Renewable Energy Wearing Out Its Welcome?

Nicholas Comfort reports in Bloomberg.com on 20 Dec 2010 that:

“…Popular acceptance of Germany’s renewable energy drive is likely to weaken when households see the cost of subsidies in their power bills jump as much as fourfold, the ZEW Center for European Economic Research said.

Households will pay 3.53 euro cents per kilowatt-hour of consumed electricity in subsidies next year, up from 2.05 cents in 2010, Germany’s four power transmission grid operators said in October. One kilowatt-hour is enough to power a 100-watt light bulb for 10 hours.

Some 45 percent of about 200 energy-industry officials surveyed by Mannheim-based ZEWexpect the price to rise to 4 cents to 6 cents per kilowatt-hour in five years, while 27 percent forecast a jump to 6 cents to 8 cents, the research center said in an e-mailed statement today.

An increase to 4 cents to 6 cents would threaten support, said about 30 percent of the respondents, while 24 percent viewed 6 cents to 8 cents as the “critical” level. Fifteen percent said even next year’s rate would be enough to weaken acceptance, according to the ZEW statement.

German consumers guarantee operators of wind turbines, solar panels and other renewable energy facilities fixed prices for the electricity they generate. The government wants to boost the share of renewable energy to at least 30 percent of gross power output by 2020…

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