German Energy Expert Shreds Wind Power: “Everyone’s Loses With Wind Energy”!

Late last month a video of a discussion round featuring green energies was put up on Youtube.

The segment that follows below shows Dr. Detlef Ahlborn, President of the Wind Energy protest group Bundesinitiative Vernunftkraft (German Initiative for Sensible Power) telling us, without mincing words, why wind energy has been a flop in Germany.

Though the discussion round took place late 2015, it resonates just as loudly today.

On German MDR public television, the moderator asks Ahlborn just who profits from wind energy. According to Ahlborn:

The only one who profits from all the ones you mentioned is the landowner because he has a contractual right. All the others are losers.”

Ahlborn says that 80% of German wind parks are making losses. In the German state of Hesse, for example, “not a single newly installed wind park has yielded what was promised. These yields are up to 20% below what was forecast. And the biggest losers are all of us. All of us!

The problem, Ahlborn elaborates, is that 25% of the wind energy that gets produced is “waste energy”, energy that cannot be used because there is no demand for it. This waste energy ends up getting dumped onto other foreign markets, so much so that neighboring countries have implemented measures to block it out. Ahlborn then says:

The real scandal is that this power gets sold at negative prices, or below market prices and needs to be disposed of at a fee.”

The discussion round then puts up a graphic showing power demand by the German state of Thuringia (middle curve), the state’s wind power output (lower light curve), and the max. peaks of wind power (highest curve):

Chart cropped from MDR FAKT IST!

Ahlborn blasts this inefficient production of wind energy and the waste power that results, saying that wind park projects produce waste that “is a burden on the consumers, a burden on the economy, and a burden on all society – and with this they are destroying our landscape.”

Costs out of control…huge loss of prosperity

Little wonder that the director of Germany’s top economists, Christoph M. Schmidt, recently named Germany’s Energiewende (transition to renewable energies) as being among the top three programs in need of major reform in the country, saying that “the costs are way out of control” and that it will not succeed without a “huge loss in prosperity“.

Schmidt recently handed the latest annual recommendations over to Chancellor Angela Merkel.

Over the past years, led by strong personalities like Ahlborn, and leading environmentalists, resistance to wind energy in most parts of Germany has grown to formidable levels. Lately protest groups have been increasingly successful at blocking projects. Even the government has even rolled back subsidies.

 

30 responses to “German Energy Expert Shreds Wind Power: “Everyone’s Loses With Wind Energy”!”

  1. edmh

    The idea that Weather Dependent Renewables (Wind and Solar) are cost competitive with conventional electricity generation is refuted by the calculations in this post.

    https://edmhdotme.wordpress.com/renewable-energy-cost-and-performance-in-europe-2016/

    When all the financial support mechanisms mandated by governments to support Renewables are eliminated, they show that both capital installation and long-term running costs the combination of solar, onshore and offshore wind are roughly 11 times more than using conventional Gas-firing for electricity generation overall.

    These results are derived from EurObserER 2016 installation and production data and the 2016 comparative costings published by the US Energy Information Administration.

    These comparative costs do account for the low Capacity Percentages / Load Factors characteristic of Weather Dependent Renewables but they do not account for the inherent unreliable intermittency and non-dispatchability for Renewables that do not necessarily meet demand.

    The overall European averages for on-shore wind is about 7 times more expensive than Gas-firing to install and to run long-term. However both off-shore wind and solar energy cost close to 18 times as much when compared to Gas-firing.

    In Germany because of the very heavy commitment to solar energy, the expenditures are about 20% higher than the European average.

    1. SebastianH

      Interesting calculations, but aren’t you missing the variable and fixed costs by just comparing overnight costs?

      Using the EIA table I get a price per MWh of $83.78 for wind in Germany and $148.03 for solar in Germany (assuming 20 years of lifetime and the published capacity factors of 17.85% and 10.45% respectively).

      That seems pretty high when compared to German subsidy prices of 5.66 € per MWh for solar (http://www.erneuerbare-energien.de/EE/Redaktion/DE/Dossier/nationale-ausschreibungen-und-ergebnisse.html?cms_docId=577124), 4.28 € per MWh for onshore wind (http://www.erneuerbare-energien.de/EE/Redaktion/DE/Dossier/nationale-ausschreibungen-und-ergebnisse.html?cms_docId=577134) and 0.44 € per MWh for offshore wind (http://www.erneuerbare-energien.de/EE/Redaktion/DE/Dossier/nationale-ausschreibungen-und-ergebnisse.html?cms_docId=577128) … I realize those values aren’t directly comparable, but I doubt they are operating under such massive losses as the EIA table makes us believe.

      1. SebastianH

        Damnit … calculated that wrong. 56.6 € per MWh for solar, 42.8 € per MWh for onshore and 4.4 € per MWh for offshore. Doesn’t change the disconnect between reality and your calculations.

  2. Hans K Johnsen

    A friend of mine did a calculation on the yearly production of energy in Germany from different sources, the flow of energy in- and out of Germany and the yearly consumption in Germany itself. He found that the yearly consumption within Germany was almost exactly equal to the production from German coal fired Powerplants. In other words, all solar and wind power is being consumed in neighbouring contries, and with the price obtained for this power it does nothing at all for Germany, except increase the price of electricity there.
    You may want to have this checked.

    1. SebastianH

      Yeah, please have that nonsense checked.
      1) renewable electricity generation is several times the amount of electricity we export (do you really think we export 35% of the electricity?)
      2) not once has renewable electricity production exceeded demand. It’s conventional power plants that need to be kept running that produce the unwanted electricity during times with negative pricing.

      1. Don from Oz

        What convoluted inanity you have written this time Sebastian H. You say ‘It’s conventional power plants that NEED TO BE KEPT RUNNING…’ So wind and solar are not NEEDED to be run then. So why spend money on them at all and then expect customers to pay for them? That is an absurd proposition.

        1. SebastianH

          Serious question: do you know the percentage of the electricity that is traded on the exchange?

          1. richard verney

            Why is there an exchange?

            In what sane world would such an exchange exist?

            Historically, there never used to be such an exchange. It has only come about because of trying to intergrate unreliable intermittent and non dispatchable renewable energy.

          2. SebastianH

            It exists to determine who will provide electricity when and at what price. But not all electricity is traded on the EEX. And that’s kind of important to understanding why negative prices are even possible and why conventional power plants keep running despite negative prices.

      2. Hans K Johnsen

        Sebastian H:
        All the numbers in the calculations came from Public Sources in Germany. They are available for you as well. Are you afraid of what you might uncover?

        1. SebastianH

          Care to name the sources? You can look up the electricity generation and consumption on this website: https://transparency.entsoe.eu/

          He found that the yearly consumption within Germany was almost exactly equal to the production from German coal fired Powerplants.

          That’s a claim that data doesn’t confirm in any way.

          Please compare
          https://energy-charts.de/trade.htm?year=2016&period=annual&source=sum_energy

          to this graph:
          https://energy-charts.de/energy.htm?source=all-sources&period=annual&year=2016

          Germany isn’t powered exclusively by coal power plants and export isn’t even close to what wind and solar produce. You can also display more detailed graphs on that website and include the import balance:
          https://energy-charts.de/power.htm

          Can you identify the periods of time where all wind+solar power got exported to other countries?

  3. John F. Hultquist

    A modern society needs reliable electricity. This means it is there every day, 24 hours per day, for 365 days each and every year.
    Carbon based fuels, hydro, and nuclear power can do this.
    Solar and wind power cannot provide reliable electricity.

    Refrigerators and freezers cannot be without power but for a short time. Grocery stores have to keep meat cold and ice cream frozen.

    The unreliables have to be backed up by the reliables.
    Two systems have to be paid for when one will do.
    Private companies – or investor-owned – cannot function within these 2-tiered systems.

    Provision of electricity will become a government supplied function much like carrying out elections or providing sidewalks and roads. Unlike sidewalks, electricity provision will be paid for twice and the double cost will be hidden.

    1. SebastianH

      Has Germany experienced any reliability issues in the weeks with close to 60% renewable electricity on the grid?

      1. ClimateOtter

        Tell me, is that 60% available 24 / 7 / 365?

        1. SebastianH

          Of course not … but there were several days with more than 60% renewables in the grid and no problem with stability at all: https://energy-charts.de/ren_share.htm?source=ren-share&period=daily&year=2017

      2. richard verney

        The Germans are paying for two grids, and that is why their energy is so expensive.

        The greater the amount of renewables, the more expensive electricity becomes. Witness Denmark, Germany and Australia. Have a look at Jo Nova’s site for articles on the cost of Australian electricity and its link to renewables.

        1. SebastianH

          That’s not true. There are no two grids and renewables replace electricity generation at conventional power plants, they don’t produce additional electricity on top of conventional generation.

          Regarding the price, that won’t be true forever. Prices for renewables are dropping fast and they can get as cheap as clean new conventional power plants.

          You can play with this tool (which doesn’t seem to be available in English) https://www.agora-energiewende.de/en/themen/-agothem-/Produkt/produkt/130/Online+EEG-Rechner/

    2. Dave Fair

      Having some experience in providing power to aluminum smelters, I can’t wait for the scheme mentioned elsewhere, having wind generation exclusively power such smelters. Does anyone know what happens during power outages when the metal being processed solidifies? The damage? The cost?

  4. yonason

    (un)renewables are outrageously expensive monumental folly.
    http://euanmearns.com/green-mythology-and-the-high-price-of-european-electricity/

    NOTE – compare the cost numbers in that link with this one.
    https://stopthesethings.com/2017/08/16/politics-of-power-queensland-voters-blame-subsidised-renewables-for-rocketing-power-prices/

    And yet, despite the facts of the matter, the trolls keep insisting that (un)renewables are bringing prices down.

    1. SebastianH

      Why the “(un)”?

      1. Kenneth Richard

        Why the “(un)”?

        If I may speak for yonason, it’s because intermittent wind power needs substantial back up from reliable, near-constant sources of energy, which are predominantly fossil fuel-based, and fossil fuels are not considered renewable.

        http://articles.latimes.com/2012/dec/09/local/la-me-unreliable-power-20121210
        Rise in renewable energy will require more use of fossil fuels

        1. SebastianH

          Kenneth, is it your opinion that for each GWh that renewables contribute to the grid fossil fuel needs to be used in parallel? To do what exactly? Keep the steam production everywhere at full throttle? Asked simpler: when renewables provide 150 TWh in Germany, do you think fossil fuel wasn’t replaced?

          1. richard verney

            The short answer is YES, if the renewable energy is substituting energy which would otherwise be drawn from a coal powered generator, but NO if the renewable energy is being drawn in preference to energy which would otherwise be produced by gas powered generators.

            However, there is a sting in the tail, as I have often pointed out to you. One of the laws of physics (Newton’s first law of motion) is that a body at rest wants to remain at rest, and to move the body one has to overcome inertia. As NASA explains:

            The property that a body has that resists motion if at rest, or resists speeding or slowing up, if in motion, is called inertia. Inertia is proportional to a body’s mass, or the amount of matter that a body has. The more mass a body has, the more inertia it has.

            And herein lies the sting in the tail. When wind is producing 150TW, the gas turbines are ramped down to nothing, as soon as wind drops to 110TW, the gas turbine is ramped up from nothing to 40TW, as wind drops down to 60TW, the gas turbine is ramped up from 40TW to 90TW, as wind increases to 130TW, the gas turbine is ramped down to 20TW, as wind falls down to 10TW, the gas turbine is ramped up from 20 TW to 140TW etc. etc. Because of the constant variability of wind, this ramping up and down is happening every hour of the day every day of the year.

            This constant ramp up/ramp down mode of operation is very inefficient as additional energy (ie., more gas and hence more CO2) has to be used to overcome the inertia of the generators.

            The gas plant would use almost the same amount of gas if it was used to produce 150TW 24/7 52 weeks a year. Given that wind on average produces on average only about 30% of nameplate capacity, the fill in of this shortfall is very fuel intensive and produces much CO2.

            As I have pointed out to you, have a look at your car’s own fuel consumption data. You will note that your car will consume less fuel and hence produce less CO2 when driving 100km at a steady speed on a motorway, than it will do when driving 70 km (ie., 100 – 30% average nameplate capacity) in urbamn conditions, when the car is being used in ramp up/ramp down mode.

            That is the principle you keep on ignoring. It is basic physics, something which warmist are said to rely on. that is why wind does not in practice reduce to a significant extent CO2 emissions unless backup is from a non CO2 producing source such as hydro from Norway or Nuclear via the interconnect with France.

          2. SebastianH

            richard, it doesn’t work the way you describe it.

            Gas:
            https://energy-charts.de/power.htm?source=gas&week=35&year=2017

            Coal:
            https://energy-charts.de/power.htm?source=coal&week=35&year=2017

            Variability of wind power generation is compensated for by some standby power plants (and pumped storage). The existing power plants don’t all work simultaneously the way that you describe. And this could increasingly be provided by battery storage.

            The gas plant would use almost the same amount of gas if it was used to produce 150TW 24/7 52 weeks a year.

            No, it wouldn’t. Can you please give us a link to a source that claims such nonsense?

            As I have pointed out to you, have a look at your car’s own fuel consumption data. You will note that your car will consume less fuel and hence produce less CO2 when driving 100km at a steady speed on a motorway, than it will do when driving 70 km (ie., 100 – 30% average nameplate capacity) in urbamn conditions, when the car is being used in ramp up/ramp down mode.

            Not quite. Let’s say a car uses 8 liters of gasoline for 100 km at steady motorway speed. You say it would use more gasoline for driving 70 km in urban conditions, so 8+ liters or roughly 11.43 liters per 100 km in the city. Is that what you are trying to say?

            A better car analogy would be the energy usage of 100 cars in whatever setting compared to 70 cars in the same setting. Sometimes all 100 cars would still have to drive, at other times only 50 cars need to drive, but on average 70 cars would be driving. They wouldn’t need the same amount of gasoline as if they were all driving, would they?

        2. yonason

          Yeah, pretty much, Kenneth.

          More proof of how useless they are when you really need them.
          https://stopthesethings.com/2017/09/07/last-man-standing-nuclear-plants-power-texans-during-deluge-wind-turbines-automatically-shut-down-during-hurricane-harvey/

          If it weren’t for nuclear, TX would have gone dark during Harvey. But then, that’s what the chatbots of the world want, to end civilization as we know it. Either that or they are too stupid to realize that’s what would happen.

          1. SebastianH

            Doesn’t look that way … Maybe you can find a website similar to energy-charts.de for Texas? What do you think it would show us? That nuclear power plants supplied failing grids with power? http://blog.cleanenergy.org/2017/08/30/texas-wind-farms-survive-hurricane-harvey/

  5. Glyn Palmer

    Yes, except that one would need the average surplus of 30 cars to be kept ready, engines running, for when the cars with the unreliable fuel supply stop without warning.uek

    1. SebastianH

      Only a few cars need to be on standby. Wind doesn’t change that fast and unpredictable.

  6. Tom

    Thirty years ago I went to a lecture by early wind power proponent and installer J. Baldwin, who was also Whole Earth Review’s tool editor. He said he had once done calculations which showed that if a popular small homestead wind generator at the time could run full-blast for twenty years (which of course is impossible) it would generate enough energy to smelt the copper for the windings. Of course, that calculation doesn’t include the energy for the rest of the manufacturing process, the tower it’s on, or the delivery and installation. The sad fact is that every wind generator you see is a net loss and dependent on fossil fuels to exist at all. Time to re-think.

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