Bold German energy plan to lower emissions neither creates energy nor lowers emissions

posted at 10:01 pm on September 19, 2013 by Mary Katharine Ham

“Germany’s Effort at Clean Energy Proves Complex,” reads the New York Times headline. Indeed, Germany is suffering the utterly predictable consequences of its post-Fukushima “energy transformation” in which Chancellor Angela Merkel, with the backing of all the country’s major political parties, vowed to shut down all of Germany’s nuclear reactors and force the energy market into 80 percent wind and solar by 2050. (“Complex” is apparently the euphemism the NYT is using for “when real life and science tell us stuff we don’t like.”)

It was bold. It was visionary. It was predictably disastrous for energy supply, energy prices, competitiveness, and low-income Germans. Perhaps the “transformation’s” most devastatingly ironic result is the increase in the country’s emissions, caused when a bunch of coal plants had to go into overdrive to make up for the, again, utterly predictable shortfall from windmills and the bright, consistently sunny skies of…Germany.

Behold what happens when “bold,” “visionary” liberal energy reforms do exactly what conservatives predict they will:

German families are being hit by rapidly increasing electricity rates, to the point where growing numbers of them can no longer afford to pay the bill. Businesses are more and more worried that their energy costs will put them at a disadvantage to competitors in nations with lower energy costs, and some energy-intensive industries have begun to shun the country because they fear steeper costs ahead.

Newly constructed offshore wind farms churn unconnected to an energy grid still in need of expansion. And despite all the costs, carbon emissions actually rose last year as reserve coal-burning plants were fired up to close gaps in energy supplies. A new phrase, “energy poverty,” has entered the lexicon.


Erika has touched on this phenomenon before
. Western European green mandates —> energy shortfalls—> importing and increasing coal output—> increasing emissions.

Stories from the age of energy poverty are, again, predictably sad— a vision of regression into a literally darker age— and it is, predictably, the poor and most vulnerable who feel the pain of expensive energy first and worst (as with any complex government reform, the big, rich, and connected got their carve-outs):

“Often, I don’t go into my living room in order to save electricity,” said Olaf Taeuber, 55, who manages a fleet of vehicles for a social services provider in Berlin. “You feel the pain in your pocketbook.”

Mr. Taeuber relies on just a single five-watt bulb that gives off what he calls a “cozy” glow to light his kitchen when he comes home at night. If in real need, he switches on a neon tube, which uses all of 25 watts.

Even so, with his bill growing rapidly, he found himself seeking help last week to fend off a threat from Berlin’s main power company to cut off his electricity.

And all this energy poverty is expensive!

With consumers having to pay about $270 each in surcharges this year to subsidize new operators of renewable power, the hardest hit are low-wage earners, retirees and people on welfare, Mr. Gärtner said. Government subsidies for the plan amounted to $22.7 billion in 2012 and could reach $40.5 billion by 2020, according to John Musk, a power analyst at RBC Capital Markets.

Meanwhile, in the U.S., where we never signed onto Kyoto and our transformation includes a lot of fracking:

The U.S. Energy Information Administration’s (EIA) June energy report says that energy-related carbon dioxide fell to 5,473 million metric tons (MMT) in 2011.

That’s down from a high of 6,020 MMT in 2007, and only a little above 1995′s level of 5,314 MMT.

Flashback to tell you what our future holds, if the Left in this country gets its way:

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German families are being hit by rapidly increasing electricity rates, to the point where growing numbers of them can no longer afford to pay the bill. Businesses are more and more worried that their energy costs will put them at a disadvantage to competitors in nations with lower energy costs, and some energy-intensive industries have begun to shun the country because they fear steeper costs ahead.

I remember back in the ’70s Germany had something like a 100,000 worker shortage (thus the need for Gastarbeiter, namely Turks)…have long wondered how long it would take the Marxists to screw it all up. But, Germany’s no alone in that regard.

Dr. ZhivBlago on September 19, 2013 at 10:08 PM

so its the energy version of Obamacare.

rob verdi on September 19, 2013 at 10:08 PM

Nukeophobia is deadly.

faraway on September 19, 2013 at 10:12 PM

Sounds like it worked out well for the US, who exports a bunch of coal. Obama should thank them for helping to keep the US economy barely on the positive side of economic stagnation.

besser tot als rot on September 19, 2013 at 10:13 PM

so its the energy version of Obamacare.

rob verdi on September 19, 2013 at 10:08 PM

Its central planners thinking that they’re smarter than the experts.

With all the predictable results.

Defenestratus on September 19, 2013 at 10:13 PM

Bold German energy plan

The Italics tried a plan, but it was too slanted.

faraway on September 19, 2013 at 10:15 PM

There should be a law prohibiting eco-freaks from having anything to do with the economy.

GarandFan on September 19, 2013 at 10:15 PM

Bold German energy plan to lower emissions neither creates energy nor lowers emissions

Wow sounds like the bold Obamacare health plan which neither protects patients nor provides affordable care.

Happy Nomad on September 19, 2013 at 10:26 PM

Speaking of Hopey and Nuke Power:
=================================

Obama’s Power Grid

Oct 13 2011
***********

President Barack Obama’s environmental record has prompted eco-minded groups to call his policies “disastrous,” a “nightmare,” and a “sell-out.” Less well-known, however, is the fact that Obama himself has long been allied with Chicago-area pro-nuclear-energy leaders and that several people in his core council have professionally benefited from their association with Exelon, the power company that runs America’s largest nuclear fleet. With Japan’s nuclear accident still looming, many in the environmental movement, who initially supported Obama’s “clean-energy” agenda, have been turned off, but, as Vanity Fair contributing editor Robert Sam Anson brings to light, Obama and his inner circle have vowed not to take the nuclear-power option off the table.

By Robert Sam Anson

Barack Obama wants you to know that nuclear power is good for you. He really and truly does.

He’s warned of “the worst consequences of climate change” unless new nuclear plants sprout from the land. And of countries like China eating our technological lunch. And of unemployment getting even worse, due to the loss of good, green jobs. And of nothing less than “our economy, our security, and the future of our planet” being at risk.

He’s announced $8.3 billion in federal-loan guarantees to build a pair of nuclear reactors in Georgia (the first in the U.S. in more than 30 years), and said there will be plenty more where that came from. He’s appointed as energy secretary a Nobel laureate who’s pledged to “aggressively” expand nuclear power; nominated as his new commerce secretary the ex-C.E.O. of a power company that thought the world of its nuclear plants (including the two on the California coast adjacent to earthquake faults); and had successive White House energy czarinas who use the modifiers “safe, clean, reliable” when speaking of nuclear power — exactly like the ads of the industry’s trade association.(More..)
==========================================================

http://www.vanityfair.com/politics/features/2011/10/obama-nuclear-201110

canopfor on September 19, 2013 at 10:28 PM

…the Germans are becoming Dummkopf’s!

KOOLAID2 on September 19, 2013 at 10:29 PM

Bold German energy plan to lower emissions neither creates energy nor lowers emissions
======================

Immaculate Energy ConCeption sumpins!!
(sarc)

canopfor on September 19, 2013 at 10:30 PM

Of course.

But I bet it lines the pockets of some political donors which in turn lines the pockets of politicians.

JellyToast on September 19, 2013 at 10:33 PM

…the Germans are becoming Dummkopf’s!

KOOLAID2 on September 19, 2013 at 10:29 PM

KOOLAID@:

Herr’ Shultenzee is that you….(sarc):)

canopfor on September 19, 2013 at 10:34 PM

Five words: liberalism is a mental disorder. I dream of the day when we carve out a new country reserved for these folks to tinker with their “utopia”. They can freeze in the cold. Leave the rest of us alone.

Decoski on September 19, 2013 at 10:47 PM

…I see noooooooting….canopfor on September 19, 2013 at 10:34 PM

KOOLAID2 on September 19, 2013 at 10:48 PM

Retardation worthy of the French…

JohnGalt23 on September 19, 2013 at 10:48 PM

[Ms. Merkel's plan] envisions shutting down all of Germany’s nuclear plants by 2022 and shifting almost entirely to wind and solar power by 2050.

You cannot run a first-world industrial/technological economy on wind and solar power.

Socratease on September 19, 2013 at 11:01 PM

The Italics tried a plan, but it was too slanted.

faraway on September 19, 2013 at 10:15 PM

Nice one.

PXCharon on September 19, 2013 at 11:06 PM

Retardation worthy of the French…

Too bad the french are heavily invested in nuclear power! Oh, the irony…

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nuclear_power_in_France

ctwelve on September 19, 2013 at 11:23 PM

JohnGalt23 on September 19, 2013 at 10:48 PM

Yeah but the French are smart… are they not almost all nuke over there? I think if we invested much more in the states that our power bills would be cut in half. I know when WE energies was getting from I think point beach I got a decent discount. After what happen in Japan WE energies did not renew the contract so instead of the 30 a month break I instead lost that PLUS a rate increase.

watertown on September 19, 2013 at 11:24 PM

Socratease on September 19, 2013 at 11:01 PM

Sure you can, just triple the rates by a factor of 5 and walla… energy consumption goes way down.

Of course most people will be living in the dark …

watertown on September 19, 2013 at 11:26 PM

On the plus side, they’re about to relearn that poverty is just as deadly to society as pollution or radiation.

WryTrvllr on September 19, 2013 at 11:35 PM

Retardation worthy of the French…

JohnGalt23 on September 19, 2013 at 10:48 PM

.
Too bad the french are heavily invested in nuclear power! Oh, the irony…

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nuclear_power_in_France

ctwelve on September 19, 2013 at 11:23 PM

.
Yup, too bad.

Irony, indeed.

listens2glenn on September 20, 2013 at 1:27 AM

Ms. Merkel, of the traditionally conservative and pro-business Christian Democrats, came up with her plan in 2011, in the emotional aftermath of the Fukushima nuclear disaster in Japan.

Dangerous way to make policy decisions.

mankai on September 20, 2013 at 8:35 AM

It reminds one of the twenties when Germany was in deep economic trouble as an outcome of WWI. This went along for a long time, but in the early thirties they elected a savior to rescue them.

burt on September 20, 2013 at 9:11 AM

“Often, I don’t go into my living room in order to save electricity,” said Olaf Taeuber, 55, who manages a fleet of vehicles for a social services provider in Berlin. “You feel the pain in your pocketbook.”

Mr. Taeuber relies on just a single five-watt bulb that gives off what he calls a “cozy” glow to light his kitchen when he comes home at night. If in real need, he switches on a neon tube, which uses all of 25 watts.

Even so, with his bill growing rapidly, he found himself seeking help last week to fend off a threat from Berlin’s main power company to cut off his electricity.

Mr. Taeuber has a pack of cigarettes sitting on his kitchen table in the NYT photo from the article. It is clearly visible under the glow of his 5 watt lightbulb. If he can’t afford his electric bill and needs to be subsidized, dude should probably lay off the cancer sticks…just sayin.

weaselyone on September 20, 2013 at 2:03 PM

The way to go is natural gas powered electrical generating systems. Very little maintenance or wear to the power plant that is actually a jet engine. We have three units up here in Northern NY that put out as much power as a nuke. They have a small working force of under a hundred while a nuke has six hundred plus the waste. It’s not necessary to have hundreds of acres around the plant either.

mixplix on September 20, 2013 at 5:29 PM

Natural Gas is currently cheap but won’t be for long and the cheaper it is the slower the product will get. Relying on natural gas for electrical base load is foolish and is a mistake we have made in the past.

whbates on September 20, 2013 at 7:03 PM