Comparing Altmaier’s “ONE TRILLION EURO” with the 2011 Government Report

I am still fascinated with the recent statement of German Environment Minister Peter Altmaier that the cost for the feed-in tariff might reach ONE TRILLION EURO until 2040. See these two previous posts.

So I thought it might be of interest to look at previous estimates published by the German Ministry of Environment for the long term cost of the system.

The Ministry has published a report on the experiences with the feed-in tariff in 2011. It discusses the long term cost on its pages 136 to 145. Especially the graph reproduced below is of interest:

That graph shows costs peaking around 2015 and then going down massively after 2020 (when the most expensive solar installations will drop out of the system after their 20 years of receiving the feed-in tariff).  It estimates the sum of all costs until 2030 at EUR 175 billion.

There have been a couple of record breaking solar years after that, but at greatly reduced prices (and therefore solar feed-in tariffs). And it was not yet known in 2011 that solar would be capped at 52 GW (a factor reducing cost in the mid term).

Adjusting for the somewhat faster than expected solar installation record after this report, let’s be generous and add EUR 75 billion up to 2030 (around 4 billion a year on average) in cost to the 2011 estimate. That still leaves EUR 750 billion missing to reach ONE TRILLION EURO until 2040. With solar capped at 52 GW, there is simply no way this could happen.

And while the cost is now at 16.7 billion (for 2012), which is a couple of billion higher than expected two years ago, I still believe that the main point of the above graph is true. Costs will peak in the next couple of years, and go down massively in the decade after 2020.

I don’t know if Altmaier has consulted his own Ministry’s report on this question before voicing his opinion. But I think his statement is not compatible with what the Ministry said two years ago, and I also think that the 2011 report is much more reliable.


Published by kflenz

Professor at Aoyama Gakuin University, Tokyo. Author of Lenz Blog (since 2003,

3 thoughts on “Comparing Altmaier’s “ONE TRILLION EURO” with the 2011 Government Report

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