Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Denver Nicks with Serious Falsehoods about Germany‘s Energiewende in Time

Denver Nicks wrote this article in Time!  It must be a a record for serious falsehoods in such a short piece.

It is common for English-language journalists to misrepresent facts and reasons of the energy transformation currently being undertaken in Germany.  Many of them cannot read German and recycle material provided to them in English.  They are easy victims of the hired pens of the incumbent utilities, and the coal and nuclear lobbies.  Denver Nicks appears to be one of them.

Here are my short corrections on the three gravest falsehoods in that article:

1)  The Energiewende is not "state-subsidized"; there have been no subsidies for the last 10 years or so.  The feed-in tariff does not involve government money, and is therefore not a subsidy.  In fact, the Energiewende results in a significant increase in tax revenue (and social security contributions):  The Energiewende policy is fiscally positive, and as such should be replicated by Euro countries with high deficits and debts.

2)  Energy prices (meaning power prices) are not high and not rising in Germany.  In fact, prices on the power exchanges are at record lows, still trending down, and any industrial power user with enough wits can now lock in those low prices until the end of 2017.  Anyone from industry complaining about high power prices is either a liar or has been duped by utilities and power traders.

3)  The "post-Fukushima draw-down of nuclear power" has not led to an increase in the use of coal.  Coal use and emissions went up in 2012 and 2013, but no nuclear plants were shut in those years.  (The last shut-down was immediately after Fukushima in 2011; the next shut down is scheduled for the end of 2016.)  There are reasons for an increase in coal use, all of them bad and avoidable, but the nuclear phase-out is not one of them.

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