WASHINGTON – Today, President Obama welcomes Angela Merkel, the Chancellor of Germany. Merkel has made news recently for vowing to shut down her nation’s 17 nuclear power plants by 2022 and replace their energy output with renewable power facilities.
Ms. Merkel, typically viewed as a champion of fiscal austerity within the European Union, seems misguided in her quest to force German citizens to pay more for their energy by replacing reliable nuclear power plants with expensive, intermittent, unreliable technologies such as solar and wind.
A 2009 study commissioned by the Institute for Energy Research shows that Germany’s doubling-down on renewable energy subsidies have cost citizens there huge sums of money while providing very little economic or environmental benefit:
-Solar PV, Germany’s most heavily subsidized renewable energy, accounted for as little as 0.6% of Germany’s total electricity generation in 2008 at a net cost of about $12.4 billion US.
-Government aid for wind power is now three times the cost of conventional electricity.
-Government support for solar energy between 2000 and 2010 is estimated to have a total net cost of $73.2 billion US, and the cost of supporting wind power during those years is estimated to total $28.1 billion US.
In response to Merkel’s visit to the U.S., Thomas Pyle, president of the Institute for Energy Research, issued the following statement:
“Chancellor Merkel is ignoring the real world implication of her pie-in-the-sky policies: her citizens will be forced to foot the bill. Germany has spent over $100 billion in taxpayer money over the past decade subsidizing the wind and solar industries, but they still produce less than seven percent of the nation’s energy.
“President Obama has shown a penchant for radical energy policies in the past. After Stephen Chu publicly stated that ‘somehow we have to figure out how to boost the price of gasoline to the levels in Europe,’ Obama appointed him as Secretary of Energy. We can only hope that President Obama abandons his quest to be more like Germany and other European countries with respect to energy policy.”