Germany “renewables revolution” a lesson in what not to do

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Thursday’s Australian ran an article which included a number of my quotes countering Greens leader Richard Di Natale’s claim that Germany was a positive example of renewable energy policy:

[Hogan] says Germany’s renewables revolution will cost at least 1 trillion by 2030 (after subsidies to solar and wind), but its electricity system is becoming more expensive and less reliable.

“Germany’s major energy companies are now losing billions of dollars each year as subsidised wind and solar power destroys returns on capital and the incentive to invest in more modern, less emissions- intensive generators.”

Read on here ($). Two additional points worth adding:

  • While French power costs are currently cheaper than Germany, they are also starting to increase significantly as France begins to recover the significant costs of renewables investments; and
  • To further illustrate Germany’s reactionary electricity policies, in 2000 Germany decided to get rid of nuclear power by 2022, and subsequently commissioned coal replacements. Then in 2010 the government extended the life of the country’s nuclear plants to 2032, but after the Fukushima accident in 2011 reverted back to a 2022 nuclear closure. All the while changing its renewable energy targets and rules.

Governments should only be in the business of ensuring a level playing field, rather than picking winners by mandating which sources of energy are allowed to compete in the marketplace.

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