From the ultra-right-wing periodical der Spiegel, we have the following bit on the power of wind:
Germany’s renewable energy companies are a tremendous success story. Roughly 15 percent of the country’s electricity comes from solar, wind or biomass facilities, almost 250,000 jobs have been created and the net worth of the business is €35 billion per year.
But there’s a catch: The climate hasn’t in fact profited from these developments. As astonishing as it may sound, the new wind turbines and solar cells haven’t prohibited the emission of even a single gram of CO2.
Fancy that. Any guesses as to what might be causing this major difference between expectations and reality?
In the worst case scenario, sustainable energy plants might even have a detrimental effect on the climate. As more wind turbines go online, coal plants will be able to reduce their output. This in itself is desirable — but the problem is that the total number of available CO2 emission certificates remains the same. In other words, there will suddenly be more certificates per kilowatt of coal energy. That means the price per ton of CO2 emitted will fall.
That is exactly what happened in recent trading. A certificate to emit a ton of CO2 cost almost nothing. As a result, there was very little incentive for big energy companies to invest in climate friendly technologies.
Market forces at play with a European cap-and-trade setup? Pshaw. Here in the United States, where the current high priest of global climate change periodically basks in the warmth of a Tennessee summer, you know that we can do the Germans one better. After all, as the President says, “we won.”