Yikes: Germany under investigation for their green-energy policies

posted at 5:01 pm on December 19, 2013 by Erika Johnsen

Germany’s grandiose plans for an Energiewende have not been panning out too well. In the wake of the Fukushima blowout, the country embarked upon a long-term and wildly ambitious quest to get rid of coal, natural gas, and all of their nuclear power plants — which means a whole lotta’ renewables are going to need to come online in the near future. The forcible transition has not been cheap, in more ways than one; energy prices have been ticking ever upward, and in the next decade, Germany will need to “invest” bigtime in new power plants, renewables projects, and infrastructure changes. Government subsidies are expected to amount to more than $32 billion in 2014 alone.

Such intense manipulation of the free market, of course, is no easy feat, and the European Union is wondering if perhaps Germany hasn’t perhaps been engaging in some… untoward special treatment of their politically favored industries. The WSJ explains:

EU regulators said Wednesday that they are looking into Germany’s renewable-energy law, which funds investment in green energy. Under the law, nearly 2,300 heavy energy users—including chemical company BASF SE and steel producer ThyssenKrupp AG —can avoid paying a surcharge that other consumers face. EU officials have criticized the exemptions for some companies as a subsidy that distorts competition. …

The exemptions from the levy were Berlin’s attempt to reconcile its ambitious plans to shift power generation away from coal, natural gas and nuclear energy toward renewable sources—the so-called energy transformation—with the need to protect the competitiveness of its energy-hungry industrial base from rising electricity costs. …

EU antitrust chief Joaquín Almunia said Wednesday the probe will focus on the exemptions’ effect on competition in certain sectors, including the transfer of costs to other energy users. “We think this is selective treatment and this introduces discrimination, so that’s the main point of the investigation,” he said in Brussels.

German officials are pretty upset about the investigation, fearing that, if they are indeed forced to change their laws and recover the monetary aid granted to these companies to help them pay for Germany’s relatively more expensive energy prices, the companies will lose their competitive edge on the world stage — a very well-founded fear, I might add, seeing as how the chemical company BASF SE has already announced that they plan to move a lot of their production and investment to the United States, where their energy needs (hello, natural gas!) are less expensive.

The German government essentially wants to have their cake and eat it, too, on this one, and I suppose that’s their choice — but continually subsidizing the heck out of every which industry is one costly way to live. Germany wants to maintain a strong industrial base with plenty of jobs, but they also want to meet their energy needs almost completely with decidely more costly renewable sources as well as ban even the possibility of fracking for natural gas. The EU will have to decide if Germany is breaking whatever rules, but Germany can’t be surprised that engaging in policies that make them less competitive might make them… you know, less competitive.


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You would think Europe would have learned not to mess with Germany.

kcewa on December 19, 2013 at 5:12 PM

Heil!

LeftCoastRight on December 19, 2013 at 5:12 PM

The race to lowest common denominator continues.

Shivas Irons on December 19, 2013 at 5:15 PM

Why shift away from natural gas, even many ecodorks are willing to give on that energy source.

Bishop on December 19, 2013 at 5:22 PM

GreenNazi’s Eh!!

canopfor on December 19, 2013 at 5:27 PM

You would think Europe would have learned not to mess with Germany.

kcewa on December 19, 2013 at 5:12 PM

I think this time I will side with Germany, even if they go to war with England, the new Sharia Compliant nation. I am trying to think of a nation over there that shares our values, I guess they should leave Poland alone this go round though…

astonerii on December 19, 2013 at 5:29 PM

Why shift away from natural gas, even many ecodorks are willing to give on that energy source.

Bishop on December 19, 2013 at 5:22 PM

Years ago the Sierra Club launched their official “War on Coal”. They have since scrubbed that terminology and now refer to their campaign as “Beyond Coal”.

Interestingly enough, they also have fired up (pardon the pun) their “Beyond Natural Gas” campaign in addition to their “Beyond Coal” and “Beyond Oil” campaigns. Somehow, I have been unable to find their “Beyond Wind” and “Beyond Solar” campaigns. In short, one of the supreme groupings of ecodorks are unwilling to give on any carbon based energy source.

Dirty, dangerous, and run amok
Natural gas drillers exploit government loopholes, ignore decades-old environmental protections, and disregard the health of entire communities. “Fracking,” a violent process that dislodges gas deposits from shale rock formations, is known to contaminate drinking water, pollute the air, and cause earthquakes. If drillers can’t extract natural gas without destroying landscapes and endangering the health of families, then we should not drill for natural gas.

weaselyone on December 19, 2013 at 5:47 PM

Why shift away from natural gas, even many ecodorks are willing to give on that energy source.

Bishop on December 19, 2013 at 5:22 PM

Envirowackos: no industry they like, no mine they allow, no viable energy source they tolerate.

Hell, they wouldn’t even let us geothermal Yellowstone if it bought the planet an extra 200 years.

I wonder if they will forgive us the passenger pigeon when it blows.

Oh well. Time to fire up the BBQ. Rhino steaks for dinner.

WryTrvllr on December 19, 2013 at 5:50 PM

How many European countries are regretting joing the EU now? Probably just the rich ones footing the bill.

MH53J on December 19, 2013 at 5:50 PM

I’m pretty certain that Germany will tell the EU to “Verbogen” (get bent).

RoadRunner on December 19, 2013 at 5:51 PM

MeanWhile,…back in the US Of A:

United States Environmental Protection Agency
4m
US Environmental Protection Agency unveils carbon capture regulations – @thehill
read more on thehill.com

http://thehill.com/blogs/regwatch/energy-environment/193684-epa-unveils-carbon-capture-regulations

canopfor on December 19, 2013 at 5:57 PM

BASF SE has already announced that they plan to move a lot of their production and investment to the United States, where their energy needs (hello, natural gas!) are less expensive.

That’s good news.
Manufacturing is key to wealth creation and economic growth. Low energy costs are key to manufacturing. Why can’t we (and I use the term loosely) recognize and embrace this simple reality?

JusDreamin on December 19, 2013 at 6:17 PM

the chemical company BASF SE has already announced that they plan to move a lot of their production and investment to the United States, where their energy needs (hello, natural gas!) are less expensive.

All this wonderful clean, green(back) energy in Germany leads to their exporting jobs to the good ol’ USA, to which we say “Danke schon!”

Somebody tell King Putt in the White House that we do NOT need to return the favor!

Saudi Arabia, where very few green things grow, got rich by selling oil to buy food from greener pastures than their own.

We too can grow rich from our energy, and keep our people working. And don’t worry about the carbon dioxide–it makes green plants grow faster!

Steve Z on December 19, 2013 at 6:19 PM

Envirowackos: no industry they like, no mine they allow, no viable energy source they tolerate.

Hell, they wouldn’t even let us geothermal Yellowstone if it bought the planet an extra 200 years.

You might want to be careful about Yellowstone. There’s a huge “caldera” of molten lava under there which would be a disaster of continental proportions if it erupted.

Steve Z on December 19, 2013 at 6:24 PM

Biggest mistake Merkel has made.
She just did not/does not see that low energy costs are the key to keeping Germany going.

The EU sees it as a way to take away economic power from Germany.

albill on December 19, 2013 at 6:26 PM

I am 100% in favor of organic energy sources. Funny that by definition that includes oil, gas & coal.

trapeze on December 19, 2013 at 6:45 PM

I am 100% in favor of organic energy sources. Funny that by definition that includes oil, gas & coal.

trapeze on December 19, 2013 at 6:45 PM

Oddly enough, also 100% renewable, if not for all the fluking vegans.

WryTrvllr on December 19, 2013 at 6:56 PM

Well, you have to cut Germany a little slack.
They fueled their ovens with natural gas during the War, and they received QUITE the pushback on that one.

orangemtl on December 19, 2013 at 7:19 PM

You might want to be careful about Yellowstone. There’s a huge “caldera” of molten lava under there which would be a disaster of continental proportions if it erupted.

Steve Z on December 19, 2013 at 6:24 PM

All the more reason to pull energy out of it.

Count to 10 on December 19, 2013 at 7:20 PM

Germany is really one of the last countries that should be trying to power itself with solar energy.

Count to 10 on December 19, 2013 at 7:25 PM

All the more reason to pull energy out of it.

Count to 10 on December 19, 2013 at 7:20 PM

If the Yellowstone caldera goes, it would make the Hiroshima and Nagasaki nuclear weapons look like little Black Cat firecrackers. And it would happen in a very short period of time. You could probably suck energy out of that caldera to power the US for a thousand years and still not avoid the catastrophe of it going off. Just the ash cloud would probably bury the midwest in up to six or seven feet of ash and cause a global “nuclear winter”. Globally, it would cause billions of deaths.

lfwest on December 19, 2013 at 7:54 PM

Doesn’t it get really cold in Germany in the winter? Thought so. This means the people are going to suffer, again, for this miserable hoax that is agw.

Kissmygrits on December 19, 2013 at 9:52 PM

If the Yellowstone caldera goes, it would make the Hiroshima and Nagasaki nuclear weapons look like little Black Cat firecrackers. And it would happen in a very short period of time. You could probably suck energy out of that caldera to power the US for a thousand years and still not avoid the catastrophe of it going off. Just the ash cloud would probably bury the midwest in up to six or seven feet of ash and cause a global “nuclear winter”. Globally, it would cause billions of deaths.

lfwest on December 19, 2013 at 7:54 PM

And again, all the MORE reason to pull energy out of it. But of course, since it’s located in the US, the UN will never rescind it’s world heritage status. (plus it has lots of uranium)

So screw the rhino steaks. I’m getting me some cutthroats for dinner.

WryTrvllr on December 20, 2013 at 5:18 AM