It wasn’t so very long ago that German Chancellor Angela Merkel was proudly extolling her country’s move to shift entirely away from nuclear power by replacing their nuclear reactors with renewables, including solar and wind farms, courtesy of a lot of very helpful public financing. In recent years, she has proudly touted Germany’s role as a worldwide pioneer in greening national energy schemes, and it’s been reliably good politics to favor renewable-energy subsides and quotas and portfolios — and although the call to continue curbing carbon emissions still very much falls into the good-politics category, Merkel has ever so slightly changed her tune ahead of this September’s election, in which she is currently favored to win her third term in office. Reuters reports:
German Chancellor Angela Merkel promised on Wednesday to scale back Germany’s generous system of subsidies to the renewables sector if she is re-elected in September, a move that would reduce the costs of her green revolution on consumers.
Merkel’s policy to wean Europe’s biggest power market off fossil fuels and to embrace renewables has led to a boom in green energy sources, but ballooning costs have led to calls for cuts to feed-in tariffs and for industry to pay more.
“Dealing with the renewable energy reform is the most urgent of the energy topics, in my view,” Merkel told a conference of the BDEW utility industry group.
Energy prices are likely to become a hot election topic as consumers have been hit by surcharges which pay for the energy shift. Due in part to fears that German industry will become uncompetitive if it has to pay too much for energy, many firms have enjoyed exemptions from some of charges, raising the bill for households.
Unfortunately for the much-touted boom in renewable energy ventures, the economic consequences of the government’s costly interference in the energy sector has started to make itself around the country; electricity prices have been skyrocketing, and it’s a basic cost-of-living increase that Europeans can little afford to pay while the collective eurozone economy is flailing around in recession-territory. It sounds like people are finally starting to turn a little sour on the unnecessarily higher costs they are being asked to bear, and while it’s by no means a renunciation of taxpayer “investments,” it is at least a little bit of a pragmatic acknowledgment that this type of forced quest for “sustainable energy” is in and of itself unsustainable.
The comments indicate the depth of the government’s concern about rising power prices less than four months before federal elections scheduled for Sept. 22. Consumers in Europe’s biggest economy have seen power bills climb this year after a fee they pay for renewables jumped 47 percent to a record….
Merkel’s government wants more efficient gas-fired plants to back up wind turbines and solar panels, which don’t generate round- the-clock supplies, although her comments today indicated she’s looking for a way to reduce fossil fuels over the longer term.