Wind and solar power have been expensive boondoggles that won’t develop fast enough to affect global warming, according to a New York Times (NYT) article published Wednesday.
The article, written by a NYT economics correspondent, cites Germany’s negative experience with wind and solar, and states “Germany, Europe’s champion for renewable energy, seems to be having second thoughts about its ambitious push to ramp up its use of renewable fuels for power generation.” The NYT also points out that lucrative subsidies for wind and solar power are driving down the production of nuclear energy, eliminating the largest source of electricity that doesn’t create carbon dioxide (CO2).
Germany’s green energy plans have been so disastrous that the government plans to replace most of its wind and solar subsidies with a system of competitive auctions in which the cheapest electricity wins. The average German pays 39 cents per kilowatt-hour for electricity due to intense fiscal support for green energy, while the average American only spends 10.4 cents per kilowatt-hour.
The German government 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 also eliminate 6,000 megawatts of wind power by 2019.
Despite these cutbacks, the German government estimates that it will spend over $1.1 trillion to support wind power, despite the fact that building wind turbines has not actually reduced CO2 emissions enough to slow global warming.
In light of Germany’s experience with wind and solar power, other countries might “do well to reconsider the promise and the limitations of its infatuation with renewable energy,” the NYT article continues.
The massive amount of resources Germany poured into green energy is a direct result of the government’s decision to abandon nuclear energy after the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster in Japan.
Nuclear power provided 29.5 percent of Germany’s energy in 2000. That share dropped down to 17 percent in 2015, and by 2022 the country intends to have every one of its nuclear plants shut down. This shift caused Germany’s CO2 emissions to actually rise by 28 million tons.
Germany’s green energy policies and nuclear shutdown plans have ironically increased the use of coal power, which produces more CO2 than any other form of energy. Coal now provides 44 percent of German electricity.
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