Pursuant to my earlier story today about the article in Spiegel, Bjørn Lomborg writes on his Facebook page:
Real German electricity prices for households have increased 61% since 2000. One quarter of household costs now stems directly from renewable energy. Also, the increase is *not* because of increasing production costs (which have actually slightly declined since 1978).
The increase is due to dramatically increasing taxes, most noticeably from the Renewable Energy Act (EEG). In 2013 the EEG will increase 50% to 6.28 euro-cent (5.28 cents plus 19% VAT).
In June 2011, Chancellor Angela Merkel famously promised to keep EEG prices stable, but this promise has now clearly been broken. The German household will pay 24% of its electricity bill to renewables.
Perhaps this is why more people are stealing wood from German forests (http://bit.ly/VMllfs) and likely why up to 800,000 people can’t pay their electricity bills (http://bit.ly/XcK7nv). Some estimates show costs could escalate to €300 billion by 2030 (http://bit.ly/Qab1Hr).
Notice, that industry still pays much less and about the same as it paid in 1978.
Data from OECD (prices http://bit.ly/10IXX5J, with 2012 estimated from first two quarters from IEA, and adjusted with German Consumer Price Index (MEI), http://bit.ly/UkWaj7)
Real German electricity prices for households have increased 61% since 2000. One quarter of household costs now stems directly from renewable energy.
Maybe this is why Germans are now burning so much wood for home heat, as Donna Laframboise observes.
Hey they are rich and can afford it.
The US pays for their defense and foots the bill for their medical care so that disposable income needs to be spent somehow.
The children are suffering, but it is “for the children.”
I am sure Barbara Boxer and Obama agree 61% is not enough.
As Green party members will probably feature strongly on the list of Germans who benefit from FITs from solar panels, I don’t expect the ruling coalition will be in any hurry to change things.
They voted for it, let them enjoy it now they’ve got it.
The real kicker here isn’t residential costs, although those are significant. The biggest user of electricity is always heavy industry. When industry costs go up, their products become less competitive with those from other nations which have much cheaper energy costs. (like China) This translates into a deteriorating balance of trade and higher unemployment, right at the time that their economy is *supposed* to be recovering. And since the German economy depends *heavily* on exports, this is how the “Green Dream” can slowly but surely sink an entire economy.
They are putting their money where their mouth has been. And they’re not liking it at all, considering recent concerns from their industry, which says they’re being unable to pay the power bill. Just wait – stay green, and die shivering in the night.
Soon stealing wood isn’t going to help either because beginning next year, if I’m not mistaken, German environmental authorities are going to impose strict regulations to limit heating by burning wood (in order to cut back on aerosol emissions). Once a a year a chimney sweeper comes around and inspects your chimney to make sure you’re not polluting too much. DirkH probably can tell you much more about this.
German news media must be as corrupt as American ones. Isn’t Merkel due for re-election in the near future?
If recent articles here on carbon soot are correct, this just goes to show that the ‘law of unintended consequences’ will always make fools of the busybodies of this world.
We’re heading in the same direction here in the UK and will end up just as impoverished, if our current politicians have their way. Pensioners can barely afford to heat their homes as it is.
Obama said electricity prices would necessarily skyrocket and this proves him right. Problem is, this increase is just the beginning–wait until everything is converted over to renewables. As such, it will be difficult to turn the current decline in world GDP around:
Here in the UK our energy prices are sky high. I have taken advantage of an offer from Scottish Power to freeze my gas and electricity prices until January 2015 because of this idiotic policy of our current/last governments of subsidising renewable energy. It is not only domestic energy that is expensive; petrol, diesel and air fares are heavily taxed too.
We are getting clobbered by lies and mis-information, with the whole hearted support of our governments who rake in extra tax. Most people in Germany and here don’t know that these are EU targets and they must be adhered to.
Hopefully in 2015 David Cameron will take us out of the EU; whether taxes and subsidies will fall though is a different matter!
Anthony-I am working on a translation from German of Ulrich Beck’s Risk Society work to try to gain a political vision for Post-Berlin Wall Europe and the West generally. Stanford Press published the translation in 1994 so they thought it mattered. In it Beck lays out the political vision that lays out CAGW to a T. Even though at the time global warming was just speculation as book acknowledges.
Anyway in the theory of a new society being laid out, Beck says that ecology will now play the role in generating the destabilizing crisis of the Late Capitalism period that Marx had attributed to Capitalism itself. Which is certainly a good reason for all the hype and modelling whatever the facts.
And also why these Ecological views became so entrenched in Germany so long ago. Beck is in turn citing other Germans whose essays probably have not independently been translated into English.
REPLY: Looking forward to seeing that. – Anthony
And here in the UK we’re copying them
“Green Lobby Promotes Renewable Energy & Carbon Tax To Tackle Fuel Poverty”
What a load of garbage Europeans have been sold. Is it any wonder so many European countries are having financial trouble. Here in the good old USA our president in his eminent wisdom wants to follow the European example.
Last Year, there were 600000 people, who no longer could pay their electrity bills. it was some days ago in the newspapers here in Germany that many people steal wood in the forests to heat their homes. What a shame.
The FIT cross subsidy is 20 bn EUR a year (about 26 bn USD).
Or 250 EUR/yr per capita extra cost caused by renewables.
A third of electricity goes to private households, a third to public sector / Infrastructure , a third to industry / commerce.
So every German pays about 80 EUR / yr via his electricity bill, 80 EUR via taxes and 80 EUR via increased prices. (On average. Parents pay for their kids.)
This way, the real cost is well disguised.
German media never show this simple calculation and never mention the yearly cross subsidy sum (which grows at the moment by 4 bn EUR a year).
Germany’s Renters Association estimates the heating costs will go up 22 percent this winter alone. A side effect is an increasing number of people turning to wood-burning stoves for warmth. Germans bought 400,000 such stoves in 2011, the German magazine FOCUS reported this week. It marks the continuation of a trend: The number of Germans buying heating devices that burn wood and coal has grown steadily since 2005, according to consumer research company GfK Group.
As for Industry paying the same as in 1978, here’s a graphic:
Notice that before 2000 industry electricity prices went down quite a lot; and are rising since 2000, the FIT was introduced in 1999. Yes, they are in real terms back to 1978 levels BUT they HAVE been affected by the introduction of the FIT.
These days larger companies can get an exemption when they can show that they compete internationally. So that dampens it, but AFAIK only for large companies, not your mom-and-dad print shop. Most German companies are “Mittelstand”, small companies of which most don’t compete internationally so they have to pay the FIT cross subsidy.
Fuel poverty, lowered living standards, destruction of forests, and increased pollution from soot and consequent negative health effects are but small prices to pay for “saving the planet”. I mean, where are Lomborg’s priorities? /sarc
Rhoda R says:
January 23, 2013 at 10:00 am
“German news media must be as corrupt as American ones. Isn’t Merkel due for re-election in the near future?”
A lot of German journalists / publishers go to the Bilderberg meetings; like your media people are members of the CFR.
Not to report but to get their orders.
“Notice, that industry still pays much less and about the same as it paid in 1978.”
That’s part of german economic strength, actually. Should industry pay the same price as households, they’d need to increase their product prices which would make german households to pay for that electricity anyway, just the other way around. Plus they’d become less competitive on international scale.
So which is better, to have expensive electricity and cheap products, or slightly less expensive electricity, expensive products, and bankrupt industry?
… cheap electricity and products, of course. Except that doesn’t go well with “renewables”.
*sigh* Seriously? How were those comments worth deleting? I was just requesting the links remove the annoying click through facebook redirectors, and that the broken HTML be fixed. And I pasted a regex for cleaning up all the facebook links at once. Admittedly commenting on the format rather than the substance, but still.
Here’s the regex, once again:
%s@<a href=”http://www.facebook.com[^>]*>\([^<]*bit.ly[^<]*\)</a>@<a href=”\1″>\1</a>@
Oh, and in some browsers the broken HTML means the story only partially displays.
[Reply: Don’t think W.P. support reg. expressions. Edited broken bits by hand to fix. Not all Mods can edit articles, BTW. I think it’s fixed now. -ModE]
In Greece (December, 2011):
Rise in Use of Firewood to Heat Homes Causing Deforestation
@Bill Parsons – if you want to see what the effect of energy prices out of reach of the average person accomplishes, look at Haiti versus Dominican Republic. Satellite pictures are enough.
@Dirkh – Our media saves money on travel – they just go to white house press briefings for their marching orders.
the bureaucacy and utility companies cannot be blamed as they are “only following orders”
In 75 years we will get nearly all our energy from Uranium and Thorium.
Yet Germany has said let’s go back to coal.
That could happen here. Indeed, that is the plan. “Under my plan the price of electricity will necessarily skyrocket” Obama said. Well, O’s full plan hasn’t been implemented yet, but what if the Republicans take a drubbing in the 2014 elections? Then his full plan would likely be implemented. And a measly 61% increase is not what they want. Does 61% sound like skyrocket? Not at all. I’ve heard that those in charge of our energy policy like Stephen Chu and O would like to see electricity at $2 a kilowatt hour (vs. ~ 12 cents now). Because that would force us to conserve. And force a lot of people to drop electricity altogether. Then we start to see some of the de-industrialization that they call for.
“A massive campaign must be launched to de-develop the United States.” -John Holdren, Obama’s Science Czar
“Everything we have developed over the last 100 years should be destroyed.” -Pentti Linkola, Finnish Ecologist
“Save the Planet, Kill Yourself” http://toryardvaark.files.wordpress.com/2011/03/environmentalist.jpg
I bet those solar cells and windmills are really cranking it out right now…
German people stealing wood and unable to pay electricity bills – sounds like fuel poverty and, surely, a major warning sign. Fuel poverty kills thousands every winter in the UK.
UK excess winter deaths (EWD) stats are in http://ons.gov.uk/ons/rel/subnational-health2/excess-winter-mortality-in-england-and-wales/2011-12–provisional–and-2010-11–final-/ewm-reference-tables.xls, worksheet “Figure1”.
Germany is always said to have less EWDs than the UK, but stats in http://www.euro.who.int/__data/assets/pdf_file/0008/97091/E89887.pdf (Annex 6) put the German 1992-2003 EWDs annual average at 32k, virtually the same as the UK, in a population not a lot greater.
Pffft. NSW, Australia, households have experienced an 80 per cent increase in electricity prices since 2007 ! Guess why ?
P Gosselin says:
January 23, 2013 at 9:55 am
“Soon stealing wood isn’t going to help either because beginning next year, if I’m not mistaken, German environmental authorities are going to impose strict regulations to limit heating by burning wood (in order to cut back on aerosol emissions). Once a a year a chimney sweeper comes around and inspects your chimney to make sure you’re not polluting too much. DirkH probably can tell you much more about this.”
Haven’t heard about it but I am not surprised. One of the German hysterias / media distraction campaigns / green campaigns is for years now “Feinstaub”, particulate emissions, which can – the horrors! – cause cancer! And heart attacks! Well and we don’t want that do we; and these regulations are also designed to force people to renew their heaters and drive money the way of the makers of those heaters. A simple way to force ultrathrifty Germans to spend some money.
Box of Rocks says:
January 23, 2013 at 9:28 am
“Hey they are rich and can afford it.
The US pays for their defense and foots the bill for their medical care so that disposable income needs to be spent somehow.”
a) If you knew my tax rate you would break down in tears and start sending me CARE packets. So much for rich.
b) We paid the Americans for both of the Iraq wars. Doesn’t make the news but it’s part of NATO cost sharing. An ally who doesn’t send troops has to cough up.
c) You’re paying for my health care? You have quite the opinion of yourself. Again – if you knew what I pay for health insurance you would go into deep depression and throw yourself out of the window.
Thanks for asking.
It’s what happens when you close down nuclear plants Angela.
Of course, it likely won’t be long before Germany will be forced to recommission them, just to keep the lights on.
I am sure Barbara Boxer and Obama both agree 161%.
Be young, be stupid, vote Green!
Energy intensive industries are exempt from paying the renewable energy surcharge as well as extra fees introduced for the construction of power lines to connect new windmills or solar installations. All of these costs are loaded onto the consumers. While this keeps the export industries competitive it kills demand in-country despite record levels of employment, which increases the trade imbalance that is a troubling problem for the other EU countries. Add to that the stagnant wages (slightly down in real terms since 1995 or so) and you have a really solid lever to wedge apart the Euro. Of course with the common currency gone, a new German currency would shoot up in relative value, strangling the precious exports and exploding unemployment, which would completely decimate in-country demand.
L Leema says:
January 23, 2013 at 12:07 pm
“t’s what happens when you close down nuclear plants Angela.”
No; switching off 8 GW of capa (10% of average consumption) contributed to the destabilization of the grid and the need for more energy imports but it didn’t drive up the gross energy price at the exchange very much. At least not in a way important to private citizens. The end prize is to 70% composed of mandated fees and taxes; the gross electricity price is therefore not a significant price driver. It is the ever rising FIT cross subsidity (and new fees to be paid into a slush fund for the compensation of offshore wind operators in case of problems) that drives the end price up the most; these “renewable energy”-related fees now make up about 25% of the end price.
Also, the loss of 8 GW baseload has partially been compensated by running coal and lignite to the limit and several new or recommissioned coal plants.
What have the greens in Germany achieved? More people buying wood burning stoves and letting of inefficient burns releasing co2 and soot.Raise the cost of energy to industry, increase the use of coal via coal fired power stations while they abandon nuclear. Is this anyway to reduce c02? …………..Germany is currently covered in snow and ice and people are struggling with the cold.
Indonesia is another example where they flattened and burned vast tracts of forest to plant ozone emitting palms in order to produce biofuels. This kind of BS is being repeated around the world and has not dented the relentless rise of co2. What a failure.
The Law of Unintended Consequences is at work yet again.
January 23, 2013 at 12:06 pm
Box of Rocks says:
I’m already depressed and in tears. The USA gov. borrows to pay for things. At the end of last year my share was $36,267 and increasing at 4 or 5 thousand each year. It is changing so fast any estimate is just a guess.
Even very experienced economists and investment gurus don’t know how this fantasy will end or how soon. I think of it like one of those large domino set-ups that are staged and filmed. Which country will go first?
John F. Hultquist says:
January 23, 2013 at 1:05 pm
Geologists believe the past is the key to the future. So applying that principle to your open-ended question, history has shown that economies collapse when the country has a debt to GDP ratio ranging from 90 to 100%. Greece is a more recent example.
When Obama first took office, that ratio was 42%. By his second inaguration, it was 72%. And the rate of spending will increase, not decrease, according to this administration, and there is no plan on paying off the debt. At that rate and within those constraints, we’ll see this economy collapse before 2016.
And people wonder why this will be considered the worst presidency in US history. Stay tuned–the “fun” is just beginning.
And people claim that the war on carbon doesn’t hurt the poor …
Some good news! We bought ourselves a heat-exchange stove with an oven on top. We’re pretty much warmer now, and can cook on it and keep water warm. We disconnected the air conditioning and are no longer using the electric oven. We’re lovin’ it. (Of course this is not Germany, and winter is nicer, though Portugal, as we’re at it, is the european country with most excess winter mortality, who would say.)
Germany has already closed many nuclear power stations, and to make up for the energy gap they are greatly expanding their brown coal production:
Yes, to to have a greener and more environmentally friendly world, the Germans are increasing the dirtiest energy supplies known to man. The net result is that Germany is increasing CO2 emissions by a large margin. Another GreenPeace fail….
Sting operations reveal Mafia involvement in renewable energy
By _Anthony Faiola, Published: January 22_
PALERMO, Italy — Inside a midnight-blue BMW, a Sicilian entrepreneur
delivered his pitch to the accused mafia boss. A new business was blowing into
Italy that could spin wind and sunlight into gold, ensuring the future of the
Earth as well as the Cosa Nostra: renewable energy.
“Uncle Vincenzo,” implored the businessman, Angelo Salvatore, using a term
of affection for the alleged head of Sicily’s Gimbellina crime family,
79-year-old Vincenzo Funari. According to a transcript of their wiretapped
conversation, Salvatore continued, “for the love of our sons, renewable energy
is important. . . . it’s a business we can live on.”
And for quite awhile, Italian prosecutors say, they did. In an unfolding
plot that is part “The Sopranos,” part “An Inconvenient Truth,” authorities
swept across Sicily last month in the latest wave of sting operations
revealing years of deep infiltration into the renewable energy sector by Italy’
s rapidly modernizing crime families.
The still-emerging links of the mafia to the once-booming wind and solar
sector here are raising fresh questions about the use of government subsidies
to fuel a shift toward cleaner energies, with critics claiming _huge state
profits for companies and a market bubble ripe for fraud. China-based Suntech,
the world’s largest solar panel maker, last month said it would need to
restate more than two years of financial results because of allegedly fake
capital put up to finance new plants in Italy. The discoveries here also follow
so-called “eco-corruption” cases in Spain, where a number of companies
stand accused of illegally tapping state aid.
Because it receives more sun and wind than any other part of _Italy_ () ,
Sicily became one of Europe’s most obvious hotbeds for renewable energies
over the past decade. As the Italian government began offering billions of
euros annually in subsidies for wind and solar development, the potential
profitability of such projects also soared — a fact that did not go unnoticed
by Sicily’s infamous crime families.
Roughly a third of the island’s 30 wind farms — along with several solar
power plants — have been seized by authorities. Officials have frozen more
than $2 billion in assets and arrested a dozen alleged crime bosses; corrupt
local councilors and mafia-linked entrepreneurs. Italian prosecutors are
now investigating suspected mafia involvement in renewable energy projects
from Sardinia to Apulia.
“The Cosa Nostra is adapting, acquiring more advanced knowledge in new
areas like renewable energy that have become more profitable because of
government subsidies,” said Teresa Maria Principato, the deputy prosecutor in
charge of Palermo’s Anti-Mafia Squad, whose headquarters here are emblazoned
with the images of assassinated judges. “It is casting a shadow over our
Revelations of malfeasance in one of Italy’s most promising new sectors is
underscoring a recent push by one of the world’s largest criminal
organizations into a host of legitimate businesses, from chain supermarkets to
shopping malls. But perhaps most importantly, the mafia taint on an industry
seen as a rare engine for new jobs in a country still-mired in the region’s debt crisis_
is foreshadowing a massive challenge ahead for Europe.
To ensure the future of the 17-nation euro zone, economists argue that the
lagging south must begin to rapidly modernize, mirroring the economic
successes of northern neighbors like Germany. Yet the single biggest barrier may
be overcoming the investment-inhibiting, market-distorting power of
I hope in years to come many ordinary folk will thank the sceptics and FOIA for doing our little bit to nudge this scam to a close. It won’t be quick but it will end.
How many green party members does it take to write legislation?
None, it’s already been done for them by Karl Marx.
Not only is there no plan, at the current annual deficits there can’t be a plan.
The last three years of complete data, 2008-2010 show an average deficit of $1.1 trillion dollars per year. The total household income of all households in the U.S. earning more than $250,000 per year is $0.650 trillion per year. If you took every penny from those households, you’d still be in the hole for about $0.5 trillion per year. Forever. It’s a shame Dumbocrats (and a few RINO’s, alas) can’t do math. My prediction is that the first major breech in the dam will be California since they’re a lot closer to being bankrupt (last quarter’s blip notwithstanding). The key will be how Obama reacts; he’s damned if he does and damned if he doesn’t. By itself, California is the world’s 5th largest economy, IIRC. If it tanks, we’re all going to go together. If Obama props up CA, it means deficits so large that we’ll likely fall into an inflationary cycle in the 5-10% range. Kiss the midterms goodbye if that happens.
In real terms, Europeans are becoming poorer. One of the very clear ways that this is showing itself is in falling auto sales. It seems that many Europeans now can no longer afford a car – or at least not a new one. The falling auto sales are showing themselves most in countries like Italy, Spain, and Greece. But even Germany is experiencing a decline.
I suggest the Germans consider manufacturing an off-the-shelf version of a “rocket stove” for home heating. Rocket heaters are very efficient and produce no visible smoke. At present, all that’s available are YouTube videos and online design plans on how to make one oneself, which requires non-trivial welding skills. (A good design plan is here: http://www.iwilltry.org/b/build-a-rocket-stove-for-home-heating/ .) Home-made stoves don’t get a UL tag and won’t be approved by inspectors or insurance companies.
This manufacturing could have the additional benefit of diverting old water heaters, tubing, and oil drums from the trash.
The heaters I have in mind should be distinguished fro rocket stove cookers, which use a simpler design, and rocket stove mass heaters, which employ a more complicated one.
Australia is just as bad, or worse. Of course no measurable environmental benefit.
Add California to the list of Third World Wannabe states too. Or electricity double what it as a couple of years back, now headed for a triple, with a 5x on the future rate schedule Real Soon Now.
I’ve figured out it is cheaper to use gasoline in a Colman stove to heat my house.
But don’t know cost of gasoline / white gas / kerosene in Germany. (Coleman makes a kerosene lantern too. Yes, you could just use a kerosene heater, but this way you get ‘free light’ too! 😉
Alternatively, I can just leave my ‘whole house furnace’ running. It is on relatively cheap natural gas. Big waste to heat the whole house though. Oh well, might as well burn 5 times as much natural gas and not bother ‘conserving’ by using local electric heat in the bedroom…
BTW, I’ve got the parts to make a ‘poor man’s rocket stove’ (the cooking kind) on my patio. Cheaper to cook outdoors over a fire now too… “Progress” ?…
In essence, it is now considerably cheaper to use camping equipment in the yard for cooking than to use my All Electric Kitchen… (On the to do list: Install gas stove). And, as propane is even cheaper than gasoline, it is cheaper to use propane gas lanterns for combined heat and light in winter… Welcome to the 1800s. Next stop, 1640 !
It would be interesting to do the same thing for other energies. In the UK a few years ago under Gordon Brown household gas prices went up 6% in one year. Not because of “renewables” , FITs or anything similar but simply because they can get away with it. IIRC (privately owned) British Gas recorded a £5bn profit that year at just about the time they _raised_ prices.
There were mutterings about a windfall tax but finally they were allowed to keep thier ill-gotten gains since they agreed to give consumers “free advice” on how to save energy.
Real German electricity prices for households have increased 61% since 2000. One quarter of household costs now stems directly from renewable energy.
Can’t imagine what an unreal German would look like.
But more seriously it appears that despite the fuss and bother here about wind and solar being expensive this constitutes evidence that they are not. Note the graph of production costs over time.
So the tax has gone up. This isolated piece of information is not much use without knowing how total taxes are trending. Or total household costs are trending.
Or understanding taxes might have to go up to cover loans to keep the EU afloat because Americans refuse to understand that mortgages have to be paid back.
January 24, 2013 at 4:21 am
And you can thank our ignorant government officials in the US who would rather joust at global warming windmills than realize giving mortgages to unqualified people is political fraud (buying votes for favors).
And they’d rather spend us over the economic cliff of disaster, which will happen in the next 5 years as sure as the sun comes up in the morning. (Adjusting the debt ceiling upward will do nothing except make our splat at the bottom that much bigger.)
I hope you’re all preparing for what’s coming.
January 24, 2013 at 4:21 am
“But more seriously it appears that despite the fuss and bother here about wind and solar being expensive this constitutes evidence that they are not. Note the graph of production costs over time.”
What graph is that? Can’t find it on this page.. Link?
For all UK readers here, try writng to the Scotsman on this. It might have a relatively small Scottish readership but it has not kow-towed to the global watming theme. Indeed, it is one of the few UK newspapers that reported on 28gate. More publicity there might save us from the Salmond scurge…. Though I doubt it
@RockyRoad: You wrote: “Geologists believe the past is the key to the future. So applying that principle to your open-ended question, history has shown that economies collapse when the country has a debt to GDP ratio ranging from 90 to 100%. Greece is a more recent example.”
Hey wait a minute: Our debt to GDP ratio is 106% now. we owe 16.5Trillion and GDP is 15.5Trillion. That’s 106.5%. Right???