|Germany's switch to renewable energy is getting expensive|
German consumers are beginning to feel the impact of chancellor Angela Merkel's failed energy transition policy:
Germany's switch to renewable energies is driving up electricity bills across the country, with a green technology surcharge set to rise by nearly 50 percent next year. With frustration over the high price tag, it promises to become a key issue in next year's election campaign.
Germany's four leading electrical grid operators -- RWE, E.ON, Vattenfall and EnBW -- announced on Monday that they would be hiking by 47 percent the charge to consumers that goes into financing subsidies for producers of renewable energy. For the time being, solar, wind and biomass power make up a quarter of the country's electricity supply but are set to account for 80 percent by 2050.
The steep rise in the surcharge is likely to trigger debate about the cost to consumers of Berlin's energy revolution, a drastic energy policy reversal triggered by the 2011 Fukushima nuclear plant disaster in Japan.
Known as the Energiewende, the shift to a sustainable energy supply based on renewable energies and the phasing out of nuclear energy by 2022 has evolved into one of the top priorities of Chancellor Angela Merkel's government.
With costs associated with that energy revolution now spiralling, however, it is likely to become a central issue ahead of next fall's general elections. According to a recent poll conducted by Emnid, Germans are more interested in affordable electricity than in the nuclear phase-out. Now faced with the bill for the switchover, consumers may start to withdraw their support.
Last week, Environment Minister Peter Altmaier unveiled a complex roadmap aimed at holding costs in check. But according to the German Federal Association for Energy and Water Management (BDEW), further expenses are still in store for consumers.
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The problem with Germany is that no major political party offers a serious alternative to Merkel's senseless energy transition policy. That means that the outlook for Germany - the longtime powerhouse of the European economy - is less than excellent.