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Government Fears Energy Price Rises May Cost It Next Elections

Germany’s Green Energy Switch ‘About To Collapse’


By --January 31, 2013

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Germany’s switch to renewable energy is bound to fail with consumer prices at a 15-year high while wholesale prices are languishing, the chief executive of Austrian energy group Verbund said. Germany’s market, due to its retreat from nuclear power after Japan’s 2011 Fukushima disaster, was ‘about to collapse’, Wolfgang Anzengruber said, citing a lack of necessary investment that is compounding a broken pricing model.—Reuters, 30 January 2013

Delaying subsidies and discussing taxes on sustainable energy producers, the German government is evaluating options to reduce the rising price of power. Owners of wind farms and solar panels in Germany may face taxes on the sustainable measures for the first time as the government combats rising power prices throughout the country. In preparation for election year, Chancellor Angela Merkel looks to the energy industry to lower prices from consumers.—OHS News, 29 January 2013

Electricity prices are rising in Germany – and citizen with a low-income are suffering particularly. They are at risk of fuel poverty. 10 to 15 percent of Germans are now struggling to pay their energy bills. 600,000 households have the electricity turned off every year.—Das Handelsblatt, 29 April 2012

The CEOs of manufacturing industries are warning that production in Germany is at risk because of low energy prices in the United States. The energy prices there are now only a third of those in Germany. “Many industrial companies are planning to build new factories in the U.S. and not in Europe because of low energy prices there,” said Gisbert Rühl, chief of steel trader Kloeckner. “We are now reacting to this development and plan new business units in the United States.” To move production to the U.S. is especially attractive for companies in energy-intensive industries such as steel and aluminium or chemistry.—Finanz Nachrichten, 25 January 2013

Worlee-Chemie GmbH, a family-owned company that has produced resins in the city of Hamburg for almost a century, is trying to escape the spiraling cost of Germany’s shift to renewable energy. A 47 per cent increase on January 1 in the fees grid operators set to fund wind and solar investments is driving the maker of paint ingredients to Turkey, where next month it will start making a new type of hardening agent at a factory near Istanbul.—The Sydney Morning Herald, 28 January 2013

Germany plans to cut electricity prices for consumers - just ahead of September’s national elections - by sharing the cost of the switch to renewable energy more evenly with companies. Environment Minister Peter Altmaier said laws would be passed by Aug. 1. Altmaier is a close Merkel aide who was put in charge to steer through a dramatic U-turn on energy policy. The resulting increase in the cost of electricity to German consumers and industry’s concerns about the risk of shortages pose a potential threat to Merkel’s bid for a third term in September’s elections.—Markus Wacket, Reuters, 28 January 2013

Eon, Germany’s biggest utility by revenues, is considering the closure of one of Europe’s most modern gas-fired power stations. Eon is planning to shut down of its Irsching plant in Bavaria in March and other plants could follow. The rapid growth of renewable energy sources had made coal and, especially, gas-fired power stations “largely uneconomic to operate”, the company said.—Gerrit Wiesmann, Financial Times, 31 January 2013

Edward Luce (“Obama must make up for his carbon omissions”, January 21) writes that “the reality of global warming is starker than four years ago – in most respects alarmingly so”. The evidence points in the opposite direction. Since the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change produced its last report in 2007, global temperatures, as measured by the HadCRUT3 series, have not increased but have moved sideways, extending the standstill in temperature to more than a decade. All this suggests that our climate continues to warm gradually, as it has done since early in the 19th century (which is long before CO2 concentrations started to rise). It may be more plausible to conclude that global warming is around 1°C per century with periods of faster and slower growth fluctuating around the trend, rather than the 3°C predicted by the IPCC. If so what is happening is interesting but it hardly justifies the epithet alarming.—Lord Turnbull, Financial Times, 31 January 2013



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