During the last few years, if you had a renewable energy idea, Germany embraced it. They already have a lot of protests about science - food, cell phones - and the time was right to say goodbye to nuclear protests as well.

So they trotted out "studies" showing a 20 percent return on wind power and solar and said those businesses just needed a boost in the short term. And people bought the hype. Writing in Spiegel, Anne Seith and Gerald Trauffetter outline the fall of Prokon, which had promised investors a 6 percent return (or your money back!) on green energy. $2 billion and a bankruptcy later and 75,000 investors who believed they were investing in the future are out in the cold.

Germany, wisely, is turning its back on hype claims that will become reality if only government will keep writing checks. They have instead say they will embrace natural gas, to the concern of environmental activists. 

Meanwhile, investors are going to court. Wind energy has just been a giant Ponzi scheme - people got dividends in the beginning, paid for by new investors, and with no guarantees from the government, the prospects for ever getting any money look bleak.

Credit and link: Spiegel

Well, of course they look bleak. If you spend $600 million and incur high maintenance costs on windvanes that only produce as much energy as a tiny coal plant, you are not going to win unless the taxpayers continue to overpay.

The journalists write of one company that
was able to avoid bankruptcy only because Germany's laws had changed in 2008. Since then, a "positive continuation prognosis" is enough to stay in business.

In the renewables industry, such a prognosis is easy to make: You just have to claim that the wind will blow stronger during the next year. As such, the survival of Breeze Two, according to management at the time, was "probable."
I live in California, where we pay 50 percent higher utility rates than the rest of the country because of a similar Ponzi scheme. But in Germany, at least the government can bail out of it. In California, government is the one doing it.

Gone With the Wind: Weak Returns Cripple German Renewables By Gunther Latsch, Anne Seith and Gerald Traufetter, Spiegel