Renewable Energy Expert Fritz Vahrenholt Calls Germany’s Feed-In Act Obsolete…”On The Brink Of Failure”

Before he retired, Professor Fritz Vahrenholt was the CEO of RWE Innogy, the biggest investor of renewable energy. However during his time as CEO, he realized that the renewable energy systems did not live up the promises made by their manufacturers and promoters.

In the July 2014 edition of top agrar, a commentary by Fritz Vahrenholt on Germany’s renewable energy feed-in act (EEG) appeared:

From Die kalte Sonne
(Translated/edited by P Gosselin)

Prof. Vahrenholt: The EEG feed-in subsidy is an obsolete model!

By Fritz Vahrenholt

Berlin has slammed the brakes on biogas. That is overdue. Biogas has distorted the farmland leasing prices, led to ecological damage and put a burden on private households and companies through high electricity prices. The EEG surcharge is at 24 billion euros. That’s 250 euros for every household. That’s why citizens are now looking at green energies far more critically.

And support will decrease when the costs rise further, when industry moves to regions where energy prices are more affordable, and when grid stability is no longer controllable due to the unstable supply from wind and sun.

No wonder economics minister Sigmar Gabriel sees the transition to renewable energy as on being on the brink of failure. Why are we installing in a country that gets as much sunshine as Alaska a photovoltaic capacity of 52,000 MW? Many systems are working only 800 full hours per year. But one year has 8760 hours! In the meantime we are producing at times so much green power that we have to pay money Austria, Netherlands, Poland and the Czech Republic to get rid of it for us. Our neighbors aren’t even happy about it because the surplus unwanted German green energy is making their own power production unprofitable.”

Continue reading [in German] at


10 responses to “Renewable Energy Expert Fritz Vahrenholt Calls Germany’s Feed-In Act Obsolete…”On The Brink Of Failure””

  1. DirkH

    “The EEG surcharge is at 24 billion euros. That’s 250 euros for every household.”

    Sorry, but at 80 million inhabitants it’s 300 Euro for every man, woman and child.
    Vahrenholt only counts the direct surcharge on the electricity bill; he forgets the indirect charges paid in the form of higher taxes – for the electricity consumption of the public sector – and in the form of higher prices – for the electricity consumption of the private commercial sector.

    Half Of German population work – maybe 2/3 of that in the productive sector (also called the non-public sector) – so the number of productive people is one third of the population – paying all the bills. This means that every productive job is burdened with 900 EUR a year, on average – to support the production of randomly occuring power surges.

  2. DirkH

    German govt tries to punish population into buying one million electric cars til the year 2020 – well, they pretend to at least – propose a law that allows municipalities to reserve city parking space for EV’s; allow EV’s on bus-only lanes, install free chargers etc. It’s up to the cities to decide what to do exactly – as bigger cities are generally socialist-leaning, they will just love this new instrument of torture – and their socialist bicycle driving population will love the added smugness value of their bicycle.

    Big disappointment for the planet-saving faction: No subsidies for EV’s contained in the bill.
    Looks like a face-saving measure.

  3. mwhite

    “Fracking firm Tamboran worker’s home attacked with petrol bombs”

    1. DirkH

      Let’s hope it was renewable petrol (distilled via the Fischer Tropsch process from baby seal fat or something like that).

  4. DirkH

    New German Green party boss Frau Simone Peter – looks too young to be one of the original Maoist party usurpators (they must be 70 by now) – demands higher taxes; calls her party “left-libertarian, pro freedom (freedom of gays to adopt children, that is)”.
    Another example for the trend amongst socialists to try to hijack the term libertarian.
    She says her party enables everyones freedom to choose his own lifestyle as long as that lifestyle is based on ecologism and social justice. Well thanks Ma’am!

    1. Streetcred

      You can have any colour you like so long as it is black !

  5. Norge

    I have just returned from Germany (09/13) after having been the Lead Resource Efficiency Manager for the United States Air Force – Europe. My work concentrated on Demand Side Energy Management (energy conservation) for the two USAFE bases in Germany. HOWEVER, because of a glut of natural gas there was a push by the German Gas Program to use more Erdegaz (NG) and to a general unwillingness to explore DSM and especially Ground Source Heat Pumps (GSHP), not to confused with Geo-Thermal, allegedly for fear of somehow disrupting the aquifer. The use of the earth as a “Heat Bank” thus a true renewable energy source, was not misunderstood by the GazVolk, They simply wanted to sell Gaz. At approximately .075 Euros per kWh for large scale electric power, the wind power and PhotoVoltaic systems do not seem to have had much of an influence on the cost of electricity or the availability of it. That would bebad enough if the funding for the wind and solar systems was provided with present day monies; however the funding was provided in the 1990s.

    1. DirkH

      Bulk prices for wind/Solar electricity at the exchanges are tiny. Because the subsidies are directly extracted from the end consumer as a levy, and paid to the producers, bypassing the exchange. So what you see at the exchange is a market price, not the guaranteed price paid to the producers. The difference between the market price and the guaranteed price is the subsidy.

      The “influence on cost of electricity” is the levy that finances that subsidy; and exactly detailed in the end consumer bill. I think 6.5 Eurocents a kWh slapped on top of the heavily taxed base price of about 18 cents; and another cent for a slush fund to pay out to defunct offshore wind parks (yes really – a slush fund explicitly to compensate losses by offshore tech disasters.)

      Heat pumps may make sense to reduce ones bill given the tax-inflated energy prices in Germany; however I doubt that it is a real economic solution in terms of EROEI – it’s a system that operates with tiny energy densities, and tiny temperature differentials after all.

      If a system is crazy to start with, crazy solutions may seem rational. They wouldn’t appear rational in a sane system.

  6. DirkH

    From the guys who brought you 24 bn EUR subsidies for renewables a year (the SPD (helped by the Greens)):
    SPD Vice party boss Schaefer-Guembel “demands momentous IPO’s in Germany”; has a masterplan for it. Because Digital Economy. Yeah I can see how THESE people will make it a smashin’ success; after their track record with the Energiewende.

  7. Weekly Climate and Energy News Roundup | Watts Up With That?

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