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Eco-Paradise Lost: Wind Power Bleeds Investors

Alexander Wendt, Focus Magazin

Germany’s green paradise, where wind turbines were considered a foolproof investment, has burned down.


For a long time, German wind power was seen as a safe investment thanks to generous subsidies. Green investors are now losing massive amounts of money – because they overlooked major pitfalls.

Beliefs do not disappear quickly. “I’m still a proponent of renewable energy,” says Dresden engineer Wolfgang Strübing. Political scientist Christian Herz from Berlin and tax auditor Werner Daldorf from Kassel see it the same way. The three share a lot: They are among tens of thousands of Germans who have invested their money in wind turbines. And they sit on the Investor Advisory Board of the German Wind Energy Association.

Suspiciously viewed by the association’s leadership, the three began to collect information about tricks, traps and false promises in the wind power industry from all over Germany. The trio has now collected the by far greatest amount of data on this problem in Germany. And according to their data, many of the approximately 24,000 wind turbines are investment destroyers – despite massive subsidies. The eco-paradise, where wind turbines were considered as a foolproof investment, has burned down.

Just over a third of all wind farms return more than they cost

Werner Daldorf, Chairman of the Investor Advisory Board of the German Wind Power Association, examined 1,400 annual accounts of 192 wind farms in Germany over a period of ten years. His sobering conclusion:

37 percent of wind farms are losing investors’ money: “The repayment of loans was higher than the generated funds.”

Only 35 percent of the wind power companies paid two or more percent return to their investors.  For wind farms with a fund structure, two thirds are in deficit or just about cover their running costs, according to Daldorf.

His colleague Christian Herz evaluated the accounts of 1,400 wind power funds. His conclusion: “Two thirds are far below the investment return that was originally predicated.”

Translation Philipp Mueller

Full story (in German)