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Graph: The 'green energy' implosion

By Doug Powers  •  December 10, 2012 11:04 AM

**Written by Doug Powers

The Renewable Energy Industrial Index (RENIXX) tracks the stock of the 30 largest renewable energy companies in the world with more than half of their revenues coming from “green” business (wind, solar, biofuel, etc). Last month the RENIXX Index hit an all time low:

(Larger version here)

Al Gore’s reaction was predictable.

If only we could figure out a way to harness the power of bursting bubbles (there’s your next project, Secretary Chu… run with it!).

This article in the Washington Times explains the implosion. Ironically, the purported quest for sustainability is totally unsustainable:

But the subsidy-driven green energy wave soon hit a brick wall of fiscal reality. Spain paid solar operators up to ten times the rate for conventional electricity with a 20-year subsidy guarantee. With a guaranteed annual return of 17 percent, every hombre entered the solar business, making Spain the largest solar cell market in 2008. But the nation’s subsidy obligation soon mounted to $36 billion dollars. In 2009, Spain cut the subsidies and its solar market dropped by 80%.

In Germany, feed-in tariffs of eight times the market rate resulted in the installation of over one million roof-top solar systems by 2010. But the 20-year guarantee also produced a subsidy obligation of over $140 billion. German electricity rates climbed to the second highest in the world and continue to climb to pay for green energy. To stop the bleeding, Germany cut feed-in subsidies three times in 2011 and announced a complete phase-out by 2017. Spain, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, the United Kingdom, the United States, and other nations cut subsidies for wind, solar, and biofuels during the last three years.

At the same time, solar manufacturers built huge capacity to meet expected demand for green energy. But with cuts in subsidies, demand crashed and so did solar cell prices. Dozens of companies went bankrupt, such as German companies Solon and Solar Millennium, and US-based Solyndra.

And now Al Gore’s out there trying to give artificial resuscitation to the above graph by blaming Sandy on man-made global warming before the RENIXX flatlines.

Related story: A Chinese firm won the auction for A123 Systems, the company that was the recipient of a $249 million DOE grant (nearly a million of that was given to the company on the same day it declared bankruptcy).

**Written by Doug Powers

Twitter @ThePowersThatBe

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