German Energy Facts: Energy Prices & The Coal Myth

There has been some recent misinformation going around, usually put out there by the fuel based energy companies that Germany’s energy costs are skyrocketing because of renewables. Of course that is not true.

Energy price increases in Germany have been due to the increasing cost of the partial use of oil based fuels.

German Environmental Minister Peter Altmaier is concerned about the price impact of the transition energy on German consumers, but a study produced by the German Greens last week revealed that the cost of heating oil is now as much as two and a half times greater than it was 10 years ago. What’s worse, prices are expected to increase by nearly 50 percent up to the end of this decade, and they may even double by the 2030th

There has also been lots of noise again from business interests mostly in the US about German use of coal. Germany had a very small 5.1% increase in use of coal during one year. This caused all sorts of misinformation to be put out into the news media. The reality is that coal use over all in Germany is down.

First, like most good myths, this one contains a grain of truth. Germany did increase its consumption of both hard and brown coal 5.1% in 2012 over 2011 levels. This is still lower than any year 1990-2007, and roughly about 2008 levels.”

So, yes, from 2011-2012, with 8.3% less electricity from nuclear power and 15% less electricity from natural gas, Germans generated 5.1% more electricity from coal.

These small numbers within a larger set of numbers that shows something quite different are being picked out to misrepresent the energy situation in Germany. US and UK fossil and nuclear industries certainly do not want people there getting any wild ideas like wanting to have what Germany has.

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