Germany was the first major economy to make a big shift in its energy mix toward low carbon sources, but Germany is failing to meet its climate goals of reducing harmful carbon-dioxide emissions even after spending over $580 billion by 2025 to overhaul its energy systems. Germany’s emissions miss should be a “wake-up” call for governments everywhere.
Germany stepped us as a leader on climate change, by phasing out nuclear, and pioneered a system of subsidies for wind and solar that sparked a global boom in manufacturing those technologies.
Germany’s contributions are about 905 million metric tons, of greenhouse gases which is about two percent of the world’s contributions. Contrary to their climate goals, over the last two years, Germany’s carbon emissions have risen for the second year in a row!
Like Germany, America’s renewables are becoming an increasing share in electricity generation, but at a HIGH COST. The emission reduction goals have increased the costs of electricity and transportation fuels and may be very contributory to America’s growing homelessness and poverty populations.
Power prices in Germany are among the highest in Europe – but many customers continue to support the switch to renewable energy sources regardless. Today, German Households pay almost 50% more for electricity than they did in 2006. Much of that increase in electricity cost is the Renewable Surcharge that has increased over the same period by 770%.
In California, the State that is trying to set the emission standards for the world with significant enacted legislation, and like the trend in Germany, California households are paying about 40 percent more than the national average for electricity according to 2016 data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration.
For fuel, Californians continue to pay almost $1.00 more per gallon of fuel than the rest of the country due to a) the state sales tax per gallon which are some of the highest in the country; b) refinery reformatting costs per gallon; c) cap and trade program compliance costs per gallon; d) low-carbon fuel standard program compliance costs per gallon; and e) renewable fuels standard program compliance costs per gallon.
California is an “energy island” to its almost 40 million citizens, bordered between the Pacific Ocean and the Sierra Nevada Mountains. The state’s daily need to support its 145 airports (inclusive of 33 military, 10 major, and more than 100 general aviation) is 13 million gallons a day of aviation fuels. In addition, for the 35 million registered vehicles of which 90 percent are NOT EV’s are consuming DAILY: 10 million gallons a day of diesel and 42 million gallons a day of gasoline. All that “expensive” fuel is a heavy cost to consumers.
Despite higher energy bills, public opinion has remained supportive of the energy transition and the strategy to cut emissions. That support is apt to shift when politicians resolve the debate about how their targets match reality. Either they will have to abandon the goals and live with more pollution than they’ve promised, or they will have to force through painful and expensive measures, a further limit to emissions.
Germany, like California, is also trying to phase out nuclear reactors. California has already shutdown the 24/7 nuclear generating facility of SCE’s San Onofre Generating Station which generated 2,200 megawatts of power that closed in 2013, and will be closing PG&E’s Diablo Canyon’s 2,160 megawatts of power in 2024
Shutting down nuclear plants is leaving California, like Germany, short of 24/7 generation plants that can work on the breezeless and dark days when wind farms and solar plants won’t provide much to the grid—and demand is at its peak. Yet to be determined is the impact on rate payers? Will there be more reliance in California and America placed on fossil fuels for 24/7 power?
California is the world’s 5th largest economy, and contributes less than the one percent of the world’s GHG emissions. The other 49 states in America are contributing significantly less and should be concerned about the unintended consequences of both climate goals of Germany and California and the higher costs onto their citizens.
Germany’s failed climate goals should be an ominous wake-up call for California, America, and governments everywhere struggling to reach their own targets.
Subsidizing investments in low-power density renewables of wind and solar to obtain intermittent electricity from their huge land mass requirements, are all resulting in higher costs of electricity and fuels to the consumers. The unintended consequences are that the climate goals of Germany and California are further fueling the growth of the homelessness and poverty populations.