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German Enviro Minister: Cut Solar Subsidies

From Germany’s Der Spiegel:

Inflated Incentive: Environment Minister Retreats on Solar Subsidies


German Environment Minister Norbert Röttgen has said he wants to cut subsidies on installing solar panels sooner than planned as the number of people taking advantage of the incentives continues to soar. As do costs to electricity customers.

Germany is set to cut incentives for installing solar panels faster than originally planned amid strong criticism of the current subsidy scheme. Environment Minister Norbert Röttgen has said he wants to bring forward the reductions by three months to April 1, with increasing numbers of Germans taking to solar energy.

Solar farm operators and homeowners with solar panels received more than €8 billion ($10.2 billion) in subsidies in 2011, but contributed only 3 percent of Germany’s total energy supply.

Meaning the cost was over $3 billion dollars a percent.

The incentives, which are written into the country’s renewable energy law known as EEG, are being newly scrutinized as Germany phases out its nuclear program and ramps up its production of renewable energy

Which, coincidentally enough, is also what Obama is doing in our country. — But how are they going to ramp up their production of renewable energy without incentives?

The so-called feed-in tariff is the lifeblood for the solar power industry, at least until production costs fall to a level similar to those in conventional electricity generation. Germany has a total of 25 gigawatts of solar capacity — about half of the figure for the entire world. Producers of solar energy are guaranteed fixed rates for power for 20 years.

But the massive upsurge in photovoltaic installations, fuelled by the heavy subsidies, has seen pressure put on the government to make changes, as the cost of the incentives is passed onto energy consumers across the country

You mean ‘green’ government subsidies aren’t free?

For some reason Der Spiegel never tells us how much these subsidies are actually costing German on the electric bills. They must be trying to emulate American journalism.

This article was posted by Steve on Friday, January 27th, 2012. Comments are currently closed.

3 Responses to “German Enviro Minister: Cut Solar Subsidies”

  1. River0 says:

    Spain’s crash program for ‘green energy’ and ‘green jobs’ destroyed its economic viability and turned Spain into a basket case. They funded it with borrowed money from the EU. It’s estimated that the ‘green jobs’ cost about ten times what they were worth to the economy, while the regulations and restrictions on all industries strangled economic growth and enterprise.

    Meanwhile, China and India are polluting without limits and laughing all the way to the bank, enjoying 9% growth rates year-over-year. Together they pump more CO2 and smoke into the atmosphere than all other nations combined.

  2. River0 says:

    Update: The financial news today is reporting that the official unemployment rate in Spain is over 22%. Generally, the official rate does not include those who have given up looking, or who are underemployed.

  3. Anonymoose says:

    I remember when I was in college, oh a quarter of a century ago, I wondered what happened to the gas crisis. As a little kid in the 70’s I’d heard all about the shortage of oil and how by the year 2000 it was going to cost $100 for a barrel of oil (equivalent to a few hundred dollars in recent numbers), and the world would end if we didn’t start driving electric cars and bicycles.

    And so what was going on? Gas actually got really good in prices in the 80’s and people were driving big cars again. Fast forward to now and we’ve had SUV’s for over ten years now. Even as recently as six years ago I was talking with a Geology professor who was convinced were were right at Peak Oil and about to tip over into catastrophe.

    The truth is there is only a limited supply of oil, and no big new gas fields have been found on land since the 70’s. There may still be some more in the ocean, but recovery will be difficult. The mechanism that creates oil from organic matter still works, but too slowly to replenish what we use. Some day it will run out. And it would make perfect sense to have a backup plan ready to go.

    But that’s all, just a plan. That day isn’t now, and leads into all the problems with “green” energy. Until there’s no alternative it’s expensive and problematic. Production can be ramped up quickly when there’s a demand, but not when there isn’t. So it”s artificially subsidized with tax money as it can’t compete on it’s own.

    All these carbon taxes, gas taxes, and energy schemes of the politicians may have good sounding intentions, but are inevitably being co-opted as just another tax and a way to make money off of people.

    In the current environment; where gasoline is getting expensive not because of availability but because of speculation from competing demands, where there’s plenty of coal to last us a long time, and new technologies are coming up to reclaim formerly barren oil fields or extract oil from shale or sand, “green” energy is ludicrous.

    Forcing us all to go “green” by making what’s readily available more expensive accomplishes little more than making someone feel good while the rest of the world continues to use cheap energy and we subsidize and tax ourselves, and dig ourselves deeper into a hole.

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