xThe damnation of wind power began with Der Spiegel. The influential news magazine drew a conclusion, claiming it was based on the study, reporting that "wind farms are an expensive and inefficient way of generating sustainable energy." That interpretation of the facts was subsequently picked up by regional press in the west of England before hitting the front page of The Guardian national newspaper which reported: "Wind farms are an expensive and inefficient way of generating sustainable energy, according to a study from Germany." The words were reiterated in Australia.
xIn fact, the study concludes that expansion of wind energy in Germany to 2015 will cost households about EUR 1.5 a month, or less than a pint of beer (main story). According to Der Spiegel, however, "Eco-electricity propagated by the red/green government will probably be significantly more expensive than until now believed."
xAccording to the Guardian, the German study concludes that instead of spending billions on building new wind turbines, the emphasis should be on making houses more energy efficient. In fact, the energy agency confines itself to an investigation of wind energy and makes no value judgements with respect to other energy matters. Federal environment minister Jürgen Trittin, however, identified the "central pillars of a modern energy supply" as expansion of renewable energies, increasing energy efficiency and energy saving while on a visit to the UK last month.
xNegative media reports on wind energy are prone to play on a fear of big numbers. Around EUR 1.1 billion may have to be spent on network expansion in Germany to accommodate wind energy up to 2015. But what sounds like big money pales compared with the EUR 2 billion spent each year by German network operators on transmission wires -- or EUR 20 billion by 2015.