Despite assurances from wind and solar advocates, the switch to “green energy” isn’t going so well. Germany, a country that signed on for a big push to replace all of their nuclear plants with sunshine and wind and included the all too common mandates and subsidies for renewable energy and who refused to use natural gas from fracking, is watching prices rise and companies fail. German solar is in disarray, Siemens has decided to get out of the solar business after losing $1 billion in the last two years and two other big German firms, Conenergy and Gehrlicher Solar, went belly up last week. Bosch has also pulled back from solar energy.
Big wind, big problems
Wind isn’t faring any better. Germany is building a massive offshore wind project that has encountered numerous technical problems driving up costs. When the Dutch company doing the work looked to be running out of funds to complete the work, Germany added to their renewable energy surcharge on electric bills making customers chip in. The Economist reports:
… there remains a danger that, even if no further technical hitches arise, the enormous project will end up being a white elephant. Investors have gone cool on building windmills in German waters because of their costs and doubts over future electricity rates. A study, commissioned from an independent consultant by TenneT, reckons that less than 6GW of the planned 14GW of turbines are likely to be built by 2023. If so, laments VZBV, a consumer body, Germans will end up paying heavily for a lot of useless transmission gear out at sea.
If you like expensive electricity, you’ll love green energy
So as cheap natural gas is providing less expensive electricity elsewhere and nuclear power provides a solid base load capacity, Germany rejected both. The result is expensive and unreliable “green energy” that has to be backed up with something, and it may very well be coal. So customers are unhappy with rising electric rates and businesses are paying far more for electricity than their foreign competition, sort of a lose-lose proposition.
Germany is now set to cut many of its green programs as the cost and impracticality become obvious to everyone. In Spain, in the USA and now Germany, it’s funny how that scenario seems to repeat itself everywhere while the green advocates continue to act as though nothing is wrong. They haven’t yet realized, replacing things that work with things that sound good, rarely ends well.