Germany Doesn’t Matter Much Anymore

Apr 07 2014 Published by under European and German energy law

The recent news about reforming the Law on Priority for Renewable Energy in Germany is not great for people like me. As Hans-Josef Fell (one of the original authors of the law) explains in much detail, the reform that will likely become law is restraining growth just about everywhere.

That is bad news for the climate. It is also bad news for Germany’s economy. In the long term, renewable energy is much cheaper than importing fossil fuel. And it doesn’t make much sense to reduce the speed of deployment now, with costs for solar and wind already way down compared to when the Law was first enacted.

But the good news is that Germany doesn’t matter much anymore.

As this article by Bobby Magill at Climate Central just explained, Germany’s investment in renewable energy was a measly $10 billion last year, down from $22.4 billion in 2012. That’s around $125 per capita, which is close to $10 a month.

And it gives Germany a rather mediocre rank of five. China ($54 billion), United States ($36.7 billion), Japan ($28.6 billion) and the United Kingdom ($12.4 billion) all beat Germany’s record. If there was a World Cup for renewable energy, Germany would not even make it to the semi finals. On top of that, we may even fail yet again to win the FIFA World Cup this year.

And that’s before the further reductions in deployment speed from the 2014 reform are even enacted.

It’s all very depressing.

But the good news is of course that with Germany now out of the race, these further reductions don’t matter so much anymore for the global picture.

And that global picture still shows solar deployment up by 29 percent, even with total investment in renewable energy down. The explanation for that is of course less cost per kW of deployment.

So once the politicians in Germany have succeeded in their goal of reducing deployment speeds, we will see Germany fall back even more in the global race. Other countries with China at the top will reap most of the benefits from the cost reductions Germany has paid for with high feed-in tariffs while solar and wind were still expensive.

 

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