[H]ere’s the truth: Windmills and solar plants serve just two purposes in Germany now. They enrich green cronies, and impress clueless people abroad.
In September 2005, two days after hurricane Katrina had hit New Orleans, Germany’s environment minister, Jürgen Trittin (Green Party), blamed the disaster on America’s rejection of the Kyoto accord on carbon dioxide emissions. “America’s president,” Trittin wrote in the newspaper Frankfurter Rundschau, “shuts his eyes to the economic and human damage that natural catastrophes like Katrina inflict on his country and the world’s economy.”
Carbon emissions in the U.S. are now at the lowest level since 1994, and the EPA is taking action to effectively ban new coal plants in the United States.
Germany, on the other hand, is becoming more and more dependent on coal.
This month, it was revealed that German coal electricity production is the highest since 1990. And the coal burned in German power plants is not like Appalachia’s high-grade bituminous coal with its high-energy content and low sulphur. Most of it is brown coal (lignite), low-density, like that which is used for barbecues.
This rise in coal electricity is not, as some newspapers have written, happening “despite the country’s campaign to shift to green sources of energy.” It is happening because of the shift.
The windmills and solar panels are a Potemkin village, an extremely expensive one. Since cheap natural gas is not available, Germany needs more and more coal plants to reliably produce electricity, especially since the remaining nine nuclear plants will be shut down between 2020 and 2022.