Germany plans to stop building new offshore wind turbines to lower the costs of electricity and prop up its ailing power grid, according to a revision to a new energy law.
The revision of the law will come into force at the start of 2017, and will sharply limit the construction of new offshore wind farms, reports Reuters. The motivation behind the law is that Germany’ over-reliance on wind power “has pushed up electricity costs in Europe’s biggest economy and placed a strain on its grids,” the article reads.
“Germany now has electric rates for consumers that are among the highest in the world. Energy poverty has become a reality for millions of German families,” Myron Ebell, director of the Center for Energy and Environment at the free market Competitive Enterprise Institute, told The Daily Caller News Foundation. “The German government, instead of changing course, is trying to get away with minor policy changes in the hope that people will put up with sky-high current electric rates if the rate of increase slows down. Note that electric rates for industry are higher than in the coal states in the U. S., but much lower than retail rates that German consumers pay. If that were not the case, German automakers would move all their production to eastern Europe, the U. S., etc.”
The government plans to cap the total amount of wind energy at 40 to 45 percent of national capacity, according to a report published last month by the German newspaper Berliner Zeitung. By 2019, Germany will get rid of 6,000 megawatts of wind power capacity.
Until then, Germany has been minimizing the damage of their current wind farms by paying consumers to take excess power and asking wind and solar producers to switch off when they’re not needed. Germany paid wind farms $548 million last year to switch off in order to prevent damage to the country’s electric grid.
Power grids require that demand for electricity exactly match supply in order to function. This is an enormous problem for wind and solar power since their output cannot be accurately predicted in advance or easily adjusted. Wind and solar can burn out the grid if they produce too much, or not enough, electricity, leading to brownouts or blackouts. Such damage has already occurred in Germany and in other grids that rely too much on solar and wind power — as in California.
Despite the cut backs to wind power, the German government estimates that it will spend more than $1.1 trillion financially supporting wind power, even though building wind turbines hasn’t achieved the government’s goal of actually reducing carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions to slow global warming.
The U.S. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) is currently investigating how green energy undermines the reliability of the electrical grid. FERC believe there is a “significant risk” of electricity in the United States becoming unreliable because “wind and solar don’t offer the services the shuttered coal plants provided.” Environmental regulations could make operating conventional coal or natural gas power plants unprofitable, which could compromise the reliability of the American power grid.
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