Germany plans to stop building new wind farms by 2019, gradually turning away from its $1.1 trillion wind power program, according to a Thursday report in Berliner Zeitung.
The government plans to cap the total amount of wind energy at 40 to 45 percent of national capacity, according to the report. By 2019, this policy would cause a massive reduction of 6,000 megawatts of wind power capacity compared to the end of 2015’s capacity.
“The domestic market for many [wind turbine] manufacturers collapses completely,” Julia Verlinden, a spokesperson for the German Green Party, told Berliner Zeitung. “With their plan, the federal government is killing the wind companies.” Verlinden goes on to blame the political influence of “old, fossil fuel power plants.”
Germany’s government, however, has been very supportive of wind power. The government estimates that it will spend over $1.1 trillion financially supporting wind power, even though building wind turbines hasn’t achieved the government’s goal of actually reducing carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions.
Germany created lucrative subsidies and tax benefits for wind power in 2011 after it decided to abandon nuclear power entirely by 2022 following the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster in Japan. German utilities are already suing the government for $21 billion over the nuclear shutdown plan.
Electricity from new wind power is nearly four times as expensive as electricity from existing nuclear power plants, according to analysis from the Institute for Energy Research. The rising cost of subsidies is passed onto ordinary rate-payers, which has triggered complaints that poor households are subsidizing the affluent.
Nuclear power made up 29.5 percent of Germany’s energy in 2000 — in 2015, the share dropped down to 17 percent.