President Obama and polemists like Tom Friedman of the New York Times, tout Germany’s green power program as a model to be admired. Well, I guess so if you like very much higher electricity prices with only a little effect on CO2 emissions. As readers of this blog know, CO2 emissions are not high on my worry list. Increased electricity prices are worrisome to me, but they don’t seem to trouble Obama and Friedman?
A posting by Robert Zubrin on the National Review blog site titled ”Germany’s Green-Power Program Crushes the Poor” reports on the costs of this program as follow:
“According to EU data, Germany’s average residential electricity rate is 29.8 cents per kilowatt hour. This is approximately double the 14.2 cents and 15.9 cents per kWh paid by residents of Germany’s neighbors Poland and France, respectively, and almost two and a half times the U.S. average of 12 cents per kWh. Germany’s industrial electricity rate of 16 cents per kWh is also much higher than France’s 9.6 cents or Poland’s 8.3 cents. The average German per capita electricity consumption is 0.8 kilowatts. At a composite rate of 24 cents per kWh, this works out to a yearly bill of $1,700 per person, experienced either directly in utility bills or indirectly through increased costs of goods and services. The median household income in Germany is $33,000, so if we assume an average of two people per household, the electricity cost would amount to more than 10 percent of available income. And that is for the median-income household. The amount of electricity that people need does not scale in proportion to their paychecks. For the rich, $1,700 per year in electric bills might be a pittance, or at most a nuisance. But for the poor who are just scraping by, such a burden is simply brutal.”
“So, what has the German government accomplished for “the Earth” in exchange for the severe harm it has inflicted on the nation’s poorer citizens? It is claimed that Germany has replaced 30 percent of its electricity with renewable energy. If all you look at is capacity, that might appear to be true. Germany has a total installed capacity of 172 gigawatts (GW), and 65 GW of that is based on renewables. But neither wind nor solar power obtains an around-the-clock average of anything close to full capacity. Rather, these methods of electricity generation typically average at best about 20 percent of their full rated power. Thus Germany’s nominal 65 GW of solar and wind generation capacity is worth about as much as 13 GW capacity in conventional power plants. Of the 614,000 GW hours that Germany generated in 2014, 56,000 GWh came from wind and 35,000 GWh from solar, for an actual combined average power of 10.4 GW, or 14.8 percent of all electricity generated. About half of this, or 5.2 GW, has been developed since 2005.”
How has all this translated into reduced CO2? Another posting on National Review by Robert Bryce titled ”Is America a ‘Clean Energy’ Laggard?” says this:
”According to the BP Statistical Review World Energy, between 2005 and 2013, the U.S. reduced its annual carbon-dioxide emissions by 563 million tons (8.7 percent) per year. How does that compare to Germany and China? Over that same time period, Germany reduced its carbon-dioxide emissions by 40 million tons (4.6 percent) per year. Meanwhile, China has increased its carbon-dioxide emissions by a staggering 3.9 billion tons (70.9 percent) per year. Thus, over the past decade or so, in spite of the fact that the U.S. doesn’t have a national mandate for renewable energy, we have cut our annual carbon-dioxide emissions more than 14 times as much as Germany. That in itself is remarkable given that Germany has already spent more than $100 billion on renewable-energy subsidies. (And those same subsidies and mandates have resulted in huge electricity price increases for German consumers and industry.)”
And Germany is not going to get better since they have decided to shutdown all of their nuclear power plants by 2020. The nukes do not contribute any CO2 to the atmosphere. In order to make up for the lost electricity made by the nukes, Germany is installing coal and lignite powered plants to make up for the nuke power production. Guess whose CO2 emissions are going to go up?