German Energiewende Flops – Despite Spending Billions of Euros

  • Date: 15/05/19
  • The Daily Telegraph

Germany will not meet its carbon emissions targets in 2020 despite spending billions of euros

Germany was once heralded as an example of how ingenuity and sheer willpower could force an energy market to reform in the face of climate change scepticism and financial imposition.

The great renewable revolution, or Energiewende as its known in the local tongue, served as motivation for billions of euros to be funnelled into global funds managed by the World Bank and the United Nations in the hope that the investments would allow poorer nations to leapfrog the need for their own industrial revolutions.

Steam swells from the cooling towers of the RWE lignite-fired Neurath power plant in Grevenbroich, Germany.

But as the country approaches its fourth decade since the term Energiewende was first coined by activists, and later adopted by politicians, Germany has been forced to accept it will not meet its 2020 carbon emissions targets as it grapples with a radical decrease in the financial viability of a heavily renewable grid.

Germany has managed to significantly reduce its reliance on fossil fuels since 2000 and now commands an energy grid which derives 35 per cent of its electricity from renewable sources.

However, it took $930 billion in infrastructure and investments to achieve this goal and only 16.3 per cent of the grid comes from solar and wind with the rest being buffered by hydro and, concerningly, biomass sources which still involve pollution creation through the burning of ethanol and biodiesel. Some scientists, and a growing lobby of green activists, argue it should not be classified as renewable energy at all.

The cost is frightening for countries preparing to embark on their own Energiewende but it is evidence that a cost can, quite accurately, be predicted, despite claims from some of Australia’s political elites that it cannot.

And even with the full weight of Germany’s economy behind the push, the energy split is still expected to be roughly the same in 2025 as it is today. The country’s great energy revolution has begun to plateau.

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