Green Subsidies Wreak Havoc On German Economy

From Canada Free Press

Germany’s support for renewable energy is “breaking” the nation’s ability to pay for power and threatens the competitiveness of electricity producers, Handelsblatt cited a former [green] industry group leader as saying.

Guaranteed prices for solar and wind power, paid for by consumers, are threatening the renewable-energy industry’s ability to compete, the report said, citing Johannes Lackmann, the former head of Germany’s BEE renewable-energy lobby group.

Installations of solar panels may more than double this year to 9,000 megawatts, Handelsblatt said. That may help to boost the total cost of installed solar capacity in Germany to 85.4 billion euros ($106 billion) from 2000 to 2010, according to a study by the RWI economic institute, Handelsblatt said.

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87 thoughts on “Green Subsidies Wreak Havoc On German Economy

  1. They waste a lot of money. It also means the output needs subsidy year after year. Can we learn from their fiasco?

  2. My sister lives in Germany. Recent cold spring was blamed in media on that poor Iceland volcano. What was the coldest winter for many parts in recent decades blamed on is unclear.
    Problem with Germans is, that except gay/love parades, they would not go out to the streets if their own government robbed them on openly false premises.

  3. “…are threatening the renewable-energy industry’s ability to compete.”
    Another words : “Oops ! Did we say that this green plan was going to be affordable ? Our bad. Sorry folks, but the affordable energy we promised you isn’t going to happen. We’ll have to quadruple your costs to heat your home. Have a nice day and we wish everyone god speed this winter. But hey, look on the bright side… we’re reducing CO2 by 0.0000000001% per century !”

  4. Perfect example and manifestation of The Law of Unintended Consequences when political interference and economic discrimination rear their ugly heads.

  5. It makes more sense to make polluting sources pay a higher price, than to susidize renewables. That should get around the problem of unrealistic costs for newables. That is the direction of the cap and trade approach that was effective in reducing acid rain in an economical way.

  6. California has already drunk the cool aide as has USEPA. Now Obama wants Congress to drink hardy. Gore and IPPC should have won the nobel world pauper prize.

  7. Yeh- let’s tell those Germans how silly they are following that clean renewable energy route. Far better for the economy to go for cheap oil -once you factor out the cost of destroying the odd Gulf here or there. Drill baby drill!!!!

  8. Were NONE of these people alive during the first “alternative energy” boom of the 70s?
    During that era, after the oil crisis, every dimwitted idealist had a plan to make alternative energy. That was when bird slicing windmills were designed, and pretty much ALL the current crop of pie-in-the-sky technologies were developed. If they were practical, they would still be in use. They weren’t, and they aren’t.
    If your business plan relies on a subsidy, you are going to fail right out of the box. Give me alternatives that work without subsidies and I would be on board. But… that is not going to happen in the foreseeable future.

  9. BillD says “It makes more sense to make polluting sources pay a higher price….”
    Except that CO2 is not pollution.

  10. Yeah, subsidies.
    Fossil fuels receive twice the subsidies renewables energy do. 72 billion against 29.
    http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=newsarchive&sid=a2ygdsSj.KQI
    If fossil fuels were priced at market rates, without government intervention, renewables would already be competitive. They are nonetheless becoming competitive in some places. And they will only become more competitive as oil prices go back up – or you have already forgotten 2008?

  11. The gulf oil spill will, as in the case of the 79-80, Permex spill, take care of itself in 3 to 4 years. AND there will be found a TECHNICAL SOLUTION.
    I wish all you WHINERS would put your “money where your mouth is” and bike to work and back. (Whoops, sorry, that’s what I..the arch “Drill Baby Drill” Dr. Evil do. Of course use conservative neandrethals tend to actually DO thinks that are enviromentally friendly…)

  12. Worst thing for German society is the so-called wealth transfer from the poor to the rich. The green energy regulations are the ideal way to achieve that. High-income households invest into solar panels and the ridiculous amounts per kWh are paid by all households, even the poorest. The green establishment feels good about it.

  13. mjk says “Yeh- let’s tell those Germans how silly they are following that clean renewable energy route. Far better for the economy to go for cheap oil -once you factor out the cost of destroying the odd Gulf here or there. Drill baby drill!”
    “Clean renewable energy”, eh? Well at least so far as you can see….but certainly not in reality. You might want to do some research into the rare earth mines in China which provide the materials for wind turbines, etc. The difference is that the greenies seem to keep their noses out of China and go after the softer targets because the western media are suckers for it.

  14. Quite frankly, oil is not going anywhere, Cap’n tax just hurts the poor the rural, the
    farmer,rancher the productive. Industry will go elsewhere. Spain is a grand example
    of a Green Economy-not! I Obama thinks that is a model ok. how about 27% unemployment ? The Gulf spill is bad, but it looks like Govn’t is as much to blame
    as BP. Suspending the Jones act would’ve gone a long way. Suspending EPA rules
    for the building of sand bars to protect wetlands, using booms that were available.
    This could’ve been contained a lot sooner. or greatly reduced.
    “Drill baby drill”-like Brazil, China, Russia.?

  15. “BillD says “It makes more sense to make polluting sources pay a higher price….”
    Except that CO2 is not pollution.
    Except CO2 is a net benefit as plant food and we would be much better off at 1000 ppm. Any one who eats food should be subsidizing the coal fired plants. If only it were true that it could create some net warming, we should subside them even more.

  16. BillD, you’re a hoot.
    Except that reducing acid rain was actually something we could do, and the microscopic reduction we would accomplish with CO2 would not make one bit of difference.
    But you know that already, you’re just going on and on……….

  17. Max Hugoson says:
    June 22, 2010 at 9:38 am
    On what scientific piece of research are you basing your 3-4 year recovery?? In any event ,even if the gulf –by magic–suddenly repaired itself within this time frame, what are your thoughts on the countless people that have lost their jobs and businesses, animals that have died, fish populations destroyed, marsh lands lost etc etc… in the mean time? You and the rest of the “conservative neandrethals” (your descrption not mine) should take pause next time you shout that feel good chant –Drill baby drill.
    MJK

  18. Hypnos says:
    June 22, 2010 at 9:37 am
    “Yeah, subsidies.
    Fossil fuels receive twice the subsidies renewables energy do. 72 billion against 29.
    http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=newsarchive&sid=a2ygdsSj.KQI
    . They are nonetheless becoming competitive in some places. And they will only become more competitive as oil prices go back up – or you have already forgotten 2008?”
    You’re thinking about this wrong. First, when related to electricity, the price of oil has very little to do with the cost of energy. About 5% of U.S. electricity is generated by oil, and much of that can be converted to gas generated. Still, even less than that is generated by solar or wind. Go here to see. http://www.eia.doe.gov/cneaf/electricity/epm/table1_1.html . So, if one were to compare by megawatt, wind in solar get 29 billion for 105 million megawatts compared to coal, oil and gases 72 billion for 3 trillion megawatts. You do the math, if you stripped the subsidies, what sector would charge you more per kWh? They are not competitive now, nor will they ever be without subsidies. If only because of reliability and the need for redundancy. Try again.

  19. As Jaypan says- Worst thing for German society is the so-called wealth transfer from the poor to the rich. The green energy regulations are the ideal way to achieve that. High-income households invest into solar panels and the ridiculous amounts per kWh are paid by all households, even the poorest. The green establishment feels good about it.
    Same here in Oz as it’s largely greying baby-boomers, power bill proofing their homes for their retirement and ‘hopping in for their chop’ with the taxpayer funded middle-class welfare subsidies for solar feed-in and forced higher buyback tarriffs. That’s why I refer to green energy as ‘reshiftables’ although ‘greening’ is fairly apt description of it too.

  20. CO2 isn’t a pollutant, but the radiation from coal exhaust is. Pollution is an externality. To maintain healthy markets, one need mechanisms to either regulate the externality (to avoid tragedy of the commons issues), of enable creation of markets for the externalized goods (or costs).
    We do need to stop subsidies for all energy sources. These introduce market distortions and interfere with the development of the most economically and efficient solutions.

  21. Hypnos June 22, 2010 at 9:37 am
    Fossil fuels receive twice the subsidies renewables energy do. 72 billion against 29.

    First, those numbers are suspicious to me. From the article,

    The largest of the subsidies for fossil fuels in the report was a tax credit oil and natural gas companies can claim for paying royalties to other governments. The institute’s report finds that credit totaled $15.3 billion over the time period.

    So a “subsidy” is a credit for what seems to be a tax paid to another jurisdiction, and I believe that all companies would be entitled to this. [The use of the word “royalty” makes it appear that this might be more properly accounted for as an expense, and that giving a credit is an unwarranted boon — a subsidy — to the companies, but not knowing the details I’ll not stick my head out too far.] My point is that the source of the numbers is hardly unbiased, so apply an appropriate amount of sodium chloride. E.g. if all companies got a 1% reduction in taxes, the oil companies, being very large, would necessarily get a large benefit, but this is hardly a subsidy in the normal sense of the word, with the implication that it’s a benefit given specifically to one company or industry as opposed to generally.
    But whatever the numbers are, I’m against all subsidies as a matter of policy. So I’ll march alongside you to protest subsidies to fossil fuel companies, but join me against tobacco (are those still going on?) and other farm subsidies, ethanol, solar, “cash for clunkers,” etc. By construction, subsidies undermine the natural pricing relationships among goods which are arrived at by the free choice of individuals. Subsidies protect products which are not sufficiently attractive that people buy them of their own free will – in other words, inferior in some sense. Products should take their natural courses — if the products aren’t attractive, then they should be allowed to disappear.
    Plus, where there are subsidies, corruption is rarely far behind — in fact quite often it’s ahead.

  22. > Hypnos says:
    June 22, 2010 at 9:37 am
    Yeah, subsidies.
    Fossil fuels receive twice the subsidies renewables energy do. 72 billion against 29.
    Yes, what you say is likely true. But here is the problem, wind which provides the lions share of renewable energy, (after you take out hydro), provides only 1.3% of our nations electriciy (and it is highly debatable whether it actually “replaces” that amt of traditional or is duplicate energy) and provides only .3% of our nations energy when compared to other energy sources using OilEquivalents.
    https://docs.google.com/fileview?id=0B5vbWLK5dTl2YTE2NGViZTEtZWI5OC00YzkxLTkwOTUtZTcwMTFkMWE5OTAz&hl=en
    Then we can look at another source, EIA – Us Energy Information Admin.
    http://tonto.eia.doe.gov/energy_in_brief/energy_subsidies.cfm
    Scroll down to table. Fossil recieves less than $1/MW of production while Wind receives $23. And nuclear which is considered “highly subsidized” only receives $1.59/MW. So you see numbers can be spun around quite easily to deceive the naive and gullible. So Wind receives ONE HUNDRED times more in subsidies per unit of energy than does NatGas-Oil. It really is that simple.
    I say, no problem, get rid of the energy subsidies, all of them, because energy is something you can’t create out of money anyway. Let’s see if you would to pay for your wind and solar then? Actually I am surprised that wind has the same $/MW subsidy because from my knowledge solar knocks wind out of the park in subsidies.
    Hypnos. This is not a subject that can be considered superficially to find the truth. Be very careful of the information that certain groups pass on as true, it might be true, but in a very deceptive manner.

  23. Re: BillD says:
    June 22, 2010 at 9:07 am
    It makes more sense to make polluting sources pay a higher price, than to susidize renewables.

    I disagree and we’ve seen why this is bad in Europe. Polluters just move to countries where regulations are less stringent and the problems continue, or often become worse. In a recession, it makes even less sense. Charge businesses more to reduce pollution means they have to find that money from somewhere, so prices increase or they go bust.
    Alternatives may make more sense. A commentor here mentioned a turbine upgrade in a power station. Increased output, no increase in ‘pollution’. I think there was also a mention of hydro stations in the US or Canada being made deliberately smaller/less efficient to come in under subsidy caps. If the goal is to reduce pollution, and increase business efficiency, then a more positive subsidy may be more effective. Provide tax breaks or cheap loans to upgrade plant instead. But that wouldn’t transfer billions in subsidies to new ‘green’ businesses that need that subsidy to exist in an artficially created market.

  24. Funny enough, there’s not much brainwashing going on in German schools, at least if my kid tells the truth. I keep him up to date about the PDO and the solar minimum just so he doesn’t wonder where all the snow and cold is coming from and i ask him whether global worming is a big theme. No, nothing. No “how we can save the world” projects, nothing. Public school. I guess the teachers at his school are just too lethargic to make a fuss.
    Maybe the subsidies actually work in neutralizing the political enemy. The greens are probably busy keeping their windmills and solar cells in shape and collecting the money and re-investing it in carbon offseting rackets.
    There is an agonizing peace in Germany, only interrupted by the occasional burning Mercedes set ablaze in the night by left-wing radicals. But don’t worry. They have insurance.

  25. “mjk says:
    […]
    etc… in the mean time? You and the rest of the “conservative neandrethals” (your descrption not mine) should take pause next time you shout that feel good chant –Drill baby drill.
    MJK”
    It’s your crisis. Don’t let it go to waste, MJK.

  26. The sinister moves of the liberals. A judge has just blocked Obama’s 6 month drilling ban. He doesn’t have the legal authority to hurt an industry.

  27. “Hypnos says:
    June 22, 2010 at 9:37 am
    Yeah, subsidies.
    Fossil fuels receive twice the subsidies renewables energy do. 72 billion against 29.
    http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=newsarchive&sid=a2ygdsSj.KQI

    “the Environmental Law Institute said.”
    “The institute is a nonprofit research group that works to “strengthen environmental protection,” according to its Web site. ”
    Hypnos says:
    “If fossil fuels were priced at market rates, without government intervention, renewables would already be competitive.

    Does taxing them count as government intervention in your book, Hypnos?

  28. @nc June 22, 2010 at 9:14 am
    ‘9,000 megawatts of solar? Is that a typo?’
    That would be installed capacity, not actual generated capacity. So no typo. Germany has the largest installed capacity, almost half the world’s.
    Solar is like wind, they always use installed capacity when selling or needing to use protected land, but actual generated capacity when they need financial help.

  29. >> Hypnos says:
    June 22, 2010 at 9:37 am
    Yeah, subsidies.
    Fossil fuels receive twice the subsidies renewables energy do. 72 billion against 29. <> http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=newsarchive&sid=a2ygdsSj.KQI
    If fossil fuels were priced at market rates, without government intervention, renewables would already be competitive. They are nonetheless becoming competitive in some places. And they will only become more competitive as oil prices go back up – or you have already forgotten 2008? <<
    If you read the actual article, you find that they are considering tax allowance for foreign taxes (i.e., not double taxing) and government fuel purchases for the emergency stockpile and for aid to the poor as 'subsidies' to the fossil fuel industry.
    By that standard, food stamps are a subsidy to the agricultural industry.

  30. Hypnos (June 22, 2010 at 9:37 am) says:
    “Yeah, subsidies.
    Fossil fuels receive twice the subsidies renewables energy do. 72 billion against 29.”
    As others have pointed out, once you scale the numbers you see that fossil fuel subsidies are miniscule on a per megawatt unit basis compared to renewable energy subsidies. And in the case of oil and natural gas, royalties and various land usage fees paid by companies to governments are huge (which is appropriate, since the people as represented by governments owns the rights to the hydrocarbons). In effect, there is a very large existing wellhead fee structure in oil and gas extraction that does not exist in the renewables sector.
    Hypnos’ point is ridiculously misleading in the extreme.

  31. And the list goes on. Spain, Germany, who’s next? It is absolutely maddening that the U.S. can’t look over to Europe as an example of what happens when renewables are totally embraced.

  32. MJK,
    Ixtoc I oil spill, Gulf war spill, WWII (almost 10,000 ships sunk). Yup the whole planet is covered in oil.
    Of course oil is a natural product and over millions of years nature has been exposed to it and can cope with it. There are natural processes that degrade the oil. With cleanup the impact is even less.
    Wind and Solar power might not have much impact on nature as such. However, it is a low density energy. It is intermittent. Believing that abruptly shutting down current energy system using an intrusive goverment simply reeks of socialism, which is a failed economic model period!
    Germany recently suffered 12% unemployment (2005). Is that what you suggest for the US?

  33. Yes, drill, baby, drill, because electricity is not something we get from oil. Our transportation system doesn’t run on electricity. We can reduce our use of oil as raw material for manufacturing, but windmills don’t create plastic or any of the other things we create from oil.

  34. Perhaps the Germans can reduce their mandatory 6 week vacation/spa leisure time to two weeks/year just like in the USA. That way the Europeans prols can pay their overlords the tithings they deserve.

  35. The subsidy model of financing loss making industries has never worked, the UK kept trying from the 70s to the 90s and it was an expensive nightmare and produced such delights as the British leyand maxi/allegro/metro/marina and when the funding plug was pulled nothing had been achieved.
    The EU common agricultural policy sucking in vast subsidies for years and causing untold harm to world food production especially in developing nations that simply cannot compete with the EU food mountains caused by oversupply.
    A vibrant industrial economy needs one single ingredient, cheap reliable energy and without that bedrock no civilisation will succeed in supplying a growing population with a decent standard of living.
    The entire strategy being pushed so hard by the alarmists will simply serve to make it that much harder for the world to cater for an ever expanding population properly, capitalism can do this if only its allowed to do so and the one main ingredient is cheap reliable energy, it will power our homes,our facories,our services,our agricultural industries.
    At this time in human history we do not need a Luddite fear driven cowardice, we need confidence and a capitalist economy using the cheapest energy and a governing structure that can just step back and enable instead of dictate and supress.

  36. mjk says:
    what are your thoughts on the countless people that have lost their jobs and businesses, animals that have died, fish populations destroyed, marsh lands lost etc etc… in the mean time?

    The gusher in the Gulf wasn’t a predictable outcome of drilling there, as you imply. It occurred because standard safe-practices were deliberately not followed by upper management. Exxon-Mobil followed safe practices, as have the other oil companies; it testified that when it ran into a highly pressurized potential gusher. it stopped drilling and capped the hole.

  37. mjk,
    Ah, wise man say, green who go to solar panel factory no longer use term “clean renewable.”
    Ah, wise man say also, those that know no thermodynamics believe out of sight, out of mind.

  38. It is my opinion that a good and proper job of government is to promote new things until they become economically competitive (or not). Without government subsidies, the price of PV (photovoltaic solar cells) would not have fallen nearly as rapidly as it has. The question is HOW to subsidize, and when to REMOVE the subsidy. Of course, utility scale power production is far cheaper using solar thermal processes than to use PV. The 360 MW desert power plant in Kramer Junction is a good example: http://www.nrel.gov/csp/solar_field_tech.html
    I subscribe to several alternative power industry blogs and most of them are concerned about getting more subsidy. For non-baloney information on the PV industry, go here: http://www.solarbuzz.com/

  39. HaroldW says:
    June 22, 2010 at 10:33 am
    Hypnos June 22, 2010 at 9:37 am
    Fossil fuels receive twice the subsidies renewables energy do. 72 billion against 29.
    harold, you are on the right track
    there are some subsidies, but they are actually really small.
    1: royalties paid to foreign countries and states are credited for tax purposes…. as it should be.
    if you paid for raw material, it has be considered as expense.
    2: research credit that is available to ALL INDUSTRIES is available to oil&gas. there is nothing special here.
    3: govt pays poor people for heat. that is welfare. not a subsidy to oil&gas. That money can be used for electric heat, even if it is hydro electric or other “renewable” source.
    4: investment credits available to everyone is available to oil&gas. where is the subsidy there?
    when statistics is generated by extremely biased people, with no math skills, they can make it look like anything they want

  40. @ Hypnos
    This is like saying let’s compare my apple with your orange. Let me put my blindfold on first though (after all justice is blind…) Sheesh.
    First, considering that ~70% of all the power produced in the US is fossil fuel generated with <10% being generated using renewables, that means in order to consider the two equally subsidized on a relativistic basis, you would need to have the fossil fuels collecting $210 billion in subsidies every year. On a per unit of output basis, the only basis subsidies should ever be measured on for comparative purposes, renewables are far more subsidized and still remain uncompetitive.
    I would also read the study referenced, if I were you. It is a fascinating read and completely duplicitous in nature. Examine all of tax breaks provided to the renewables, which are in fact direct subsidies of the energy being produced. Then examine the items classified as "subsidies" for fossil fuels.
    The worst item for inclusion on the list is the $6 billion for strategic petroleum reserve purchases. It has been proven time and time again, that this does very little to support or move the market other than short term. Not to mention that these reserves could be sold at any time for what amounts to book value or better without moving the market.
    Then there is the $18.6 billion dollars in heating and energy bill subsidies for the poor. This one is mind-blowing for the fact that it is not allocated to a specific production method. It applies to all methods of power production equally. Since we have more fossil fuel production, we have more going to fossil fuels on a pro-rated basis. But it is not, let me repeat is not a fossil fuel specific subsidy. It is a life-style subsidy for the poor at best.
    Finally, there is the matter of the $15.6 billion for the foreign tax credit provision. Though the approximate history of this tax credit is correct, it is not exclusive to the oil industry as they would lead you to believe. In fact any and every applicable industry takes advantage of this particular credit, that basically says production of a product should not be unfairly burdened through double taxation (Income tax in the country the oil was produced in and then income tax in the US). The particular ruling in question was in relationship to countries establishing a specialized tax rate for the oil and gas industry that far exceeded the local business income tax rate, without calling it an income tax. The IRS correctly ruled this duplicity by said countries as income tax.
    So if we exclude the items that are not drafted to be specific to a particular industry and the strategic petroleum reserves, we are left with roughly $32 billion in fossil fuel specific subsidies (that are in fact actual subsidies) vs. $29 billion over the same period. If I had the time, I could in fact take another cut at the fossil fuel specific items and probably cull another $5-10 billion out as is today's market they don't actually have a net tax impact so they are a subsidy in name only, though if you go rid of them, the tax revenues would remain identical.
    Again, I say on a per unit output, renewables are far more subsidized than fossil fuels. That is the truth now, and will probably remain so for the forseeable future.

  41. “mjk says:
    June 22, 2010 at 10:14 am
    Max Hugoson says:
    June 22, 2010 at 9:38 am
    On what scientific piece of research are you basing your 3-4 year recovery?? In any event ,even if the gulf –by magic–suddenly repaired itself within this time frame, what are your thoughts on the countless people that have lost their jobs and businesses, animals that have died, fish populations destroyed, marsh lands lost etc etc… in the mean time? You and the rest of the “conservative neandrethals” (your descrption not mine) should take pause next time you shout that feel good chant –Drill baby drill.”

    The Ixtoc I oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico leaked from June 3rd and was only capped in March 23rd 10 months later with flows of 10,000 – 30,000 barrels a day. The beaches were cleaned and then a hurricane Allen? in August 1980 finished the cleaning. Reports were that no oil could be found after that. It may be that wetlands could be different but nature has coped with oil for millenia indeed the bloom of bacteria and algae feeding on the oil could be an initial problem. It does seem that oil spills on littoral boundaries seem to clear within ~ 3 -4 years adn in the case of Ixtoc in less than a year after the well was capped.
    So BP funds the fishermen and businesses for 3 years. By then nature will have recovered. It may well be that the moratorium on deep-sea drilling will take longer to recover from.

  42. Spain is in the same boat as Germany. They also have high subsidies.
    Britain started the same sort of subsidy scheme as Germany quite recently. It is even more generous: you get a subsidy simply by producing electricity for yourself, you don’t have to sell it. In case of PV, you will be paid up to 61 US cent/kWh for the electricity you generate with solar panels for yourself:
    The Generation Tariff:
    You earn a fixed income for every kilowatt hour of electricity you generate and use in your property.
    The Export Tariff:
    You earn an additional fixed income for every kilowatt hour of electricity you generate and sell back to the grid.
    http://www.fitariffs.co.uk/eligible/levels/
    One £ is approximately 1.5 US dollars (1.482)

  43. I will gladly make a comment as have others on the naming of subsidies for oil. These are not subsidies. They are tax deductible business expenses. Labor and material is deductible. Business expenses ae deductible before calculating net taxable profit.
    This is a comment loaded with distortion. Mining, forreststry and oil production have depletion allowances. These are from generallly accepted accounting principles. I do see this distortion in big city newspapers and on liberal blogs.
    A subsidy is where cash is given to the company or individual. Tax inducements can take the form of accelerated depreciation. Actually many other countries don’t even levy income taxes on companies.

  44. Why is it oil is always contrasted with solar and wind?
    Electrical for homes is different from fuels for vehicles no?
    shouldn’t that be coal and nuclear vs. solar and wind?
    thus far there is no true “alternative” in the vehicle world if I understand things correctly…current crop of biofuels have worse impact than dinosaur oil…all electric cars are on the horizon…but the electricity has to come from somewhere…battery technology sucks…which affects consumer solar amongst other things
    as for “oil subsidies” you’re talking reduction in taxes on the companies (then the federal, state, local governemnts add taxes back in for the consumers on every gallon)
    Socialists never met a tax they didn’t like…so long as THEY don’t have to pay their fair share (read equal)

  45. “Michael says:
    June 22, 2010 at 11:29 am
    Perhaps the Germans can reduce their mandatory 6 week vacation/spa leisure time to two weeks/year just like in the USA. That way the Europeans prols can pay their overlords the tithings they deserve.”
    24 workdays is the mandated minimum yearly vacation. 30 days is the standard in most companies. The people hit the hardest by our fantastic energy prizes are the long time unemployed (Hartz IV recipients, rent plus about 350 Euro per month). Their energy bill they must pay from the 350 Euro so that’s substantial. Typical energy bill for one person is 50 Euro i would say.
    So no, the ones hit by energy prize hikes cannot just make less vacation… they already have vacation all year long. By US standards, it’s funemployment, i know. The average Hans is better off than the average Joe, socialism, yadda yadda…
    Germany represents half of the worlds end consumer market for solar cells because there’s no cap on new installations. The only way it’s regulated is by reducing the feed in tariff once or twice a year. Next reduction is on 1st July, about 15% down for new installations; old installations get the tariff that was in force when they were installed for 20 years.
    It’s getting pretty expensive …. A yearly rise of 6 to 10% in consumer electricity rates is projected by various think tanks; industry and universities.

  46. “mjk says:
    […]
    “etc… in the mean time? You and the rest of the “conservative neandrethals” (your descrption not mine) should take pause next time you shout that feel good chant –Drill baby drill.”
    And later, “what are your thoughts on the countless people that have lost their jobs and businesses, ..”
    I’ll address your question first, the job and business loss in the gulf is infinitesimal compared to the economic damage already done by the CAGW scheme. CAGW and “renewables” have wrecked entire industries and nearly collapsed a nations economy. Just do a search on Spain. The faux concern for businesses and jobs from someone that proposed wind and solar as a replacement to fossil fuel would be laughable if one doesn’t consider the food riots, poverty and disease caused by the 3rd world nations being denied dependable and cheap energy. Talk about something one should feel good about.
    As far as the gulf spill: yes, it is unfortunate, but if you’d weigh the value of oil and good it has done for the progress of mankind in the last century, you know that this is temporary and events like these are necessarily inevitable.(mostly because of man’s interaction.) The fact of the matter is, the U.S. and any other developed nation requires oil for commerce. Obviously, wind and solar are only ever going to be an addendum to, not a replacement for traditional energy sources. We haven’t found a proper replacement, yet. I hope we do soon. The actions of the CAGW crowd has probably set back the hunt for a replacement energy source by decades. So, yes, IN THE MEAN TIME, and in a large part thanks to the CAGW pinhead crowd, in order for society to continue forward we’ll have to “drill, baby, drill.” You can go live in a cave with out fossil fuel for energy, but don’t try to impose that Orwellian world on me or anyone else. Mankind has progressed to far to take the step backwards that you are proposing.

  47. MikeD says:
    June 22, 2010 at 12:05 pm
    “Why is it oil is always contrasted with solar and wind?
    Electrical for homes is different from fuels for vehicles no?
    shouldn’t that be coal and nuclear vs. solar and wind?”
    Yes, but then when compared to coal and nuclear, solar and wind don’t contrast well. Obviously, they’re not as reliable and much more expensive. Oil, for some reason is easier to hate for the alarmist crowd and they’re better at “apples to oranges” comparisons than rational people.

  48. In my opinion, subsidies to overcome short-term barriers to entry (eg. risk, infrastructure, marketing, etc…) in order to speed up long-term adoption of clearly superior technologies are perfectly reasonable and will provide a clear long-term benefit to society.
    The problem in the current case is that the technologies are not clearly superior and thus will require significant prolonged subsidization. In this case, rather than enhancing and benefiting society, the subsidies become a long-term drag.
    On a small-scale, a long-term drag is just fine, since the total cost is small and a subsidized pilot facility could lead to significant technological advances and ultimately a big economical return on the investment. However, it really doesn’t make sense on the large scale that Germany is pursuing, since the huge costs limit the possibility that a breakthrough could ever justify the huge investment.

  49. mjk said at 9:21 am
    ….Far better for the economy to go for cheap oil -once you factor out the cost of destroying the odd Gulf here or there……
    mjk says:
    and at 10:14 am
    ….the countless people that have lost their jobs and businesses, animals that have died, fish populations destroyed, marsh lands lost etc etc…..

    First, there is nothing “cheap” about the oil they were going after and the reason they and others are out there pushing the limits of technology, safety, and understanding of what might be encountered. No excuse for the managers at BP. They screwed-up! They must be held accountable. But there is also NO excuse for ALL the OTHER people involved (and I’m NOT saying you are one of them) over the years in forcing the oil industry into deep water WITHOUT adequate oversight AND triple redundant equipment AND contingency plans AND real-world thought-out mitigation plans. Now add-in the absolutely abysmal execution in coordinating the resolution of the crisis by the Administration, the ONE thing they SHOULD be doing AND should be GOOD at, and you’ve got yourself another example of the Law of Unintended Consequences and a “created” disaster.
    And let’s keep some perspective – the Gulf of Mexico is FAR from being destroyed, people have lost their jobs/businesses but to this point mostly because of the Federal government twisting in the wind (which it is now clear is the one thing this administration is most proficient at), yes, there have been some number of “animals” lost, (birds, mollusks, crustaceans) and no doubt there will be more but no evidence of any fish populations destroyed, as they do readily move away from undesirable environments. As for marsh land and other coastal areas they will recover rather quickly. But that it got to those “lands” at all is 99.9% the fault of the one and only one entity that had the power, capability, resources, command, position, status, etc. to do it – The Pretender to the Throne, The Man Who Would Be King, The Emperor Without Clothes, The Master of Devastating Intended Consequences, The ONE – whose name shall NOT be mentioned in public…..
    Yes, BP will pay – – as will 10s of thousands of others, like in Germany, because OF “Progressive” politics and fanatic environmentalism.

  50. Re; ShrNfr says:
    June 22, 2010 at 11:18 am
    To Atomic Hairdryer, a tax break or a cheap loan is a subsidy by a different name.

    Yes, but it’s direct vs indirect subsidies, or just practical subsidies. In the UK, some businesses have been given carbon credits and promptly sold them. They should have invested that money in efficiency improvements but not all did. Next phase will be auctioning credits which will allow speculation and cost businesses. In our budget today, our Chancellor announced he’ll be reviewing carbon trading to ensure stability, which no doubt means higher prices.
    No signs that we’ve learned from Spain or Germany and lost our appetite for wind. We did also decide to scrap a loan to one of our few remaining steel makers to help build a mill capable of forging reactor parts. Or even parts for windmills, but I suppose it’s better we import those. Will create green jobs, just not in the UK.

  51. @L. Bowser June 22, 2010 at 11:49 am
    Thanks for going to the trouble of looking up what passed for fossil fuel subsidies. I suspected as much based on the one item I could see quickly on the summary, but didn’t have the time during the day to research it properly.

  52. DirkH wrote:
    June 22, 2010 at 12:09 pm
    “24 workdays is the mandated minimum yearly vacation. 30 days is the standard in most companies. The people hit the hardest by our fantastic energy prizes are the long time unemployed.”
    Thanks for the confirmation Dirk.
    I worked as a machinist for 20 years and never got more than 12 paid vacation days a year. I always wished 5 weeks mandated vacation in the US would happen making the US as good a country as Europe. That dream of mine died when the great sucking sound decimated consumer manufacturing jobs when Bill Clinton sealed out fate with NAFTA.

  53. mjk
    “…On what scientific piece of research are you basing your 3-4 year recovery? In any event ,even if the gulf –by magic–suddenly repaired itself within this time frame, what are your thoughts on the countless people that have lost their jobs and businesses, animals that have died, fish populations destroyed, marsh lands lost etc etc…”
    I don’t think that the environmental disaster will be catastrophic as some pundits proclaim. A few years ago an oil tanker, full with about 60,000 tons of tar, broke apart about 150 miles west of the coast of Galicia in Spain, covering it with thick tar the beautiful harbors of Galicia. The political opposition claimed that the environment would be destroyed for many years. Thousands of volunteers helped in clearing beaches and rocks, but the tar underneath remained.
    Surprisingly, after one year the coast was clean even under the rocks and sand. Bacteria had eaten up all the tar and oil. I think the same will happen in the Gulf.
    As for the 64,000 claims against BP, Government officials now ask that BP pay unemployment compensation for oil workers laid off because the government has suspended drilling permits. Liabilities also include strippers suing for lost earnings from visiting fishermen, hotel and bar owners nowhere near the coast, and shrimpers and fishermen who haven’t been out to sea for so long their anchor chains have seized solid. It looks like every thief and fraudster in America is heading for the BP honeypot and is planning to retire on the proceeds.

  54. Hypnos says:June 22, 2010 at 9:37 am
    Fossil fuels receive twice the subsidies renewables energy do. 72 billion against 29.
    http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=newsarchive&sid=a2ygdsSj.KQI
    If fossil fuels were priced at market rates, without government intervention, renewables would already be competitive. They are nonetheless becoming competitive in some places. And they will only become more competitive as oil prices go back up – or you have already forgotten 2008?

    Did you read that article, or just the title?
    Of that 72 billion, 15.3 is a tax credit for money paid to other governments. Included in the 72 billion is the cost of the Strategic
    Petroleum reserve (article didn’t specifically enumerate $) and rebates for the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance (article didn’t specifically enumerate $) .
    Oh, and are you forgetting that the government taxes fuel sales.
    How much money does this bring in?
    For the first quarter of 2009, the mean state gasoline tax is 27.2 cents per US gallon, plus 18.4 cents per US gallon federal tax making the total 45.6 cents per US gallon (12.0 ¢/L). For diesel, the mean state tax is 26.6 cents per US gallon plus an additional 24.4 cents per US gallon federal tax making the total 50.8 cents US per gallon (13.4 ¢/L).[7]
    More than 72 bil?

  55. “Michael says:
    […]
    Thanks for the confirmation Dirk.
    I worked as a machinist for 20 years and never got more than 12 paid vacation days a year.”
    On the flipside, we only have about 10 public holidays; i think the US has twice as much. So the difference is about 10 days.
    Also, please note that due to our high tax progression working more hours is not worthwhile. So we have no incentive to do that; if you do overtime and get it paid you get about 30% of the money; 70% is absorbed by tax progression.
    So working Germans are forced by the system to be lazy. We use overtime to slack off on other days; that’s more efficient. Unemployed Germans are lazy year-round except for the ones doing illegal work; often in construction. But that’s usually done by illegal Ukrainians these days.

  56. In Germany this practice of stupid subsidizing has quite a long tradition. Today you can produce electric power by photovoltaics (which is kind of a great joke by itself in `sunny`Germany…) and sell it for twice the price you have to pay for it.
    In communist Germany (the GDR) people who had a small garden could sell their own breeded goose in the local shop for 15 Marks. Some hours later they could buy the same goose in this shop for half the price.
    In the early 80s the GDR was bankrupt and could only survive, because West Germany was helping out with huge credits. And this is exactly what todays Germany will need soon, if they carry on with policy driven by stupidity.

  57. what are your thoughts on the countless people that have lost their jobs and businesses,
    Obviously the solution is to eliminate all the oil drilling businesses, jobs and revenues.
    animals that have died, fish populations destroyed, marsh lands lost etc etc… in the mean time?
    You may be shocked to learn animals die every day anyway, often killed by other animals. Pictures of oil-covered otters may be good PR but they’re also deeply stupid. The affected populations will recover. The impact won’t be a tenth of what is often claimed. There are massive natural oil seeps in the Gulf anyway.
    You and the rest of the “conservative neandrethals” (your descrption not mine) should take pause next time you shout that feel good chant –Drill baby drill.
    If you want to throw away your computer and go be a sustainable hunter-gatherer wiping your butt with maple leaves, we’re not stopping you. The rest of us need oil.

  58. Perhaps the economic crisis will bring people to their senses – believe in Global Warming and freeze and starve, or find some realistic policies on electricity production.

  59. TallDave says:
    June 22, 2010 at 2:11 pm
    [“You may be shocked to learn animals die every day anyway, often killed by other animals.”]
    What pathetic logic. You would not even win a first grader’s debate with that one.
    [“If you want to throw away your computer and go be a sustainable hunter-gatherer wiping your butt with maple leaves, we’re not stopping you. The rest of us need oil.”]
    As equally pathetic, there is no sensible middle ground in your black and white world is there?
    MJK

  60. Ok, a link to the article that works:
    http://www.handelsblatt.com/technologie/energie_technik/solarboom-treibt-kosten-sonnenenergie-wird-unbezahlbar;2604469;0
    VERY interesting is that they have a rating below the article: 1 to 5 stars. The article is rated 1; the worst category! 1226 people have rated. Now that’s quite a lot. The article is dated 21.0.6.10 – you’d expect maybe 20 people to click the rating button. Astroturfing to the extreme. Good lobby work, German solar industry.

  61. @DavidQ
    ‘Wind and Solar power might not have much impact on nature as such.’
    Actually wind and solar have a daily impact on nature. Maybe you meant environment, but nature is part of environment, so moot.
    Where do you make a clearing for PV panels? Where do you make a clearing for everything “wind power towers”? But pretty much where you come to grow stuff or protect stuff, because for some “odd” reason that’s the best places for solar and wind. Of course todays green muppets show their heads down the sand and wont see, wont listen, to their policy results.

  62. >@DavidQ
    ‘Wind and Solar power might not have much impact on nature as such.’
    Whaat? 5,000 turbines to equal one nuclear plant, 2,000 to equal output of a medium sized coal plant?
    http://www.wind-watch.org/news/2010/03/14/trading-our-environment-for-wind-power/
    How about Capt Wind?

    What about Fragmentation and Destruction of Mountain Ridge FOREVER FOREVER FOREVER?
    https://docs.google.com/fileview?id=0B5vbWLK5dTl2MTY1YWYzODItYzY2ZC00OWY3LWJiZDMtZDJiY2MyOWZmOTlm&hl=en
    When i got started in the birdwatching culture, in the mid 90’s, it was all about “fragmentation”. There were all kinds of articles and studies, many of citizen scientists collected data for them, regarding the effect a clearing on forest species. That has all been completely forgotten. Now to be Green you have to be for clearcutting literally 20,000 acres of prime forest habitat to equal the output of one nuclear plant, and you still need the nuclear plant. I better stop before i get started because my blood is boiling! Do you have any idea how even 1,000 turbines together do almost nothing to supply the energy of our society?

  63. DandyTroll and no freewind.
    I have no argument with you. I was, perhaps a bit to minimal in my comment.
    Exploding drilling platforms and oil spills just tend to be more spectacular and comprehensible to us then the impact by PV and Wind Turbines. Though in my state, the wind project has taken a beautiful area and turned it into an industrial park with several hundred turbines (Stateline, WA). Its impact is obvious, and its value completely zero in a state (Washington) that gets almost 100% electricity from water and nuclear.
    Thanks for providing more valuable information about the issue though. That Cape windfarm is simply dumb.

  64. So from what I can see:
    The current (US) administration made a platform of saving the planet.
    Even if that meant that “Electricity rates would necessarily skyrocket”-Obama.
    So if they put the planet before people, and are willing to ignore the gulf spill until it reaches the coast, {which in my opinion was opportunistic}.
    Then what does it say about their concern for people?
    Both the last administration and the current are willing to burn or destroy food in the name of saving the planet.
    All you useful idiots out there who love this guy need to wake up!

  65. John Luft says:
    June 22, 2010 at 9:40 am
    ……“Clean renewable energy”, eh? Well at least so far as you can see….but certainly not in reality. You might want to do some research into the rare earth mines in China which provide the materials for wind turbines, etc. The difference is that the greenies seem to keep their noses out of China and go after the softer targets because the western media are suckers for it.
    ____________________________________________________________________
    The “greenies” keep their nose out of China because Maurice Strong, father of the greenie movement, is sitting in Beijing China positioned to make billions from the flow of western wealth into China.
    I suggest you google and study up on Maurice Strong the ultimate puppeteer who has been pulling our governments’ strings for forty years.

  66. James Sexton says:
    June 22, 2010 at 11:11 am
    And the list goes on. Spain, Germany, who’s next? It is absolutely maddening that the U.S. can’t look over to Europe as an example of what happens when renewables are totally embraced.
    ______________________________________________________________________
    And what makes you think the some politicians in the US government are NOT looking at the EU?
    First consider the Chicago Climate Exchange business dealings between Gore, Obama and Maurice Strong.
    Maurice Strong is a key person. He is on the UN-funded Commission on Global Governance. Kofi Annan released Maurice Strong’s initial plan to begin reforming the UN. “As Executive Coordinator for Reform, Strong was hired specifically to restructure the sprawling UN system into the mechanism for global governance…
    Is there a conflict between national sovereignty and the UN’s determination to provide “human security” to individual citizens within sovereign states? You bet. But the UN has an answer. Listen to Maurice Strong and the Commission on Global Governance:
    “…countries are having to accept that in certain fields, sovereignty has to be exercised collectively, particularly in respect of the global commons.” (3)
    “…the principle of sovereignty…must be further adapted to recognize changing realities.” (4)
    “…there is a need to weigh a state’s right to autonomy against its people’s right to security.” (5)
    “It is time to begin thinking about self-determination in a new context – the emerging context of a global neighborhood rather than the traditional context of a world of separate states.” (6)
    “The concept of national sovereignty has been immutable, indeed a sacred principle of international relations. It is a principle which will yield only slowly and reluctantly to the new imperatives of global environmental cooperation. What is needed is recognition of the reality that…it is simply not feasible for sovereignty to be exercised unilaterally by individual nation-states, however powerful.” (7)
    To Maurice Strong, national sovereignty is an obsolete concept. Maurice Strong is the person responsible for restructuring the UN. The process is now officially underway with changes that will have immediate consequences, and others that are preparatory for more sweeping changes in the future – as the world succumbs to the tightening grip of global governance…
    The new reformation is underway. It is a reformation, not only of the United Nations, but of global societies. It is occurring daily with the blessings and staunch assistance of the Clinton/Gore Administration and many members of Congress. “
    http://www.iahf.com/world/un-refm.html
    This is the same Maurice Strong who started the CAGW ball rolling at the UN’s First Earth Summit in 1972.
    This is the same Maurice Strong that stated:
    “What if a small group of these word leaders were to conclude that the principle risk to the earth comes from the actions of the rich countries? And if the world is to survive, those rich countries would have to sign an agreement reducing their impact on the environment. Will they do it? Isn’t the only hope for the planet that the industrialized civilizations collapse? Isn’t it our responsibility to bring that about?”
    This man is one scary dude and he has major influence over Al Gore, the Clintons and possibly Obama. He is a major campaign contributor to both the democrats and the republicans even though he is a Canadian living in China. Pres. Bush got him the Chairmanship at Kyoto when Strong called in the favor!

  67. DirkH,
    Regarding the article rating; it’s easy enough to tick-over the cookie-based counter. That only takes one person.
    I’ve skimmed over the whole article and there are lots of bones to chew on; many more than the brief article on CFP/Bloomberg.
    The bone with the most gristle is where RWI (Rhine-Westphalian Economic Research Intitute) recommends that the EEG (Renewable Energy Law) be abolished because it’s not motivating any substantial R&D. Leading German solar energy companies are putting less than 2% of turnover into R&D.
    The rate of subsidy is enormous and financially unsustainable. The price of electricityon the European Energy Exchange is around 0.05 Euros; but the solar infeed tarrif is 0.31 Euros; 6 times the wholesale price of electricity. And the infeed amount is all that is “generated” and put back on the grid; not just the amount that’s over that consumed in the household. The 20-year guarrantee of subsidy is especially damaging to the German economy.
    [And the economic damage from rorting the infeed policy is unaccounted. It’s easy enough to draw grid power in order to amplify the infeed amount in moderate proportion to that collected without anything being noticed simply via metering or cursory inspection. The subsidy makes it “worthwhile” for those who are even slightly unscrupulous.]

  68. The Labor Government in Australia in partnership with the Liberal opposition today agreed to pass legislation to devote a larger proportion of renewable enegy certificates to large scale renewable projects after the wind energy carpetbaggers bleated that their subsidies were being eaten into by householders use up REC’s on solar panels and heat pumps for hot water. We will now see a proliferation of wind tuerbines across our hills. What a shame that both sides of politics have fallen for this con. Macedon Ranges will now be desecrated by Roaring Forties proposal at Sidonia Hills but they will al be putting their snouts into the trough

  69. Question?
    What happens in 20 years when these highly subsitized solar and wind energy projects fall apart due to age and maintenance?
    No doubt they will be deemed old technology and scraped plus the costs will keep rising as society moves along.

  70. Has anyone ever measured the carbon footprint of converting to renewables? For instance, digging up the ore, smelting and melting the metal for the turbines and windmill sails, making the concrete for the base of your windmills, and all the other bits and pieces?
    I’d be fascinated if anyone out in the blogosphere knows of any attempt to study this aspect going green.

  71. http://www.businessweek.com/magazine/content/10_27/b4185016595808.htm
    BusinessWeek June 28 — July 4:
    June 24, 2010, 5:00PM EST
    Wal-Mart’s Wind Power Gripe in Massachusetts
    Cape Wind’s green power will cost it more. It’s trying to avoid the rate increase while trumpeting its green energy initiatives
    ………….
    National Grid argues that everyone benefits from clean energy so it makes sense to spread the costs. While Cape Wind entails hefty initial costs, over time it will help lower rates if coal and natural gas prices rise, says Jim Gordon, president of Cape Wind Associates, which is building the wind farm. “This project is about transitioning to a cleaner energy future,” says Gordon, who hopes to start construction this year. “I’m surprised that Wal-Mart, which is trying to present a green image, would oppose America’s first offshore wind farm.”
    … “Wal-Mart claims to want wind power but doesn’t want to pay for it,” says Adam M. Kanzer, managing director of Domini Social Investments, a green investment fund in New York. “In the long run, sustainability should be more efficient and save us money, but in the transition there are going to be up-front costs. Is Wal-Mart willing to help us make that transition?”

    I want the “reasoning” above to be on the record here and for WUWTers to be prepared to encounter it. The renewables advocates are justifying their costliness by saying fossil fuels will become costlier. But why should that be so, unless their supply is restricted or they are taxed into bankruptcy, ala Obama? Natural gas supplies are abundant and its prices have been heading lower.

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