Germans Give Away Green Electricity Worth 3 Billion Euros

  • Date: 05/04/13
  • Jan W. Schafer, Bild

Germany is sending more and more green power abroad – and consumers are paying for it.

Estimates by energy experts suggest that in 2012 German electricity customers have subsidised power supplies abroad to the tune of  three billion Euros at least. The estimates are based on figures from the Federal Statistical Office.

Germany has sold 66.6 terawatt hours (TWh) of electricity abroad in the past year, mostly green electricity. In turn, 43.8 TWh were fed into the German grid from abroad – resulting in an export surplus of almost 23 TWh.

A TWh equals one billion kilowatt-hours (kWh). It is the usual unit of measurement of power consumption. For every kilowatt hour of electricity generated from solar or wind in Germany, German energy customers have to pay – even if they use no green electricity at all.

“On average, green electricity is subsidised by consumers with 18 cents per kilowatt hour,” says Professor Manuel Frondel of the RWI economic institute to On the stock market, however, the kilowatt hour sells for much less money for exports abroad. The price is less than 5 cents/kWh, according to Frondel. “This results in a cost of at least 13 cents, with which the power delivered abroad is subsidised.”

In plain English: Every German citizen has subsidised the electricity supplied to foreign countries -minus imports of electricity – on average by at least 36.60 Euros in 2012.

This year, the amount is likely to be even higher because the German electricity exports will continue to grow due to the green energy transition.

Frondel: “The dilemma is that the more green electricity is produced, the higher the subsidy for consumers.” At the same time green electricity gets cheaper and cheaper at the stock market because of the growing amount. The consequence: It is becoming increasingly expensive for German consumers.”

German politicians now want to stop this trend. At the beginning of the year, Environment Minister Peter Altmaier (Christian Democrats, CDU) presented his plans for reducing the lush subsidies for green electricity. But it is difficult to change the long-term contracts for renewable electricity producers.

RWI expert Frondel therefore calls for a radical step and wants to cut the subsidies for green electricity completely: “The development must be broken. This is only possible through ending the funding for the lush green power. ”

Full story (in German)


Translation: Philipp Mueller 

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