The DPA German press agency reported on the rapidly spreading energy poverty now engulfing the country. The main driver is Germany’s skyrocketing electricity prices ‚Äì primarily due to the legally mandatory feeding-in of wind and solar power. Currently regular household consumers are paying nearly 30 cents a kilowatt-hour ‚Äì almost three times the rate paid in the USA.
Many households are no longer able to afford electricity and are seeing themselves catapulted back to the 19th century. According to t-online.de, “More than 330,000 households in Germany have seen their electricity cut off over the past year alone.” The German site writes that those hit the hardest are households on welfare, i.e. society’s poorest and most vulnerable. German politician Eva Bulling-Schr√∂ter of the Left Party has called it “a silent catastrophe”. –P Gosselin, NoTricks Zone, 3 March 2017
As the cost of Germany’s green energy transition continues to rise, the number of green energy jobs is falling. That is the conclusion of a new study by McKinsey. What is more, Government policy is failing the most important goal of the Energiewende. “The current data show that the previous success of the Energiewende has come primarily from expensive subsidies,” the McKinsey study concludes: “At the same time, those goals that do not depend on direct financial support are becoming increasingly unrealistic — foremost the reduction in CO2 emissions.” The latter conclusion must hurt the federal government particularly badly. After all, the high CO2 emissions from power plants in addition to the nuclear accident in Fukushima were their most important reasons to accelerate the green energy transition. “CO2 emissions are far above the targets,” the McKinsey study notes. Last year, CO2 emissions amounted to around 916 million tonnes. “This represents a slight increase compared to the previous year.” The actual target for 2016 was 812 million tonnes.–Daniel Wetzel, Die Welt, 6 March 2017
Britain’s solar industry is facing devastation and consumers could see energy bills rise after the Chancellor Philip Hammond refused to listen to pleas to cancel a planned tax hike of up to 800 per cent on rooftop solar schemes. The Solar Trade Association described the Government’s refusal to bend over the increase ‚Äì due to come into force in April ‚Äì as “nonsensical” and “absurd”.Bizarrely, state schools with solar panels will be forced to pay, while private schools will remain exempt. Mr Hammond barely mentioned the energy sector in his speech ‚Äì apart from a promise to help the oil and gas industry “maximise exploitation” of the remaining reserves in the North Sea. –Ian Johnson, The Independent, 8 March 2017
Germany’s Green Party must fear to miss the five percent threshold to get into the Bundestag at the general elections later this year. According to a recent INSA opinion poll, support for Germany’s Green Party stands at a meager 6.5 percent. —Deutsche Wirtschafte Nachrichten, 6 March 2017
The House of Commons committee responsible for scrutinising the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), has just published its first review of the government’s flagship “Industrial Strategy”. While critical of the Secretary of State’s approach, the Committee’s own analysis seems to suffer from the same fundamental faults; it focuses on tactical measures that have short-run effects, and are thus relatively powerless to deliver the macroscopic outcomes that are intended. This is particularly evident in the superficial approach to energy supply, and to the supposed opportunities of a low carbon transition. — John Constable, Global Warming Policy Forum, 6 March 2017