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Clean Power Germans think Energiewende is important / good

Published on February 10th, 2013 | by Zachary Shahan

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Germans Love Their Solar & Wind Power — Myth About Solar Subsidy ‘Backlash’ Is BS



Imagine this: your national and local economies are benefiting from a shift to renewable energy, your air and water are getting cleaner, your electric grid is becoming more democratized, you and your neighbors are benefiting financially from becoming solar power producers, you get to cast of the shackles of guilt that come from burning fossil fuels, and the whole world is looking up to you as the leader you are in stimulating a solar power market and bringing down solar power prices.

Surely, this all makes you want to change course 180° and badmouth the solar policy that got you there, right?

Of course not, but that’s what much of the US believes. That’s what fossil fuel and utility leaders in Germany and elsewhere are saying. That’s what conservative German politicians are saying. That’s what misinformed reporters are saying. But, quite frankly, that isn’t the case.

When you see talk of a “backlash to solar subsidies” in American media (all too common), you never actually see any polls or studies cited, do you? No, you simply receive quotes from conservative politicians, certain heads of the energy industry, sometimes anonymous sources in the energy industry, and professional disinformers.

Whenever I see a comment from an actual citizen, she or he is in full support of the policy that has made Germany a global leader in this arena. But, luckily, I don’t just have random comments to rely on for this article. I’ve got the results of a poll conducted by a major energy association representing 1,800 companies (companies in natural gas, electricity, heating, etc). The poll was focused on Germany’s “Energy Transition” or “Energy Revolution” (Energiewende). About 1,000 citizens were questioned in telephone surveys conducted in January 2011, January 2012, and June 2012. Let’s have a look.

90% of Respondents Said that Energiewende Is “Very Important” or “Important”

Germans think Energiewende is important / good

The Majority (51–61%) of Respondents Said that Renewable Energy Growth Was “Too Slow,” while Another 30-33% Said It Was “Just Right”

Only 6–10% said it was too fast:

german poll energiewende renewable energy growth too slow

Of Those Who Said It Was Too Slow,…

  • 41% said that was due to “Delays Caused by Policy”
  • 30% said that was due to “Blockade by Power Companies”
  • 20% said that was due to “High Financial Outlay”
  • 12% said that was due to “Too Little Funding”

renewable energy growth in Germany poll

59% of Respondents Said that Energiewende Has More Advantages for Industry in Germany than Disadvantages (Only 15% Said It Had More Disadvantages)

renewable energy more advantages for industry in germany

And, from One of German Our Writers, Why Energy Prices Have Risen:

Respondents answered according to the following split:

  • 33.6% – corperate greed, monopolies, market failure
  • 22.9% — fundamental changes in energy markets (e.g. rising costs for fossil energy sources)
  • 7.9% — renewable energy subsidies

So, the next time someone talks to you about the “solar subsidy backlash” in Germany, I think you know how to respond, or where to send them (i.e. to this post).

Thoughts? Feel free to chime in below or connect with me via your favorite social media networks.



 

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About the Author

is the director of CleanTechnica, the most popular cleantech-focused website in the world, and Planetsave, a world-leading green and science news site. He has been covering green news of various sorts since 2008, and he has been especially focused on solar energy, electric vehicles, and wind energy for the past four years or so. Aside from his work on CleanTechnica and Planetsave, he's the Network Manager for their parent organization – Important Media – and he's the Owner/Founder of Solar Love, EV Obsession, and Bikocity. To connect with Zach on some of your favorite social networks, go to ZacharyShahan.com and click on the relevant buttons.



  • http://www.sahajsolar.com/ Sahaj Solar

    Great Post, I will continue reading new posts on solar panel here in the future.

  • globi

    The profits of only 2 German utilities alone are in fact higher than the costs of the entire German FIT-program, which lead to over 300’000 jobs, generated billions of tax revenue, reduced the fossil fuel imports by over €10 billion per year and lead to lower wholesale electricity prices than France:
    http://www.iwr.de/news.php?id=21810&utm_source=twitterfeed&utm_medium=twitter

    If France was doing so great with its nuclear fleet, how come Germany is export world champion and France has a record unemployment rate? http://www.focus.de/finanzen/news/konjunktur/deutschlands-aussenhandelsueberschuss-bundesrepublik-ueberholt-exportweltmeister-china_aid_798784.html

  • Bob_Wallace

    How does someone who is barely literate manage to figure out how run a herd of sock puppets?

    • MorinMoss

      There’s an app for that :-)

  • Ken

    The home owners association just rejected my South (side) roof solar array in spite of the lowest impact design money can buy. Their rule is the only acceptable solar panel is the one you can’t see (back roof only). These guys are killing residential solar in Ohio.

    • http://zacharyshahan.com/ Zachary Shahan

      HOAs — nightmare creators. What a shame.

    • http://www.facebook.com/matthew.t.peffly Matthew Todd Peffly

      A bunch of HOA just say no solar of any kind. It is madness.

    • Bob_Wallace

      Three out of every four houses have rear roofs that face east, south or west.

      East and west facing solar panels produce about 80% as much electricity as do south facing panels. That makes the installation cost about 25% higher than on a south facing roof for an equal amount of electricity. But with the rapidly falling cost of solar even that extra cost should become affordable.

      • kinetics

        Bob. I looked long & hard at my West roof but given gable ends, chimneys & ever growing shade trees (that we will not cut) my yield would be closer to 50% & go down from there as the trees grow. I’m already at >10 years payback & would like to live to see it happen. The South roof is perfect and my immediate neighbors are OK with the panels, but not the HOA.

        • Bob_Wallace

          Now every building is going to be appropriate for solar.

          Here’s three ideas you might consider.

          1) Dow’s solar shingles. They might be acceptable to your HOA.

          http://www.dowpowerhouse.com/

          2) An arbor or pergola in a sunny part of the backyard with panels mounted on top. I’ve seen pictures of a couple of very nice looking setups.

          3) Buying into a community solar system. This works for people who can’t install on their roofs. One buys into the project and gets the same sorts of advantages as having the panels on their roof.

          Or, forget solar. Invest in a wind farm, buy some shares. You’ll own your production and get your electricity bill covered by share price growth/dividends from wind.

          • Otis11

            “Or, forget solar. Invest in a wind farm, buy some shares. You’ll own your production and get your electricity bill covered by share price growth/dividends from wind.”

            Any resources for that? Or asked another way – If I wanted to do this, how could I get involved?

          • Bob_Wallace

            I’d start by doing searches for wind farm stock. I ran a quick one and found an article that listed 18.

            Then you’re into the problem of how to identify good investments. I don’t invest in individual stocks so I’m going to stay away from suggesting a good way to go about that. Although one might check on The Motley Fool to see if there’s anything their site.

          • Otis11

            Ah, so you’re talking about investing in stocks. I was thinking there was a way to sort of co-sponsor a windmill. Buying stocks will only marginally help expand wind farms and is mainly useful for investment purposes, co-sponsoring will directly expand wind farms and while probably a good investment, I would take a chance on just because it helps expand the technology.

          • Bob_Wallace

            There are some co-op wind turbines but they seem to be community based.
            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Community_wind_energy

            http://www.managenergy.net/resources/1421

          • Otis11

            See, we need more of that. I’ll be looking into that more and see, by I doubt much of that is going on here in the US and I don’t have the time to organize it unfortunately….

          • http://zacharyshahan.com/ Zachary Shahan

            Yep, this is a rarity in the U.S. Unfortunately.

          • http://zacharyshahan.com/ Zachary Shahan

            There are a few places that have done this (in the US). But it’s basically opened up to residents local to where the wind farm is to go in. Some countries use this method extensively (e.g. Denmark), but it hasn’t take root in the US yet….

    • o.k.frax

      I live in Ohio & never thought about pulling a permit to install solar panels………..

  • Otis11

    So my main question – Given where the US is right now, how do we inform people?

    The people who are not informed simply do not have the desire to become informed. Because of this – Policy makers are not held accountable for their actions on FF vs RE policy.

    Until we fix the education difference, we will not fix the policy difference.

    • Bob_Wallace

      Communicate.

      Comment on forums, tweet, twitter, paste it on your wall, write your newspaper editor, write articles, tell your friends, contact TV/radio stations when they spout crap, write your legislators, talk to school group/civic groups/whomever will listen.

      • Otis11

        Yeah, sadly not nearly enough people listen…

        Although, after 5 years of presenting the facts, I did sell my parents on double paned windows! (The resale argument finally pushed it over the edge) Perseverance at it’s finest! And hopefully from there we can pass it on to the neighbors. If we can get the contractor to go from house to house it will lower the overall costs and make a bigger impact!

    • http://zacharyshahan.com/ Zachary Shahan

      What Bob wrote… and if you’re really gung-ho, might want to get connected with Vote Solar or 350.org and focus on ways to engage your local community or state.

  • http://www.facebook.com/dilderem1 Dave Taylor

    In 2012 electricity cost Germans on average 36 US cents per kilowatt hour compared to 11 cents for Americans. Do you really want to use them as a model? France, with its nukes, has a per kilowatt hour cost about half that of Germany.

    • Otis11

      But that is due to market failures (Oligarcy of power producers, and the producers own the distribution system) and not their method of getting power. While it did impact the economics of installing solar, as prices continue to fall that will occur in many other countries as well.

      • http://zacharyshahan.com/ Zachary Shahan

        Everything Bob & Otis wrote. Plus, the Germans are happy to have higher electricity prices that encourage people to conserve and, as Otis noted, correct market failures that would result in them paying other costs anyway.

        • Mark

          Your right on that, higher cost of electricity lower demand for energy this will only lead to social unrest, those who can afford and those that can not, those that can heat their house and those that can not

          • Otis11

            Where are you getting that? Can we have some numbers or at least a source to back that up?

            In 2010 wind power hit 8.2c/kwh LCOE without subsidies and is expected to hit 6c/kwh LCOE by 2030.
            http://www.nrel.gov/wind/pdfs/day1_sessioni_02_doe_derby.pdf

            Even if you include the cost of distribution LCOE for wind built in 2010 is 9.6c/kwh.

            And while Solar PV is 15.2c/kwh, it is dropping rapidly, halving about every 20-24 months and the biggest factor slowing that curve is the soft costs associated with government regulation, not the technology itself. Localized solar also doesn’t have to pay transmission costs, making it even more competitive in all but the cheapest energy markets.

            Not only that, but PV helps democratize the power grid, allowing the middle class to get involved in a highly lucrative industry previously dominated by bankers and energy tycoons! This lessons the divide between the haves and have nots!

            In contrast, building a new conventional coal plant without significant air pollution requirements costs 9.77c/kwh LCOE. That’s MORE than wind!!!

            http://www.eia.gov/forecasts/aeo/electricity_generation.cfm

            So in summary, RE such as wind can make power costs go down from what we pay with coal, even if you completely ignore externalities inherent in the pollution, and technologies like PV are becoming increasingly competitive. Not only that, but PV actually helps bridge the socio-economic gap and brings us into a game where everyone is on the same playing field, not just watching the game.

          • http://zacharyshahan.com/ Zachary Shahan

            Great points.

          • tomandersen

            No one has ever built an un subsidized wind turbine anywhere on earth. The power they produce is useless.

            Yet by your account they should be getting installed everywhere. What gives? ‘Big Oil keeping them down’? Nope – its ‘Big Oil’ that builds installs and profits from wind.

          • Otis11

            Do you have sources to support any of those claims?

            Numerous completely un-subsidized wind turbines have been built like the two built by an African village to supply power for their entire village. (Don’t have the link off hand, but it was covered here on cleantechnica). The reason you don’t see un-subsidized wind power in developed countries is because they all have subsidies! If you built something and found that the government would give you free money for doing it, wouldn’t you take the money?

            Second – Wind power is far from useless: http://reneweconomy.com.au/2013/graph-of-the-day-are-wind-farms-as-useless-as-some-say-74691

            While it is not perfect, we can easily engineer solutions better than fossil fuels.

            Third – no where did I imply that wind mills should be installed everywhere, nor do I believe that. They are simply contribute to our future renewable energy grid. No clean technology should be used to power 100% of a countries power unless you want to pay for unsustainable amounts of batteries, but by mixing different renewable energy types that each have different strengths, we can easily provide reliable, renewable power for entire countries.

            Finally – Big Oil keeping them down? Big oil profiting from wind? Neither of these are true. The advantage big oil has is its position as the incumbent with incredible amounts of support written into the tax code (Master Limited Partnerships) and the ability to spread misinformation. And to my knowledge (and my knowledge of the Oil field is fairly extensive if I’m being honest) no Oil company is profiting from their excursions into wind. The few that are involved with renewables are at the R&D stage, are using it for PR or are using it for on site power to drill out more oil.

          • Bob_Wallace

            Chevron is pretty big into geothermal.

          • Otis11

            Granted, Geothermal is somewhat of an exception – It uses much of the same technology as oil and has a High barrier to market entry because of the cost and expertise required. Turns out to be a great fit for O&G companies.

          • tomandersen

            Your position – that ‘Big Oil’ is not into wind is hilarious. Big Oil is pulling every trick in the book – like enlisting you, to fight for wind and solar everywhere.

            Its simple. Triple the price of energy means triple the profit.

            Look at who installs these things in Ontario, where I live.

            Enbridge – huge natural gas company

            NextEra – aka florida light and power – coal plant operator

            Suncor – see tar sands

            http://www.canwea.ca/farms/wind-farms_e.php Please note, if the company sounds like its not Big Oil, then see who owns it.

            When you follow the food chain, it pretty well has to end up at a large energy company, these are the only people who know how to do the physical install and also have the political expertise to land the contracts.

            The ROI from wind in Ontario is about 15% or more. There has been a gold rush to take advantage of the huge subsidies offered. We have pushed the price of electricity up over 50% in 4 years, all because of the ‘green energy act’ – this in a jurisdiction with cleaner power than almost anywhere on Earth.

          • Otis11

            Enlisting me? I have no obligation to any O&G company, or any energy company for that matter, but I am in a unique position that I do get to see some of the books from companies in the industry. (Which is why I avoid using specifics and cite anything I do use as researched on the open internet)

            Second – I am not overly familiar with what is going on in Canada, so that may be a point of difference, but I do not see how they are “tripling the price of energy” in order to “triple their profits” as you say. It appears to me that they are selling the electricity on the grid at the same cost as all of the other electricity on the grid due to Merit Order Pricing. Granted, they do get subsidies that allow them to make some more money than the “Going rate” but I have a hard time believing the effect is 2x the “going rate.” – Could be wrong though?

            As far as pushing up the cost of electricity in Ontario – I’ll take your word for it, but that is because of poor policy allowing companies to take advantage of the system, not because of wind power itself. I know here in Texas wind power has lowered the price of electricity, and there are a number of other places where this is true as well.

            Who owns what companies – You are right, I do not know. I do know however, a number of O&G companies who have very little (outside of extensive R&D) in the area of renewables. And that’s not simply 1 company, but a number of major players.

          • tomandersen

            OK – want to see who owns wind in Texas: Google texas wind installations, first hit is Wikipedia article, biggest one is
            Roscoe Wind Farm, owned by one of the largest energy companies on earth, a coal burning company with 80,000 employees.

            So you appear to have no incentive to actually look for facts, you just throw out whatever you think at the moment.

            Wind in Texas subsidies: PTC, + huge tax breaks for the owners, including accelerated depreciation, plus property tax breaks, plus more.
            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_Wind_Energy_Policy

            The simple facts are out there.

          • Otis11

            Roscoe Wind Farm is owned by E.ON which is a holding company of the world’s largest investor-owned electric utility service provider. They are not an O&G company nor are they a Coal company. While they do use a number of different Fossil Fuels in the production of energy, they have consistently been decreasing their kg CO2/MWh ratio and are not involved in the PRODUCTION of Fossil Fuels. (Therefore, again, not an O&G or Coal company)

            Yes, I do look for my own facts and I do know what I am talking about. While I completely realize that there are things I do not know, I freely admit those as shown in my posts above and across this website. While I don’t mind some healthy discussion, I would appreciate some respect just like I hope you would show any other human being you met in person.

            Yes, Texas has Wind Subsidies – I said above every developed country does and Texas is part of the US. But, even considering that the PTC and the tax deductions from accelerated depreciation and property tax breaks are still less than the Oil Company gets in the Master Limited Partnership ALONE.

            What are you supposed to be citing with that source?

          • MorinMoss

            Is Texas back to being part of the US again?
            Sometimes it’s hard to tell :-)

          • Bob_Wallace

            Otis – the median LCOE (no subsidies) for wind is $0.06/kWh with some installations producing at $0.04 per.

            http://en.openei.org/apps/TCDB/

            Solar, at Germany’s current installation rate of $2/watt would produce electricity in most of the US for $0.07 to $0.09/kWh. Again, no subsidies., It is expected that the cost of solar will fall to $1/watt over the next few years.

            Then, after the 20 year payoff used when calculating LCOE, we will have 20, 30, 40, ? more years of almost free electricity from those turbines (20 years for the turbines) and solar panels (at least 30 years past payoff.

            Essentially, take the 4, 6 cent price and cut it in half. That’s what renewable energy costs.

          • TravisJSays

            “Not only that, but PV helps democratize the power grid,”

            That makes no sense. A power grid is infrastructure. Do you feel the need to democratize the sewer lines and have your own sewage treatment?

          • Otis11

            It helps democratize who gets the money. Currently only large investors can afford to build a power plant on the scale necessary to be competitive in the current market. This limits investors to the super rich and corporations. Solar is allowing the average joe to put panels on his roof and enter the ranks of a producer if he so chooses. This gives more power to the average citizen as, even if they do not go solar, they now have the choice to do so if they wish – this limits how much large corporations can squeeze from the citizens.

            And in many places the sewer systems are democratized – it’s called a septic tank. If you live in a remote area you probably have one. Though, I should mention this is a bogus comparison anyway…

          • Bob_Wallace

            Not to mention outhouses….

          • TravisJSays

            Solar powered outhouses … now that’s living off the grid!

          • Bob_Wallace

            All the ones I’ve used have been gravity powered.

          • TravisJSays

            “It helps democratize who gets the money. Currently only large investors can afford to build a power plant on the scale necessary to be competitive in the current market.”

            ahem, for a lot less than solar rooftop installation, you can get a small brokerage account, buy some of the utility ETF or a utility stock, and be a utility investor.

            “Solar is allowing the average joe to put panels on his roof and enter the ranks of a producer if he so chooses. ”

            … except if he rents, doesnt have a few thousand to spare, or lives in a condo in the city, etc.

            If you want consumer power wrt grid, end utility monopolies. Texas has done that with a competitive retail electrical market. The grid is a natural monopoly but power generation and retail of it are not.

            I was thinking septic tank when I wrote it, but that’s the silliness. There isn’t really a political implication from a different form of infrastructure. IMHO, the term itself is silly, denoting a political implication that is imaginary.

            But it does fit in this sense: The same places that could use septic would use solar rooftop. too spread out for being on the grid.

          • Bob_Wallace

            About the last thing one would want to do today is to be a utility investor. At least in a non-regulated utility district where the utility company owns thermal plants. Stranded assets is the game today.

            There are community solar farms in some cities/neighborhoods. A way for individuals to make a solar play without owning a roof.

          • TravisJSays

            “About the last thing one would want to do today is to be a utility investor.”
            That’s what you become when you buy a solar panel connected for feed-in to the grid or invest in a solar farm.

          • Bob_Wallace

            No, you’re a ‘pre-purchaser’. You’re stocking up on electricity for the next 40+ years.

            Locking in a nice low price.

          • Otis11

            I already have a brokerage account and have money invested… but not in traditional utility stocks. I haven’t found any that I have substantial faith in them growing more profitable. But this is yet another way to expand those options.

            Just because a solution doesn’t solve every problem is not a reason to discount it unless another solution that does solve more problems is found. This does improve our current situation and as such, should not be discounted.

            I’m simply in favor a more consumer choices/rights – especially when they lower consumer costs and are more environmentally friendly.

            I am in favor of ending retail monopolies and creating competitive retail electric markets… but I see no reason why we can’t do both that and allow consumers to have rooftop solar…

            And I agree – they both go together, but I see no reason why we can’t have solar even in more compact locations.

          • TravisJSays

            Agree. There is merit and consumer power in having more choices, both via technology like rooftop solar and regulation changes to support choice and competition (like feed-in etc). They reinforce eachother. And ‘all of the above’ beats ‘one solution to rule them all’ (the nuclear-phobic hosts here should ponder that nuclear + renewables are complimentary solutions that work together in an overall energy complex). My only objection really was the phrase ‘democratization of grid’, which imho means little. What matters is giving electric buyers/ users power of choice. It’s a positive trend whatever the label.

          • Otis11

            Ok, so it’s an issue with the term I decided to use. Regardless, I’m all for more choices. I actually support nuclear to the degree it’s cost effective. Anything that reduces the air pollution while allowing us to reduce costs and maintain our standard of living is a win in my book. Though, for nuclear I do believe the plant should be responsible for refining the waste into new feedstock to reuse (to minimize waste), be responsible for maintaining the waste that they do create until it is safe to be disposed of (completely safe – no longer radioactive) and have to have insurance against any major disaster. Unfortunately these three requirements generally are paid for by governments (and therefore taxpayers), which hides the true costs that would otherwise make it uneconomical.

          • TravisJSays

            A lot to agree with there, in particular nuclear energy needs to do more ‘recycling’ and lessen waste. On costs of used fuel, though, be aware that the nuclear industry in the US *does* pay for nuclear waste disposal costs via a fee, they paid $20-30 billion in fees over the last few decades, paying for the yucca facility that the US govt has reneged on.

          • Bob_Wallace

            ​Yucca Mountain, had it not been flawed, would have quickly filled. Looking at how hard it was to find that site no one should expect a second, third, fourth, … site would be found to store the waste from the hundreds of reactors it would take to replace fossil fuel.

            BTW, taxpayers paid for a lot of the Yucca Mountain costs.

            If recycling was a great idea the industry would be doing it already. And recycling applies only to used fuel. It does nothing for the millions of tons/gallons of non-fuel radioactive waste.​

          • TravisJSays

            The only flaw with Yucca Mountain is that Nevada was an early primary state with swing state electoral votes and politics have overwhelmed good public policy. It was studied to death and was found very safe. We’ll probably end up using WIPP in New Mexico if they dont re-open Yucca as an option. But I’m all for recycling anyway, which would reduce waste streams by 10x or more if done right, and btw, non-fuel radioactive products are radioactive for much shorter periods of time, so it drastically reduces issues to separate them. It’s not done for one simple reason and that is once-through is cheaper right now.

          • Bob_Wallace

            Yucca Mountain, as storage is now envisioned, is a 100 year push-out of the problem.

            Down the road additional shielding would be required to constrain possible vessel leaks.

          • Otis11

            Ah, good to know. So if we fix our restrictions on recycling so that they can reduce the amount and radioactivity of waste, as well as increasing the amount of fuel, that puts us on a good path. Add in insurance requirements with the recent improvements to gen technology, and it doesn’t look like a half bad option assuming it’s competitive.

          • Bob_Wallace

            Well, it’s a great thing that we’ve set up programs to help people weatherstrip and insulate their houses so that they can afford to heat them, isn’t it Mark?

            Heating oil use is down 40% from where it peaked several years back. We’re heating more efficiently.

            And it’s also a great thing that renewable energy will lower the cost of electricity, isn’t it Mark?

            Life is going to be getting better and better as we get off fossil fuels.

          • http://zacharyshahan.com/ Zachary Shahan

            Have you been to Germany? Their ‘poor’ live more comfortably than a whole ton of people, perhaps even better than our middle class.

          • Otis11

            No, sadly I have not had the opportunity, but that’s a common story here in the US too.

            Many people who are too “poor” to support themselves live significantly more comfortably than myself, yet I get taxed on everything I earn. Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for helping the disadvantaged, but that’s the reason I cannot bring myself to support more social work projects. And that is simply what I have seen with my own eyes, not stories I’ve heard or articles I’ve read.

            But if we can create a domain where everyone has an equal footing, even if the more wealthy can expand more rapidly, the every day citizens still can hold their own and take responsibility for themselves. Give them a means of providing for themselves instead of giving them handouts – everyone is better off.

            Just for reference, I consider myself middle solidly in middle class based on every statistic I can find.

    • Bob_Wallace

      First, give this 2009 Economist article a quick read and you’ll better understand why Germany has high electricity prices. Those high prices have nothing to do with the actual cost of generating electricity.

      http://www.economist.com/node/13527440

      Solar has decreased the wholesale cost of Germany’s electricity. Those savings have not been passed on to retail customers. Refer to the linked article to understand why.

      Second, France built their reactors long ago. Those reactors are paid off, and like our paid off reactors, produce electricity at a good price.

      What we are facing is the cost of creating new electricity. We’ve got no time machine that would allow us to go back and build reactors at 1970 prices and pay them off.

      • John

        sound like the US wants higher electricity cost with lower wholesale cost drive higher cost to electricity for all.

        • Bob_Wallace

          John, do you think you might turn that word salad into a sentence?

      • Van Otto

        You used the German example but it does not make sense at all, even if the wholesale cost of electricity goes down, that no guarantee that solar power will lower that cost for consumers. I’ve have seen the effects that renewable subsidies have on the cost in many cases electricity always goes up. I’ve done the right thing by going off the grid & not taken any subsidies from government, my commitment could only be used as an example to show how one can live sustainable and not pass that cost on, therefore living of the grid does not add any future costing to society.

        • lisa

          you make a good point Van.

        • Bob_Wallace

          Let me try to explain it to you Otto.

          There are greedy people in Germany who control the price of electricity. They keep the selling price of electricity high.

          Even when solar is making the wholesale price of electricity cheaper.

          If you would read the Economist article you might start to comprehend what is happening.

          I’m happy for you that you are off the grid. So am I.

          The reason we have been able to get off the grid is because subsidies for solar over the last few decades have brought the price of solar panels down to where they are now affordable.

          I doubt you would have gone off the grid 30 years ago when solar cost $100/watt.

          You many have not taken subsidies. I didn’t. But we both greatly benefited from subsidies.

          • Van Otto

            It’ not subsidies that caused solar cells to come down but china mass production runs, 30 years ago solar panel where expensive I agree on that, but that because there was no demand nor did any one care about the environment back then. Its was 1980 when I got solar panels back in those days it was considered to be a big off grid solar power system 500watts, there was no fancy 24vdc regulators like to day nor solar trackers, not even battery power inverters you had to build it your self.

          • Bob_Wallace

            By the 1980 government subsidies (most via being almost the sole purchaser of very expensive panels) had brought panels down to where they were anywhere close to affordable.

            When I set up my first (400W) system in 1990 the price was $12/watt.

            The Chinese didn’t even get into solar panel manufacturing until years later.

            German, US and other government subsidies created a market for solar panels which was large enough to bring lots of companies into manufacturing and that created the competition that made solar panels cheap.

            “there was no demand nor did any one care about the environment back then”

            Government subsidies brought prices down and that created demand. That is how a good subsidy program should work.

            Actually many of us cared about the environment. Solar was not affordable.

          • TravisJSays

            Technology would have advanced the same with or without subsidies.

            The PC (CPU, memory) never got Govt subsidies, but has improved 10,000 fold since the 1980s. All sorts of technologies have improved without subsidies.

          • Bob_Wallace

            Technology probably would. Maybe would.

            The manufacturing and installation industries would not have.

            Perhaps you don’t know the history of computers. For example, you might not know how the computer industry was grown to the point at which the ‘computer on a chip’ was developed and manufactured which allowed the PC to be born.

          • TravisJSays

            “There are greedy people in Germany who control the price of electricity. They keep the selling price of electricity high.”

            The Govt and their renewable mandate is what is keeping the end-cost of electricity high. They need it to pay for the FiT program.

          • Bob_Wallace

            Yes, part of the high cost of retail electricity in Germany is the renewable subsidy. But a larger part is non-electricity taxes.

            The FiT program does cost some money, but it’s a wise investment which is leading to cheaper electricity in the future. We should all thank the German people for making that investment which is benefiting us all.

            (I would not make the same “greedy people” statement now, a year later. I would be more specific and state that industry managed to dodge paying any of the renewable investment but is enjoying the dropping prices it is bringing. I would have more carefully described who the greedy people are.)

      • TravisJSays

        Solar has decreased the wholesale cost of Germany’s electricity.”

        Solar mucks up the grid and pushes electricity onto the grid at times when there is no demand, but then solar doesnt produce when it IS needed.

        The net result is that some of the time the spot prices are low, even negative, but the total cost of electricity is much higher.

        In effect, solar produces low-value electrons – many electrons when you dont need them, few when you do.

        • Bob_Wallace

          “Solar mucks up the grid and pushes electricity onto the grid at times when there is no demand”

          Well, you just won the Foolish Statement of the Week Award.

          And it’s only Monday.

    • linda

      No the Australian model is much better to use, electricity running
      over 0.47cent AUD kw/h which about 0.50 cent USD.

    • MorinMoss

      Why isn’t France’s electricity price cheaper? Isn’t nuclear the most affordable, reliable power?

      • Bob_Wallace

        That’s a good question. One would think that France with all its paid off reactors would have electricity too cheap to meter. Most of France’s reactors were built over 20 years ago when construction was much cheaper and loans should be over.

        And Germany, we are told, is suffering from very expensive electricity due to their closing reactors and installing renewables.

        Yet industrial electricity prices in German are 8.6 euro cents/kWh and in France they are 8.2 euro cents/kWh. That’s only 5% higher for a country with a lot of new capacity.

        • TravisJSays

          Misleading comparison. The correct number of German prices is 25 cents (EU).

          • Bob_Wallace

            The real number of what is 25 cents?

  • ThomasGerke

    It’s important to note that the BDEW (Association of German Energy & Water Companies) who published this report are not a pro-renewable energy lobbying group… on the contrary, the BDEW is the “respectable” lobbying organisation of the conventional energy industry.

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