Leading German Economics Professor Calls Germany’s Energiewende An Energy Policy Calamity

In a recently released video interview by journalist Jörg Rehmann, University of Magdeburg economics professor Joachim Weimann explains why renewable energies have been a terrible idea for Germany so far.

Recently a high ranking expert commission set up by the German government even sharply criticized the German Energiewende (transition to renewable energies), saying it was leading the country down the wrong path. But as Prof. Weimann explains, the commission’s results fell on deaf ears.

Weimann starts the interview by explaining that the target of the Energiewende is to replace carbon-dioxide-emitting fossil fuels in order to protect our climate. One instrument used to achieve that target was Cap and Trade, in combination with the Energiewende, which Weimann says has not worked well at all. The U. of Magdeburg professor says that every cut that gets achieved in Germany gets offset elsewhere, and so net CO2 gets saved at all.

Weimann says that over the years policymakers promised and obstinately insisted that renewables were the way to go, and so ended up putting themselves in a position of which it is now impossible to back out. What leading politician is going to step forward and tell us that it was all a big mistake? “We find ourselves in quite a bind, says Weimann.

Weimann recommends that citizens step up and tell their leaders that what is currently happening is not in their interest, and that they need to exert influence media reporting on the issue. Weimann says:

It is very very difficult. Currently we have over 1000 citizens intiatives against wind power in Germany, yet they practically go unmentioned in media reporting. Compared to the resistance to nuclear energy, it is a crass disproportion. This shows us just how difficult it is to bring the issue to the forefront.”

Weimann hopes that the protests will grow until a critical mass is reached, and can no longer be ignored.

The professor points out that for years a number of institutions and experts have shown that the feed-in act is not functioning properly, that it wastes resources, and is bad policy that is having no impact on climate protection. He adds that the feed-in act entails extremely high costs, not only in terms of capital but also in terms of damage to the country’s landscape. “That means we are producing costs, and no yields. That is not good policy,” says Weimann.

Policymakers, in Weimann’s view, have long been ignoring what the scientific data and experts have told us with respect to renewable energies, but that they are refusing to back out it because they are so far deep into it and that it would be too embarrassing to do so.

Public kept in the dark by media, policymakers

According to Weimann, 80% of the German population are still in favor of renewable energies because they are not aware of the near zero-impact it is having on CO2 emissions and because they are poorly informed. It is in fact only when a wind park gets proposed nearby does a citizen really begin to get interested in what really is at stake and finds out what the true implications are. “Then they suddenly recognize the nonsense that is in fact happening.”

In Weimann’s view, renewable energy topics and calculations are far too complicated for the average citizen to deal with when they don’t feel they have to.

Total destruction of our landscape

Weimann notes that according to the Ministry of Environment, wind and solar energy in 2016 made up only 3.3% of Germany’s primary energy supply and that so far it represents only a “thimble” of the energy that is needed. And “when you compare it to the cost needed for it, not only financial, but also in terms of the burdens to the citizens who have these energy systems next door, we have to say it is first totally disproportional, and secondly that if we wish to meet our targets using wind, it would mean the total destruction of our landscape.”

So far only 3.3% of our primary energy need is being supplied by wind (28,000 turbines so far) and solar. Weimann asks us to imagine what it would take to reach the 95% target. He says the entire German landscape would be profoundly and fundamentally transformed into one massive industrial park that would lose all its attraction. In short: It’s a policy calamity.

Those were just some of Weimann’s comments and claims in just the first 17 minutes of the interview. More on this soon.

 

13 responses to “Leading German Economics Professor Calls Germany’s Energiewende An Energy Policy Calamity”

  1. John F. Hultquist

    I think most of your readers understand, and agree, with this.
    However, Weimann recommends that citizens step up and tell their leaders…

    … if the citizens were aware and cared — could they change those leaders? Vote them out!

    1. tom0mason

      Unfortunately throughout the world too many people can not, or will not, be bothered to find out the truth. This alone is what keeps the whole push to ‘decarbon’ industry. People now expect the price of electrical energy to keep rising, what they fail to realize is the social, civil, industrial, and environmental destruction that will happen in perusing this course.
      So let’s ruin the countryside, or productive agricultural land, to install more of these unreliable sources of electrical energy. Let’s try to run transport systems on batteries, and convert all lighting to radio interfering LEDs, and let’s make everything ‘smart’ but less secure. Lets ensure that there are ghettos for those unable to pay for the over-priced luxury of electricity.

      What will the outcome be for this change, what are we preparing to hand over to the next generation? We’ll hand-over nations that are in debt, where precious few large engineering projects can be manufactured natively as the infrastructure precludes it (unreliable electricity, battery powered and low energy everything). Hand-over nations that will have to increasingly import more manufactured goods but have less opportunities to create the wealth that allows them to pay for the imports.
      In the EU it is likely that there will be a stronger centralizing push from the unelected EU ‘Sun King’ elites in expanding the EU’s administrative reach, while the nation states’ importance will further diminish. Correspondingly this move will enable evermore central planning to affect everyone’s daily life, with all the usual expense and bureaucratic inertial lethargy that it brings.
      EU corruption will continue; never has it managed to balance it’s books or pass an audit — it probably never will.

      Yep, the future’s green …. the future’s Medieval.
      (thankfully I’ve nearly finished my allotted 3 score and ten, so I’m not that worried)

      Good-luck kids! (You’ll need it)

  2. BobW in NC

    “So far only 3.3% of our primary energy need is being supplied by wind (28,000 turbines so far) and solar.”

    28,000 turbines??? Really? At what cost to the environment? To the bird and bat population? To the people who are inundated by the infrasound from these machines? Good gravy!

    All for the sake of an ideology.

    1. RickWill

      The 3.3% is all energy not just electrical energy. For electrical energy the fraction was about 33% in 2016.

      That level is only possible through interconnection with other countries. The cost would be much higher if the German grid was isolated. Getting higher than 30% of electric power from wind and solar becomes incredibly costly. Beyond that point the capacity factor reduces due to system limitations on sinking the supply meaning the wind generators need to be throttled. There is also increasing risk of instability.

      To get 100% wind and solar requires massive storage and massive over capacity in generation. The capacity factor drops back to around 5% compared with more typically 25%. So Germany needs about 15 times more turbines than it has now to get to 100% unrenewable generation.

      It can only be done once using coal and nuclear as the energy source because a reliable buffered wind and solar network cannot produce enough energy to maintain the system. The first wind generators installed around 2000 are already being replaced. The CO2 output is not reduced but just shifted to other countries that have not annihilated their heavy industry.

      1. SebastianH

        So Germany needs about 15 times more turbines than it has now to get to 100% unrenewable generation.

        Germany would need 6 to 7 times the amount of current solar and wind installations (and storage of course) to cover the current electricity usage. Is “unrenewable” a typo?

        because a reliable buffered wind and solar network cannot produce enough energy to maintain the system.

        Why would that be the case?

        The CO2 output is not reduced but just shifted to other countries that have not annihilated their heavy industry.

        No such thing is happening. I don’t know if you understand German, but as you can see here (page 8), CO2 emissions from exports are bigger than CO2 emissions from imports.

        Here is a five year old study/simulation about the costs of achieving 100% renewables for electricity and heating (also in German): https://www.ise.fraunhofer.de/content/dam/ise/de/documents/publications/studies/studie-100-erneuerbare-energien-fuer-strom-und-waerme-in-deutschland.pdf

        1. RickWill

          Unrenewables means that wind and solar cannot produce enough energy over their life to produce the components to maintain the system. Renewables is a misnomer. Wind and solar can only be made economically at present from coal or nuclear fuelled generation.

          My figure of 15 times the present level of wind generation is based on the lowest cost option for battery buffering, which I regard as proven technology at grid scale. However could never be achieved economically. The figure of 7 times that you refer to from the linked naval gazing would only be possible if hydrogen electrolysis can be proven at grid scale. The time horizon in the paper is 2050 so all the issues may be sorted by then but right now Germany needs reliable on-demand electrical energy; not wishful thinking.

          The linked paper shows the net carbon position by country in 2014:
          https://www.carbonbrief.org/mapped-worlds-largest-co2-importers-exporters
          You will see Germany is a net importer of carbon. China is a net exporter of carbon. This imbalance is accelerating. Any reduction in one region is offset by increase in another. Unrenewables cannot possibly lead to a net reduction in CO2. The amount of materials and hardware needed to produce on demand power from such an intermittent source is truly astronomical.

  3. Paul

    Here is a detailed account of the criminality of the New Zealand judiciary and executive in forcing a wind farm onto a defenceless community.
    http://newzealandjusticeandpolitics.weebly.com/

  4. Bitter&twisted

    Are you taking your medication SebastianH?
    Your last post suggests you have missed a couple of doses.

  5. Mikky

    Every, and I mean every, programme shown on the BBC about the countryside features wind turbines. These are the cathedrals of a new religion, and their builders have even made sure that they rotate when there is no wind, causing the faithful to fall to their knees and give praise.

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  8. Ken Gregory

    “The U. of Magdeburg professor says that every cut that gets achieved in Germany gets offset elsewhere, and so net CO2 gets saved at all.”
    Was this supposed to read “… “and so no net CO2 gets saved at all.”?

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