Merkel’s Offshore Wind-Power Dream for Germany Stalls

At some point the German voters are going to figure out they have been scammed:

RWE AG (RWE) is delaying investments. SIAG Nordseewerke GmbH filed for insolvency. REpower Systems SE is cutting temporary staff. All show how German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s 550 billion-euro ($734 billion) plan to replace nuclear reactors with renewable sources is stalling.

About 700 workers demonstrated in Hanover last week calling for more support from Merkel to the offshore wind industry. Her 2011 plan to shutter atomic plants and add sea-based wind farms that could cover an area six times the size of New York City remains bogged down amid wrangling over financial risk-sharing and upgrading the transmission grid.

“It’s a chaotic standstill,” Claudia Kemfert, who heads the energy unit at the Berlin-based DIW economic institute and advises the government, said in an interview. “Actions have failed to live up to promises.”

Merkel wants to more than triple the share of renewables in Germany’s power mix by 2050 in the biggest energy overhaul in the country’s post-World War II history. The costs and scope of the project have moved energy to the center of the political agenda as the chancellor seeks re-election this year.

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3 thoughts on “Merkel’s Offshore Wind-Power Dream for Germany Stalls

  1. Engineer-Poet

    Of course this is going to blow up in Merkel’s face.  All the claims for massive wind power rely on confusion between cost of energy and cost of dispatchable generation; these are two radically different things, and pols who ignore what the engineers tell them are not going to get the results they expected.  It’s all going to require a lot more in the way of storage, demand-side management and other things, and that is simply not there.  It’s not even being readied for production.

    Sooner or later the true pricetag is going to have to be acknowledged.  That’s when voters will no longer be able to deny they’ve been sold a bill of goods, and they will revolt.

    Reply
    1. Steve Darden Post author

      confusion between cost of energy and cost of dispatchable generation

      Thanks – that is a very succinct way to capture the disconnect. There are any number of energy economy experts that can be invited to testify in Germany. I wonder if the politicians have never had a solid briefing on energy economics? If they have then they know this whole scheme is a lie. If they have been briefed, shame on them for putting their economy at real risk for no benefit (other than re-election).

      Sooner or later the true pricetag is going to have to be acknowledged. 

      I sure hope it is sooner. But experience teaches that democracies usually continue on momentum, changing course only when pocketbooks are really hurting. So far the pain has not been sufficient. When do you think the awakening will happen?

      Reply
      1. Engineer-Poet

        I’ve read news articles of German families suffering without electricity because they can’t pay their bills and get disconnected, sometimes for months.  Escalating rates will expand the ranks of the electricity have-nots, including more people with political connections.  I’d say the awakening is already beginning.

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