Solar flushing money down the drain

Bjorn Lomborg writes on the inefficiencies of Germany’s solar power subsidies (subscription required).

Germany once prided itself on being the “photovoltaic world champion”, doling out generous subsidies totalling more than $US130 billion to citizens to invest in solar energy, according to Germany’s Ruhr University.

[…]Indeed, despite the massive investment, solar power accounts for only about 0.3 per cent of Germany’s total energy. This is one of the key reasons why Germans now pay the second-highest price for electricity in the developed world (exceeded only by Denmark, which aims to be the “world wind-energy champion”). Germans pay three times more than their American counterparts.

[…]Instead, the Germans simply allow other parts of the EU to emit more CO2. Germany’s solar panels have only made it cheaper for Portugal or Greece to use coal. Defenders of Germany’s solar subsidies also claim that they have helped to create “green jobs” but each job created by green-energy policies costs an average of $US175,000, considerably more than job creation elsewhere in the economy. And many “green jobs” are being exported to China, meaning that Europeans subsidise Chinese jobs, with no CO2 reductions.

While it doesn’t approach the $US130 billion that Germany has wasted on solar power, the Coalition’s direct action policy would spend $500 million over four years. This is just for solar panels. The total cost is $3.2 billion. Tony Abbott should dump this ridiculous policy. I suspect he would like to but fears the political fallback (as with industrial relations reform). I doubt very much that this would be significant. Anyone who is overly concerned with “action” on reducing emissions is already voting Labor/Greens and for everyone else, it is not a major issue.


About Climate Nonconformist

Hi, I'm the climatenonconformist (not my real name), and I am a global warming skeptic, among the few in generation Y. With Australia facing the prospect of a carbon tax, we need to be asking the simple question; where is the evidence that our emissions are causing any dangerous warming?
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