Merkel’s Muddle: Coal Keeps Powering On as Germany’s Renewable Energy Transition Implodes

RE disaster looms larger than a 300 tonne turbine in Helmut’s backyard.

 

Germany’s ‘transition’ to wind and solar is a full-scale debacle: rocketing power prices and an unstable grid, the only tangible ‘results’.

Anyone still talking about an ‘inevitable transition’ to nature’s wonder fuels, only needs to be reminded about the power pricing and supply calamity that is South Australia. As another example of what follows from an obsession with sunshine and breezes, Germany allows the rational and the sane to make precisely the same point.

German Green Energy Debacle: “Self Deception”…Dependence On Coal “Cemented For Years To Come”!
No Tricks Zone
Pierre Gosselin
9 September 2018

Germany used to be regarded as a global leader in the transition to renewable green energies — especially wind and solar power — a project dubbed the “Energiewende”. But this is no longer the case. Germany has fallen behind to the rear of the pack.

Ironically the USA is leading the world in cutting back CO2!

Germany’s “self-deception”

The Düsseldorf-based daily Rheinische Post (RP) here writes that it’s time for Germany to “face inconvenient truths” concerning green energies and that pragmatic (and not ideological) action is needed.

The title of the commentary: “Self-deception in the green energy transition“

Green, cult-like dream now colliding with harsh reality

For years the German government, activists and alarmist scientists promised that green energies — foremost wind and sun — would be plentiful, cheap and clean. “Hooray!” the entire exclaimed in jubilation.

But today in its commentary the RP concedes that “the reality looks totally different” and that it is requiring “an enormous effort” just to keep the power grids stable as waves of unpredictable green power repeatedly surge into the power grid.

According to the RP, emergency power grid interventions by grid operators cost electricity consumers last year 1,4 billion euros. German households consequently pay 47% more for their power than the average EU.

Energiewende: “risky, inefficient and expensive”

And so what have German consumers gotten in return in terms of climate and CO2 emissions for all the extra pain? Nothing.

German CO2 emissions have stagnated (i.e. haven’t fallen at all). And according to the RP: “The German transition to green energy is in reality risky, inefficient and expensive.”

Energiewende “derailed”

The RP comments that highly ballyhooed headlines of new record amounts of green energy being produced don’t change a thing with respect to the failing green energy transition, and notes that although green energies made up 37% of the gross share of gross power consumption, these clean energies amounted only to a measly 13 percent of the entire German energy mix!

The RP asks: “How could the German flagship project have derailed in this way?”

German dependence on coal “cemented for years to come”

The main reason for the failure, the RP writes, was Germany’s panicked rush to exit nuclear power in the wake Japan’s Fukushima nuclear disaster amid a deeply-rooted, collective and decades-old German aversion to nuclear power. This lead to the German government shutting down half of its nuclear power plants overnight and diving blindly into a rapid, unplanned expansion of wind and solar power.

The decision, the RP writes, was driven by the aim to shut down nuclear power, and not to reduce CO2.

The result, the RP comments: “Unfortunately, both goals are in direct contradiction. The politically desired phase-out of nuclear power has cemented our [German] dependence on coal for years to come. Its share is still 42 percent.”

The RP then comments that if Germany were really serious about reducing CO2, the country would not shut down its remaining nuclear power plants, which produce no “greenhouse” gas emissions.

Green energies “a naive illusion”

The RP also writes Germany should reconsider its efforts “to demonize diesel engines”, which have considerably higher fuel efficiency than gasoline engines. The move to eliminate diesel engines will make CO2 reductions more difficult. The RP also notes that electric cars “are no alternative” in terms of CO2.

100% renewables “a naive illusion”

The RP calls the idea of covering all Germany’s energy needs through renewable energy “a naive illusion” and expects that the country will have to accept the fact that it will remain dependent on fossil fuels also over the long-term.

Also the collectively naive Germans in general need to get realistic and serious about what going 100% green entails. The RP comments:

Anyone who has solar cells mounted on the roof and then flies mindlessly to vacation on the Maldives, has not understood the problem.

Public also opposes CCS

The RP finally comments on other possible technical solutions that could be employed to make the pain of having to go without fossil energies bearable, namely subsidizing CCS technology. However, a great number of Germans oppose that technology as well.

The way things are going, the RP suggests, Germany will never be able to meet its CO2 reductions targets.
No Tricks Zone

Coal-fired power: what’s really keeping Germany’s lights on.

 

‘Die Welt’ Commentary: “Europe Can’t Bail Out The German Power Supply”…Calls Strategy “A Dangerous Miscalculation”
No Tricks Zone
Pierre Gosselin
11 September 2018

Germany has seriously overestimated how much its neighboring countries are able to help out in the event wind and solar energy fail to deliver, thus putting it’s power supply at risk.

One of Germany’s strategies for making its energy supply renewable is to rely on its neighbors to step up when green energies fail to deliver.

As the country adds more volatile wind and solar energy to the grid, Germany hopes that neighboring countries will cooperate in helping to stabilize the power grid in the event the wind doesn’t blow and the sun doesn’t shine — especially after the country shuts down its remaining nuclear power plants and starts to shut down old coal plants. Nuclear and coal power make up the lion’s share of Germany’s stable baseload power supply.

“A dangerous miscalculation”

However, it appears German officials have made a major miscalculation: citing a recent study, journalist Daniel Wetzel at Die Welt writes: “Europe cannot bail out the German power supply.” This is so because “hardly a neighboring country has any remaining extra power plant capacity.” The Die Welt economics journalist then calls the German strategy “a dangerous miscalculation.”

In 2014 the German Ministry of Economics assumed the country could rely on 60 gigawatts of over-capacity in related adjacent markets in Europe, but it turns out that the figure was overstated by a factor of 3 to 4. Consequently on windless and sunless days, Germany could end up missing considerable amounts of power.

Wetzel writes:

As a result, soon all over Europe power stations with ‘secured power’ that can produce independently of current wind and sun conditions will be missing.”

He also adds that as every European country strives to add more wind and solar capacity, more of their baseload capacity plants are being shut down as well, which only makes the situation increasingly worse when sun and wind do not show up. The point is rapidly coming where there will not be sufficient baseload capacity to keep the grid stable.

One solution, Wetzel suggests, would be to install gas-fired power generators so that they could be fired up in times of low wind and solar output: “However, new gas-fired plants are being built nowhere because refinancing under the conditions of the Energiewende appears as being too risky,” Wetzel reports.

In a nutshell, as Europe expands its wind and solar capacity, more baseload capacity will be needed. But instead of adding it, Europe is reducing it, and thus making the supply and grid stability worse.

As for Germany, it is increasingly dawning on politicians that designing energy infrastructure is best left technical and electrical engineering experts, and not to climate -catastrophe obsessed politicians and green activists who seem to think such complex systems can be built up ad hoc as you go.

The price of this slipshod politicized approach could wind up being very painful in the midterm future.
No Tricks Zone

Cheer up Angela, it was ‘fun’ while it lasted…

About stopthesethings

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

Comments

  1. Let Germany be a beacon of light, because no one should follow this example. Sad to put it that way. Ecological disasters….we have never seen anything like this, and hundreds of years to recover. Pray that Germany and the US and Canada, and others, so many others, even the Developing World which is now a dumping ground for used parts, soon puts a mind to recovery and restitution, and preservation of all species, including humans.

  2. Marshall Rosenthal says:

    And in the U.S. we have California Governor, Jerry Brownout. He has effected an Energiewende 2.0 for his state in passing into law an edict that henceforth all of California’s energy will come from “renewables”, notably sun and wind. Not only is this economically suicidal, it is ridiculous.

    • singletonengineer says:

      IIRC, the legislation actually refers to zero carbon or similar, which leaves room for nuclear power – but other action by Governor Brown has resulted in closure of one and planned closure of the other, of the remaining two nuclear power plants in California.

      Regardless of the actual legislation, the wind+water+solar gang are in full cry as though the legislation really did mandate 100% WWS.

      Some apologists are so bent that they couldn’t lie straight in bed.

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