The English language version of public broadcaster Deutsche Welle (DW) reports the latest on the unavoidable and what many critics are calling as long overdue reforms of Germany’s renewable energies feed in act (EEG) as the country reels from extremely high costs and daunting technical challenges.
Pulling the reins on Germany’s wildly fluctuating sun and wind energies. Wind and solar production in Germany, May, 2016: Chart: Agora.
Spiraling prices, daunting technical challenges
Germany’s mad rush into renewable energies has led to huge spiraling electricity price increases and left power grid operators struggling to keep the wildly fluctuating system form crashing.
As the situation became increasingly precarious, the government was forced to admit that reforms were necessary to keep the situation from spiraling out of control, and thus recently agreed on a major reform of subsidies for renewable energies.
Experts say the new measure will result in a comprehensives scale-back in new renewable energy installations, thus putting the brakes on the green electricity scheme. The DW writes:
The new rules amount to a major reform of the Renewable Energy Law of 2000 (EEG in German)”.
So far Germany has committed hundreds of billions of euros in renewable electricity. Yet even today electricity from renewable sources barely represents a tiny fraction of Germany’s total primary energy needs, casting into question of whether it makes any sense. The overall theoretical impact on global temperature will be only a few hundredths of a degree Celsius by the year 2100.
Days of guraranted profits for operators are over
The new rules means an end to the government-mandated prices, and more free-market pricing., the DW writes. The German government is scrapping the existing system of long-term guaranteed tariffs for green energy producers and that beginning in January 2017 “it will operate competitive bidding systems in which the right to develop a particular wind or solar project will go to whichever credible bidder agrees to accept the lowest revenue per kWh on a 20-year contract.”
The government also will limit the installation of new wind farms. Last year alone grid operators had to pay a billion euros for wind power capacity that went unused, the DW reports.
Germany’s CO2 reduction targets in “serious jeopardy”
This new rule has led to howls from the wind energy industry and its backers, who say that nuclear and fossil fuel generated electricity utilities are to blame for the grid fluctuation problems. Moreover green energy proponents claim that the new rules put Germany’s climate targets for rapid reductions in carbon dioxide emissions “into serious jeopardy“.
Read DW report here.