Germany falls out of love with renewable energy

Germany is planning to cut its renewable energy subsidies by up to a third by 2015, according to plans from the minister of economics and energy Sigmar Gabriel.

Under the draft proposals the feed-in tariffs paid to renewable power generators will be slashed to an average of €0.12 per kilowatt hour (kWh) by 2015 from €0.17 cents today. Government support for the onshore wind industry may also be reduced by as much as 20 per cent.

The plans have been condemned by the wind and solar industries, but welcomed by consumers who have suffered from rapidly rising energy bills. In 2013 a four person German household payed €220 (£134) in green levies, leaving Germany with the highest electricity costs in Europe.

Germany has paid an exorbitant price for its commitment to renewable energy, with over €100bn (£83bn) having already been spent subsidising solar power.

Europe's largest economy still hopes to provide 80 per cent of its electricity generation through renewables by 2050 compared to 25 per cent today.

However, despite Germany's lavish investment in green energy the share of electricity generated by coal has soared to its highest levels since 1990. Brown coal (lignite) and bituminous coal together accounted for 45.5 per cent of Germany's energy production in 2013. This was up from 44 per cent the previous year.