19 February 2012

Germany's Sunshine Fairy Fantasy

Germans have paid about $130 billion for a climate-change policy that has no impact on global warming. They have subsidized Chinese jobs and other European countries’ reliance on dirty energy sources. And they have needlessly burdened their economy. As even many German officials would probably attest, governments elsewhere cannot afford to repeat the same mistake. _GWPF
Germany has been caught up in a dreamy fantasy of a golden shiny green future, full of sunshine fairies and wind sprites. But artificial, made-up euphorias have a way of turning into despair, eventually. Bjorn Lomborg has more:

Sunshine Fairy Image Source

Germany once prided itself on being the “photovoltaic world champion”, doling out generous subsidies – totaling more than $130 billion, according to research from Germany’s Ruhr University – to citizens to invest in solar energy. But now the German government is vowing to cut the subsidies sooner than planned, and to phase out support over the next five years. What went wrong?

There is a fundamental problem with subsidizing inefficient green technology: it is affordable only if it is done in tiny, tokenistic amounts. Using the government’s generous subsidies, Germans installed 7.5 gigawatts of photovoltaic (PV) capacity last year, more than double what the government had deemed “acceptable.” It is estimated that this increase alone will lead to a $260 hike in the average consumer’s annual power bill.

According to Der Spiegel, even members of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s staff are now describing the policy as a massive money pit. Philipp Rösler, Germany’s minister of economics and technology, has called the spiraling solar subsidies a “threat to the economy.”

...Germany – like most of the world – is not as sunny as the Sahara. And, while sunlight is free, panels and installation are not. Solar power is at least four times more costly than energy produced by fossil fuels. It also has the distinct disadvantage of not working at night, when much electricity is consumed.

In the words of the German Association of Physicists, “solar energy cannot replace any additional power plants.” On short, overcast winter days, Germany’s 1.1 million solar-power systems can generate no electricity at all. The country is then forced to import considerable amounts of electricity from nuclear power plants in France and the Czech Republic. When the sun failed to shine last winter, one emergency back-up plan powered up an Austrian oil-fired plant to fill the supply gap.

Indeed, despite the massive investment, solar power accounts for only about 0.3% of Germany’s total energy. This is one of the key reasons why Germans now pay the second-highest price for electricity in the developed world (exceeded only by Denmark, which aims to be the “world wind-energy champion”). Germans pay three times more than their American counterparts. _Bjorn Lomborg_via_GWPF
Even if photovoltaic panels were 100% efficient and given away free of charge, utility-scale solar power would be a hugely wasteful and exorbitantly expensive mistake. Remember that every time you read a headline trumpeting "dramatic gains in photovoltaic efficiency" or "huge reductions in solar panel costs." Solar power is okay for off-grid applications of relatively small scale. But the intermittency of solar power (and wind power) is a deal-killer in terms of large scale grid power.

Germany would have known that if not for its green euphoric fantasy facade. What is the facade obscuring? You probably do not want to know.

Labels: , ,

Bookmark and Share


Blogger Anomaly UK said...

Really, it's disgraceful of you to smear the environmental movement by associating it with a make-believe fairy like that. Please stop attacking straw men from the realm of fantasy, and deal with the real arguments, such as those presented by the UN Honorary Ambassador

Sunday, 19 February, 2012  
Blogger SwampWoman said...

Seems like Germany would have checked to see if solar actually worked* in sunnier climates like, say, Florida.

*And by "worked", I mean producing electricity in competitive amounts at competitive rates.

Sunday, 19 February, 2012  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Even better than that, remember the fanfare of Germany turning off their nuke reactors after Fukushima?

They had to turn some of them back on this winter due to supply shortages. Did you see it in the MSM? Did you hell.


A great site for a little real reporting of the EU.

Monday, 20 February, 2012  

Post a Comment

“During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act” _George Orwell

<< Home

Newer Posts Older Posts