09.11.2012
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Public support

Most Germans still say Energiewende worth the price

Roughly 3 weeks ago, the German surcharge for renewable power increased by nearly 50%, but a recent survey finds that roughly two thirds of Germans say the price is worth it.

On October 15, the German surcharge added to the retail power rate to cover the cost of renewable electricity rose by 47%, which led to some concern about whether the cost increase would lead to popular opposition to the country's energy transition. One survey published by a renewables organization shortly after the new surcharge was announced found that support had remained largely unchanged – but the survey had actually taken place before the new surcharge had been announced.

 -  German Environmental Minister Peter Altmaier has his work cut out for him in selling the energy transition to the German public and German industry, but it seems that even Germans who say the current higher prices will cause them trouble nonetheless support the policy.
German Environmental Minister Peter Altmaier has his work cut out for him in selling the energy transition to the German public and German industry, but it seems that even Germans who say the current higher prices will cause them trouble nonetheless support the policy.
Thomas Imo/photothek.net

In the meantime, we have some surveys taken after the announcement, and they find that Germans are unshaken by the rising surcharge. Yesterday, German magazine Stern – something between Newsweek and People – published a survey, which found that 64% of Germans believe the energy transition is still a good idea even if it gets more expensive than planned. The poll found that only 29% of Germans would like to have the nuclear phaseout revoked.

At the same time, however, only half of German citizens (47%) say that the extra expense (5 euros per month for the average German household) is not going to cause them any problems. More than a third (36%) said that the price hike would cause “some problems,” while 13% believe they will not be able to pay their power bills now. The German public also seems divided over the question of whether the energy transition will succeed or not, with 49% saying it will and 46% saying it won't.

The first survey of German consumers after the announcement of the new surcharge was probably published by German news magazine Focus, and it also found that 72% of Germans still supported the energy transition. (Craig Morris)

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