Germany just dropped a plan to cut their renewables subsidies by a third

Pretty big move for a country that, only a few years ago, was determined to serve as the zeitgeist of government-sponsored, infrastructure-overhauling “green” vigor, but I suppose the reality of coal’s comeback in making up for the deficiencies of their hastily-developed renewable technologies is just that unavoidable. Via Reuters:

Germany’s economy minister wants to cut the support price paid for electricity from solar and wind power generators by about a third by 2015, according to a draft proposal for one of the most challenging economic reforms facing Chancellor Angela Merkel’s new government.

Under the draft proposal the feed-in tariffs paid to renewable power generators will be cut to an average across all technologies of 12 cents per kiloWatthour (cent/kWh) by 2015 from 17 cents/kWh currently.

And Economy Minister Sigmar Gabriel, who also leads the Social Democrats (SPD), wants the reduction to start taking effect for some new projects from as early as next week, according to the draft seen by Reuters on Saturday. …

The subsidies are largely borne by households, whose bills have almost doubled to an average of 300 euros ($410) per megawatt-hour (MWh) of energy over the past decade to become some of the highest in Europe.

That still means that they’re going for increasing their renewables capacity, but it’s a significant slowdown on the rate at which they hoped to do so — and Germany isn’t the only one reassessing the wisdom of their forcibly rushed transition to a low-fossil-fuel, no-nuclear, no-fracking, largely-renewables energy sector via central planning — the European Union at large has lately been have some severe second thoughts on the matter, and it looks like they’re getting ever-closer to their own official retrenchment, says Der Spiegel:

The EU’s reputation as a model of environmental responsibility may soon be history. The European Commission wants to forgo ambitious climate protection goals and pave the way for fracking — jeopardizing Germany’s touted energy revolution in the process. …

At the request of Commission President José Manuel Barroso, EU member states are no longer to receive specific guidelines for the development ofrenewable energy. The stated aim of increasing the share of green energy across the EU to up to 27 percent will hold. But how seriously countries tackle this project will no longer be regulated within the plan. As of 2020 at the latest — when the current commitment to further increase the share of green energy expires — climate protection in the EU will apparently be pursued on a voluntary basis. …

In addition, the authority wants to pave the way in the EU for the controversial practice of fracking, according to the daily Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung. The report says the Commission does not intend to establish strict rules for the extraction of shale gas, but only minimum health and environmental standards.