University of Magdeburg economics professor Joachim Heimann held a presentation in Brandenburg highlighting the shortcomings of Germany’s Energiewende (transition to renewable energies) and Europe’s climate policy earlier this year.
First Weimann calls the climate issue a debate that is emotionally and ideologically charged, and that the facts are almost always suppressed. He also believes that the real facts on climate change and energy policy are unpopular among policymakers and that they all too often “deny” them.
In the presentation Heimann makes it clear that he is an alarmist, and that he believes something needs to be done rapidly.
The thrust of his presentation, however, is about Germany’s Energiewende and Europe’s climate policies, and whether they are really effective. His assessment in a nutshell: The feed-in acts are a colossal disaster.
Coal plants pay less, consumers pay much more
Heimann says that go-it-alone national CO2 reduction programs aren’t functioning and that emissions trading schemes in combination with energy feed-in acts only result in emissions being sourced out and thus lead to no emissions reductions. In the end the price of emission certificates falls to levels that makes them ineffective. Ironically coal power plants, he says, wind up the ones profiting the most. “Coal is indirectly being subsidized by the feed-in acts,” says Heimann. Everything about coal suddenly becomes cheap, not only its supply, but also the costs of its emissions.
Greater consumption of resources
For the consumer, however, the price of electricity becomes far more expensive. Heimann also explains that the forced feed-in of renewable energies in fact even leads to greater consumption of resources, and not less.
At the 24:20 mark Heimann presents the costs of eliminating 1 tonne of CO2 emissions for a variety of sources: for a coal power plant 1 ton reduction of CO2 costs only 8 euros, for retrofitting a car it costs 100 euros per ton, for onshore wind 150 euros, offshore wind 320 euros and solar 400 euros a ton. This do not include the grid costs. Clearly some CO2 reduction measures make little economic sense.
Feed-in acts lead to zero climate protection
At the 26:30 mark Heimmann slams the German EEG energy feed-in act because it promotes the installation of existing technology rather than research and development in new technology. He says:
– “For climate protection, we do not need the Energiewende.”
– “It is doing nothing for saving resources”.
– “It is also doing nothing for jobs and new technology.”
Substituting coal and nuclear a pipe dream
Next Heimann shows why it is madness to try to replace 18 nuclear power plants (total output 20 GW) with “extremely volatile” wind energy. He says there’s no chance of accomplishing this feat without storage technology, which is still nowhere in sight. Some 437 pump storage facilities would need to be built to ensure the supply of 18 nuclear power plants – an impossible task he says. He calls stopping nuclear energy and coal energy at the same time a pipe dream.
More coal burned today than in 1990!
Because Germany has already committed to closing its remaining nuclear power plants by 2022, the country will be forced to do 2 things: 1) burn more fossil fuels, and 2) to import more of the unpopular nuclear energy. The stunning result, so far, Heimann points out: “We are now burning more coal than in 1990!”
Heimann summarizes, saying Germany’s Energiewende resulted in:
– “No energy independence.”
– “Negative job creation.”
– “A price tag of up to 1.2 trillion euros.”
Europe: €5.7 trillion “completely wasted”
Moreover global greenhouse gas emissions climbed 35% from 2000-2012, clearly dwarfing Europe’s 11% reduction. He says the 5.7 trillion euros committed by all of Europe so far will be “completely wasted”. He says that what is needed is an international coalition and that here Germany is doing nothing to support it.
At the end (38:00) he hands in his final assessment. Germany’s Energiewende:
– “Is very expensive”
– “Is counter-productive”
– “Has had no effect on climate”
– “Disturbs in the decommissioning of nuclear power”