- Publicist Dirk Maxeiner writes at Achgut.com how Germany’s once highly ballyhooed solar industry has disintegrated to dust. With its center in former communist east Germany, it was dubbed in the early 2000s as Solar Valley”.
German leaders risk running German industry into the ground, German publicist Dirk Maxeiner warns. Photo credit: Achgut.com.
Promised solar paradise for former communist East Germany
In its heyday, hardly a week passed without the media reporting on groundbreakings and ribbon cuttings with top politicians in attendance patted themselves on the back and promised high-tech, good paying jobs to a region, mainly located between Dessau and Leipzig, that had long been suffering economic malaise.
According to Maxeiner, the government poured hundreds of millions of taxpayer euros to set it all up: “142 million in Brandenburg, 120 million in Saxony Anhalt and 143 million euros in Thuringia poured in.” It was to be germany’s bright new Hightech future that would lead in making the country an example of how to go green.
From Solar Valley to Death Valley
But then came the harsh reality. Imports of low-cost solar cell imports from China rapidly flooeded the market, driving prices down and ruining the German producers.
High feed-in tariffs rapidly caused electricity rates to skyrocket, and thus forced the government to cut the feed in rates and thus make solar systems less attractive. The market found itself flooded in solar panels and German manufacturers were forced to shut down. Maxeiner wrote (with sarcasm): “Via the path of Energeiewende subsidies, German taxpayers created jobs not in Bitterfeld as planned, but in such beautiful cities like Guangzhou, Hangzhou or Xi’an.”
According to the Hans Boeckler Foundation site here: “No other industry grew so rapidly in the last decades as the production of solar cells has – and none has collapsed as fast.” It all took just 15 years.
The Hans Böckler Foundation describes how small start-ups transformed into tech market stars and then became insolvent one after another beginning in 2011. Names like Solar Millennium, Q-Cells, Centrotherm, Conergy all collapsed as quickly as they sprang up. Some 30,000 jobs were lost in a single year alone and private capital worth double-digit billions “was destroyed”. According to the Hans Böckler Foundation, “Financial market experts are only disputing if it involves 30 or 50 billion euros.”
Nowadays, politicians and Germany’s green media have disappeared from “Solar Valley and the ruins left behind, yet continue insisting that green energies are still the way to go and refuse to learn from the solar energy subsidy debacle.
As Maxeiner writes, green politicians such as socialist Stephan Weil of Lower Saxony have learned nothing as they are now calling for a Verkehrswende (transportation transition) and a transformation of the automobile industry!
According to maxeiner, leading policymakers seem to believe that the problem can be solved not by making a fundamental course change, but instead by continuing down the wrong course at a faster speed.
Germany’s obsession with transformation
Maxiener asks: “What are we supposed to understand from “The transformation of the automobile industry? Bicycles can be made by the Chinese even more cheaply.” The German publicist then writes that German leaders are currently caught up in a “transformation craze”, where everything needs to be fundamentally transformed, no matter if it makes any sense or not.
Moreover, according to Maxeiner, politicians like Weil are now demanding that the car industry “stop building cars that people want, and only then will everything be good.”
Maxeiner summarizes by writing that now that Germany has long run the solar industry into a wall, it appears that politicians are intent on doing the very same with the country’s auto industry. But in order to accomplish that, it will be necessary to run its coal industry into a wall so that power for electric cars (which Germany will not be able to build competitively) will be able to run on clean wind energy.
July 29, 2018 at 08:51AM