Truth About Germany’s EEG is Hard to Find

Truth About Germany’s EEG is Hard to Find

One can expect organizations such as the Union of Concerned Scientists to provide biased or inaccurate information, but there are traditional mainstream media organizations that also provide misleading or inaccurate information.

Some of these publications may come as a surprise.

One such example is Power Magazine, a magazine reporting on the power generation industry. For the past few years, it has been an ardent supporter of the CO2 hypothesis. 

A previous editor, an engineer, reported accurately and faithfully on why the CO2 hypothesis made no sense, but since his retirement, he has been replaced by editors who frequently lack engineering experience and who are supporters of anthropogenic global warming (AGW).

An example of Power Magazine’s misreporting was in its July issue, where it published an article titled, Germany Paved the way for the World’s Energy Transition, in which it said,

“About two years ago, Germany changed its feed-in-tariff to an auctioning model and prices decreased even more dramatically. The latest prices for PV were about €0.04/kWh ‘in the very sunny region of the world in Germany.’ ”

This was a huge distortion of the truth, implying that PV solar could be produced at 4 cents per kWh.

In fact, this isn’t the cost of producing electricity, it’s the guaranteed price the provider will be paid for twenty years if the market price is lower. In other words, the supplier is guaranteed a price that covers a large part of the investment but will get paid whatever the market price actually is.

Admittedly, the German EEG legislation is complicated, but Power Magazine should have investigated the situation further before publishing misleading information that implies PV solar is less expensive than electricity generated by natural gas or coal-fired power plants.

A town near Passau, Germany with extensive PV Roof Top Solar. Photo by D. Dears

Prior to leaving for Europe, I had been communicating with Clean Energy Wire (CLEW), located in Berlin, and they had sent me the latest EEG law, Renewable Energy Sources Act (EEG 2017). The act, in English, is available at 

Here is what CLEW said:

“The winning bidder receives his bid amount as a minimum, but when the market value is higher, he receives the market value because he is selling his electricity at the power exchange and receives the same price as everyone else there, determined by the merit order.”

In trying to have a complete understanding of the new EEG act, I met with an engineer in Delft, the Netherlands, who was knowledgeable in the operation of the Dutch grid. He complained about Germany’s dumping of electricity from the over-production of wind generated electricity onto the Dutch grid.

He pointed out that Germany lacks the transmission capacity to send electricity from wind turbines in the North, to where it can be used in southern Germany. To make use of wind generated electricity, Germany will have to spend billions of Euros on additional transmission capacity which will further increase electricity prices in Germany.

The situation in Germany is far more complicated, and less favorable, than Power Magazine reported.

This is a cautionary tale, where everyone should be suspicious of what the media reports when it comes to climate change. See, Picking and Choosing

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4 Replies to “Truth About Germany’s EEG is Hard to Find”

  1. Donn,

    I have also found that it is very hard to find the costs of renewable energy, both here and in Germany. The costs are deliberately spread over several areas: price for electricity, price for selling RECs, tax breaks of various sorts. You would have to know all these and add them up to learn the price the consumer ultimately pays. Solar at 4 cents is just taking one component of the cost.

    As you know, I disagree with you about global warming. However, hiding renewable costs is a separate issue from CO2. I am always glad when you look into these hidden costs.

    • Thanks for your comments.
      From my perspective, the only reason for misleading people about renewables is because of the supposed need to cut CO2 emissions. What is the media’s motive for misleading people about the cost of renewables?
      There are two incontrovertible facts about AGW.
      1. IPCC temperature forecasts have overstated real-world actual temperatures, or temperature sensitivity to CO2, by a factor of three.
      2. Temperatures over the past 10,000 years have been higher than today’s temperatures for extended periods at least ten times, while CO2 atmospheric levels were steady at 280 ppm.
      I hope you, and others will read the short brochure, We Have Nothing to Fear from CO2, available from my website in pdf format.

  2. I read similar biased articles about the Chinese power sector – written by “China Fans” who don’t publicly criticise China as they fear they won’t get their visa to visit the country renewed!
    I think anyone who is critical of an “accepted orthodoxy” is always vulnerable and may be shunnedor ridiculed – or have critical or inconvenient information left unpublished and blocked.