Consumers have to pay for the electricity that never gets delivered, let alone consumed! So far Christiansen has hauled in 2.5 million euros ($3 million) for “phantom electric power”.

Bild quotes Christiansen:

We can sell a lot more power than what the power company is able to accept.“


The ‘People’s Windpark’ pulled in 2.5 million euros for compensation for power that could have been generated but could not be used because of a lack of grid capacity.”

Bild writes that this is no isolated incident and that Germany’s Feed-In Act has led to a flurry of bizarre incidences where millions get paid out for “phantom electric power”.

In 2010, 10.2 million euros were paid out, and the trend is exploding upwards. Bild quotes a confidential internal government document:

For a midsize windpark, amounts in the neighborhood of well over 100 million euros can be reached quickly.“

Bild concludes:

In the end the crazy thing is that it’s again the consumers who wind up paying for power that never gets used.”

In Germany, it is not uncommon for the mayor and city officials to get in on the profiteering, often pushing windfarm projects through against the stiff resistance of local citizens. It’s a business fraught with corruption and shady deals. Welcome to Germany’s Energiewende (energy transformation) where a few are laughing their way to the bank, and the rest are being taken to the cleaners.


18 responses to “German Windpark Operator Rakes In $3 Million For Power That Was Never Produced”

  1. Ike

    Siemens announced today, that they step out of the solar energy sector.

  2. How much more “proof” do people need that “Wind Power is an absolute SCAM”? « The Big Green Lie

    […] German Windpark Operator Rakes In $3 Million For Delivering Power That Was Never Produced […]

  3. thebiggreenlie

    How much longer can this SCAM be tolerated? The evidence is overwhelming that this is nothing more than a giant Ponzi scheme!

    1. DirkH

      Noteworthy: a lot of the commenters under the Bild article blame the evil energy providers and privatization for rising energy prices.

      Demonstrating total incapability of understanding political price-fixing. The continent of the blind and stupid.

  4. Walter Schneider

    Germany is not the only country where windfarm operators get paid for not producing electric energy:

    “The first successful test shut down of wind farms took place three weeks ago. Scottish Power received £13,000 for closing down two farms for a little over an hour on 30 May at about five in the morning.” More:

  5. grayman

    What would be wrong with the major power companies winding down their generators to half speed and letting the wind and solar go thru so the people can see what a waste it is? Not trying to be a malcontent but if the people get a taste of the future the greens have planned for them then maybe the people will rise up against them

  6. John F. Hultquist

    Is the payment based on the installed capacity, an average output, or on the amount that likely could have been produced during the pause calculated from actual wind speeds during that time? Sorry, I can’t answer the question for our local situation either.

    In Washington State much power comes from hydro via the Bonneville Power Administration and there is plenty of power when river flows are high. In spring of 2011 they told wind farms to shut down and got sued. Story here:

    All these issues should have been settled before contracts were signed and towers went up. It doesn’t instill confidence in the people responsible. Note, many lawyers and bureaucrats get paid either way – before or after.

    1. DirkH

      The German FIT law mandates that all Wind power and PV power kWh that are produced must be accepted by the grid operator. If, for technical reasons, an overload looms – which is usually the case through wind power spikes, as that has a far more violent characteristic than solar power – the grid operator can reject the power but compensation for the power that COULD have been produced must be paid. I don’t know whether they meter that amount of power somehow or whether they estimate it by measuring wind speeds.

      This provision makes the German FIT law worse than a planned economy. At least in Soviet style planned economies you don’t have to pay for goods that have never been produced. Sounds like a devious plan to wreck the economy but I don’t think the Greens who invented the idea are smart enough for that.

  7. tckev

    I may have a better, greener fix –

    Government mandate all consumers to install ‘smart’ meters in all homes (at the consumers expense). When all these green generators make excess capacity then the ‘smart’ meters alarm, and the consumers (or automated home systems) are alerted to consume the excess power (at the consumers’ expense). Failure to comply within 1 minute of the alarm immediately adds twice the required consumption to the smart meter’s reading (and so the consumers’ bills). Green job done!

    Alternatively, get real and stop this extravagant waste of public money by abandoning this folly now.

  8. Bob in Castlemaine

    Time for the green zealots to recognize that windmills are an artifact of the past that should remain a quaint part of history, certainly as far as participation in power network power generation.
    These anachronistic machines produce very limited amounts of expensive, inherently unreliable power. Not only that but as the percentage penetration of windmills increases in the generation mix, the CO2 emissions avoided as a percentage of fossil fuel generation displaced falls significantly.
    If there was some relevance to the current cult of CO2 emissions reduction the obvious way to achieve it would be (in the absence of plentiful hydro resources) a combination of nuclear and combined cycle gas turbines.

  9. slimething
    Go down to Negative prices and the high price of windpower (Posted October 8, 2012) WindAction Editorial

    “negative profits”

    1. DirkH

      The market distortions get stranger and stranger.

  10. DirkH

    Today I drove 400 km from North to South and 400 km back through Germany. I saw many wind turbines along the A7. Not one was turning; not in the morning and not in the evening. Foggy weather across all of Germany. No sun for the Solar Panels.

  11. slimething

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