Partilhado por um colega do nosso curso, vamos começar a divulgar alguns artigos do jornal The Economist.
"LIKE many German regions, northern Saxony around Leipzig is humming with the word Energiewende. Literally “energy turn”, it could also mean “energy revolution”. And that is how Germany sees the twin goals it has set itself: to shut down nuclear power generation by 2022 and to get 80% of its power from renewable sources by 2050.
Leipzig’s future is intertwined with that national project. It has an energy “cluster” of about 1,000 firms. Its utility already provides consumers mostly “green” electricity derived from sun, wind or biomass. Boffins at a research centre, amid the aroma of fermenting maize, are working out how to get ever more gas out of such stuff. The local BMW plant will this year produce its first “zero-emission vehicle”. Some 120 hectares of new solar panels were laid last year.
Yet the Energiewende has become a political powder keg in an election year. Ordinary Germans increasingly associate it only with their own electricity bills, which went up again in January. About half of an average consumer’s bill now goes to taxes and subsidies for renewables rather than the actual price of electricity quoted at the European Energy Exchange in Leipzig’s tallest building. Germans pay more for electricity than most other Europeans.
One reason subsidies hurt consumers so much is that industrial companies in global competition are exempted from them. This has led to a “redistribution battle”, as some politicians curry favour with voters worried mainly about their bills, and others seek to appeal to those worried about German industry and jobs. Superimposed is a general anxiety that Germany might squander its global competitiveness over its cost of energy. The counter-argument, that the Energiewende will in the long run lead to lower costs and higher competitiveness, seems abstract.
The political fight thus focuses on Germany’s renewables subsidy, in place since 2000. Peter Altmaier, the environment minister, said this month that he wants to limit it, and the parties are now bickering about how. But the subsidy’s purpose—to accelerate the capture of solar, wind and biomass energy—is not even the main hurdle for the energy revolution any more, since these energy sources are growing faster than expected.
Instead, the bottlenecks are the storage of renewable energy and its transport. Getting the wind captured off northern coasts to factories and cities in the south requires huge new “power superhighways” as the Germans call them. And those must cross the boundaries of Germany’s 16 states, as part of one integrated system.
That integration is so far missing in Germany’s Energiewende. Some states, such as Thuringia, don’t like new cables going through their woods, whereas others, such as Schleswig-Holstein, are making plans to become exporters of wind energy, and others yet, such as Bavaria, would prefer to be self-sufficient. This chaos extends to the federal government. Mr Altmaier feels in charge of energy, but the economics minister wants to oversee the grid, the research minister is interested in storage technology, and the agriculture minister has an eye on biogas. There is a risk that this revolution, like so many others, succumbs to infighting long before reaching its goal."