Energy

Hundreds In Germany Demand End To Coal, Despite Government Spending Billions To Do So

REUTERS/Axel Schmidt

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Jason Hopkins Immigration and politics reporter

Environmental activists marched through Berlin to protest Germany’s use of coal, even though the country has already spent a fortune to end its reliance on coal-generated electricity.

Hundreds of protesters took to the streets of Berlin’s government district on Sunday to demand Germany quit using coal as a resource for energy production. Numerous activists marched with balloons that read “Stop Coal” and “Save Climate” in German, according to an Associated Press report. The protests come before Germany’s coal exit commission is due to hold its first meeting next week.

However, the German government hasn’t been lagging in its attempt to transition away from fossil fuels. Europe’s largest economy has — so far — spent an estimated $200 billion on an initiative to prop up its renewable energy sector.

Through a sweeping green energy program called “Energiewende,” Germany has spent billions over the past 20 years to transition toward renewable energy and away from fossil fuels, becoming a world leader in wind energy use. The overall goal of Energiewende is to slash Germany’s pollution rate by closing down coal and nuclear plants in favor of wind, solar and biofuel energy sources.

The initiative has come at great expense to the average German, who has paid an estimated $2,500 to fund these programs. (RELATED: Germany Won’t Meet Its Global Warming Targets Despite Spending $200 Billion On Green Energy)

Such a major transition to wind and solar has not come without its downfalls. Due to the unreliability of renewable technology — turbines can only generate power when the wind is blowing, and solar panels can only work when the sun is shining — Germany’s power grid has become more susceptible to fluctuations in generation.

An incoming shortfall of wind and an expected heat wave may hit German ratepayers with skyrocketing utility costs.

Despite the enormous investments in renewables, Germany announced on June 18 that it would miss its carbon reduction targets.

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