If We’d Followed Australian Senator Bob Brown’s Solar Dream, We’d Be Broke

Posted on Mon 02/20/2012 by


Andrew BoltBy Andrew Bolt ~

If it were up to Australian Greens Party leader, Senator Bob Brown, we’d have repeated Germany’s disastrous lead in ramping up solar power even more:

SENATOR BOB BROWN: Well, it is the way to go. The Greens have recently rescued the proposals for base load solar power stations, which will go in rural and regional Australia to make sure they are progressing…. We want this country to be at the cutting edge. I repeat, the example is firm and true. In Germany, where they did this because the Greens were in the balance of power, they have created 350,000 jobs. It was the strongest component of the German economy during the recent recession. It’s good economics.

No, it wasn’t. For a start, it subisided each green job with $240,000 with a net effect of job creation of about zero.

That’s not all. Bjorn Lomborg now explains just what a useless money-pit Germany’s solar power program has become:

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.

But now the German government is vowing to cut the subsidies sooner than planned and to phase out support over the next five years. What went wrong?…

Using their government’s generous subsidies, Germans installed 7.5 gigawatts of photovoltaic capacity last year, more than double what the government deemed “acceptable”. It is estimated this will lead to a $US260 ($243) hike in the average consumer’s annual power bill…

Unfortunately, …while sunlight is free, panels and installation are not. Solar power is at least four times more costly than energy produced by fossil fuels. It also has the distinct disadvantage of not working at night, when much electricity is consumed… On short, overcast winter days, Germany’s 1.1 million solar-power systems generate no electricity. The country is then forced to import considerable amounts of electricity from nuclear power plants in France and the Czech Republic…

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”)….

Moreover, this sizeable investment does remarkably little to counter global warming… When the effects are calculated in a standard climate model, the result is a reduction in average temperature of one twenty-thousandth of a degree Celsius. By the end of the century, Germany’s $US130bn solar panel subsidies will have postponed temperature increases by 23 hours.

Andrew Bolt is a journalist and columnist writing for The Herald Sun in Melbourne Victoria Australia.

Andrew Bolt’s columns appear in Melbourne’s Herald Sun, Sydney’s Daily Telegraph and Adelaide’s Advertiser. He runs the most-read political blog in Australia and hosts Channel 10’s The Bolt Report each Sunday at 10am. He is also heard from Monday to Friday at 8am on the breakfast show of radio station MTR 1377, and his book  Still Not Sorry remains very widely read.

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