Germany’s online business news magazine WirtschaftsWoche (business week) here has an interview with Professor Gonde Dittmer (right), who claims Germany’s transition to renewable energies so far has been a grand failure. The title of the WirtschftsWoche piece:
“Doubts over the government’s climate policy. The true aim of the Energiewende is not environmental protection.”
An illusion…not a single kilogram CO2 saved
Dittmer, a professor of mathematics and electrical engineering, tells WirtschaftsWoche that all the solar and wind energy installed so far has not saved a single kilogram of CO2 and that these renewable energies are not green at all.
He also calls the claim that 25% of Germany’s electricity is renewable “an illusion”. He tells WirtschaftsWoche that a wind turbine first needs to run 4 years before it compensates the energy that was needed to produce the system in first place. Dittmer says that instead of saving energy, solar and wind power have had the opposite effect: “To the contrary the result is increased CO2 emissions.”
Huge tab for the public
Dittmer also thinks that replacing older wind turbines with more efficient new turbines (repowering) is a gimmick that will make little difference. He blasts the renewable energy industry as a money-maker for a select few at the expense of the general public:
The true aim of the Energiewende is not the reduction of CO2 emissions – rather economic profit. […] It’s all about a redistribution from the bottom to the top.”
“Naivety, ignorance, ideology, illusions…”
Dittmer reminds us that when the subsidies run out and the costs mount, the consumers will be forced to pick up a massive tab, and that they have actually been duped to gladly do so.
The losers are, in addition to the climate, as you have correctly said, are private households who finance this system with compulsory levies. […] The Energiewende policy so far is based on naivety, ignorance, ideology, illusions and false incentives.”
Dittmer, a retired professor, also calls the notion of setting up some windmills and solar panels and thinking that this will do the trick “absurd”. He tells WirtschaftWoche: “We don’t have the space for this, we don’t have the money and we don’t have the technology.”
In his view the solution to the “problem” is to drastically reduce energy consumption. He asks if it’s really necessary to heat every room in the house and to fly on holidays.
He also believes that the electric cars will be a folly because much of the energy gets wasted and that they would only further burden the current supply system.
Photo credit: www.gonde-dittmer.de/
48 responses to “Professor Blasts German Renewable Energy Policy! “Based On Naivety, Ignorance, Ideology, Illusions, False Incentives”!”
There can be a thousand guys like this, but who listens to them if they don’t say what is wanted to heard?
I agree with all but the next remark:
“He asks if it’s really necessary to heat every room in the house and to fly on holidays.”
Thats just baloney.
This planet has enough energy and living in poverty is not an option.
He seems to be a climate alarmist who doesn’t see a solution in green energies.
I am still waiting to see the design of a wind powered aircraft carrier – imagine the sails required to move a 80000 tonnes beast at speed – that will allow the solar powered fighters to take to the skies.
That’s called a Zeppelin, Loodt. For some reason Greenies want to fly in a few hours to the other end of the world, using per capita an amount of energy enough for fuelling their households for ten years. Well, this applies at my friends, who do this several times a year and are very concerned about the climate.
Zeppelins have featured in some “ecological” wet dreams, mostly along the lines of Ernest Callenbach’s Ecotopia or Kim Stanley Robinson. Fair is fair: they are another example of a perfect boondoggle. The lift ratio is ridiculous, the energy needed to push this massive wall against the current ditto; they have an operating speed of less than the Solar Impulse 2 albatross, are completely at the mercy of the weather & historically 75% have crashed ignominously, helium or no helium. Darwinism among the machines works much more relentlessly than among biosystems, thanks goodness.
” Ein Windrad braucht etwa vier Jahre um die Energie zurückzugewinnen, die bei der Herstellung benötigt wurde.”
The one claim supported by numbers made in that rant by Prof. Dittmer is utterly false, as even “wattsup” will tell you:
(and several other sources, if you waste a couple of minutes searching the www)
He is also not offering any solutions (as saving power is already done where ever it is possible).
The interview is embarassing!
I thought the 4 year figure was conservative. If you include the energy and losses from deforestation and damage to surrounding ecosystems, there is no ROI.
“. If you include the energy and losses from deforestation”
sorry, but i do not understand, how deforestation could increase the energy pay back time of wind. Cutting down trees and burning them should actually DECREASE that time.
cutting down trees might have an effect on CO2, but even that effect is not real, as the majority of the trees only has to be cut down for construction and will grow back later (zero CO2 effect).
The 4 year number is not “conservative”, it is plain out wrong. (again: even WUWT thinks so!)
I love it when sod gives a link that absolutely trashes his advocacy of wind turbines. He really should read some of the comments before posting a link ! DOH!
I like this one….
“Local high school has a turbine installed about one year ago at cost of 4.3 million, said to save the school almost 20,000 per year.
Do you think the school will be around in 215 years to see the payback? No math classes at that school?”
Do the math kids. A loan of 4.3 million costing 5% per year is about 215,000 per year. So, if you borrow the money, you will spend 215,000 per year to “own” that thing, without paying off any principle. By quick calculation (feel free to check my math), to pay that thing off in 20 years would require a payment each year of about 350,000 dollars. That is, you pay 7 million dollars over 20 years. Cost savings? $400,000. This doesn’t count maintenance. Then, at the end of 20 years that thing is worthless, and you have to pay somebody to haul it away.”
Sorry sod, but peak wind will be when the massive subsidies and stilted feed-in mandates are removed.
Then we will be left with the clean-up bill for the useless ugly hulks.
(You do know that those who made all that fat subsidy cash will have disappeared back under their rocks, don’t you. !)
The comments at WUWT confirm categorically that the silly little paper that sob refers to, is a total corruption of mathematics and logic.
You should actually have readthe full article and not the bits you wanted to hear. Your fugure assumes that the windmill runs at it’s full generating capacity; since these things generally only run at 15%, it means that payback is 7 times longer than you think = about 4 years.
“ince these things generally only run at 15%, it means that payback is 7 times longer than you think = about 4 years.”
That is NOT what the WuWt post says.
” A 2.0 MW wind turbine would generate 6.12 GWh per year, assuming a 35% capacity factor. Analysis
revealed that energy payback time would be 0.43 years and 0.53 years for model 1 and model 2, respectively, which compares with studies of other multi-megawatt turbines of 0.58 to 0.65 years”
They did, of course, factor in capacity factor. will i hear an excuse for your mistake?
sod, you do realize that the biggest part of a wind turbine is invisible, right? It’s the 900+ ton concrete foundation.
So how long does a wind turbine have to deliver the 17 % of its nameplate capacity to produce the energy needed for that concrete.
Let’s not even talk about “offsetting” the CO2 that that concrete emits because I see CO2 as plant food, not the next big threat to humanity.
One can really only laugh at the self-destroying Greens, and prepare for the time after their extinction. They are a truly self-defeating enemy.
I must have missed something, a 35% C.F. means an off-shore turbine, as does a cost of $4.2 million.
For a start the concrete base would have to weigh more than 900 tonnes, probably double that.
Secondly the maintenance cost is much higher; from the UK it would seem that 25% of the output is needed to pay for that. That means to pay for the thing in a year the 6.13GWh would need to be sold at $856 each. Since electricity in Washington State is less than one tenth that, the break even point for a turbine (without subsidies) is more than 10 years. And that is not factoring in the drop in performance as the turbine ages.
“I must have missed something, a 35% C.F. means an off-shore turbine, as does a cost of $4.2 million.”
30% CF does not mean off-shore, there are wind farms (and certainly individual turbines) which reach that output.
Africa will see a huge wind farm with claims of a CF of over 60%.
and this wind farm (which i assume might be the basis of the article) is often mentioned with over 30% CF.
But even a lower CF of 25-30% will only change the pay back time by a little. $ years are just way out of the line!
PS: The price tag was brought up in the WuWt comment section as the price of a high school wind turbine. It does not make any sense at all and is just plain out false, as is the 4 years claim!
“For a start the concrete base would have to weigh more than 900 tonnes, probably double that.”
It is around 800. Please read the article! (page 7)
“That means to pay for the thing in a year the 6.13GWh would need to be sold at $856 each”
The article is a bout energy pay back. you got it wrong!
There is no mention of capacity factor in your link to Biglow canyon. Anyway we have a wind farm in Australia which was claimed would run at 41% CF but in practice manages 31-33%. Exaggerated claims are common with unbuilt wind farms.
The typical CF in Germany is around 17% and for Denmark around 20-21%, which is why those countries want to put the turbines offshore. If you think that you can get large scale 35% CF with onshore turbines please spend YOUR money on them, not others.
And what is the amount a wind farm can guarantee to deliver most of the time? some 3 -5 % of nameplate, wasn’t it ?
That’s pretty pathetic, you know.
Unless a country is lucky enough to have hydro, wind turbines and solar need close to 100% back-up of RELIABLE power.
Wind turbines really are a “why bother?” option.
“The typical CF in Germany is around 17%”
Yes Graeme, and there has been a systemic drop in CF as the best places got used first and then the artificially lowered investment cost lead to overbuild into less suitable territories.
I cannot fathom that sod a) does not know any of this b) even defends the subsidy-driven overbuild as useful.
He must be either entirely incompetent or corrupt.
I think sod is either paid to try and disrupt any post that exposes renewable energy, or that he is paid by the Government and has no idea of the real world. Quite what the Govt. employment could be is beyond me; my view is that anything above janitor would be too much for him.
In any case he has never grasped that there is no never ending supply of money (perhaps he’s greek?) and thinks that all these expensive lunacies will not affect him. Mass cutbacks in public servants, closure of whole Departments, no funding for think tanks or more social welfare are quite beyond his imagination; but all these will follow when the level of debt and the loss of industry impact.
In the meantime he serves a function, not of being deliberately disruptive as he imagines, but in bringing home to those perusing the blog silently, how stupid his concepts are. Certainly he would have sent more people away sceptical about renewables that those convinced by his arguments. I think that is why our host has been so patient with his nonsense posting.
“Yes Graeme, and there has been a systemic drop in CF as the best places got used first”
sorry, but the numbers for Germany do not show a “systemic drop”:
You people still do not understand wind power CF, that is a DESIGN DECISION!
all numbers cited here do not change the pay back time in a significant way. if the CF is 20% instead of 35% the pay back period still is about one year and not 4 years, as the Professor claimed (his claim is plain out false. Why does no one here admit that?)
If anyone has good data on single turbine capacity, i am interested in that. looking at the “global” data is just plain out false and giving a huge advantage to conventional plants: nobody is counting wind mills dropping out of the system. Shall we add up a CF for nuclear power that way and include the plants that got shut down early or never went online?
“I think sod is either paid to try and disrupt any post that exposes renewable energy, or that he is paid by the Government ”
why would the government pay me to correct errors here?
The current german government is at best neutral towards renewables, i would rather call it hostile towards progress of green energy.
The comment he makes about flying is really I think a question of the overuse of transportation. Could it be reduced? Several issues come to mind:
1) Why ship chickens all over the world when they can be just as easily home grown? If the transport wasn’t so “cheap” it wouldn’t happen. (sorry about the accidental pun).
2) Why do so many people live and work in places so far apart? Again, if the transport wasn’t so cheap, they wouldn’t do it.
I don’t mean that transport should be made expensive, only that its misuse should be controlled better. Perhaps the siting of employers should not be done to enable people to easily travel for and hour or two every morning and then back. It is better to have the employees closer to the work, and perhaps also in the community. For those who care about CO2, this would be a significant help.
The Victorians had the answer. Build your housing right next to the coal pits, the slate pits, and the cotton mills. The gool old days.
Who are these peasants and who gives them the right to think that they can anywhere without walking? We in the central planning office will determine how far and often they MUST WALK each day.
And who do you propose should sit on the central transport planning commision?
“I don’t mean that transport should be made expensive, only that its misuse should be controlled better.”
The price controls perfectly which activities are possible and which are not. The market sets the price as a consequence of millions of individual decisions. You are not happy with the decisions people make? You can force them – as a state who knows better – and this way create inefficiencies.
The German state, being authoritarian and socialist, constantly does this. The 24 bn EUR subsidies for wind turbines and solar panels are one result. Money lost for future wealth creation. Capital misallocation.
You want more of that? Hey, I hear Brussels always needs new apparatchiks. Only problem, the system is so broke it’ll fall apart under the consequences of their misdecisions as it is, you don’t even have to help making it worse!
As a society we have rules. A society without rules is anarchistic, but even anarchy ends up with rules. So it is a question of what rules and who sets them, and then who enforces them.
I think “near sourcing” would be a good rule, or encouraged preference. Bearing in mind the EU and the TTIP, this would be far removed from their thinking.
Near sourcing keeps jobs near where the product is needed and of course reduces many costs. It has other benefits too.
It is not necessary to wait for oil to run out, or to be misty eyed about the halcyon days, in order to do this.
Yeah well, read up on the USSR’s 5 year plans, or Technocracy Inc. or any other planned economy, it’s all been planned out by people who had nothing better to do, maybe you will understand the problem with your plan, and how it will fail, maybe not. We could rehash all those arguments here and it would just be a waste of time it seems, only one hint: When you optimize a function for TWO disparate objectives you get a compromized system at best, but usually you get total crap.
Turf Sod out I say.
Thanks for posting. I think Professor Dittmer makes some valid points, but I disagree with him somewhat when he states that we should dramatically reduce energy consumption. It is highly questionable whether or not this is practical or desirable.
Molten Salt Reactors that can’t blow up, melt down or make weapons will solve the growing need for clean emission free energy.
Their ability to consume existing radioactive waste as fuel is a much better incentive.
Modern coal fired technologies eliminate most of the unwanted pollution such as mercury, sulfur, etc. leaving mostly co2 and water vapor.
CO2 production as a by-product of electricity generation is not a pollutant and therefore should not to be mis-labelled an emission.
It is an emission, just one that highly beneficial and desirable for all life on Earth.
It’s atmospheric concentration has been as dangerously low levels for a long time.
Our fossil fuel emissions of CO2 have given the biosphere a new lease of LIFE !
“Modern coal fired technologies eliminate most of the unwanted pollution such as mercury, sulfur, etc. leaving mostly co2 and water vapor.”
Yes, this stuff just dissapears by a magic trick.
all those 50000 news articles about coal ash do not really exist.
Coal ash should be used, not stored.
Much of the world is built using coal ash.
Roads, buildings, anything with cement in it.
You are surrounded by coal ash..
Live with it and stop sobbing. !!
The chemical constituents of coal ash are commonly found in many everyday products and
They are present in soil, rock and other parts of the earth’s crust.
The ranges of major elements in coal fly ash and soils have been evaluated and are available
in National Bureau of Standards Certificate of Analysis Standard Reference Material 1633a,
January 5, 1985.
The comparison shows that the constituents in coal fly ash fall within the typical
ranges of those in soils found across the U.S.
Fly ash is commonly used as an additive to concrete building products, but the radioactivity of
typical fly ash is not significantly different from that of more conventional concrete additives or
other building materials such as granite and red brick.
“The comparison shows that the constituents in coal fly ash fall within the typical
ranges of those in soils found across the U.S.”
You do understand that you are directly quoting a coal ash lobby group there?
In the real world, the EPA got pretty close to declaring it hazardous waste and posed some rather strong handling rules.
I’d like to be able to see one of these in operation. I’ve been in big dams and in a big wind tower. Where can I visit one? When do you suppose they will be contributing a sizable portion of the world’s energy?
You are trolling. You could have looked for China’s schedule yourself.
It’s bad enough to try to cool the planet when a little ice age is imminent — far worse is the disarmament which results from the death of heavy industry due to a loss of baseload (non-renewable) power. Good luck with spears and arrows when your enemies are still equipped with weapons of metal.
Thanks to the value of healthy human organs — surrender and the slavery which follows it is no longer an option.
The only way I can make sense of the German Energiewende is that it shuts up the greens while fulfilling the conservative wish to be more independent of Russia. Burning coal instead of nuclear is a double bind for most greens. When green policies have shown inadeqate it may be time to start burning “nuclear waste” in new types of reactors, and remain independent with energy supply.
“while fulfilling the conservative wish to be more independent of Russia.”
Two problems with that:
a) We have no conservatives (well at least not in the government or the parliament). (to wit: There is no known difference between SPD and CDU policies)
b) The Energiewende contraptions produce at most 2 % of German primary energy consumption. I wouldn’t call that a fullfillment of the desire to become more energy independent. I would call it paying 10 times too much for 2 % of the energy supply. (Hmm… maybe they INTENTIONALLY make the taxpayer/ratepayer overpay? Now THAT could be a trace…)
“The Energiewende contraptions produce at most 2 % of German primary energy consumption.”
This claim is false.
renewables now make up 11.1% of primary energy consumption in Germany and 27.8% of electricity consumption.
(page 5 and page 7)
Reading comprehension, sod. I said Energiewende Contraptions. This excludes WOOD and HYDROPOWER which were around long before Energiewende.
My oh my.
But, your tactic is interesting.
You claim as a success of the 24bn EUR cost a year Energiewende the production of hydropower, and hope that no one notices.
As always, trying to delude gullible people with forged numbers.
India will install more solar capacity than new coal by 2020, says Deutsche Bank.
the competition is real, “Energiewende” is everywhere.
Stop worrying about so-called Global Warming and get your woolly knickers out!
Book and documentary.
‘The Deliberate Corruption of Climate Science’.
How can you possibly have energy payback within a matter of months and still require subsidies to stay in business?
Greenpeace will now have to produce a study showing that the reduction of fossil fuel use (per kwh produced) is huge considering the generous percentage contribution of wind and solar to the grid.