The German (Political) Psyche In A Nutshell

Or everyday German schizophrenia in action, if you prefer – in this case with regard to  Germany’s famous/infamous green energy policy.

Energy

“Germany is not a trendsetter. Germany is a dependent tag behind. Gas will come from Russia in the future while we impose sanctions on the Russians at the same time. Electricity will come from nuclear reactors and coal-fired power stations in neighboring countries while we simultaneously disparage them for being environmental villeins. Security will be provided by the NATO partner USA who we permanently abuse in the most savage manner. Sadly, political Germany suffers from megalomania and ineptitude at the same time. If one wants something, one finds a way. If one doesn’t want something, one finds the reasons.”

Deutschland ist nicht Vorreiter. Deutschland ist abhängiger Hinterherhinker. Gas kommt künftig aus Russland, das gleichzeitig mit Sanktionen behängt wird. Strom kommt künftig aus den Atomreaktoren und Kohlekraftwerken der Nachbarländer, die gleichzeitig als Umweltsünder und Schrottreaktoren verunglimpft werden. Sicherheit kommt vom NATO-Partner USA, der permanent aufs Übelste beschimpft wird. Das politische Deutschland leidet leider an Größenwahn, gepaart mit Unfähigkeit. Wer etwas will, findet Wege. Wer etwas nicht will, findet Gründe.

“Progress has been limited…”

Oh, I dunno. Depends upon how you look at it.

Progress

In 2011, German Chancellor Angela Merkel announced the country was turning away from nuclear energy in favor of a renewable future. Since then, however, progress has been limited. Berlin has wasted billions of euros and resistance is mounting…

But there’s been plenty of change here, although I wouldn’t call it progress. Lots of people can’t afford to pay their power bills in Germany – the country with the highest energy costs for consumers in Europe. Could there possibly be a connection to the “energy turnaround” here?

More than 340,000 electricity customers across Germany have their power cut off each year for failing to pay bills. A new proposal from one political party aims to change this.

Mystery Crater Discovered In Germany

As if the recent discovery of the mysterious mystery crater in the Yamal Peninsula of Siberia had not been mysterious enough…

Crater

German scientists have now discovered a giant, 50-square-mile mystery crater near Hambach, Germany, as well.

Hole

The German mystery crater appears to have been at one time filled with unimaginable amounts of something called “brown coal,” one of the dirtiest fuels on earth, until this dirty substance was removed by a mysterious machine some 30 stories tall to then be burned at mysterious German coal-burning power stations, which is the real mystery, of course, as Germany continues to insist that it is the world’s leader when it comes to the development of renewable energy sources – and they’re still digging.

Since the late 1970s, giant earth-moving machines have been digging what German environmentalists decry as “Europe’s biggest hole” at Hambach in the Lower Rhine basin.

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”

Energy Turnaround? Nein, Danke!

Not if the SüdLink power lines have to go through my backyard!

Grid

Network providers planning one of the country’s most important power-transmission pathways presented a proposal on Wednesday for an 800-kilometer, or 500-mile, corridor of high-voltage lines. The power lines would carry electricity from wind turbines in the blustery north states to power-hungry industries in the south...

But many Germans balk at the idea of high-voltage power lines running through their backyards and the fields around their communities. Last week, angry villagers in Bavaria protested plans by the network operator Amprion to construct a similar high-voltage line through their state. An attempt by the power company TenneT last year to have citizens invest in another planned expansion to the grid in the state of Schleswig-Holstein failed to win substantial support.

And mark my words here folks, the real ugliness hasn’t even begun yet. They’re never going to get this thing built.

“The corridor is not definitive, and we need feedback from citizens and communities to be able to plan this important link.”

Where’s The Money?

All of a sudden. For all of that five-year-plan-renewable-energy-turnaround-ideology-project-like-stuff in Germany, I mean. She is gone, señor.

Gabriel

Or at least more and more German citizens are finally waking up and simply just aren’t prepared to keep on paying ever more for less and less of whatever it was that this so-called energy turnaround of theirs was supposed to be delivering.

That is why Superminister Gabriel (didn’t he used to sing with Supertramp?) is now urging (ordering) German parliamentary lawmakers to start cutting state subsidies for renewable energies – for German industry – because they are rich and capitalistic or something and are therefore evil (he’s an SPD Superminister) and haven’t really been milked properly for this one yet. And the po folks just aren’t willing to keep paying more and more, like I said [By the way, the S in SPD stands for “social” and everything with “social” in it means “free lunch.” Read Margaret Thatcher’s quote down there on the right if you want to learn more.].

Of course why the energy turnaround has to keep on turning around the way it does like this in the first place is the really interesting question here, I find, but certainly not one that anyone here in Germany appears to be willing to ask. At least not quite yet anyway.

Yup, renewable turnaround money has sure gotten tight around here these days. Not even a Swabian housewife can help out anymore.

“We need to break the dynamics of ever-rising electricity bills, while ensuring a stable supply of energy for all.”

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.