Joachim Gruber

October 17, 2016 at 2:25 am

I (being a German) disagree on your description of the economic side of renewable energies. In its expert opinion the German government’s Sachverständigenrat für Umweltfragen (SRU) gives details that are quite sophisticated

(SRU expert opinion in cache)

A more simplified and rather crude explanation for my dissent with you is based on the crowdsourcing (EEG-Umlage) of the renewable energies costs, i.e. 6 cents/kWh which adds up to 0.7 – 1.5 Ř per day and average German household of 2.3 persons. With this we had an exponential growth of the renewables.

But I agree with you: According to the WGBU, another council of our government, we are about to completely transform our society:


Comment submitted  to Wolf Street Blog on Oct. 17, 2016

Biggest Nuclear Boondoggle Ever: Taxpayers, Pull out Your Wallet, Costs Exploded Again

by Wolf Richter • October 15, 2016.

My comment is a reply to the following comment by Thomas Malthus

October 16, 2016 at 1:41 pm

Um – Germany has some of the highest electricity costs in the world.

Germany is building record numbers of coal fired plants.

The sun does not shine at night or when it rains.

Windmills produce no power when it is not windy.

BMW and Klaus van Wienerbanger actually would like to be able to turn on a light at night.

Therefore the Germans have no choice but to build coal fired plants — they can’t just build a few of them — they need to build enough so they have 100% back up power.

Which they have done. Because businesses and people demand round the clock power.

When you operate more than one system to do the same thing — the costs skyrocket.

And that is why Germany pays double what the US does for its electricity.

Sorry to burst your solar powered bubble. But those are the facts.

But many companies, economists and even Germany’s neighbors worry that the enormous cost to replace a currently working system will undermine the country’s industrial base and weigh on the entire European economy. Germany’s second-quarter GDP decline of 0.6%, reported earlier this month, put a damper on overall euro-zone growth, leaving it flat for the quarter.

Average electricity prices for companies have jumped 60% over the past five years because of costs passed along as part of government subsidies of renewable energy producers. Prices are now more than double those in the U.S.

“German industry is going to gradually lose its competitiveness if this course isn’t reversed soon,” said Kurt Bock, chief executive of BASF SE, the world’s largest chemical maker.

One government estimate projects the Energiewende by 2040 to cost up to Ř1 trillion, or about $1.4 trillion, or almost half Germany’s GDP and nearly as much as the country spent on the reunification of East and West Germany.

Yet nearly 75% of Germany’s small- and medium-size industrial businesses say rising energy costs are a major risk, according to a recent survey by PricewaterhouseCoopers and the Federation of German Industry.

A similar percentage of the U.S. companies operating in Germany said the Energiewende had made the country a less attractive place for business, according to a separate poll by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. And for the first time since 2008, German companies cited rising overall costs at home as a motivation to invest abroad in a recent survey by the German Chambers of Commerce and Industry.

“Germany’s current path of increasingly high-cost energy will make the country less competitive in the world economy, penalize Germany in terms of jobs and industrial investment, and impose a significant cost on the overall economy and household income,” warned Daniel Yergin, vice chairman of research firm IHS.

BASF, which consumes as much electricity every year at its main German plant as the entire country of Denmark, said in May it would substantially reduce its investments in Germany as a result of the country’s energy policy. It said its plan for the next five years is to cut investment in Germany to one-fourth the Ř20 billion global total investment, from one-third currently, and that it would invest in Asia and the U.S. instead. BASF has more than 50,000 employees in Germany, about half the company’s total workforce.

SGL Carbon, a maker of carbon-based products, in May decided to invest an additional $200 million to its plant in Washington state on top of $100 million previously invested instead of investing in its home base of Germany. The company, which makes carbon fibers used to lighten the body of BMW’s new electric car at the Washington facility, said electricity at the site costs less than one-third German rates.

And there you have it…. this ‘renewable’ policy is driving investment out of Germany to places where electricity is far cheaper.

Perhaps Wolf could write an article on what is the mother of all boondoggles!


Version: 17 October 2016

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Joachim Gruber