Steffen Hentrich of the liberty-oriented blogsite “Denken für die Freiheit” (Thinking for Liberty) writes a piece called “Climate-Killing Energy Transformation” about how Germany’s energy transformation from nuclear and fossil fuels to renewable energies is not working out very well.
The annual report “Energy Consumption in Germany in 2011″ confirms that Germany is going to have a difficult time reducing its share of CO2 emissions should nuclear power be stopped completely. Even though the total output of CO2 emissions is declining in Germany, more lignite (brown coal) is being burned (AGEB, S. 37) and the amount of CO2 emitted for each kilowatt hour of electricity jumped:
According to estimates by the German BDEW e.V. (Federal Association of German Energy and Water Management), the specific CO2 emissions from electricity generating plants for public power supply (i.e. not including power generation by industry) was 0.51 kg CO2/kWh net. With respect to the previous year (0.49 kg CO2/kWh net), they have risen about 4%! Only 2007 had such a high comparable increase, which also was attributed to the shutdown of some nuclear power plants, but to a lesser extent. The comparably CO2-intensive power generation from lignite exceeded the previous year’s level. Also the relative share of lignite power plants in the overall decreasing power production jumped 25%.”
The effects that renewable energy sources have on relieving the power supply should not be over-estimated. So the real question for the future becomes: what emission reductions can be reached if we opt to go without the further promotion of renewable energy?
The necessity of integrating the renewable energy power supply with the existing public power grid not only entails considerable investment and ecological burdens, but also adversely impacts the efficiency of the conventional power plant system. The more unsteadily conventional systems operate (because they have to constantly adjust according to the erratic supply from renewables) the less efficient they become.
It is increasingly clear that reducing CO2 is going to be much tougher than anyone expected. Costs are always proportional to the size of the obstacles. Pretending that the obstacles are small has no impact on the real price.