Re-Evaluating Germany’s Blind Faith in the Sun


I’ve not been reading Philippines-based Kleenergy Ecosystems until now. Their About Us reads:

In our ever changing world, the quest for renewable and clean energy is a prerequisite towards the 21st century, where burning of fossil fuels, is no longer an option if we are to give the next generation a world worthy and suitable for ecological sustainability. And as such, we at Kleenergy Ecosystems, will seek to enhance and promote clean energy development and other technological advances that will make renewable energy feasible and competitive financially in the long term. Now is the time to act…..for tomorrow might never come.

So, it appears the writers are “green” renewables backers, not big-oil hacks wearing green camo suits. Whatever, the credentials don’t matter, but the analysis of Germany’s so-called energy transition is excellent. Here’s an excerpt:

The costs of subsidizing solar electricity have exceeded the 100-billion-euro mark in Germany, but poor results are jeopardizing the country’s transition to renewable energy. The government is struggling to come up with a new concept to promote the inefficient technology in the future.

The Baedeker travel guide is now available in an environmentally-friendly version. The 200-page book, entitled “Germany – Discover Renewable Energy,” lists the sights of the solar age: the solar café in Kirchzarten, the solar golf course in Bad Saulgau, the light tower in Solingen and the “Alster Sun” in Hamburg, possibly the largest solar boat in the world.

The only thing that’s missing at the moment is sunshine. For weeks now, the 1.1 million solar power systems in Germany have generated almost no electricity. The days are short, the weather is bad and the sky is overcast.As is so often the case in winter, all solar panels more or less stopped generating electricity at the same time. To avert power shortages, Germany currently has to import large amounts of electricity generated at nuclear power plants in France and the Czech Republic. To offset the temporary loss of solar power, grid operator Tennet resorted to an emergency backup plan, powering up an old oil-fired plant in the Austrian city of Graz.

Solar energy has gone from being the great white hope, to an impediment, to a reliable energy supply. Solar farm operators and homeowners with solar panels on their roofs collected more than €8 billion ($10.2 billion) in subsidies in 2011, but the electricity they generated made up only about 3 percent of the total power supply, and that at unpredictable times.

The distribution networks are not designed to allow tens of thousands of solar panel owners to switch at will between drawing electricity from the grid and feeding power into it. Because there are almost no storage options, the excess energy has to be destroyed at substantial cost. German consumers already complain about having to pay the second-highest electricity prices in Europe.

Solar Industry Facing Tough Economic Times

In the coming weeks, the German government intends to decide how it will treat solar energy in the future. The parliamentary leaders of the ruling center-right Christian Democratic Union (CDU) and the business-friendly Free Democratic Party (FDP) have written Environment Minister Norbert Röttgen a letter asking him to present a new subsidy concept by Jan. 25. Economy Minister Philipp Rösler (FDP) would prefer to abandon the current subsidization system altogether, as would the business wing of the CDU.

Read the whole thing »

2 thoughts on “Re-Evaluating Germany’s Blind Faith in the Sun

  1. Unless Germany wants to return to Dark Age era, ill seriously
    doubt they are dumb enough to actually shut down all their relatively new and safe nuclear power plants by 2022.

    Or they could, if they are counting on first contact from aliens who are going
    to deliver them unlimited energy resource without any downsides ;)

  2. (…) first contact from aliens

    Brilliant – I didn’t appreciate that Germany’s master plan was so innovative!

    I wonder what the Green party will say if the aliens fail to appear on schedule. On schedule being before high energy costs and supply disruptions push the German economy into depression? “Oops?”

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