Wintery Knight

…integrating Christian faith and knowledge in the public square

How well is government promotion wind and solar power working out in Germany?

Surcharge paid by German households and SMEs

Surcharge paid by German households and SMEs

First, let’s hear from the ultra-leftist New York Times. (H/T Dennis Prager)

Excerpt:

It is an audacious undertaking with wide and deep support in Germany: shut down the nation’s nuclear power plants, wean the country from coal and promote a wholesale shift to renewable energy sources.

But the plan, backed by Chancellor Angela Merkel and opposition parties alike, is running into problems in execution that are forcing Germans to come face to face with the costs and complexities of sticking to their principles.

German families are being hit by rapidly increasing electricity rates, to the point where growing numbers of them can no longer afford to pay the bill. Businesses are more and more worried that their energy costs will put them at a disadvantage to competitors in nations with lower energy costs, and some energy-intensive industries have begun to shun the country because they fear steeper costs ahead.

Newly constructed offshore wind farms churn unconnected to an energy grid still in need of expansion. And despite all the costs, carbon emissions actually rose last year as reserve coal-burning plants were fired up to close gaps in energy supplies.

A new phrase, “energy poverty,” has entered the lexicon.

“Often, I don’t go into my living room in order to save electricity,” said Olaf Taeuber, 55, who manages a fleet of vehicles for a social services provider in Berlin. “You feel the pain in your pocketbook.”

Mr. Taeuber relies on just a single five-watt bulb that gives off what he calls a “cozy” glow to light his kitchen when he comes home at night. If in real need, he switches on a neon tube, which uses all of 25 watts.

Even so, with his bill growing rapidly, he found himself seeking help last week to fend off a threat from Berlin’s main power company to cut off his electricity. He is one of a growing number of Germans confronting the realities of trying to carry out Ms. Merkel’s most ambitious domestic project and one of the most sweeping energy transformation efforts undertaken by an industrialized country.

[...]The cost of the plan is expected to be about $735 billion, according to government estimates, and may eventually surpass even that of the euro zone bailouts that have received far more attention during Ms. Merkel’s tenure. Yet as the transition’s unknowns have grown, so have costs for the state, major companies and consumers.

[...]With consumers having to pay about $270 each in surcharges this year to subsidize new operators of renewable power, the hardest hit are low-wage earners, retirees and people on welfare, Mr. Gärtner said. Government subsidies for the plan amounted to $22.7 billion in 2012 and could reach $40.5 billion by 2020, according to John Musk, a power analyst at RBC Capital Markets.

[...]Part of the reason consumer prices have risen so sharply is that, for now, the government has shielded about 700 companies from increased energy costs, to protect their competitive position in the global economy.

Industrial users still pay substantially more for electricity here than do their counterparts in Britain or France, and almost three times as much as those in the United States, according to a study by the German industrial giant Siemens. The Cologne Institute for Economic Research said there had been a marked decline in the willingness of industrial companies to invest in Germany since 2000.

Note that German industry has been EXEMPT from paying the green energy surcharge. Households and small-to-medium-size enterprises are paying it.

The key part of the article, I think, is this:

One of the first obstacles encountered involves the vagaries of electrical power generation that is dependent on sources as inconsistent and unpredictable as the wind and the sun.

And no one has invented a means of storing that energy for very long, which means overwhelming gluts on some days and crippling shortages on others that require firing up old oil- and coal-burning power plants. That, in turn, undercuts the goal of reducing fossil-fuel emissions that have been linked to climate change.

Last year, wind, solar and other nonfossil-fuel sources provided 22 percent of the power for Germany, but the country increased its carbon emissions over 2011 as oil- and coal-burning power plants had to close gaps in the evolving system, according to the German electricity association BDEW.

Didn’t anyone think of that problem before starting out this crazy plan? No. Because they important thing was feelings – politicians had to feel good about solving a made-up crisis.

Cost of renewable wind and solar energy

Cost of renewable wind and solar energy

Why can’t leftists learn from the failed experiments of others?

Government-subsidized green energy scams have been tried before in Spain and Denmark. Did they work?

Well, we know that in Spain, the green jobs programs failed. (H/T ECM)

Excerpt:

Subsidizing renewable energy in the U.S. may destroy two jobs for every one created if Spain’s experience with windmills and solar farms is any guide.

For every new position that depends on energy price supports, at least 2.2 jobs in other industries will disappear, according to a study from King Juan Carlos University in Madrid.

U.S. President Barack Obama’s 2010 budget proposal contains about $20 billion in tax incentives for clean-energy programs. In Spain, where wind turbines provided 11 percent of power demand last year, generators earn rates as much as 11 times more for renewable energy compared with burning fossil fuels.

The premiums paid for solar, biomass, wave and wind power – – which are charged to consumers in their bills — translated into a $774,000 cost for each Spanish “green job” created since 2000, said Gabriel Calzada, an economics professor at the university and author of the report.

“The loss of jobs could be greater if you account for the amount of lost industry that moves out of the country due to higher energy prices,” he said in an interview.

The Heritage Foundation cites a study from Denmark, which shows that wind power has also failed.

Excerpt:

But according to a new study from the Danish Centre for Political Studies (CEPOS), commissioned by the Institute for Energy Research, the road to increased wind power is less traveled for a reason. The study refutes the claim that Denmark generates 20 percent of its power from wind stating that its high intermittency not only leads to new challenges to balance the supply and demand of electricity, but also provides less electricity consumption than assumed. The new study says, “wind power has recently (2006) met as little as 5% of Denmark’s annual electricity consumption with an average over the last five years of 9.7%.” Furthermore, the wind energy Denmark exports to its northern neighbors, Sweden and Norway, does little to reduce carbon dioxide emissions because the energy it replaces is carbon neutral.

The study goes on to say that the only reason wind power exists in Denmark is “through substantial subsidies supporting the wind turbine owners. Exactly how the subsidies have been shared between land, wind turbine owners, labor, capital and its shareholders is opaque, but it is fair to assess that no Danish wind industry to speak of would exist if it had to compete on market terms.”

But there’s a cost involved. When government spends more money, it necessarily diverts labor, capital and materials from the private sector. Just like promises are made in the United States about green jobs creation, the heavily subsidized Danish program created 28,400 jobs. But “this does not, however, constitute the net employment effect of the wind mill subsidy. In the long run, creating additional employment in one sector through subsidies will detract labor from other sectors, resulting in no increase in net employment but only in a shift from the non-subsidized sectors to the subsidized sector.”

And because these resources are being diverted away from more productive uses (in terms of value added, the energy technology underperforms compared to industrial average), “Danish GDP is approximately $270 million lower than it would have been if the wind sector work force was employed elsewhere.”

Why do people keep voting in leaders who don’t know what they are doing? Why are people surprised when emotional craziness and moral preening doesn’t work out financially?

Previously, I blogged about how Obama was causing our electricity prices to skyrocket by effectively banning coal power. Not to mention blocking the Keystone XL pipeline. Keep that in mind when you are lighting your house with 5 Watt light bulbs. This doesn’t happen by accident – you need politicians to wage war on the free market system in order for this to happen. And that’s what we’ve been voting for in the last two elections.

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Marriage was weakened in countries that legalized same-sex marriage

A sociologist summarizes what can be known about the effects of gay marriage on society by appealing to evidence from other countries. (H/T Dina)

Excerpt:

Gay marriage will further destabilise marriage and family life in Britain, a leading sociologist has warned Parliament.

Dr Patricia Morgan told the House of Commons that same-sex marriage reinforced the idea that marriage is irrelevant to parenthood.

This was the principle factor, she said, that has caused the collapse in marriage rates between heterosexuals in countries where gay marriage had been introduced – as well as a sharp rise in cohabitation and the numbers of children born out of wedlock.

She said there was no evidence whatsoever to prove the Coalition Government’s assertions that gay marriage would bolster the institution.

She made her claims in a 22-page paper submitted at the Committee Stage of the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill.

It contained a detailed analysis of marriage trends in Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Spain, Belgium, Canada and some U.S. states were gay marriage has been legalised.

[...]Spain in particular, she said, saw a “precipitous” downward acceleration in the numbers of all marriages by a 15,000 a year in first three years that followed the legalisation of same-sex marriage by the Socialist government in 2005.

The rate of decline later more than doubled to 34,000 fewer marriages a year in between 2008 and 2010.

Dr Morgan also produced evidence to show that heterosexual marriages were less stable in those countries where same-sex marriage had been introduced because they were expected to conform to the values of gay couples whose unions were often open, rather than exclusive, and far more likely to break down.

Cohabiting gay couples were 12 times more likely to separate that married heterosexual couples, she said.

Dr Morgan also predicted the widespread victimisation of individuals and institutions who dared to resist the redefinition of marriage.

“Some clearly hope that compulsion to perform same sex weddings will sever Church and state and further push Christianity out of the public arena and, therefore, consciousness,” she said.

“Undermined and stigmatised for their unreasonableness and prejudice, the moral authority of religious institutions will further retreat in favour of a narrow secular ideology, particularly as sexual behaviour at odds with traditional norms is further encouraged and advanced.”

Why can’t we stop talking about abstract concepts like “tolerance” and “homophobia” and just look at the results of legalizing same-sex marriage? We want to strengthen marriage, because marriage is better for children emotionally and financially. If we look at the results of legalizing same-sex marriage in other countries, we can know for certain whether it strengthened marriage, and therefore helped children. Rhetoric and insults doesn’t tell us anything. We need to look at the data that we have from other countries.

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After legalizing gay marriage, France set to ban ‘mother’ and ‘father’ from official documents

From the UK Telegraph.

Excerpt:

France is set to ban the words “mother” and “father” from all official documents under controversial plans to legalise gay marriage.

The move… means only the word “parents” would be used in identical marriage ceremonies for all heterosexual and same-sex couples.

The draft law states that “marriage is a union of two people, of different or the same gender”.

It says all references to “mothers and fathers” in the civil code – which enshrines French law – will be swapped for simply “parents”.

The law would also give equal adoption rights to homosexual and heterosexual couples.

[...]President Francois Hollande pledged in his manifesto to legalise gay marriage. The draft law will be presented to his cabinet for approval on October 31.

Hollande is a socialist, just like Barack Obama, who also favors gay marriage, and infanticide, too. Not just abortion, infanticide.

This is not surprising – the same thing has been done in other countries, like Spain:

Ironically, the Socialist government claims that although it pushed through legislation to benefit a small minority of the population – and in the process changed the definition of marriage – that this could in no way be construed as an attack on the traditional family. Indeed, the government claims that it is in truth pro-family.

So now, jump fast forward to last Friday.

That’s when the Spanish government announced a ministerial order that new births would have to be registered at the State Civil Registries in the Family Book under the headings of Parent (progenitor) A, and Parent (progenitor) B.

In other words, the terms “Father” and “Mother” were to be no longer used.

In Spain, marriages, births and deaths are all recorded at Civil Registries, with most of those actions being noted in a Family Book (Libro de Familia). While the example isn’t perfect, think of the Family Book as an extended birth certificate.

Juan Fernando López Aguilar, Spanish Minister of Justice, excused the ministerial order by claiming since the government modified “the status of civil marriages, to allow the union of same-sex couples, it was necessary for a new format for the Family Book (Libro de Familia) and one that used terms such as “Parent A” and “Parent B” instead of “Father” and “Mother.”

That’s right. To match up it’s same-sex marriage legislation to the Civil Registry, the government deemed that Spaniards could no longer qualify themselves as either “Fathers” or “Mothers” of their children.

Canada does the same thing:

In Canada, they’ve already done this. Following the passing of the Civil Marriage Act, all official documentation and legislation was amended, erasing “husbands” and “wives”. And because same-sex couples primarily use reproductive technology to procreate, some Canadian legislation has been amended to replace the term “natural parent” with “legal parent”. As one report describes it: “In short, the adoption exception – that who is a child’s parent is established by legal fiat, not biological connection – becomes the norm for all children.” Most strikingly, on birth certificates some Canadian provinces have replaced the term “father” and “mother” with “Parent 1″ and “Parent 2″.

That policy was put in place by the Liberal party, which is the socialist party in Canada, and with the full support of the communist party of Canada, the New Democrat Party.

It’s important to understand what effects these leftist, anti-family, anti-marriage policies have, especially on children. This is what Barack Obama and his socialist friends in other countries want. Leftists are anti-marriage and anti-family. They don’t like mothers and fathers raising children. They want the children to be alone in the world, and shuffled around to various people, and eventually raised by the state and brainwashed to serve the state. Feminism has so poisoned people against the traditional family – and especially the traditional male roles of protector, provider and moral/spiritual leader – that no one is willing to resist the push by socialists to destroy marriage and family.

Imagine being a child and growing up with no access to your biological mother or your biological father, or both of them. This is the horror that the left unleashes on little children, assuming they don’t murder you in the womb. As if it isn’t bad enough to push feminist policies like no-fault divorce and subsidized single motherhood, now they have to go even further. Let me be clear. We should be putting into place policies that promote the nuclear family – a mother and a father being chaste, marrying once for life, and having children who grow up in a loving, stable environment. We should not be promoting recreational sex and promiscuity as equivalent to marriage. Children deserve better.

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Europe is going socialist – what’s the worst that could happen?

European Debt to GDP and Credit Rating

European Debt to GDP and Credit Rating

From MSN Money.

Excerpt:

European finance officials have discussed as a worst-case scenario limiting the size of withdrawals from ATM machines, imposing border checks and introducing capital controls in at least Greece should Athens decide to leave the euro.

EU officials have told Reuters the ideas are part of a range of contingency plans. They emphasized that the discussions were merely about being prepared for any eventuality rather than planning for something they expect to happen – no one Reuters has spoken to expects Greece to leave the single currency area.

[...]The discussions have taken place in conference calls over the past six weeks, as concerns have grown that a radical-left coalition, SYRIZA, may win the second election, increasing the risk that Greece could renege on its EU/IMF bailout and therefore move closer to abandoning the currency.

No decisions have been taken on the calls, but members of the Eurogroup Working Group, which consists of euro zone deputy finance ministers and heads of treasury departments, have discussed the options in some detail, the sources said.

As well as limiting cash withdrawals and imposing capital controls, they have discussed the possibility of suspending the Schengen agreement, which allows for visa-free travel among 26 countries, including most of the European Union.

[...]Another source confirmed the discussions, including that the suspension of Schengen was among the options raised.

“These are not political discussions, these are discussions among finance experts who need to be prepared for any eventuality,” the second source said. “It is sensible planning, that is all, planning for the worst-case scenario.”

I noticed an article that came out in CNN Money that explained how American households had lost almost 40% of their net worth since 2007 – the exact year that Nancy Pelosi took control of the House and Harry Reid took control of the Senate. The Democrats have been running the European playbook since they took over in 2007. We are just a few steps behind the Europeans thanks to the borrow and spend policies of the Democrats.

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