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Subsidies For Renewables vs. Coal & Nuclear Subsidies In Germany (Graphs)

Originally published on RenewEconomy.

This graph comes from a newly released report from the Germany-based Greenpeace Energy, and highlights the extent of subsidies paid out to various technologies in the German energy market since 1970.

greenpeace-subsidies-590x286There is a huge controversy about the level of subsidies in Germany towards renewables as it undertakes its “energiewende” – energy transition – but the fact is that these subsidies pale in comparison to what has been paid to conventional technologies.

Conventional base-load technologies such nuclear (atomenergie in yellow) and black coal (steinkohle in black) have received more than twice the subsidies of renewables (erneuerbare in green) over time. The accumulated amount given to renewables only overtook brown coal (braunkohle in brown) in 2013. Very little in subsidies has been given to gas, the report says.

So how does this translate into household costs? If the subsidies to coal and nuclear were recognised in the same way as the subsidies to renewables, it would present a very different picture.

This graph shows how. The first on the left is the normal household cost, including standard charges – cost of generation, transmission and distribution, and the renewables subsidy (EEG-Umlage in green).

The household cost is pushed a nearly a third (second column) with the addition of subsidies to conventional fuels – coal and nuclear, with grants and tax breaks in red, and climate and other environmental costs in grey. The cost of subsidies to conventional fuels is budgeted to rise in 2015, while the cost of the green energy scheme falls slightly.


Reprinted with permission.


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Written By

is the founding editor of, an Australian-based website that provides news and analysis on cleantech, carbon, and climate issues. Giles is based in Sydney and is watching the (slow, but quickening) transformation of Australia's energy grid with great interest.


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