Florian Bamberg has started a new blog titled “Energy in Germany” where he spreads some standard anti-renewable propaganda talking points in his first post.
In fact, German politicians are pondering about switching from feed-in tariffs to the utilities having to source certain portions of their electricity from renewable power.
That is not true. The German government just decided to reject the proposals for ditching the successful Law on Priority for Renewable Energy and introduce a renewable portfolio standard instead. The only political party supporting this is the FDP, which may or may not clear barely 5% in the next elections and survive (I sure hope they don’t), but who have no chance whatsoever to actually get a majority for this policy.
Germany had been subsidising its solar power recklessly. Especially after political leader Angela Merkel euphorically announced the nuclear phase-out and subsequent transformation of the energy system in May 2011, feed-in tariffs for solar power had been given a substantial rise.
Never in the history of the feed-in tariff system there has been a rise for solar. The tariffs only went down, as well as the costs. The reduction in 2011 was 13%, automatically induced by high installation records in 2010.
Even the anti-renewable losers at INSM don’t use this kind of talking point that is refuted with one link to Wikipedia.
Soon, Angela Merkel was facing a severe backlash – by the energy intensive industry which was faced with severely mounting production costs, by the lesser partner in her coalition and by consumer groups.
Actually, the energy intensive industry is largely exempt from the surcharges. They pay 0.05 cents per kWh, regardless of the burden on other users. In contrast, they profit from the falling wholesale price for electricity caused by the merit order effect.
Taking into account that crisis-ridden European countries like Spain and Italy have also been cutting down their solar budgets, it’s easy to explain why German developers of solar parks and producers of solar panels have been folding one after another. Even for comparatively resilient companies like Solarworld, the stock value is plummeting. The subsidies that everybody had to pay through energy bills lead to exactly nothing. They were and still are an utter waste of money.
He gets this half right. Indeed, solar panel makers in Germany as well as in the United States are losing out to the competition in China.
However, the feed-in tariff law is not a subsidy in the first place, and it is certainly not one for industrial policy purposes. Article 1 of the Law on Priority for Renewable Energy gives four purposes, none of them supporting German solar panel manufacturers.
For the record, these are: Achieving a sustainable energy supply in the interest of climate protection, reducing the economic cost of the energy supply by including external costs, leave more of the fossil energy reserves for the future, and support the development of renewable energy technology.
I think that all of the above has been achieved. The law has been a resounding success. But the most important success is the fact that even people like Bamberg and the INSM losers will be forced to acknowledge, which is the radical reduction of solar PV prices made possible by the mass production under this system.
Update: Bamberg kindly answers in a comment to this post.