In Germany’s transition to renewable energy, it’s too much of a good thing. That’s a big reason why the German government on Wednesday voted to slow the nation’s massive build-out of wind, solar and bio-gas power installations to limit costs and, ironically, limit the waste of billions of euros in unused green energy.
State subsidies to companies that produce electricity from wind, solar and bio waste have led to an unbridled growth in alternative energy installations across the German countryside.
The massive energy transition project, begun after Japan’s Fukushima nuclear disaster in 2011, currently costs German taxpayers about €25 billion ($28.5 billion) per year, a dramatic increase from only €883 million in 2000, shortly after the government began subsidizing alternative producers.
The massive infusion of government subsidies has flooded the German market with a glut of electricity, and thrown its conventional power companies, E.ON and RWE, into existential crises as they cope with dramatically lower revenue and a government mandate to retire their nuclear power plants by 2022.