Germany's switch to renewables has caused electricity prices to soar.
WSJ.COM 9/4/13: From Spiegel Online, Sept. 4:
German consumers already pay the highest electricity prices in Europe. But because the government is failing to get the costs of its new energy policy under control, rising prices are already on the horizon. Electricity is becoming a luxury good in Germany . . .
Former Environment Minister Jürgen Tritten of the Green Party once claimed that switching Germany to renewable energy wasn't going to cost citizens more than one scoop of ice cream. Today his successor [Peter] Altmaier admits consumers are paying enough to "eat everything on the ice cream menu."
For society as a whole, the costs have reached levels comparable only to the euro-zone bailouts. This year, German consumers will be forced to pay €20 billion ($26 billion) for electricity from solar, wind and biogas plants—electricity with a market price of just over €3 billion. Even the figure of €20 billion is disputable if you include all the unintended costs and collateral damage associated with the project. Solar panels and wind turbines at times generate huge amounts of electricity, and sometimes none at all. Depending on the weather and the time of day, the country can face absurd states of energy surplus or deficit.
If there is too much power coming from the grid, wind turbines have to be shut down. Nevertheless, consumers are still paying for the "phantom electricity" the turbines are theoretically generating. Occasionally, Germany has to pay fees to dump already subsidized green energy, creating what experts refer to as "negative electricity prices."
On the other hand, when the wind suddenly stops blowing, and in particular during the cold season, supply becomes scarce. That's when heavy oil and coal power plants have to be fired up to close the gap, which is why Germany's energy producers in 2012 actually released more climate-damaging carbon dioxide into the atmosphere than in 2011. . . .
In the near future, an average three-person household will spend about €90 a month for electricity. That's about twice as much as in 2000.