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Why Germany’s Energiewende is causing ripples in US via Renew Economy

This year, US Senator Lamar Alexander has lashed out against Germany as an example of where the United States should not go. The desperate attempt to reframe the Energiewende as an “energy mess” shows what the real threat is: Germany is poised to prove that a low-carbon future without nuclear is the best option for a thriving industrial country.

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2) “… the subsidies for wind and solar are very high…”

Germany doesn’t subsidize wind and solar; it simply pays what these energy sources actually cost – much in the way the US government arranges prices for medical products and services in Medicare, a program not considered to be a subsidy by the American people and probably not by Senator Alexander (oh, well, never mind). In fact, given its poor wind and solar conditions, Germany has some of the lowest prices for wind and solar in the world; as I recently explained, Dubai has twice as much sunlight as Germany but does not have solar prices twice as low.

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In conclusion, Senator Alexander is recycling Energiewende myths. During his visit to Germany, he apparently was not curious to see what was really going on. Instead, he cherry-picked numbers to trash talk the German energy transition. He complains about government support for renewables without acknowledging that nuclear only survives today because of governmental support.

His frustration is understandable: Germany is in the process of demonstrating not only that a highly industrialized country does not need nuclear power. The Energiewende also reveals that baseload nuclear is incompatible with a power supply largely based on wind + solar and that a renewable supply is the better option. As such, the Energiewende is a great challenge to Senator Alexander’s baby.

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