About Those German Energy Tariffs

November 25, 2013



This interesting and beautiful graph was recently published by the German Renewable Energy Agency (Agentur für Erneuerbare Energien). It shows the increases of energy costs per month for the average German household from 2000 on. The tiny, small, barely visible violet part at the top is the cost of the feed-in tariff surcharge.

We see an increase in surcharge costs of EUR 14 per month from 2000 to 2013. But at the same time, other costs of electricity increased even more (by EUR 25 a month).

And the cost of heating oil increased by EUR 66, the cost of gasoline by EUR 53 a month. In comparison, the cost of the surcharges is rather small.

In total, energy costs increased from EUR 198 a month to EUR 356, or by EUR 158. The surcharge costs are less than ten percent of that.

Most of the cost increases come from the fact that the oil price has gone up by a factor of five in that decade. I expect more of the same in the future.

That of course means that in the long term it is much cheaper to have a fast transition to renewable than a slow one, even if the costs of the present speed were substantial, which they are not.


15 Responses to “About Those German Energy Tariffs”

  1. Guy LaCrosse Says:

    Reblogged this on Ideas for a new age and commented:
    It’s amazing what Germany has accomplished with their deployment of renewable energy. It’s not by accident either. It’s a system design to create rapid growth in renewable energy. That’s the type of thing more countries should adopt in order to get to zero emissions that much sooner.

  2. NevenA Says:

    I’d like to see the profits for the utility companies in there as well.

  3. The violet bar of the FIT is compared to energy expenditures as a whole, not the electric bill which is the only thing to which it applies.

    See “How to lie with statistics”.

    • Because, as we all know, you can’t use electricity to do things that can be done with oil or coal. Such as heating your home or running your car….

      Wait a minute, yes you can do those things.

      • I didn’t know you could run your car on electricity… oh, wait, I’ve been doing it since last April.

        But how does it benefit the climate to do that, if my government shuts down its main sources of zero-carbon electric generation in favor of lignite, and jacks up the price of electricity to me so that I get less advantage from what I thought was a good deed (for both the country and the climate)?

  4. Looking at the change over the last four bars – the first bar, year 2000, is far adrift in time from the others – the electricity price has changed from €68 to €83. That’s about 7% annual increase. Without the FIT increase, it would be €68 to €74, or 3% annual increase, more like the general inflation rate.

    These increases disproportionately impact the poor. I’m not surprised that the German Renewable Energy Agency tried to hide them by throwing heating oil and gasoline prices into the graph. Why not add food prices too, since that’s where metabolic heat comes from?

    This kind of deceptive presentation is exactly in the style of climate change deniers. Sorry, but that’s how it looks to me. Hopefully you can take this criticism in the friendly spirit that it is meant.

  5. “These increases disproportionately impact the poor”

    Does that even apply to Germany?

    Do they have many poor? Do they have many poor who would not get a subsidy to pay for their heat?

  6. kap55 Says:

    Well the way I see it, FIT charges have grown from 2% of the electric bill in 2000 to 18% of the electric bill in 2013. This parallels the growth of wind & solar in the German generation mix.

    It’s also likely that much of the increase in non-FIT electricity cost (“Stromkosten ohne EEG” in the graph above) is actually due to increased soft costs caused by high renewable penetration, such as increased costs for transmission and increased costs for load-following.

    • The average German electric bill is $108/month. The cost of transportation and other energy is much higher. It is hard to take the charges of effects on poor people seriously in light of this. It strains credulity. I doubt this comes from genuine compassion for the poor. Oil prices doubled. I hear no comment on that causing poor people not to heat their homes and yet that is a much more serious problem. It seems there is an effort to make an agenda out of 20 dollars a month. The whole coal burning thing is a myth. Coal use is down and continues to decline. Replacement units are less than those removed.

    • greenman3610 Says:

      important to note that, as most German ownership of renewables is by small businesses, coops, communities, and private citizens, people are paying this to themselves and becoming wealthier in the process.

  7. The assumption is that Germans are isolated individuals. Yet in Germany,
    Renewables and conservation are social issues and Europe is more socialistic. The resources are much more community owned and operated. Who exactly pays and who benefits then? Then the question comes, what are supports for the poor? If this were serious, there would be a study and references. Even the article states that only a portion of the cost increases come from FITs for renewables. Cyberspace is echoing with this distortion coming from the upset industry, however. Hypocritical, because industries do not pay their share, instead dumping the burden on consumers. In an Alice in Wonderland hypocrisy, FITs for renewables are discriminating against the poor by 1 cent/kwhr increase, but FIT subsidies for nuclear are a “state aid”. The lady doth protest too much, me thinks.
    Oh but everything is peachy in Ontario?

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