The article first published in instituteforenergyresearch.org on 12/14/2018.
The democrats’ latest promise to fuel America’s economy from “100% percent clean, renewable, zero-emission” sources and do so within a decade, while eliminating “systemic injustice,” sounds very much like the perennial Soviet promises that communism was just around the corner. And the communist tenor of these promises is unmistakable. For apart from ridding the world of CO2 emissions, the Green New Deal’s promoters also promise national i.e. government, health care, government job guarantees, upgrading all buildings in the country to green standards and high-speed trains to replace air travel. The only doubts these wild-eyed socialists seem to have is that they are “not sure that we’ll be able to fully get rid of farting cows and airplanes that fast,” as their, in the meantime deleted, FAQ said.
These borderline lunatic ravings could simply be dismissed for what they are, except that there are at least two reasons to take them seriously. First, virtually all the announced democratic candidates running for president in 2020 have already endorsed them. Secondly, some of it has already been tried in an advanced Western economy and the results are here for every one to see. It is these results that prompted the editorial board of the Wall Street Journal recently to declare Germany’s energy policy under Chancellor Angela Merkel “the world’s dumbest.”
Despite the dismal outcome of these policies, because of the leftist stranglehold over of the media in Europe and here, most Americans are not aware of the pending green disaster. Indeed, we have been told that we should emulate them and at least some states, such as California, seem to be embarked on exactly the same road to disaster. Thus, it is worth recapitulating what actually happened in Germany.
It all started in 1980 with the founding of the German green party, which fervently believed that man was not the solution but the real cause of nature’s problems, as detailed in a proto-Nazi screed called “Man and Nature” of 1911 by the German greens patron saint Ludwig Klage. The opportunity to act on their beliefs came in the late 1990s when the Greens joined as a coalition partner the government of left-wing social-democrat Gerhard Schroeder. Schroeder later on distinguished himself as a paid lackey of Vladimir Putin immediately upon leaving the chancellorship.
In the event, under Green tutelage, the German government passed in April 2000 the first renewable energy law (EEG) and feed-in tariff mandating radical subsidies and preferential treatment for renewable energy to be financed by the electricity user. This was the first act of a fundamental energy transition (Energiewende) that promised to dramatically lower greenhouse gas emissions and increase renewable energy to 80% of the total by 2050. The Energiewende was universally greeted at the time by left wingers worldwide as green paradise about to be reclaimed.
Then in 2011, in the aftermath of the Fukushima disaster, the German government decided to close all of its nuclear power plants on the asinine assumption that a similar 9 by Richter earthquake and a 48 foot tsunami could happen in Germany.
Predictably, it didn’t work out that way as could be easily predicted because renewable energy is intermittent i.e. unreliable, and there are as yet no economically feasible storage solutions. Nor is increasing the capacity of renewable energy a solution. When the sun doesn’t shine and the wind doesn’t blow, whether you have a renewable capacity of 10 GigaWatt/hours or a 1000 makes no difference at all. Your production is zero regardless. In January 2019, with German announced renewable capacity of 40% of needed power, the production was 15.34%.
The only thing that has gone up inexorably and dramatically is the cost of electricity paid by the ratepayer and those industries that are not subject to subsidies yet (those that use more than 1 GigaWatt/hour and spend more than 16% of income on electricity). With a renewable surcharge of 6.4 euro cents per kilowatt, the Germans now pay the highest electricity rates of 33 cents per kilowatt in Europe. This despite the huge sum of euro 550 billion of rate and tax payer money spent to date subsidizing wind and solar. To add insult to injury, CO2 emissions in Germany have not gone down since 2009.
And it is going to get worse. According to the consumer advocacy NAEB, German electricity prices are projected to reach 40 cents per kilowatt, by 2020, which will make them four times those in the US and two times those of France. And there is more. By 2023, 14,000 Megawatts of installed wind turbine capacity would have to be terminated since it is not economically feasible without the subsidy, which runs out after 20 years.
Germany, the much touted world champion of renewable energy, is clearly headed for disaster. How German industry could remain competitive, to say nothing of its people’s standard of living, under those conditions is an open question.
By Alex Alexiev