Energy

Germany’s Green Party Booted Out Of Gov’t In Key Election

The Green Party lost every seat it held in a regional German legislature after a crushing election defeat Sunday.

Greens did not receive the 5 percent of votes required to have a representative in the regional assembly of Saarland.

The Greens still control 63 of the 630 seats in Germany’s national legislative body, but this may change during the September elections. Greens received three of the state legislature’s 51 seats in the 2009 election after receiving 5.9 percent of the vote.

Other far-left parties only received a combined 12.9 percent of the vote, which isn’t enough to form a coalition with other left-leaning parties, like the Social Democrats. The Social Democrats saw their percentage of the vote fall in the regional elections as well.

Christian Democrats, Angela Merkel’s party, gained the most, earning 40.7 percent of the vote. The right wing anti-immigrant Alternative for Germany party also did well, earning 6.2 percent.

Voters may have punished left-leaning parties because Germany’s power grid almost collapsed in January due to poorly-performing wind turbines and solar panels. Unusually cloudy weather combined with atypical wind speeds set the stage for massive blackouts.

“A major blackout almost occurred Jan. 24 and was only prevented when German energy suppliers “also took the last reserve power plant,” Michael Vassiliadis, head of the union that represents power plants IG Bergbau, Chemie, Energie, told reporters. The country’s power grid was strained to the absolute limit and could have gone offline entirely, triggering a national blackout, if just one power plant had gone offline, according to Vassiliadis.

Germany was forced to recommission coal power plants to simply keep the lights on. The country’s green energy plans call for 30 such power plants to shut down by 2019.

As a result of green energy’s rampant unreliability, Germany plans to cap the total amount of wind energy at 40 to 45 percent of national capacity, according to a report published by the German newspaper Berliner Zeitung. Germany will get rid of 6,000 megawatts of wind power capacity by 2019.

The country’s trendy and ineffective energy policy already forced payments to wind farms in the amount of $548 million last year to switch off, which prevented additional damage to the electric grid, according to a survey of power companies by the German newspaper Wirtschaftswoche.

All of Germany’s subsidies and support for green energy have sharply increased power prices, with the average German paying 39 cents per kilowatt-hour for electricity. The average American only spends 10.4 cents per kilowatt-hour by comparison.

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