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New York Times quoting false propaganda on Germany’s move to renewable energy

text-renw-GermanyNew York Times Gets Big, Red “F” On Germany’s Renewable Energy Transition, Clean Technica, 8 May 14“.…….I’m going straight for the key BS points one by one as they appear in the NYTimes article. Not wanting to further impress some BS myths onto your minds, each section below starts with the counter-point rather than the message the NYTimes‘ Melissa Eddy and Stanley Reed provided.

Energiewende (the German plan to cut off nuclear and fossil fuel energy and replace it with clean, renewable energy) is running extremely well. Yes, there is a very popular talking point right now that claims Energiewende is running into problems (something like our congressional GOP’s “global warming action would hurt the economy” meme, which is actually completely false). In other words, this first key point from the NYTimes is total BS. Energiewende has come along and changed Germany in exactly the ways it was intended to. Changes to the country’s feed-in tariff policies have been implemented as solar and wind power grew and their costs came down, as was always planned. The initial investment costs money, but the payoff in terms of a cleaner environment and green jobs is paying off. As a result, there is still very broad support for Energiewende.

The “problems” the NYTimes references are basically manufactured problems created by big utilities, dirty energy companies, the think tanks they fund, and the politicians in their pockets. Yes, it’s politics season in Germany, so now is the time for these groups to greatly hype these fabricated problems. Unfortunately, some members of big media agencies don’t seem to see what is happening, and haven’t been following the story in Germany closely enough to know more about the actual situation and background of the Energiewende and its benefactors (i.e., common citizens and small businesses).

Germany’s electricity bills are a small percentage of overall household bills. One of the underlying arguments put forth by the NYTimes is that electricity rates are “skyrocketing” and putting the population in a whole lot of hurt. BS. Let’s actually look at some numbers. In the US, electricity accounts for about 4–6% of an average American’s budget. Here are some more details from a Charlotte Business Journal article:……….

In Germany, electricity now accounts for about 2–2.5% of a person’s budget. Hmm, unbearable, eh? Sure, that is an average, but even for the poorest 10%, the rate is just up to about 4.5%, probably less than the average American. Also, as I note in another section below, that is inevitable (no matter the power source), and the health benefits from switching to clean energy at least help to reduce sickness, early death, and healthcare bills (perhaps even having a net positive financial impact on the poor, who are disproportionately affected by such costs).

(Special thanks to our German writer Thomas Gerke for major help with this section.)

 Germany’s welfare system has its poorer citizens living much more comfortable lives than those in other countries. The German welfare system would make congressional republicans in the US have seizures. Their unemployed and poor live very comfortable lives compared to ours. It’s a great system, in my opinion, that allows those who are less fortunate financially to live without too much extra struggle……….

Renewable energy deployment speeds up the move away from fossil fuels. Germany’s Energiewende is moving the country away from nuclear energy and fossil fuels at a rapid clip. The increase in renewable energy development, very importantly, brings down the wholesale cost of electricity. This makes coal and natural gas power plants even less competitive. The result is threefold: 1) renewable energy deployment speeds up (which further brings down their costs, which continues to make other energy sources less and less competitive), 2) CO2 emissions are eliminated more quickly, and 3) investors in dirty energy power plants who are threatened by this put out propaganda that, unfortunately, outlets like the NYTimes eat up and spew out uncritically.

More coal power plants have been shut down than started up. Despite the common meme that coal use has grown due to the renewable energy transition in Germany, the actual fact is that several gigawatts (GW) of fossil fuel power plants are being shut down in Germany because they simply aren’t competitive with cheap wind and cheap solar………

Intermittency of renewable energy is very much not a concern. It is a talking point that has had far too much time in the sun. I’m not going to go into detail on that here, since we have done so many times and this piece spends thousands of words on that.

Energiewende problem? There is actually one notable problem with Energiewende that needs to be changed, in my opinion. The NYTimes journalists briefly touch on it, but then swerve off the road. Basically, Big Industry is granted major cuts in its electricity bills, shifting the cost of electricity to common citizens and small businesses very unfairly (as I mentioned briefly further up the page). These exemptions should be cut, but big companies continue to actually push for more financial help despite not needing it………

How do you turn the public against itself? The fact of the matter is, the public has shown tremendous support for democratized, distributed renewable energy for years. This more egalitarian system has grown much faster than almost anyone realized it would. It now threatens monopolistic utilities and dirty energy companies. I
Read more at http://cleantechnica.com/2013/09/20/new-york-times-gets-big-red-f-germanys-renewable-energy-transition/#zJhIWzrEgF6ubwfb.99

May 9, 2014 - Posted by | Uncategorized

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