And Germans are discovering that their warm embrace of green policies is leaving the most vulnerable citizens out in the cold - quite literally. Charities call it "energy poverty". Rising electricity bills, in large part due to Germany's renewable energy surcharges, have seen power cut off to more than 300,000 households a year because of unpaid bills.Green dreams
As Stefan Becker from Catholic charity Caritas in Berlin told Der Spiegel, "People here have to decide between spending money on an expensive energy-saving bulb or a hot meal."
In other words, the fine-sounding push towards renewable energy - through subsidies to an expensive and haphazard renewable industry - redistributes money from a poor family living in a tiny apartment to a well-to-do family living in a house with roof-mounted solar panels.
And as Der Spiegel points out, the left-wing parties are most responsible for hurting the poor. The Social Democrats, "which sees itself as the party of the working class, long ignored this regressive aspect of the system. The Greens, the party of higher earners, continue to do so."
Former German environment minister Jurgen Tritten of the Green Party once said that Germany's switch to renewable energy would cost each German no more than the cost of a scoop of ice cream. In fact, rising electricity prices mean that the poor can barely pay for dinner, let alone dessert.
The same crunch is happening in Britain where Prime Minister David Cameron once declared his government would be the "greenest government ever". Cameron now admits that green levies for renewable energy are causing "energy poverty" for 2.4 million British households.