NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis


December 4, 2006

After killing nuclear energy and coal-fired power plants, Germany is now taking aim at its own green policies, says the Wall Street Journal.

After building nearly 20,000 windmills, Germans are now regulating them well beyond economical sense:

  • Windmills must be built 40 to 80 kilometers from the coast, where the water is up to 40 meters deep, making the cost for foundations and maintenance massive.
  • In addition, every windmill must have a rescue area -- including the stipulation that each be equipped with a toilet; the additional costs come to some €100,000 (about U.S. $133,000) per windmill.

In addition, the windmills are not generally where industry and consumers live.  New high-tension power lines are urgently needed to transport the energy.   But that, too, is a problem, says Maxeiner:

  • Thanks to the bureaucratic hurdles put in place to appease landscape and electrical smog environmentalists, it can take up to 15 years between applying for a permit and completing a new power grid.
  • The new power lines also must be laid underground, which makes them up to ten times more expensive and wind power even less economical.

As a result, more and more people are turning away from green solutions, and back to fireplaces and multi-fuel stoves for their own living rooms:

  • Big-box stores are stocking stacks of briquettes made of pressed scrap wood or brown coal.
  • Almost nine million fireplaces, tile ovens and belly stoves are in use, and 200,000 are being added each year.
  • Over 500,000 tons of logs and more than a million tons of brown coal briquettes are sold annually.

Source: Dirk Maxeiner, "Achtung, Killertomaten!," Wall Street Journal, December 4, 2006.

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