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Ten Years and Billions of Dollars Spent on Wind Later: Germany’s Emissions Remain Unchanged

Julia Mengewein — Bloomberg — September 22, 2014

When Germany kicked off its journey toward a system harnessing energy from wind and sun back in 2000, the goal was to protect the environment and build out climate-friendly power generation.

More than a decade later, Europe’s biggest economy is on course to miss its 2020 climate targets and greenhouse-gas emissions from power plants are virtually unchanged. Germany used coal, the dirtiest fuel, to generate 45 percent of its power last year, its highest level since 2007, as Chancellor Angela Merkel is phasing out nuclear in the wake of the Fukushima atomic accident in Japan three years ago.

The transition, dubbed the Energiewende, has so far added more than 100 billion euros ($134 billion) to the power bills of households, shop owners and small factories as renewable energy met a record 25 percent of demand last year. RWE AG, the nation’s biggest power producer, last year reported its first loss since 1949 as utility margins are getting squeezed because laws give green power priority to the grids.

“Despite the massive expansion of renewable energies, achieving key targets for the energy transition and climate protection by 2020 is no longer realistic,” said Thomas Vahlenkamp, a director at McKinsey & Co. in Dusseldorf, Germany, and an adviser to the industry for 21 years. “The government needs to improve the Energiewende so that the current disappointment doesn’t lead to permanent failure.”  Continue reading here…..

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