German Green Party Collapsing In ‘Existential Crisis’

(REUTERS/Yves Herman

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Andrew Follett Energy and Science Reporter
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Germany’s Green Party is collapsing and the party could lose all its seats in the national legislature, according to a Monday article in the magazine Der Spiegel.

The Greens are polling very poorly in upcoming national elections scheduled for September, and the party doesn’t seem to have a plan to solve the problem, according to Der Spiegel. The magazine notes the party is in ‘existential crisis.’

The Greens currently control 63 of the 630 seats in Germany’s national legislative body, but this is almost certain to decline during the elections. If the party doesn’t receive at least 5 percent of the vote, it will not have a representative at the federal level.

“The Greens are dying in entire regions,” writes Der Spiegel. “Their ten-nation-wide governmental participation is an illusion because the Greens are often needed as majority-makers to be an alternative to the Grand Coalition at all. But there is no sustainable electoral commitment.”

The Green Party lost every seat it held in a regional German legislature after a crushing election defeat in March. The party did not receive the 5 percent of votes required to have a representative in regional government.

Other far-left parties in Germany only received a combined 12.9 percent of the vote in the last election, which isn’t enough to form a coalition with other left-leaning parties, such as 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 powered all their reserve plants, a desperate  move,  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 triggered a national blackout if just one power plant went 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 ditch 6,000 megawatts of wind power capacity by 2019.

The country’s trendy and ineffective energy policy already forced payments of $548 million last year to switch off wind farms, 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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