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Europe’s $100 Billion Green Energy Mistake

A new report out of the World Economic Forum in Davos suggests that sub-optimal deployment of renewable energy has cost Europe a whopping $100 billion. Reuters reports:

[The report] said that even though Spain gets about 65 percent more solar energy than Germany (1750 kilowatt-hours per square meter/year compared to 1050 kWh/m2 for Germany), Germany has installed about 600 percent more solar photovoltaic capacity (33 gigawatts compared to 5 GW).

But while Spain has less wind than northern European countries, it has still installed 23 GW of wind power capacity.

“Such sub-optimal deployment of resources is estimated to have cost the EU approximately $100 billion more than if each country in the EU had invested in the most efficient capacity given its renewable resources,” the WEF report said.

The benefits of capitalizing on comparative advantages is one of the first things you learn in Econ 101, but in their haste to install green energy resources at any cost, Europe’s policymakers have deployed their beloved solar panels and wind turbines inefficiently. It simply doesn’t make sense to blanket one’s countryside with solar panels if the sun rarely shines, or to erect row upon row of wind turbines in the doldrums.

Renewables already struggle to compete with fossil fuels on cost before subsidies are factored in; siting them poorly is a needless handicap to an already struggling energy resource. That mistakes this obvious and this foolish should play such a prominent role in Europe’s green policies rather conclusively demonstrates that greens as a group just aren’t any good at this ‘policy’ business. People who screw up this badly on a relatively simple assignment simply cannot be trusted with the complex policy interventions and long term planning that any serious effort to create a sustainable economy will require.

Green incompetence is one of the greatest threats to the future of our planet; sadly, green incompetence is a theme the mainstream press studiously ignores in the mistaken belief that to expose green idiocy is a bad thing.

They are wrong: green dogmatism, lackwit policy planning and corruption (special interests using ‘green’ hype to push worthless boondoggles like ethanol and solar plants in the shade) are among the greatest of the dangers humanity faces at a critical time. Until the green movement has a leadership worthy of the name, and until the press learns to hold green halfwits and poseurs to rigorous standards, there is precious little chance that the world will move forward with a sustainable climate agenda.

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  • Fat_Man

    Well, that’s going to leave a mark.

    • Josephbleau

      no marks only Euros! Ha

  • Pete

    They were trying to stimulate the economy. Sure!

  • LarryD

    It’s as if no one, not the press, not the politicians, not the greens, actually has an agenda having anything to do with the climate. Hmm.

    • JLawson

      If they’re screaming at you that there’s a crisis and something has to be done RIGHT NOW – and that message comes from environmental conferences where the attendees are flying private jets into exotic locations – it’s only right to figure that there’s no real problem and they’re pushing it because it’s something they think YOU ought to do while they’re exempt from it.

  • S.C. Schwarz

    If the Greens were really concerned about AGW would they be against nuclear power the one available, scaleabe, reliable carbon-free energy source we have? If they were really concerned about AGM would they be against hydro-power? If they were really concerned about AGW would they be against fracking and the increased use of natural gas?

    The Greens are leftist Luddites and the AGW campaign is against capitalism, the US, and the whole Industrial Revolution.

    And, amazingly, they are winning.

  • Dodgy Geezer

    …here is precious little chance that the world will move forward with a sustainable climate agenda….

    Just as well, then. Because a ‘sustainable climate agenda’ would be a very bad thing, and would probably kill off half of humanity..

  • FriendlyGoat

    Well, in this country, shall we rely on the 49 out of 54 Republican Senators who are climate change skeptics or Mitt Romney, who reportedly plans to run on doing something about climate change (presumably with his preference of a Republican Senate)?

    • Suzyqpie

      Hi Friendly, I think the Democrats should put their proposed global warming (or cooling) legislation on the table and allow the American people to determine risk vs reward? The Democrats have been talking about climate for years but no legislation is ever introduced. BTW, the Climate Festival is in Paris this year, should be great fun. Perhaps global warming or cooling is just another Democrat ChatterTopic™.

  • SolarEyes
  • EDMH

    These notes chart the performance of renewable energy in Europe.

    Truly an amazing waste of resource

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