German Green Energy Policies 'On the Verge of Failure' Says Vice-Chancellor
Germany's transition towards renewable energy is "on the verge of failure" according the country's Vice-Chancellor. Sigmar Gabriel told an event at SMA Solar, Germany’s leading manufacturer of solar technology, that moving the economy to green energy was more complex than previously thought, and may have to be scaled back.
In the speech, translated by the NoTricksZone blog, Mr Gabriel, who has previously served as environment minister, told the green energy delegates:
"The truth is that in all fields we under-estimated the complexity of the Energiewende [push for green energy]."
"Those who are the engines of the transformation to renewable energies, that's you, you don't see how close we are to the failure of the energy transformation."
He went on the call for major reforms of the subsidies handed to the renewable energy industry, hinting that they will have to be cut.
The mood among the solar energy representatives was one of stunned silence, with the European Institute for Climate Energy writing:
"The responsible persons in attendance at the Hessen-based photovoltaic SMA Solar and all the other profiteers of the EEG feed-in act saw their jaws drop when this late and blunt admission was made."
Successive German governments have heavily encouraged the adoption of renewable energy, handing large subsides to green energy producers. The policy, known as Energiewende, has been proudly touted by previous governments and used as a model across Europe.
By the first half of 2012, renewable energy counted for 22.9 percent of all energy produced in Germany.
The policy has also seen Chancellor Angela Merkel previously announce the closure of all nuclear power stations in the country.
Recently, however, the policy has started coming under attack as Germans see their energy bills soar to the highest levels in Europe.
In February, a group of scientists and economists told the German parliament that the green energy laws were a dismal failure. Not only were they were making energy more expensive, they also had no measurable impact on "climate protection."
In a damning verdict, they said: "The Renewable Energy Sources Act does not produce any additional climate protection but it makes [energy] much more expensive."
The report came as new figures revealed that Germany had spent €100 billion on green energy since 2005, and yet carbon emissions in the country had actually risen during that period.