Ontario Energy Minister Brad Duguid’s rapturous optimism over the Samsung deal raises serious speculation about the McGuinty government’s grasp on reality.
A report from the Rhine-Westphalia Institute for Economic Research one of Germany’s leading independent research institutes comprised of professors from four universities, considers Germany’s experience with renewable energy over the last decade “a cautionary tale of massively expensive environmental and energy policy that is devoid of economic and environmental benefits”.
It warns: other governments “should scrutinize the logic of supporting energy sources that cannot compete on the market in the absence of government assistance”.
The report agrees with the International Energy Agency (IEA) which recommends ”policies other than very high feed-in tariffs” and that ”the governments should always keep cost-effectiveness as a critical component” in decision making and favour research and development support for theoretically promising technologies likely to be uncompetitive for years.
It finds that between 2000 and 2010 “on-shore wind, required feed-in tariffs that exceed the per-kWh cost of conventional electricity by up to 300% to remain competitive”. Subsidization of green electricity added 7.5% to the average household electricity price.
It also finds that Germany’s solar production is subsidized on a per-worker basis, as high as $240,000 (US) while the German Financial Times warns that the German solar industry is facing unprecedented competition from cheaper Asian impor tsespecially from China.
Claims of green energy job creation and economic growth fail to account for job losses arising from the drain on economic activity precipitated by higher electricity prices. Loss in consumer purchasing power and investment capital causes negative employment effects in other sectors, the report underlines.
Moreover the report claims, “wind turbines and solar panels have produced no environmental benefit in Germany in terms of lowering of CO2 emissions that would not have been produced by other plans already in effect”.
Keith Stelling, Southampton