German Energy Turnaround Finally Turned Around For Good?

As in your classic “tango uniform” turnaround? She is way too expensive, señor.

Turnaround

The German Energiewende (energy transition) – once an international model – threatens to disintegrate…

The Handelsblatt Research Institute monitored 24 industrialised and newly industrialising countries over a span of 5 years, looking at 51 different indicators. In the end, the researchers condensed the data into two overall rankings: mapping the status quo, and tracing the trend of the past 5 years.

Good news first: Germany’s current ranking is a respectable 8. Only smaller states with “good topographies” had better results, explained Rürup during the presentation of the study. Sweden holds first place, followed by Norway, Austria, Switzerland and Denmark. But even France – due to its high share of nuclear power – and Spain outranked Germany.

But for Germany, the results of the second category are even worse. Here, in the “dynamic ranking”, which reflects the developing trend during the examination period, Germany came in last place.

The reason for this, according to the study, are rising CO2 emissions and high per capita energy consumption. Energy prices have also risen significantly in recent years; nowhere, do households spend more on their energy bills than in Germany.

Nach der Bund-Länder-Einigung auf die Ausgestaltung der Energiewende droht Gabriel neues Ungemach. Grund sind die hohen Kosten für das Projekt.

PS: If only they could learn how to harness the power of Berlin’s rising ground water.

“It can’t work without Russian gas”

The German energy turnaround can’t, that is. And that’s why the way things look right now, the turnaround is about to get turned around – yet again.

Power

If Germany makes its goal of having 80 percent of its power come from renewable sources by 2050, there is no question it will add to the country’s energy security. But along the way, as it takes nuclear power plants offline and builds up its renewable network, the country remains reliant on fossil fuels – and that means Russia.

Germany gets some 35 percent of its natural gas and oil from Russia, as well as significant quantities of coal, a dependency that weakens Germany’s energy switchover plan, according to Hans-Werner Sinn, a prominent economist.

“Es wird eine neue Betrachtung der gesamten Energiepolitik geben”

Germany Going To The Dogs

Or is it to the wolves? Or to the foxes maybe? Sheesh. Nature at its finest again.

Flamingos

When wolves aren’t killing deer down in the Bavarian outback these days, foxes are breaking into the Frankfurter Zoo at night and biting the heads off of flamingos. Bad animals! Bad!

Die am Wochenende im Frankfurter Zoo getöteten Flamingos sind keinem Tierquäler zum Opfer gefallen – sondern einem oder mehreren Füchsen.

PS: But now let’s move on to some more like totally unrelated unnatural type stuff. No Nukes, No Russian Gas, No Solar, No Fracking: How Exactly Does Germany Plan to Keep the Lights On?

What The Frack?

US-Amerikan gas has suddenly become a whole lot more attractive to Europeans these days for some strange reason.

Gas

“European nations…will, if no solution to this can be found, recast their approach to energy and economic links with Russia over time. Those are things over time which I think will mean this has been a serious miscalculation [by Russia],” British Foreign Secretary William Hague said.

Britain buys about 1% of its natural gas from Russia, but other European nations purchase more than a third of their needs, which means they wouldn’t be in a position to simply do without that supply, he said.

Angesichts der anhaltenden Spannungen in der Ukraine drohen europäische Politiker Russland mit Folgen im Energiemarkt. Europäische und amerikanische Politiker werden Verhandlungen über höhere US-Exporte nach Europa aufnehmen, sagte Großbritanniens Außenminister William Hague an.

Sunny, Windy, Costly And Dirty

What’s not to like here?

Super Minister

“Super minister?” I’d say this is more like a job for Superpenner.

The difference between the market price for electricity and the higher fixed price for renewables is passed on to consumers, whose bills have been rising for years. An average household now pays an extra €260 ($355) a year to subsidise renewables: the total cost of renewable subsidies in 2013 was €16 billion. Costs are also going up for companies, making them less competitive than rivals from America, where energy prices are falling thanks to the fracking boom…

Cost is not the only problem with the Energiewende. It has in effect turned the entire German energy industry into a quasi-planned economy with perverse outcomes. At certain times on some days, sun and wind power may provide almost all German electricity. But the sun does not always shine, especially in winter, and the wind is unpredictable. And “batteries”—storage technologies that, for example, convert power to gas and back again to electricity—on a scale sufficient to supply a city are years away. Nuclear-power plants are being phased out (this week’s court decision that the closure of a plant in Hesse was illegal will raise costs even more, as it may entitle the operator to more compensation). So conventional power plants have to stay online in order to assure continuous supply. 

I Got The Power

The power bill, I mean. The Power Bill Blues, actually. Just like everybody else here in Germany.

Power

The electricity prices in Germany are the highest in the EU. A household here shells out 1000 euros annually (approx. $1,370). The French pay half. The EU average is around 700 euros.

Is this what they meant by the Energiewende (energy turnaround)? The power may be renewable here but I’m not sure how much longer the money is going to be.

Well, at least the electricity prices in Germany will be going up even higher again next year.

Bei den Strompreisen gehört Deutschland innerhalb der EU zu den Spitzenreitern. Ein Haushalt zahlt mehr als 1000 Euro, der EU-Schnitt liegt bei 700. Und im kommenden Jahr dürfte es noch teurer werden.

German Word Of The Day: Zwangsumlage

Zwangs- = compulsory. Umlage = levy, share in the costs. Put those two together and what do you get? Forced to share. But we’re talking about money here folks so let’s  just call it another tax and get it over with already.

Strom

This latest planned tax consists of forcing German households to purchase so-called “smart meters” or modern electricity meters that are supposed to regulate energy consumption by drawing electricity from that so wonderfully green German energy grid whenever this energy is cheaper. You know, like when hell freezes over?

This will only set back German consumers another 70 or 80 euros after already having been hit with a seven percent energy bill increase planned for next year, too (the seven can and will change, of course, and we all now in which direction it will be going).

Turn it around as much as you want. Anyway you turn this German energy turnaround around, you’ll always get the same result. Once you’ve turned it around, I mean. She is like way too expensive, señor.

But what can you expect from a government that is about to go retro and way back in the Wayback Machine to the good old days of SPD Never-Never Land again?

“Verbraucher sollten mit attraktiven Angeboten überzeugt, statt mit immer mehr ordnungsrechtlichen Einbaupflichten gezwungen werden.”

PS: The next German word of the day will be Abzocke. Here’s a tip: It means rip-off.

Taxing Nuclear Fuel Rods That Aren’t Being Used?

You can never be too rich or too thin, I guess. And if you’re Germany, you can never tax too much, either.

Taxation

Germany’s biggest utilities, still reeling from the country’s early exit from nuclear power, scored a major victory Tuesday when a Hamburg court said the national tax on nuclear fuel rods may violate European law.

The Hamburg finance court said it “cannot assess beyond any doubt” whether the tax on nuclear fuel used for electricity generation complies with European law. It will now ask the European Court of Justice to decide whether the levy conforms with rules that prohibit member states from creating new taxes on electricity for “general budget financing purposes.”

The tax was introduced at the beginning of 2011 and came as part of an extension of nuclear reactors’ operating lives that the government had agreed on. However, the nuclear disaster at Japan’s Fukushima power plant in March of that year triggered a U-turn in German energy policy, with Chancellor Angela Merkel ordering the immediate shutdown of the oldest plants and the early phaseout of nuclear energy by 2022. Out of 17 reactors that were in operation in March 2011, only nine are still producing power. But the fuel-rod tax remains in place, to the utilities’ annoyance.

Das Hamburger Finanzgericht will vom Europäischen Gerichtshof (EuGH) in Luxemburg zentrale Fragen zur umstrittenen Brennelementesteuer klären lassen.

Debacle, Disaster, Fiasco…

Just a reminder here again: “There is no free lunch.” Honest.

Lunch

Government intervention at its best (again). Germany’s deliberate attempt to make its energy greener using price guarantees and mandatory quotas for green energy IS NOT WORKING.

Try and remember: The whole idea was to make renewable energy more competitive and, therefore, in the end, cheaper. Well this attempt is so not working right now that German consumers pay higher prices now than ever before and German industry is soon to follow. And this, even though there is actually an oversupply of power. In essence, an energy bubble has been created because Germany’s renewable energy producers get a guaranteed minimum price for what they produce (this now includes farmers and communities and anybody else who can still get into the ponzi scheme).

Imagine you have various consumers going to a grocery store. Some of them want to buy a bottle of beer for 1 USD. Others would like to buy a bottle of champagne for 30 USD. In normal life people would just pay 1 USD for the beer and bubble-lovers would pay 30 USD for champagne. The German energy market is different. People who want the champagne pay 2 USD for it and those who want beer have to pay 2 USD. It’s a good deal for the champagne drinkers, getting subsidized by the beer buyers.

…Perhaps the least fair part of the whole scheme is how these prices disproportionately impact low-income households, who are forced to subsidize green energy for richer families to support politicians’ green energy visions.

The Big Green Machine She Is Broken

Wah? The “energy turnaround” is going to be expensive as hell? Raising taxes? Veggie Day? And the hits keep on coming. I’d ignore the polls these days too if I were a greenie.

Green

The Greens have been consistently bleeding support ever since the spring of 2011. Along the way, they have achieved a few notable successes in state elections, but the trend has been a downward one for over two years. It is as if the German electorate has suddenly decided that the party is no longer needed.

“Der Wahlkampf mit den Rezepten, wie man Kohlrouladen herstellt, ist zu Ende.”

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