mead cohen berger shevtsova garfinkle michta grygiel blankenhorn
Enviro-Mental
Germany’s Green Folly Knows No Bounds

It’s not easy implementing an ill-thought out policy. That’s the lesson Germany is being taught these days as it struggles to deal with the after effects of its ambitious and deeply flawed energiewende—its vaunted “green” energy transition. It’s a tricky task to somehow sell a nuclear phaseout as part of an eco-friendly energy policy, but that hasn’t stopped Berlin from moving ahead with plans to close its nuclear reactors.

In place of those zero-carbon baseload power sources, Germany has had to resort to burning large amounts of lignite, one of the dirtiest varieties of coal, itself one of the dirtiest fossil fuels around. Now the FT reports that though Germans are relying less on nuclear power, “the country remains heavily dependent on lignite and coal, which generated 26 per cent and 18 per cent respectively of German electricity output last year.” And there’s a further problem: Transmission continues to pose problems for German policymakers. Landowners that don’t seem to have a problem with the aesthetics of newly-constructed wind or solar farms are less excited to see new corridors of power lines, and that Not In My Backyard opposition is threatening the viability of some new renewable production.

As we’ve noted before, the energiewende has also racked up an enormous bill along the way, and consumers are ultimately the ones paying for it in the form of some of Europe’s highest electricity prices. What a mess.

Features Icon
Features
show comments
  • Blackbeard

    Let’s see: If we assume that the Greens really believe human civilization is doomed unless we radically and swiftly reduce CO2 emissions then Germany’s energy policy makes no sense. If instead we assume that they really are anti-capitalist Luddite leftists then it makes perfect sense.

    Which do you think it is?

    • Andrew Allison

      Hmmm. Let me think about that (for about a nnnosecond).

    • Jim__L

      Personally I think that the policy is incoherent because no one is ultimately “in charge”, Green or no. They blundered in going off nuclear, plain and simple, and no one is stupid or cruel enough to brownout the entire country for the sake of leaving coal unburned.

      They’re stuck. I wish they’d learn from their mistakes and bring back nuclear.

      • Blackbeard

        Do I understand your comment to mean your think they’re going to back down on coal? Because if that’s what you mean I have the sad duty to tell you that’s never going to happen. The recent EPA CO2 regs mean, just as Obama promised, that anyone who builds a new coal plant will be bankrupted. Closing down the existing fleet of coal plants will take a while but it’s already well underway. And there’s no stopping there: Next up, fracking. And read the new Clean Power plan and you’ll see that nuclear and hydro are on the list too.

        I know, it’s hard to believe that anyone could really believe we can run a modern economy with windmills but these folks are truly nuts. Google John Holdren, his association with Paul Erhlich, his writing on “de-development” and his books on “ecology.” And he is Obama’s science advisor.

        • Jim__L

          I think that in Germany, at least, there is some native strain of common sense that is deeply aware of how destructive it would be to starve industry of electricity. Hence, their embrace of coal.

          It may well be a different story in the United States, although I think that if we got in as bad a crunch as Germany did, we could see a similar backlash. There’s that same strain of common sense here, it just strains to be implemented sometimes. I have at least some hope still in our electoral process. We’ll see how it goes.

        • Jim__L

          I think that US energy policy is more coherent… somewhat. After all, Obama didn’t shut down fracking because the economy would have ended up in Greek-style freefall without it.

  • gabrielsyme

    Boundless, just like Germany’s Euro Folly and Germany’s Migrant Folly. Europe needs a better class of overlord.

  • Jacksonian_Libertarian

    Any culture that has bought into the environmentalist lie of “Global Warming” as deeply as the Germans, deserves to suffer for their stupidity.

  • CaliforniaStark

    So coal in Germany provides about 44% of its electricity. This percentage has been stagnant for some time. Meanwhile, in the United States coal provides only 34.9% of the electricity; and that percentage is progressively falling, as gas turbines and other technologies becomes more efficient. Please tell me why Germany is considered to be more “green” than the United States, when it clearly is not.

© The American Interest LLC 2005-2016 About Us Masthead Submissions Advertise Customer Service