Germany’s billion Euro green mistake

Germany has made a €1 billion (£860m) mistake by over-investing in renewable energy. That’s according to Professor Fritz Vahrenholt, one of the founders of Germany’s environmental movement and the former Director of Innogy, […]

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By Jonny Bairstow
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Germany has made a €1 billion (£860m) mistake by over-investing in renewable energy.

That’s according to Professor Fritz Vahrenholt, one of the founders of Germany’s environmental movement and the former Director of Innogy, one of Europe’s largest renewable energy companies.

The professor told ELN that German consumers and industry will pay a hefty price for the nation’s hurried approach to the green energy transition (Energiewende) and warned the UK not to do the same.

He believes that the risk of climate change due to Carbon Dioxide emissions has been vastly overstated and that there is actually a much larger window in which to transition to a low carbon economy than generally thought.

He says Germany in particular has become over-saturated with expensive wind turbines before the necessary supporting technology, such as battery storage, has become available.

He told ELN this way of doing things was ‘inefficient, expensive and detrimental to growth’ and has resulted in ‘an energy crisis is lurking around the corner’.

It means the grid goes over capacity when the sun is out and wind speeds are high.

Professor Vahrenholt said: “We very often reach more than we need in Germany and the only thing we can do is close down the wind farms and pay for the power that has not been produced.

“That amounts now to €1 billion a year and therefore I think we should warn the UK not to follow this path.”

In the periods of ‘dark doldrums’, when solar and wind can’t generate power, huge amounts of money also need to be spent on firing up coal and gas sites to back them up.

Professor Vahrenholt said Europe-wide policy corrections are now needed to avoid economic disaster.