EU Commission Recommends German Energy Shift

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Originally published on the Lenz Blog
by Karl-Friedrich Lenz

The German government just published a report on recommendations from the EU Commission about the costs of the German energy shift (in German). Thanks for this Beck news item for the link.

The first thing one needs to note about this kind of “recommendation” is the fact that it comes without legal binding force. It is not for the Commission to decide on German energy policy. That will be something the new government will need to address, once we have one after the elections coming up Sunday.

That said, the Commission thinks that Germany should keep the costs of the energy shift down. There is nothing wrong with that in principle. All things equal, having lower costs is preferable to having higher costs.

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However, I disagree with this comment from the Commission:

Greifbare Ergebnisse, die Kosten der Energiewende auf ein Minimum zu beschränken, stehen nach Auffassung der EU-Kommission noch aus. (In the view of the Commission, there are still no concrete results for keeping the costs of the energy transition to a minimum, my translation).

That comment completely disregards the fact that most of the costs come from systems already installed over the last decade. New solar installed this year will only raise the surcharge by 0.07 cents for the 4 GW capacity expected. That’s EUR 2.45 a year at 3,500 kWh average consumption. That’s a concrete result, and it is very significant, since most of the solar necessary to get to the 80% renewable electricity in 2050 goal still has to be built in the future at these rock-bottom prices.

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