The anti-renewable position is a fringe minority loser position in Germany. But there are still some voices trying to resist the energy transition.
The biggest lobby organization with that agenda seems to be one INSM. That’s “Initiative Neue Soziale Marktwirtschaft” or “Initiative for a New Social Market Economy”.
They are financed at about 9 million euro a year (substantially more than the budget of my blog) by the association of employers in the metal and electricity industry (Gesamtmetall). Wikipedia says they employ eight people full-time and about 40 part-time.
Right now they try to push the proposal of abolishing the Law on Priority for Renewable Energy (EEG) and replace it with a renewable portfolio standard.
Of course you would not know from their website that the German government rejected these proposals two days ago. And you would not know from their website that no political party except the anti-renewable FDP supports them, so their proposals are a minority position with zero chance of actually becoming law.
That said, let’s take a look at the reasons they give for their proposal.
They start out with some fairly standard boiler-plate anti-solar talking points. They voice some wrong ideas about the cost of solar you would expect from an anti-renewable propaganda outfit. And then they say that their proposal would enable competition between different forms of renewable generation.
They have a point there. A renewable energy standard works to suppress technologies that happen to be more expensive at a particular point of time.
Right now, that would be offshore wind, which is much more expensive than solar PV already and way behind schedule.
That’s kind of ironic, since their paymasters (the big utility companies) are investing in offshore wind, but not in solar. So they should be happy about the fact that the campaign they are financing has failed to deliver political support, since it would mean much less money for offshore wind in the future.
But that is a very shortsighted view. The EEG has rejected the idea. Instead there was a very deliberate decision to pay more money in the short term to bring prices down for solar, and that has been extremely successful (a fact you won’t find pointed out at the INSM anti-renewable propaganda site).
That in turn makes it possible to displace coal in China with solar PV right now. Had the anti-renewable FDP got its way ten years ago, solar PV would still be at 50 cents a kWh. Which would have suited the paymasters of the loser INSM, I suppose. But it would have been very bad news for the climate.
But that train has left the station. Solar won’t ever go back to those prices. The anti-renewable losers failed to stop solar PV ten years ago, and there is no way left for them to stop it now.
They then present the talking point that deploying renewable energy actually does not help reducing CO2, which is rather not convincing at first glance. Of course renewable reduces CO2. That’s one of the main points.
It’s also not convincing at further scrutiny. Their argument is that with a emission trade system in place, all the renewable electricity generation does is shift the carbon use to somewhere else.
That is correct as long as you discard the possibility of reducing the number of permits in the system as a reaction to reduction of emissions by renewable deployment.
Just as solar feed-in tariffs are reduced by 2.5% a month right now, the number of permits should be reduced each month by administrative decision of the EU Commission, taking into account progress.
In other words, their argument should lead to a more frequent and realistic reduction of carbon permits, as opposed to the long term “1.74% a year” set in stone (Article 9 Directive 29/2009). It does not explain that renewable energy really does not reduce CO2 emissions. It does, obviously.
Their next point is actually interesting. They present some estimates (not to be trusted, since they come from this anti-renewable propaganda outfit) on the cumulative cost of continuing with the EEG until 2020.
For solar PV, they think that a further deployment of 27.2 GW would lead to another 13.2 billion euro in costs. In contrast, for offshore wind they assume 9.5 GW deployment at cost of 23.1 billion. That shows that under their preferred renewable portfolio standard, offshore wind would lose out to solar, damaging the interest of their paymasters.
Actually, solar PV feed-in tariffs won’t last until 2020 since they have a ceiling of 52 GW that will be reached much earlier than that.
So I for one am not convinced by any of their talking points. But next time I see them pop up in some misinformed article, I know where they come from.
They are also financing some advertising campaigns against the EEG.