German Wind Power does what the Dambusters couldn’t do

dambusters_1497645c

Enemy Coast ahead boys.

****

On the night of 16/17 May 1943, RAF No. 617 Squadron aka the “Dambusters” set out in 19 Avro Lancaster MKIII bombers armed with Barnes Wallis’s revolutionary bouncing bomb – in what was called Operation Chastise.

The purpose of the famous raid was to attack 3 major dams on the Ruhr in Germany: the Möhne, Eder and Sorpe.  The Ruhr Valley was seen as the German industrial heartland – home to major steel producers, power stations and a host of armament factories.

Led by 24 year old, Wing Commander Guy Gibson, the Dambusters found their 3 targets without much difficulty – but at a cost.  Of the 19 planes that took off, 3 returned early and 5 were lost before the attacks took place.  Of the 11 that took part in the attacks 8 returned: 1 was shot down during the attack and 2 afterwards.

Gibson was awarded the Victoria Cross and 33 other survivors were also decorated at Buckingham Palace on 22 June: there were 5 Distinguished Service Orders, 10 Distinguished Flying Crosses and 4 bars, 2 Conspicuous Gallantry Medals, and 11 Distinguished Flying Medals and 1 bar.

But their gallantry wasn’t given lightly: 53 of the 133 aircrew who participated in the attack were killed – a casualty rate of almost 40 percent – 13 of those killed were members of the Royal Canadian Air Force, while 2 belonged to the Royal Australian Air Force.

mohne-dam_2554679b

The Möhne Dam after Gibson’s raid.

****

The Möhne and Edersee Dams were breached, causing catastrophic flooding of the Ruhr valley and to villages in the Eder valley, while the Sorpe dam sustained only minor damage. Two hydro power plants were destroyed and several more were damaged. Factories and mines were also either damaged or destroyed. An estimated 1,600 people drowned.

For Winston Churchill the raid was a propaganda coup and was credited by the British press with causing serious and lasting damage to Hitler’s ability to wage war.

In reality, no doubt due to German tenacity, organisational skill and “Gründlichkeit” (typical German thoroughness) the damage to the dams was rapidly repaired and industrial production had largely returned to normal by September that year.

While no serious historian has ever called the Dambusters’ raids a failure, they clearly did not succeed in destroying Germany’s industrial heartland.

Well, it looks like Germany’s fatal attraction with giant fans is going to finish off what the Dambusters set out to do 70 years ago.

Here’s The Telegraph on the latest effort to destroy German industry.

Germany is a cautionary tale of how energy polices can harm the economy
The Telegraph
Bruno Waterfield
16 January 2014

Despite Germany’s shift to renewable solar and wind energies, and amid a recession, its carbon emissions rose by 1.8pc last year

Germany’s shift to renewable energy was once Angela Merkel’s flagship policy – now it has become her biggest headache.

“For me, the most urgent problem is the design of the energy revolution,” said the German Chancellor in her first television interview after being re-elected last month. “We are under a lot of pressure. The future of jobs and the future of Germany as a business location depend on it.”

She is not wrong: Europe’s largest country and economy faces a crisis. Such is the mess over energy that the future of Germany’s much-vaunted economic competitiveness is now seriously threatened.

Ms Merkel is currently Europe’s most popular leader but there is a growing backlash against her ill-thought-out energy policies.

And, to cap it all, policies hailed as saving the world from climate change have, in fact, increased CO2 emissions.

The plan was called energiewende, which can be translated as energy transition or even revolution. But despite Germany’s shift to renewable solar and wind energies, and amid a recession, its carbon emissions rose by 1.8pc last year.

In the European Union, as a whole, emissions fell by 1.3pc, mainly due to recession, according to the Centre for International Climate and Environmental Research in Oslo.

Ms Merkel has no one to blame but herself. Germany’s shift to renewables was very much along the norms of the European model, with the aim of going beyond EU targets. Then along came Fukushima and the wave of anti-nuclear hysteria that followed the 2011 Tohoku earthquake and tsunami in Japan.

The once-in-a-millennium event at the Fukushima reactor killed nobody, although the tsunami claimed 16,000 lives. However, it was enough to panic Germany’s green middle class.

Ms Merkel caved in to shrill demands for the country’s atomic reactors to be closed. This decision, from a former chemist, who is personally pro-nuclear, is perhaps the most important economic call she has made. It is a disaster.

In March 2011, at the height of the eurozone recession, Germany switched off eight of its 17 nuclear reactors, cutting 7pc of electricity generation, with another 18pc to go over the next decade. The other nine reactors will be phased out from 2015 to 2022, bringing forward a previous 2036 deadline by 14 years.

Germany has also stepped up energiewende, as it switches to meet a target of producing 80pc of the country’s electricity from renewable, wind and solar power by 2050. The fields carpeted with solar panels and the North Sea wind farms may have gratified the green conceits of Germany’s middle class but they have come at a terrible economic and social cost. According to Nature, the international science magazine, this year German consumers will be forced to pay €20bn (£17bn) to subsidise electricity from solar, wind and bio-gas plants, power with a real market price of €3bn.

To pay for this green adventure, surcharges on electricity for households have increased by 47pc, or €15bn, in the past year alone. German consumers already pay the highest electricity prices in Europe; before long, the average three-person household will spend around €90 a month for electricity, almost twice as much as in 2000. Currently, more than 300,000 German households a year are seeing their power shut off because of unpaid bills.

Two-thirds of the electricity price increase is due to new government surcharges and taxes to subsidise renewable energy. While electricity prices have rocketed and the middle classes receive handouts to put solar panels on their houses, pensions and wages have not kept up, hitting Germany’s poorest hardest.

There are some serious practical problems emerging. Solar and wind power is erratic, which means that Germany will require storage capacity for 20bn to 30bn kilowatt-hours by 2050. So far, the storage capacity has grown by little more than 70m kilowatt-hours.

Compounding problems, when the wind stops blowing or the sun disappears, the electricity supply needed to power the national grid becomes scarce. This has pushed Germany into increased use of heavy oil and coal power plants, which is why the country released more carbon dioxide into the atmosphere in 2012 than in 2011.

Its decision to phase out nuclear power also led to a rise in coal prices, as traders realised that it was likely to keep more coal for domestic consumption.

Germany has got used to delivering economic homilies on competitiveness to the rest of Europe. But a new picture is emerging: German industry is in trouble. Energy prices are 40pc more expensive than in France and the Netherlands, and the bills are 15pc higher than the EU average. Even though Germany’s energy-intensive manufacturing sector is given a break with reduced levies, industries such as chemicals and steel are among the hardest hit, with energiewende costs of up to €740m a year. The burden could get even worse after the European Commission (EC) launched an investigation into the reduced levies.

The Verband der Industriellen Energie- und Kraftwirtschaft, which represents high-energy manufacturing, is alarmed that the commission could be about to rule that the levies are in breach of EU competition rules on state aid to industry. It is concerned that the EC will levy full charges on companies with immediate effect, and maybe even retroactively, a move it says could “destroy Germany’s industrial core”.

Germany has become a cautionary tale for Europe, an example of where the wrong energy policies are damaging, perhaps mortally wounding, its economy, punishing consumers and the poor while undermining the green objectives, of reduced CO2 emissions, it set out to achieve.
The Telegraph

Hold the phone?  Wasn’t all that insane cost about reducing CO2 emissions?

So it looks like the Germans have thrown €billions at a system that fails to deliver on its central promise and destroys German industrial competitiveness in the bargain.

Another example of typical German thoroughness, perhaps?

angry german kid

Thoroughly angry about what they’ve done to his future.

About stopthesethings

We are a group of citizens concerned about the rapid spread of industrial wind power generation installations across Australia.

Comments

  1. The road to hell is paved with good intentions.

  2. As your article points out, the might of allied bombing during WW II couldn’t destroy the Ruhr’s industry, but high priced energy courtesy of Angela Merkel’s crazy policies on wind, solar and nuclear energy just might. Joel Kotkin writing last year in The Wall Street Journal explains how cheap US natural gas may help complete the allies unfinished work:

    Cheap U.S. natural gas has some envisioning the Mississippi River between New Orleans and Baton Rouge as an “American Ruhr.” Much of this growth, notes Eric Smith, associate director of the Tulane Energy Institute, will be financed by German and other European firms that are reeling from electricity costs now three times higher than in places like Louisiana.

    Korean and Japanese firms are already swarming into South Carolina, Alabama and Tennessee. What the Boston Consulting Group calls a “reallocation of global manufacturing” is shifting production away from expensive East Asia and Europe and toward these lower-cost locales. The arrival of auto, steel and petrochemical plants—and, increasingly, the aerospace industry—reflects a critical shift for the Southeast, which historically depended on lower-wage industries such as textiles and furniture.

  3. If Australia doesn’t wake up about all these fraudulent fans soon we will be severely weakened as a nation as much of our industry has had to escape the crippling power increases that have resulted from this highly intermit power source.

Trackbacks

  1. […] pack up and head to the USA – where power prices are 1/3 of Germany’s (see our posts here and here and […]

  2. […] current debacle is in no small part due to Mrs Merkel’s political knee jerk reaction to a nuclear accident in far away Japan, that killed err … […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: