Energy Expert: Germany’s Renewable Energy Transition “Will Fail Spectacularly – Heavily Damaging The Economy”

The European Institute for Climate and Energy (EIKE) issued a press release on a 28-page report that German energy expert Dr. Guenter Keil wrote concerning Germany’s transition to renewable energy, and away from nuclear and fossil fuel energy.

KEIL’S FULL 28-PAGE REPORT IN ENGLISH

As the report shows, Germany’s transition to green energy is turning into a real horror story. The 28-page full report will keep you up at night!

What follows is EIKE’s PRESS RELEASE describing the contents of the report.

======================================================
Germany’s Green Energy Supply Transformation Has Already Failed
EIKE Press Release, 24 January, 2012

Energy expert Dr. Guenter Keil has closely examined Germany’s energy policy of shifting away from nuclear and fossil fuels and over to renewables. What he finds is a bleak picture. Years ago Germany ambitiously embarked on transforming its energy supply system, and hopes to supply at least 80% of its energy needs through renewable energies by 2050, and thus become a moral leader on environmental responsibility for the rest of the world.

To do this, the former Socialist-Green coalition government, led by Gerhard Schröder, enacted the so-called Renewable
Energy Feed-In Act
(EEG) in 2000. This Feed-In Act requires electric utilities to buy all renewable energies, such as solar and wind power, from all producers at fixed, exorbitant rates and to feed it into the power grid for a period of 20 years. This has led to a boon as thousands of homeowners, businesses, and investors have installed thousands of megawatts of solar and wind power capacity over the years. The current Conservative-Liberal government, not to be outdone by its predecessor, is also gleefully pushing the Feed-In Act to the limit.

Weather-dependent supply wreaking havoc on the power grid

The problem is that these energy sources are weather-dependent and thus their sporadic supply is starting to wreak havoc on Germany’s power grid and is even now threatening to destabilize power grids all across Europe. The other problem: the power grid needed to distribute the decentrally produced green power is simply not there yet. They forgot to build it! So far, after tens of billions of euros spent on renewable energy systems and higher prices for consumers, not a single coal or gas-fired power plant has been taken offline. To the contrary, old inefficient German plants have been brought back into service in an effort to stabilize the grid.

In a panic reaction, Germany shut down 8 nuclear power plants

To make matters worse, in a fit of panic and hysteria, the German government shut down 8 of its older 18 nuclear reactors in the wake of the Fukushima disaster, thus removing a very cheap and stable supply of power and further pushing the grid to the limits. Before the shutdown of the nuclear reactors, Germany had been a net power exporter; today it is a net power importer and is at times severely straining neighboring power grids. To compensate for the missing nuclear power, the government is now heavily promoting even more weather-dependent wind power, which is further destabilizing the German and European power grids. A solution to the problem of storing electricity is still at least a generation away.

The question of course is how could such absurd decisions have been made to begin with? Were there no experts involved in the planning of the new power generation infrastructure? The answer obviously is no. Power executives are viewed as evil, dirty and greedy polluters, and thus were never really consulted. They could not be counted on to give the politically correct solutions. Therefore the decision to shut down the German nuclear power plants and to massively support renewables was done unilaterally by the government, without consulting the power executives or even neighboring countries.

Offshore wind parks, but no transmission lines to industrial regions!

Now that the damage is spreading, Germany’s utilities are now struggling to keep the grid stable and to fill in the power gap left by the shut-down of nuclear reactors. To do this the German government has ordered the installation of large-scale wind parks in the North and Baltic seas, in addition to the re-commissioning of mothballed, inefficient coal-fired plants. This overall energy production transition from nuclear and fossils over to “renewables” is dubbed by German officials as the Energy Supply Transformation. Construction of the offshore wind parks is now progressing rapidly. But there’s just one problem: the huge high voltage power transmission lines needed to bring their power to Germany’s industrial heartland to the south are missing! More than 3000 km of these lines are needed, but are nowhere near in sight. The government forgot about those too.

Activists groups blocking grid expansion

Building the power transmission lines quickly across the landscape will be a virtually impossible task. Activist groups have long since organized and are effectively blocking their approval and construction. So far only a measly 214 km have been built. As a result, surplus wind power cannot be delivered to the markets, and thus either has to be destroyed, dumped on the market at “negative prices”, or wind park owners are simply ordered to stop generating. No problem though – paragraph 12 of Germany’s Energy Feed-In Act requires electric utilities to pay for the electricity that they ask not to have produced! Technically, there is an incentive for wind parks to destabilize the grid.

Eventually all these costs add up and in the end they get passed along to the consumer. Under the bottom line, consumers have to pay more and more, and for a lower and lower quality supply. German industry is getting nervous and surveys show that many are leaving Germany, or are planning to do so. They no longer view Germany’s power supply as reliable.

In a death spiral…”will fail spectacularly”

Dr. Guenter Keil’s report focusses in detail on the amazing absurdities of Germany’s Renewable Energy Feed-In Act and the country’s utopian Energy Transformation. The government, through intrusive meddling and ballooning bureaucracy, has maneuvered Germany’s energy supply system into a vicious death spiral: the more the government intervenes, the greater the mess becomes. And the greater the mess becomes, the more the government intervenes! Dr. Keil concludes:

Germany’s energy transformation has already failed. For Germans, the outlook is bleak. …the planned mismanagement is heavily damaging the economy and will fail spectacularly some years later because its economic and social costs will have become unbearable. The question remaining open is how many billions of euros will have to be destroyed before a new energy policy (a new energy transformation?) picks up the shattered pieces.”

So it’s no wonder that according to a survey of experts from 21 national committees by the World Energy Council, 0% said they could imagine their own country completely taking over the German political approach. An equal number believe Germany will reach its stated targets. Germany’s model will serve as a classic lesson on how not to handle energy production and management.

Dr. Guenter Keil was a scientific employee at the Technical University of Munich / Fraunhofer Society, as well as Project Support at the Federal Research Ministry.
Contact EIKE at: limburg@grafik-system.de

============================================

KEIL’S FULL 28-PAGE REPORT IN ENGLISH

I’ve read the entire report, and I can say that it sounds worse than Soviet-style central planning.

27 responses to “Energy Expert: Germany’s Renewable Energy Transition “Will Fail Spectacularly – Heavily Damaging The Economy””

  1. Ulrich Elkmann

    At least the old-style 5-year-plans were aimed at heavy industrial production and modernization; and after the “Thaw” there were pockets of the so-called “Goulash communism” to provide at least a minimum of poultry and vegetables (in 1962, the “dachas” comprised 3% of the USSR’s agriculture and supplied 50% of the victuals). This sounds more like the Great Leap Forward with local windmills instead of backyard smelting yards, backed up by AGW instead of Lysenkoism, with Arcadia as the new collectivist paradise.

  2. mwhite

    Yet green Britain looks to Germany on how to do it.

  3. mindert eiting

    Hi Pierre,
    This is OT but as I promised implicitly a few weeks ago, I have done a study into the UHI effect and some extra’s. If you are interested or want to send it out for a bit of review by Anthony or Ed, let me know it by mail. I assume that you have my mail address. It is a short article with one picture and two tables.
    Sincerely, Mindert Eiting

  4. R. de Haan

    There are some complications, not dramatic, but small.
    Just a number of billions.
    Just copy the site in Google Translate
    http://climategate.nl/2012/01/25/offshore-windmolenaar-bard-in-financieel-zwaar-weer/

  5. SOYLENT GREEN

    I once saw a show about massive mining machines, and one segment focused on this shovel that just followed a coal seam right across Germany. Whatever was in the way–didn’t matter roads, farms houses; they were leveled.
    IT was eminent domain writ large.
    I don’t think a bunch of eco-tards could really stop the building of transmission lines if Angela and her trolls wanted them built.

    1. Asmilwho

      I think you underestimated the power of the enviro-activists in Germany.

      Check out what’s happening with the new train station in Stuttgart. Or how 10 000s of demonstrators appear at the drop of a hat, whenever a train carrying low-level nuclear waste comes anywhere near Germany.

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  9. Alec Rawls

    The problem with unreliable wind and solar isn’t just that they destablize the grid. The requirement of distributors to purchase wind and solar when available also drive reliable generators into bankruptcy, because they must go offline by the same amount that the unreliables come on. But these plants need to run a lot to be economically efficient. If they are only working half time then they bring in a lot less money and their capital costs do not get covered.

    All to wage war against CO2, when the evidence shows clearly that 20th century warming was caused by the 80 year grand maximum of solar magnetic activity, recently ended. What is coming next is COOLING, not warming. The eco-religious morons are as irrational about science as they are about economics. Incredible that the Germans–such a scientifically capable people–would embrace such patently fraudulent scientific and economic ideas as a new state religion. Is mania so endemic to the German national character?

  10. thebiggreenlie

    Brilliant post!…..thanks for that………I’m trying to warn people over in our part of Canada what’s ahead for them.
    The “eco-whackos” keep using Germany as the best example of how massive Renewable Energy will save the world!
    This should go a long way in stopping them from opening their mouths to spout lies!

  11. DirkH

    Soviet style planned economy led to shortage of goods and a black market.

    German style renewable energy economy leads to scarcity and oversupply at the same time, and the prize of the good goes UP the more is produced (because, as more highly subsidized wind power and solar power is fed into the grid, the energy mix becomes more expensive).

    Even better: The more destabilizing wind and solar power comes online, the less frequently (counted in operating hours a year) one needs peaker plants – so that no energy supplier wants to build peaker plants. Even though they’re desparately needed, it would be uneconomic to build them!

    This is such a total failure of common sense, it’s mindboggling.

    1. Ulrich Elkmann

      The more so since “common sense” does not just mean “gut reaction” but a hundred years’ experience of actually running the show.
      “…stop the building of transmission lines if Angela and her trolls wanted them built..”: You have no idea (you could try to enlist as a spy: get a journalist pass and tell them you’re an Obamaniac eager to study the German Alternativlosigkeitspolitikdurchsetzungsmassnahmen: any composite German noun with more than 2 syllables will leave them stunned): the power lines are owned and managed by the power companies; the planning and financing have to be done by the federal gvt. in Berlin; any actual route laid will be determined and approved by the Länder – the individual states like Bavaria or Thuringia, permission for any pylon sites rests with the local communities; any farmer on whose field a pylon is set up will act up as a martyr until royally reimbursed; EVERYBODY will sue everybody up to the highest court of appeal, the federal constitutional court. Any concerned citizen who doesn’t want to be fried by evil alien radiation from 320kV lines will play at Occupy Cabbage Patch (they have tasted blood last year in Stuttgart). The whole charade (& the small bit of actually putting up the 4000+ km of lines) will have to be over in less than 3 years… Welcome to Bureaucratia.

  12. Asmilwho

    Here is an interesting related article from the Welt newspaper on 25.jan:

    http://www.welt.de/print/die_welt/politik/article13832400/Sonnenstrom-entzweit-die-Koalition.html

    I especially like the last paragraph, about stabilising the electricty network by forcing “large consumers” to switch off :

    “Weil der Sonnenstrom wie auch der Windstrom bislang nur unregelmäßig fließt und technische Einrichtungen zur Stabilisierung der Netzspannung teuer und zudem nicht gesetzlich vorgeschrieben sind, ist die Schnellabschaltung von großen Stromverbrauchern die wirksamste Methode, um die Netzstabilität zu sichern. Minister Rösler bereitet derzeit eine entsprechende “Abschaltverordnung” vor und stellt den betroffenen Unternehmen eine Entschädigung von bis zu 60 000 Euro je Abschaltung in Aussicht.”

  13. Ulrich Elkmann

    “Weil der Sonnenstrom wie auch der Windstrom bislang nur unregelmäßig fließt” – “bislang” i.e., up to now: So now they are going to change that and command the elements? “And the sun stood still, and the moon stayed … So the sun stood still in the midst of heaven, and hasted not to go down about a whole day.” (Joshua 10:13) “What manner of man is this! for he commands even the winds and water, and they obey him.” (Luke 8:25). It has become a standard trope to refer to Frau Merkel as “having studied physics” – so she knows about laws of nature, and as a politician she knows that laws can be repealed.

    1. DirkH

      “Weil der Sonnenstrom wie auch der Windstrom bislang nur unregelmäßig fließt”
      Translation for our English speaking friends: “Because solar power and wind power are for now only available intermittantly…”

      1. Asmilwho

        I guess this idea is for when the network is *undersupplied* with energy, e.g. When the wind doesn’t blow or the skies are grey … BMW or Audi or VW get a call from Rösler telling them to stop making stuff.

        But what then? Send the workers home? On full pay but doing no work? That would certainly fit in with the philosophy of paying the electricity generators to produce no electricity ;-)

  14. DirkH

    5th century depiction of a modern wind turbine. ;-)
    http://www.designboom.com/contemporary/peace.html

  15. Ulrich Elkmann

    “This fifth century illustration depicts st.peter crucified
    upside-down. the inverted crucifix was known for
    centuries as the‘nero cross’ from the roman reign
    of the emperor nero (54-68 A.D.)
    in the middle ages the ‘nero cross’ was adapted
    in satanists rituals.”
    Freemasons. Or the Prieuré de Sion. Or the Merowingians. But I thought it was all a plot to transform Earth so the Greys could take over: “”And I, for one, welcome our new insect overlords”?
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deep_Space_Homer

  16. oeman50

    The grid’s effect on electrical supply in any country is more fragile than most realize, it takes minute by minute active intervention of thousands of people to keep the lights on in everyone’s home. I see this every day. But even that can only do so much, it also takes sound planning to make sure the energy and physical resources needed are there in the long term. It appears this grand experiment in implementation of Green Dreams is headed for disaster. Since the post-Fukashima nuclear shutdowns I have been anticipating a bad grid event in Germany will hit the news.

    Unfortuately, the people of Germany will pay the consequences for an experiment gone bad. And expect that the evil power companies will be blamed because they couldn’t kick the ball downfield with their legs shackled.

  17. Harry

    Here you can find n official report of a Belgian Agency which investigates an incident with the international interconnection on a day with expected high yield of German wind turbines, resulting in the fact that Belgian customes paid more than 1 MEuro for their electricity on that single day.

    It is in Dutch, unfortunately.
    http://www.creg.info/pdf/Studies/F1045NL.pdf

    1. DirkH

      Ok, what happened was that on Saturday, the 5th Feb 2011, high wind power production in Germany, of an average 18.3 GW was forecast, but actual production turned out to be only 17.2 GW average. For some reason, based on the way the power exchange from Germany to Holland and to France is arbitrated, this resulted in a near-total collapse of energy exchange between NL-GE and FR-GE interconnectors in BOTH directions; while German wind power exports to Denmark and Sweden stayed largely unaffected.

      And this led to bad resource allocation in Belgium, they had to pay up to 36 EUR more for a MWh than normal.

      So once again the German renewables frenzy wreaks havoc with the smaller grids of the neighbours. And this was BEFORE the Fukushima panic and the German nuke switchoff!

      Thanks for bringing this up, Harry.

  18. Harry

    Also available in French:
    http://www.creg.info/pdf/Etudes/

  19. DW

    I managed to wade through (most) of that 28 page article, and now have blurred vision as a result! Nothing personal, Pierre, but I really hope that Dr. Guenter Keil’s dire predictions do come true, and the sooner the better. If The EU’s economic powerhouse suffers large scale blackouts and consequent industrial disruption, it will sound a wake-up call for other countries, who are rushing headlong down the same path.

    No one will give a damn if the UK has major power cuts first – let’s face it, our record on making things work isn’t that great these days. But if GERMANY goes pear shaped – well, that would be different…

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