Monday, February 25, 2013

Thoughts on Germany

Time for solid food.
Ironic for Altmaier to call for retroactive FiT cuts in the name of solidarity while industrial customers sit the game out. A small surcharge on industrial electricity use would generate several hundred million per year that could help dilute the surcharge costs. That seems equitable to me considering renewables have helped push down industrial electricity prices over the last several years. This measure would give the FiT architects an extra 12 months of breathing room to reduce a problem that is already shrinking. Maybe Altmaier will be booted by then. He sure isn't making any friends.

Also, if you were so concerned with cost control wouldn't you zero in on off-shore wind? There's a lot of near term spending there. On-shore wind is still growing at a good clip so there's no worry of losing all the industry's momentum.

In related news, BSW has some near-term choices to make. Their support of solar thermal technologies is now bordering on self-destructive. It's one thing to suggest better support policies for solar thermal which has gotten the short end of the stick for years but you don't make it up to solar thermal by promoting sub-optimal policies for photoelectrics. I'm speaking specifically to BSW's promotion of  batteries so that photoelectrics don't encroach on solar thermal's territory. BSW should be promoting self-consumption and the easiest way to do that is to focus on space and water heating - not chemical storage. The math is clear in three dimensions. This is a tough line for BSW to walk but it's honest. If we optimize around self-consumption the industry can rapidly wean itself off the FiT. This eliminates the solar surcharge issue and provides transparency for the industry.

See: Solar Thermal is Dead for an expansive drumming of solar thermal.

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