Surprising no one: lumpy expensive electricity does not make for a High Tech Paradise
It’s another example of how more green jobs means less real ones. A German High Tech Chip maker driven to Singapore by renewable energy prices
To understand the scale of just how green Germany is, ponder that it has the third largest wind power fleet in the world, with around 30,000 turbines. In 2020, wind power generated more than a quarter of German electricity and solar power another 10%. Despite all that *free* energy Germans pay some of the highest electricity prices in the world at 38c/KWh. Whereas Singaporeans use natural gas and pay 18c/KWh. Germans are famous for their high tech engineering, but now they can’t afford to manufacture it at home. Siltronic is moving, and along with that presumably goes some of the intellectual property, brains, and security that comes with having that production locally.
Siltronic boss Christoph von Plotho blames Germany’s high energy costs for the decision: “The high electricity price makes the location unattractive,” he said in an interview with the Handelsblatt. His company pays “less than half the electricity price” in Singapore.
The main cost driver in Germany is the green energy levy under the Renewable Energy Sources Act (EEG) which has cost energy consumers more than 30 billion euros last year.
It’s not just expensive electricity, it’s “insecure” electricity:
Germany’s largest semiconductor producer Infineon told Handelsblatt that insecure power supply was also a major factor in reconsidering industrial production in Germany and Europe.
Solar panels and wind turbines are just not good for making silicon chips.
How much will Germany change world temperatures with windmills when the factories just move to different places?
*For the record, German wind power has a theoretical capacity of 60GW, whatever that means.