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DER SPIEGEL                                             29.3.2004.

 

THE WINDMILL MADNESS

 

From the dream of environmentally friendly energy to the highly subsidized devastation of the landscape.

pp. 80 - 97)

The most important statements:

Who profits from the wind parks?

Promoters profit from the wind parks. So do local dignitaries, the directors of savings banks, local politicians and the farmers whose land is necessary for the installation of the turbines. Depending on the skill used in negotiations, the land owners can aim for payments of 1,000 to 20,000 Euros per turbine per year. Usually the contract is for around 20 years. A few landowners profit from the wind mills, and many neighbors must suffer because of them.

The state promotes the construction of wind parks in several ways: through fixed prices and a guaranteed purchase of the power; and through write-offs for investors (sometimes more than 100% of the investment in the first year). As a result, some 130,000 high-income investors have taken advantage of wind power funds.

Usefulness of the EEG (the Energy-Supply-Law)
through which wind power is financed.

"The EEG must be brought to an end, because it no longer reduces CO2." So says Carl-Christian von Weizsacker, an energy economist from Cologne, in a study commissioned by the scientific council of the state economic ministry. The projected costs of the EEG through 2010 are 5 billion Euros, according to the Institute for Energy Economics of the University of Cologne.

The effects of wind power on energy suppliers:

The power companies are forced by law to hook up with wind power plant, buy their power and distribute it. If the capacity of the grid is insufficient, distributers like E.ON and Vattenfall have to build additional transmission lines at their own cost. They have to pay 8.8 cts/kWh for renewable power as apposed to 3.5 cts/kWh for power on the spot market, even if they don‚t need the power. Because of the unreliability of wind power 800 to 900 kW have to be kept in reserve for every 1,000 kW of wind power. At the end of 2003 E.ON raised the grid users‚ rate by 10% because of the growing burden of wind energy on the grid.

Citizens‚ negative reaction to Wind Power:

In Germany there are several hundred citizens’ initiatives against wind power. Professor Mengel, a political scientist at the FU (Technical University) in Berlin and founder of "Save the Uckermark," a citizens‚ initiative against wind power, maintains: This <wind power> is the worst devastation since the Thirty Years‚ War. He was scorned initially as a Don Quixote, but is now a folk hero. In the communal elections in the fall of 2003, Mengel won more votes than the top candidates of the CDU, SPD and PDS, and gained a seat in the Kreistag on his first attempt.

 

The machinations of the wind power lobby: Threats, Corruption and Bribery:

The communes have almost no chance of defending themselves against the construction proposals of the investors. The investors will (if opposed) go to court with millions in damage compensation claims - and often win their suits. Because they have achieved a privileged status and because of the big subsidies they enjoy, the wind power promoters have been given a blank check by the lawgivers for the realization of their goals.

Lavish contributions to local organizations such as volunteer fire brigades, tips for everyone, gifts for special functions such as birthday celebrations in Eifeldorf, weddings, and so on. Or, as was the case in a northern German community, a donation to the community which depended on the size of the wind power installation--for example, 405,000 Euros for a plant having a 40.5 MW capacity.

Wind energy abroad:

Germany’s wind production is today as high as those of Denmark, Spain and the USA combined. However, the Danes have done an about-face: they almost completely cancelled wind promotion 2 years ago. The Danish government claims that they have more than accomplished their goal, and, besides, the subsidies are much too expensive.

If a red/green desire comes to pass, Germany will once again master the worldˆ<this time in wind power> as they already have in highway tolls <a reference to the "Maut" a notoriously unsuccessful scheme to collect highway tolls> and in tin can recycling <Dosenpfandˆanother scheme judged not to have worked out>.

 

 

 

(Note: bold fonts retained where they are used in the article.)