Leading Industry Expert Slams Germany’s Wild Foray Into Green Energies: “Unaffordable” … “Absolute Imbecility”!

The Germany-based European Institute for Climate and Energy (EIKE) held another conference on climate and renewable energy last March. One of the speakers was Prof. Dr. Dieter Ameling, an expert in heavy industry. EIKE has posted his presentation.

In the presentation Ameling calls Germany’s Energiewende (transition to renewable energies) a real threat to industry, warning that the country faces a de-industrialization.

Already, Ameling reminds us, every day the Energiewende in Germany is progressing and that the damage already done is getting even worse and that “foremost it will soon be irreparable“.

Subsidies’ vast divergence from earlier projections

At the 5:15 mark he calls the German government’s 2022 targets for renewables “economic nonsense” and will result in “electricity getting continuously more expensive“.

His following chart shows a comparison of the German government’s projected green energy subsidies compared to that of reality:

Ameling_1

The gray bars show the government’s projected annual subsidies in billions of euros. The blue bars depict the real skyrocketing subsidies. In 2014 the subsidies rose even further, to 23.6 billion euros. Chart: Dr. Dieter Ameling.

“Unaffordable” and “absolute imbecility”

The big problem, Ameling emphasizes, is the huge supply-volatility in wind and sun, which are totally weather-dependent. At the 9:35 mark the retired professor calls the German state of Bavaria’s energy-mix plan for 2022 as something that “cannot function“…”is unaffordable“, and “is absolute imbecility“.

The chart at the 11:20 mark shows how Germany has one of the highest electricity prices worldwide, more than double the rate found in USA, Canada, or Russia.

At the 13-minute mark another chart shows the huge gap in natural gas prices between Germany (10.7 cents per gas unit) and the USA (only 3.7 cents per gas unit). Thanks to fracking, gas prices in USA have tumbled while in Germany poor households barely can afford to heat their homes.

Germany’s skyrocketing electricity prices

At the 13:34 mark Ameling displays a chart showing Germany’s electricity price development:

Ameling_2

Since 2000 the price of electricity in euro-cents/kwh in Germany has more than doubled! Currently a 4-person household is paying over 366 euros a year just for the green energy feed-in tariffs alone. Ameling warns that figure will continue to rise rapidly.

Exodus of industry leaving Germany, Europe

Later in the presentation Ameling shows how the energy-intensive industries such as cement, glass, steel, chemicals etc. are being hit hard by the skyrocketing energy costs. In Germany alone 3.5 million jobs depend on the steel industry. At the 19:03 mark Ameling warns that the exodus of industry “has already begun” with heavyweight companies such as ThyssenKrupp, Norsk Hydro, BASF, SGL Carbon and Voest moving operations abroad.

1 trillion euros!

How much is Germany’s Energiewende projected to cost? In 2013 former Environment Minister Peter Altmaier told the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung it would cost Germans 1 trillion euros!

Ameling 3

At the end Ameling summarizes, announcing that the “Energiewende has failed” because it is simply too expensive and too volatile. The infrastructure that is needed to handle it is not even in place. Unless Germany radically alters the current direction of its Energiewende, Ameling says it will be “bye bye Germany“.

He ends the presentation with the following Friends of Science image, reminding us that CO2 is not even the driver of climate.

Ameling_4

Top Econ Professor Says Germany’s Renewables “Already Reached The Limits”…Country Risks “Gambling Away Its Prosperity”!

German online finanztreff.de here reports on the opinion recently expressed by Prof. Hans-Werner Sinn, Director of the renowned Munich-based ifo-Institute for Economic Research, regarding Germany’s attempted move into renewable energies, primarily solar and wind power.

Currently about 25% of Germany’s energy supply is “green”.

At a conference of experts in Berlin Sinn is quoted by Dow Jones as saying that the installation of “renewable energies in Germany has already reached its limits” because there is just nowhere near enough storage capacity available to balance out the sharp and volatile supply spikes of wind and solar power.

Sinn also ridiculed the idea of using electric cars as a means to store the green energy, calling the notion a “PR gag”. He added that 159 million BMW i3 vehicle would have to be put on the streets, i.e. thus nearly tripling the number of cars currently on the streets. A preposterous solution.

On using green energy to produce gas, Sinn calls it a horribly expensive alternative that would cost about 24 cents per kilowatt-hour; Russian natural gas by comparison is only 3 cents per kilowatt-hour, he says.

It would get expensive very rapidly,” Sinn warned.

Currently Germany’s Ministry of Environment is proposing the investment of 1 trillion euros for a new energy supply system. Sinn calls that idea “a monstrous gamble with an uncertain outcome“, and one that harbors “a real risk” of Germany “gambling away its prosperity“.

So how will German policymakers react to Professor Sinn’s assessment? Well, if they don’t heed his warnings, then there’s really no one left out there who may still be able to talk sense and reason back into the policymakers’ heads.

Should the policymakers ignore the warnings of the renowned Ifo Institute, then the only thing left is to learn it the hard, painful way. Knowing today’s German intellectual obstinacy of the elite class, the odds of that are better than even.

Shambles…Energy Professor Declares Germany Energiewende “A Failure”, …”Population Left Disillusioned”!

Volkmar Pott's photo.

The editor-in-chief of the Iserlohner Kreisanzeiger und Zeitung daily Thomas Reunert dedicated an entire page on the topic of wind energy last Sunday, bearing the headline: “The Norwegians Are Giving Us The Finger!

It is an interview with a former professor from the University of Bielefeld, Dr. Kurt Gehlert, 75, an expert in mining. It focusses on the state of Germany’s Energiewende (transition to green energies), particularly wind power and the illusions of energy storage technology.

The sub-heading reads

Dr. Kurt Gehlert is certain that the Energiewende has already failed. Or we will drown and cover ourselves in wind turbines.”

Germans pushing the Energiewende are aiming to see 80% of Germany’s energy needs being met by green energies by 2050. Some are even calling for doing away with natural gas, in addition to coal and oil.

But the monster-sized insurmountable obstacles loom as German policymakers begin to scramble in a confused state of denial.

Germany’s alternative baseload-capable sources, such as hydro and biogas, are severely limited and account for only 11.5% of Germany’s total energy supply today. Moreover there still does not exist a viable technology for storing the irregular supply of wind and solar power. Gehlert says these technologies are nowhere near being capable of taking on the role of providing a reliable baseload.

The 75-year old professor points out that although there is a huge capacity of wind and solar energy already in place, often both are not available because they are weather-dependent. Gehlert tells the IKZ that the media like to give the public the impression that the technology is not far away, but the reality is that it is nowhere near in sight.

Energy storage concepts such as accumulators, power-to-gas, compressed air storage are plagued by low efficiencies and sky-high costs. He reminds readers that using electric car batteries as a storage media is also a pie-in-the-sky-vision. Gehlert tells IKZ:

It sounds like a good idea and so let us illustrate it using a rough calculation. In 2020 it is planned to have 1 million electric cars on the roads in Germany. If we tap into them and remove 50% of the average 25 kwh charge capacity, then we will extract enough power from them (12.5 x 1000000 =12.5 gigawatt-hours) to cover Germany’s needs each day for 25 minutes and 17 seconds; Germany’s total daily consumption is 712 gigawatt-hours. And then all the electric car owners will have only 50% of the range available for their next trip.”

Gehlert also tells the IKZ that pump-storage is also not a solution for Germany, calculating:

In Germany about 125 times more storage lakes than what exists today would need to be constructed by 2050. This area and topography simply does not exist at all.”

On the idea of using Norway’s, Switzerland’s or Austria’s mountainous regions to build the necessary pump-storage capacity, Gehlert tells the IKZ:

The Swiss are reacting allergically, and the Norwegians are giving us the finger.”

Go ruin your own landscape, and leave ours alone.

And even if it was possible to use pump-storage in foreign countries, Gehlert tells the IKZ that in order to bring the power from the above-mentioned mountainous countries to the big consumption centers in Germany’s industrial heartland, it would require the construction of about 70 high voltage power lines ranging from 300 to 1200 km in length!

Gehlert also scoffs at the idea of using wind-power-to-gas as a method for storing energy, which would be used to fire gas turbines to produce electricity in times of low-winds. And expanding the calculation to 50% constant electrical power from wind energy would require about 470,000 German wind turbines (Currently there are about 25,000). Gehlert elaborates:

The figure is difficult to fathom. Germany has an area of approximately 360,000 square kilometers. That means each of the 470,000 wind turbines would have 0.76 sq km.. The city of Iserlohn alone has an area of 125.5 square kilometers and so would have 165 wind turbines.”

The IKZ asks Gehlert to summarize:

The Energiewende under the given conditions in Germany is a failure […]. The policymakers state in a worried manner: Our predecessors have left behind a disillusioned population.”

 

German Climate Physicist: Alternative Energy, Climate Are A “Religious Creed”…”Miles Away” From Openness

Yesterday approximately 15,000 coal miners turned out to protest the German government’s energy policy.

German Economics Minister Sigmar Gabriel announced earlier he intended to levy a CO2 surcharge on older coal power plants with the aim of shutting them down.

Lüdecke

Prof. Dr. Horst-Joachim Lüdecke. Photo EIKE.

Before yesterday’s demonstration, German physicist and climate scientist and spokesman for the European Institute for Climate and Energy (EIKE), Prof. Dr. Horst-Joachim Lüdecke, published a sharply-worded commentary here on the government’s anti-fossil fuel/nuclear power policy. As the introduction Lüdecke wrote:

Climate protection and the switch over to renewable energies were instilled in German citizens by state propaganda, green brainwashing and with the help of all of Germany’s mainstream media. The unconditional necessity to advance into alternative energies has become a religious creed. By historical and global comparison, such a thing happens the most easily here, time after time. The logic used by the politically interested parties every time appears to be infallible. [..]

The argument goes as follows: The rescue of the planet from a death by heat and the immediate shutdown of the irresponsible German nuclear power plants are essential. The question of whether this is really true is not be asked, let alone discussed.”

Lüdecke says, however, that public awareness over the madness of Germany’s energy policy is beginning to dawn and that he believes “now is the phase of sobering up, but unfortunately not yet one of reason.” Leading print media are beginning to soften their support for the so-called Energiewende as it now stands, he writes. As angry coal miners take to the street, and thousands of industrial jobs become threatened, it is becoming increasingly apparent something has gone awry.

Lüdecke thinks that the sobering-up process will take time because every political party has made green issues part of its platform. “Green is a very difficult color to wash away,” the German physicist writes.

Lüdecke then explains the primary disadvantage of renewable energy: their low energy density, i.e. meaning they require vast areas and that the major ones are weather-dependent. The German EIKE professor does not know how long the sobering-up process will take, citing the immense power of an array of lobbies behind the green movement.

Lüdecke also aims harsh words at Germany’s pompous and one-sided media:

Finally a word for the German media, here especially for the public TV and radio networks. They are rightly being compared by the current contemporaries to the conditions of former East Germany or even earlier times.”

At the political level, Lüdecke blasts the atmosphere of intimidation against people who have alternative views, who often are threatened with physical violence from radical leftists groups.

When it comes to openness, such as that proclaimed by French philosopher Voltaire, the German climatologist writes “in the dark media of Germany, we are miles away.”  He adds:

Factual discourse, connected with polite listening and taking the arguments from opponents seriously, is definitely not in fashion.”

Lüdecke describes Germany as a desert when it comes to independent reporting and expression of opinions.

 

Solar Bubble…New Solar Installations Reach Low in Germany…Wind Turbine Loses Its Screws

The German renewable energy bubble has collapsed since the government rolled back subsidies for a variety of green energy sources such as solar and biogas in 2014. Especially for solar.

German alarmist website klimaretter.de here reports that solar energy installations have reached a new 8-year low. According to the BDI German Federal Power Agency, in February this year only 100 megawatts of capacity were installed. This is 11% less than what was installed a year earlier, and much less than during the heydays earlier in the decade.

In 2014 the German government reformed its EEG energy feed-in act with the aim of limiting the annual amount of added solar capacity coming online to between 2400 to 2600 megawatts. Last year not even 1900 megawatts were added, klimaretter writes.

As the solar industry collapses in Germany, it is however faring much better worldwide, with USA and China leading the way in adding capacity. Experts expect between 53,000 and 57,000 megawatts of solar capacity to be added globally this year.

Wind Turbine kaputtWind turbines losing screws

Meanwhile a wind turbine was temporarily shut down when nearby residents heard loud, clunking noises for days and then found several 4-inch, quarter-pound stray bolts on the ground in western Germany near the border to France (see photo at link that follows.

According to the online volksfreund.de site, a repair crew was dispatched to repair the problem. Apparently there was “damage to the brake system that serves to arrest the rotor blades”. One of the screws fell inside the blade and caused the racket.

The local environment ministry reports that the problem has been solved and there is no longer any danger to residents.

Good thing no one was near when the damn bolts fell out!

 

Beleaguered Industry: Wind Parks Coming Under Fire Due To Health Impacts From Infrasound…Danish Permitting Halts!

The debate on the effects of infrasound on the health of people and animals living near wind parks has been raging on with more intensity than ever – especially since Denmark unexpectedly halted the permitting of new wind parks due to “health concerns” from infrasound.

Infrasound is defined as low frequency sound under 16 Hz – below the threshold of human hearing. Wind farms are notorious for generating these potentially harmful sub-audible frequencies. It is said that infrasound can be sensed as pressure to the ears or to the stomach, or as a slight vibration.

There’s a Swedish report available on the hazard, click here. It calls for the legal framework for the creation of wind parks to be revised.

German NTV public television reports recently that in Denmark mink farm operator Kaj Bank Olesen from Herning is a neighbor to four large-scale wind turbines only 330 meters away. Olesen and other neighbors had protested the planning of the wind turbines, fearing negative consequences from their noise and shadows.

However the community rejected their claims, basing it on a lack of credibility. The turbines were installed. Now it seems that Olesen’s earlier fears may have had merit as he claims that the infrasound generated by the turbines are making the mink animals on the farm aggressive and is leading them to die. After one night he found 200 dead minks the next morning. The incident has since sparked the Danish government to take action. Permitting of wind parks in Denmark is now on hold.

The alleged health impacts from wind turbines have been making the news (0:55) in Germany as well.

In Schleswig Holstein, Germany, the Hogeveens have been forced to sleep and eat in their basement in a desperate attempt to find refuge from the maddening infrasound emitted by recently installed turbines near their home.

The wind industry and many government authorities deny there’s a connection between infrasound from wind turbines and health impacts on humans. Hermann Albers of a wind lobby group says there’s no connection between the turbines and the irritation sensed by those living close by, claiming that it is a “subjective” perception or that it’s “politically motivated”. In other words, people living close to wind turbines are just making it all up and they should instead just shut up and live with it.

The German government says it will study the matter further and consider if infrasound should be taken into consideration during the wind park permitting process.

In Australia a link has also been found between wind turbines and health in the so-called Cape Bridgewater report. Steven Cooper investigated the possible link, saying that availbale data so far is very small, but adds:

There’s definitely a trend. There’s definitely a connection between the operation of a wind form and what the residents were identifying as disturbances, and so it’s definitely open to debate as to what the cause or link is in terms of that data.”

Data from comprehensive studies are difficult to come by. Wind farms are reluctant to share their data with researchers, fearing unfavorable results and consequences.

The impacts from infrasound on human health will continue to be debated in the future. But other things are already sure and beyond debate: Wind farms are rapidly losing their attractiveness and support from the public due to their poor performance, hazard to birdlife, ruining of property values, and their blighting of the natural landscape.

An adverse connection to human health would be yet another large nail in the coffin of the now increasingly controversial wind industry.

Hat-tip: Wolfgang Neumann at Facebook.

Also read more here: www.climatedepot.com/danish-professor-sacked-for-highlighting-dangers-of-wind-turbine-noise/

 

German Energy Industry Group Sounds Alarm Over Energy Policy, Warns Of Future Power Shortfalls

There was a lot of emphasis on energy technology at this year’s Hannover Industrial Trade Fair, which took place just last week.

Fossil fuel plants unexpendable

Days ago German flagship daily Die Welt here reported that Germany’s energy industry is not happy about the recent developments in the electricity markets. Industry representatives warn that the Energiewende (transition to renewable energies) will not work without conventional power plants.

As mentioned earlier, Germany’s grand coalition government led by Angela Merkel increasingly finds itself struggling to maneuver to appease both industry on one side and Germany’s powerful environmental lobby groups on the other. As electricity prices continue their steep climb and grid stability crumbles, the government may soon find itself paying lip service to climate protection and nothing more.

Energy concept in “worrisome state”

According to Die Welt, Hildegard Müller, Director of the German BDEW industry association representing the energy and water utilities, said in a press release that Germany’s energy concept was in a “worrisome state“. She said “There is nothing in it that helps, but plenty that burdens.”

Other reports mention that Müller was uncharacteristically harsh with her criticism of the government’s tattered energy policy.

Fossil fuel capacity “melting away like butter”

Müller worries that soon there will not be enough conventional power plants operating to ensure a supply of power when wind and solar energy are absent. As companies are forced to buy up wind and solar power and to thus run their conventional power plants over increasingly shorter times, fossil fuel plants are becoming loss-intensive and so many power companies are planning to shut them down entirely. Die Welt reports:

According to figures presented in Hannover by the BDEW, the current over-capacity of conventional power plant facilities is melting away like butter in the spring sun.”

Lack of weather-independent power

Die Welt writes that 53% of planned new power plants are currently lacking an investment decision. So, the question arises: How soon can Germany expect trouble if energy policy fails to get back onto a sensible course? Die Welt writes:

Just after the shutdown of nuclear power plants concludes, in seven years there could be a lack of power plants that can operate independently of the weather.”

“Poorly thought out”, “thousands of jobs” at risk

Müller also calls the government’s plans to burden old power plants with additional charges “poorly thought out” and “politically motivated“. The industry fears the loss of thousands of jobs.

World Bank increases 3rd world investments in coal power

Meanwhile, as an aside, German alarmist site klimaretter.de here writes that even the World Bank refuses to divest from coal power plants.

In 2014, compared to a year earlier, the World Bank expanded investments in coal projects. […] New figures show that 3.4 billion euros in credits, subsidies and guarantees have flowed to fossil fuel projects in developing countries.

In other words, even if Germany does shut down plants, other countries will continue building them and CO2 reductions will remain as nothing  more than a pipe dream.

 

Recent Storm Over Europe Exposes The Lies Of The Energiewende…Is A Stable Grid A Thing Of The Past?

Fred F. Mueller at the European Institute for Climate and Energy (EIKE) here writes about how the storm that swept across Europe in late March exposed the lies of the German Energiewende (transition to renewable energies).

With the current rate of growth in renewable energy installations, Mueller writes that it’s just a question of time before the grid gets overloaded just by the renewable energies under certain weather conditions and that it will no longer be possible to dump the surplus  uncontrollably fed in power into neighboring power markets.

Mueller writes how at the end of March Germany saw a combination of high winds and lots of sunshine. During the recent storm there was lots of wind energy production accompanied by lots of solar power production due to large gaps in cloud cover.

According to German flagship national daily Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (FAZ) the surplus energy led to massive costs to power consumers and double digit million costs for the power grid operators, who naturally will simply pass these costs along to the consumers. The situation in late March was so precarious that hundreds of wind turbines were ordered switched off.

The FAZ reports that a record amount of power was fed into the grid due to the strong winds and abundant sunshine: At 2:15 pm a total of 44 gigawatts of sun and wind energy were fed in, which equals the power output of 31 nuclear power plants.

EIKE author Rolf Schuster has compiled the data on installed solar/wind capacity in Germany as of the end of February 2015: a total of 78 gigawatts of capacity that comprises 40 gigawatts of wind and 38 gigwatts of solar. Had the storm hit later in the spring, the situation would have been even worse because more solar power would have been produced, probably another 10 gigawatts.

Rolf Schuster compiled the results of the storm in Table 1: Datum = date; Stunde = hour; Preis = exchange price; Menge = amount; Summe1 = sum 1; Summe2 = sum 2.

Table 1: The nominal exchange losses stemming from the negative prices on 29 – 30 March. Note: Every figure under 50 €/ MWh in reality means that most conventional power plants had to incur losses (Figures from EEX: Table Rolf Schuster)

According to the data in the hours leading up to the storm, power with a market value of almost 3 million euros had to be “given away for free” to foreign markets at negative prices. However, Mueller writes, that was only a small part of the costs. Grid operators wound up losing anywhere from 10 million to 60 million euros during a three day period. According to the FAZ, a total of 20.3 gigawatts of reserve capacity had to be used in order to stabilize the power supply in south Germany. Moreover hundreds of wind turbines had to be taken offline. Yet the affected windpark operators still got paid for the power they did not produce – as is required by Germany’s renewable energy feed-in act. These costs eventually get paid by the consumer.

This time the power grid withstood the overloading from the storm. But Mueller writes that whoever believes the worse is now behind and we all can sit back and relax with the knowledge the power grid can withstand anything, they are being terribly naïve. In Germany within the scope of the Energiewende, it is planned to install approximately 330 gigawatts of wind capacity and possibly 100 gigawatts of solar capacity by 2050.

The result, Mueller writes, is that already on moderately windy and sunny days the grids will become overloaded with “green power” because there is still no storage technology available. The physics is clear: this will inevitably lead to a “collapse in the power supply”. Here so-called “power autobahns” (major cross-country transmission lines), which certain profiteers of the Energiewende are trying to sell us as the wonder cure against the consequences of their own politics, aren’t going to help.

Easter Blackout! Cologne Area And ‘Phantasia’ Amusement Park Lose Power 3 Times In 24 Hours! Green Energy To Blame?

If there is anything that I can say about the German power grid, it is that power outages have been very rare since I’ve been here. But lately the ones that do occur seem to be doing so far more frequently, and there’s been a lot of talk about grid operators having to constantly intervene to prevent blackouts – something they rarely had to do 10 years ago.

Today T-Online news site here reports that areas near Cologne, Germany blacked out over the Easter weekend. Amusement park Phantasialand lost power three times – in 24 hours!

Hat-tip: DirkH

T-Online writes of “power chaos” as electricity went out for 45 minutes on Sunday and blacked out twice yesterday.

The cause of the outages is being attributed to “technical faults” and a “power supply error”. Parts of the Cologne area, for example the city of Bruhl where the power utility is located, also lost power.

There’s no indication that the erratic green energies such as wind and sun are behind the Easter weekend blackout. My guess is that in this case they are not because the weather conditions were quite stable and saw no spikes of any kind. Yet German blackouts seem to be occurring more frequently as the capacity of sun and wind increases.

Blackouts beoming more common

In 2005 a late November snowstorm across northern Germany caused power transmission towers to collapse under the weight of snow and ice, knocking out power for hours and even days in some regions.

In November 2006 a large part of Western Europe was blacked out as power giant E.on miscalculated on how to handle 10,000 megawatts of wind energy flowing through the power grid. The English Wikipedia page fails to mention anything about the wind energy.

In November 2012 the power in parts of Munich went out due to “a defective line”.  Also read more here. Later a city utility spokesman said, “It is suspected to be a power spike that somehow got through.

Last year again in Munich during the busy Friday morning rush hour the power for 20,000 households went out because of a blown transformer station.

Germany’s power supply has become far more erratic and uncontrollable lately. The power chart for the last two weeks shows the tremendous power spikes that Germany’s power grid had to endure during recent stormy weather.

Agora MarApr 2015

Source: Agora

The above chart shows a major and sudden power spike occurring on March 29 and a super spike that went off the chart on March 31 when a massive 76 gigawatts of wind power got uncontrollably fed in at 1 p.m. How the grid operators went about handling this may be the topic of a later post.

One thing is clear: the situation on Germany’s power grid has gotten far more unstable. German center-left/green weekly Die Zeit here conducted an interview with power expert Frank Umbach. When asked the question of how reliable the German power grid is, Umbach told Die Zeit:

The situation has gotten considerably worse. […] All risk assessments on supply stability show a worsening.”

Moreover Umbach tells Die Zeit that Germany narrowly missed “widespread outages” three times since the country shut down 8 nuclear power plants in 2011 and increased dependency on wind and solar power.

 

Greens Humiliated! Whopping 92% Of Swiss Vote ‘No’ To Non-Renewable Energy Tax …”Historic Debacle”

Here’s the story the major mainstream media would prefer not to mention at all.

Hat-tip: Die kalte Sonne site here.

At the online finanznachrichten.de there’s a short report about a recent Swiss vote on a Greens-Liberals energy tax initiative. The result:

92 percent voted against the initiative that would tax the consumption of non-renewable energies such as oil, gas, coal and uranium instead of having a value added tax. According to the Greens-Liberals it would be an effective instrument for reducing energy consumption and for promoting renewable energies.”

In summary on a few fringe activists in Switzerland are interested in taxing reliable and still affordable fossil and nuclear energy.

The Swiss Blick.ch called the result “an historic debacle” and “the most massive slap up beside the head ever” that a citizens’ initiative has ever suffered in Switzerland. Blick.ch writes:

The failure was historic – no initiative has ever gotten a result of less than 10 percent.”

Die kalte Sonne comments on the result, reminding us that it was…:

…the most clear rejection by the citizens since the founding of the modern Swiss federal state in 1848. It is also notable that the parties who supported the petition for a referendum, “The Green-Liberals” and “The Greens”, were not even able to convince many of their own voters. Both parties together represent 13.8% of all voters.”

Die kalte Sonne also comments on the lopsidedness of the result, claiming that it is the sort that one is accustomed to seeing in “hardcore communist states”. Only this time the vote was free and offered a choice.

 

Germany’s Leading Daily Calls For An End To Green Energy Subsidies! Calls Green Promises “A Fairy Tale”

Germany’s leading daily in terms of circulation Bild recently featured an op-ed piece that harshly criticizes Germany’s Energiewende (transisition to renewable energies).

Clearly the Energiewende is not even coming close to living up to what is was originally billed to deliver. Despite adding more than 70 gigawatts of wind and solar capacity that will cost consumers some $200 billion, German CO2 emissions have not decreased to speak of. Coal-fired power has actually risen.

In summary German electricity prices have skyrocketed and poor consumers are being hit hard. Energy-intensive industries are off-shoring operations – and jobs!

A number of experts are calling the Energiewende the greatest wealth redistribution from poor to rich scheme in Germany’s history as wealthy property owners cash in with subsidized zero-risk wind and solar installations. The poor consumers are forced to cough up the money.

“Enough with green power!”

So it’s little wonder that major German media outlets are beginning to express doubts. Bild features an opinion piece titled: “Enough with green power!

The popular German daily calls the promises of cheap power from wind and sun “a fairy tale”. It writes:

Indeed the truth is: The price of power continues to climb. Just in the past five years the power price exploded 29 percent.

The reason is simple: In the energy market, central planning rules and not the free market.”

Disfigured market

Today there is so much installed capacity, Bild writes, that “on days with lots of sunshine and wind, the green power has to be sold to foreign countries” – even if they don’t need it. When that happens the highly subsidized power gets sold at negative prices. The result? Huge losses for power companies. This is how disfigured the electric power market has become.

In summary Bild concludes that the price of power is much more expensive than it needs to be and that it is a product that needs to remain affordable. Germany’s energy policy is on the wrong path.

Unfortunately there are no signs things will change anytime soon in Germany, which now has the world’s second highest electricity prices in the world after Denmark.

 

It’s Official: Most Efficient Gas-Fired Power Plant To Be Shut Down Due To Losses Stemming From “Energiewende”

It’s official. Germany’s Irsching power plant in Bavaria will be shutting down its recently built Block 4 and 5 gas-fired turbines. Both combined put out approximately 1.4 gigawatts of power. Online Spiegel here reports that its operators say it is no longer worth operating due to Germany’s Energiewende (transition to renewable energy).

The sporadic supply of solar and wind power into the grid means that the gas-turbines run only part-time, and often within a range that is inefficient. Two weeks ago I reported on this here. Now it’s official.

The Irsching Blocks 4 & 5 are the ultimate in gas-turbine engineering – reaching an efficiency of 60.75%. But its operators, among them energy giant E.on, announced that they are shutting down the turbines effective April 1, 2016. Spiegel writes the reason is “the lack of opportunity for economical operation“.

E.on and the other partner operators will need to obtain the shut-down approval from the Germany regulatory authorities.

Energiewende has thrown the energy market in turmoil

Spiegel adds:

Gas-fired power plants are currently under massive pressure due to the Energiewende and the plunge of power prices on the trading markets. ‘The growing amounts of subsidized power from renewable energies and the low wholesale prices for electricity no longer allow operation on the market,’ the four [Irsching] operators declared.”

Spiegel writes that the legal and political situation is also set to potentially become really messy. Already as “ultima ratio”, legal action is being threatened should German regulatory officials turn down E.on’s and its partner operators’ request to shut down the plant, something that German Economics Minister Sigmar Gabriel said the authorities would not allow to happen as the German power grid has become too precarious.

Supply problems are set to become far more critical as Germany will be forced by law to shut down its remaining nuclear power plants by 2022. Currently the German state of Bavaria is also blocking the construction of two major power transmission lines which would deliver power from large-scale wind parks in the North and Baltic seas.

With power transmission lines blocked, nuclear power slated to be decommissioned and gas power plants being shut down, the south German states are rapidly being maneuvered into a position where they will soon be confronted by huge power supply bottlenecks. Large power consumers are becoming wary.

Spiegel writes that E.on’s Irsching shut-down announcement jacks up the pressure on politicians.

Unless all the green madness ends quickly, soon there may be no more lights left to switch off in Bavaria on “Earth Day'”.

 

Debacle: As Germany Adds 70 Gigawatts Of Green Electricity, Its Fossil Fuel Capacity Reaches New Record High!

The Fraunhofer Institute has an excellent page for monitoring Germany’s installed electrical energy production capacity.

Examining the charts, we see a stunning result for Germany: Despite the almost monster 70 gigawatts of renewable energy coming online since 2002, Germany’s fossil fuel capacity has risen and reached their highest level ever in 2014!

The following chart shows Germany’s installed renewable energy capacity (wind, solar, hydro and biomass) since 2012:

Germany installed renewable energy

Figure 1: blue = hydro; green = biomass: gray = wind, cream = solar. Source: https://energy-charts.de/power_inst_de.htm

From the above chart we that in 2002 Germany had just under 20 gigawatts of installed green capacity. Then came the renewable energy boom and that figure ballooned to almost 90 gigawatts – an amount that is enough to power the whole country on an average day.

You’d think with so much green energy capacity coming online since 2002 (close to 70 gigawatts), lots of fossil fuel capacity would get scaled back, i.e. replaced. But amazingly fossil fuel capacity has not dropped at all. To the contrary, it has reached a record high!

The next chart shows Germany’s installed fossil fuel capacity (gas, lignite, black coal), which we would have expected to drop massively due to all the green energy coming online:

Germany installed fossil energy capacity

Figure 2: Germany’s installed fossil fuel capacity for electricity generation. Source: https://energy-charts.de/power_inst_de.htm

Clearly that has not been the case. Here we see that 2010 had seen a record high with 76.70 gigawatts of installed capacity. But that mark was surpassed just last year, which saw 77.50 gigawatts of installed FOSSIL FUEL capacity – a record. The paradox is that as more green energy capacity came online, so did the unwanted, CO2-emitting fossil fuels!

Of course some of that had to do with Germany’s 2011 knee-jerk reaction of shutting down a number of its nuclear power plants in the wake of Fukushima accident, which meant fossil fuels had to jump in (because green energies are too volatile to fill in). From Figure 2 one also sees that coal capacity has been rising since 2011.

So what does this all mean? Green energies have not replaced any fossil fuel capacity in Germany. It means that consumers have gotten zero-climate protection for the 200 billion or so euros committed so far to green energies. All that money – for nothing!

Finally, the following chart shows all sources of Germany’s installed capacity:

Germany total installed capacity

Figure 3: Germany’s total installed capacity has skyrocketed to 177.14 gigawatts. But the demand for electricity averages only about 80 gigawatts and that has not risen at all over the past 13 years. Source: https://energy-charts.de/power_inst_de.htm

Clearly we see skyrocketing overall capacity when the overall demand for electricity remains steady. Today Germany has a total installed capacity of a whopping 177 gigawatts. The country’s average demand, however, is around just 80 gigawatts. This is an economics folly, and one that is on track to get even far more insane unless political leaders sober up quickly.

As Germany keeps bringing more and more green energy capacity on line, the more and more fossil capacity will need to be added for days when the wind and sun don’t show up.

 

Meet Germany’s “Sustainable” Transportation Of The Future (Worse Than The Communist East German Trabant)!

Boy I’m glad lived in the time that I’ve lived in so far: a postwar period when we saw relative peace, prosperity, free markets, spreading democracy and freedom, and immense technical progress. Those days now seem to be going in reverse.

Germany's car of the future

Germany’s vision for the future family car: The new family “pedelec”, big enough for 2 kids,and flowers from the garden center. Source: German Ministry of Environment.

I’m worried about my kids. I fear they will be living in a world that will be less democratic, one where the citizens will be enslaved by technology and live in markets that will be firmly under the control of a faceless, unaccountable technocracy run by so-called self-anointed master central planners. This is what is taking hold in today’s Germany.

Let them ride electric bikes

Germany’s Federal Ministry of Environment (UBA) has just released a publication on one of the key components it envisions for the country’s future mobility scheme for the masses: electric bicycles, or pedelecs, see above for an example variant.

The reports abstract tells us:

As part of an integrated transport planning scheme, pedelecs are an important component of sustainable mobility in cities, but also, most notably, in rural areas. From an environmental perspective, this type of electric vehicle should be embraced, actively promoted and encouraged in order to make pedelecs appealing to more user groups as an attractive, inexpensive and environmentally sound form of transport that constitutes an alternative to private motorized transport.”

The aim, of course, so they say, is to rescue the climate by reducing the emissions of “pollutant” CO2, especially by cars. And to do this, central planning by masterminds is the only way. The green trend is one that is taking us back to bad old days of notoriously inefficient communist-style central planning. One only needs to look at Germany’s “Energiewende” to realize just how bad the inefficiency is getting.

I don’t have anything against people buying e-bikes, of course, but I do have serious reservations about governments punishing us out of our dependable, safe, and efficient cars and throwing us a dog treat every time we move or behave in a way they feel is best.

I’ve looked at e-bikes, but found them far too expensive for the real benefit they offer.

Will replace few cars

Unfortunately the grand scheme of the e-bike will end up having a similar result as the renewable energies. The German government has so far committed 200 billion euros to expanding green energies by some 80 gigawatts, but they have yet to reduce the consumption of coal and gas fired electricity by any significant amount. More on that tomorrow. The result will be similar with e-bikes…few cars will get replaced.

Germany mobilty of the future

Weather for e-bikes. Unfortunately such days are rare in Germany and generally confined to tourism pamphlets. Source: German Ministry of Environment.

Utopian fantasy

One problem is the that the e-bike has become a utopian fantasy for the UBA. To illustrate this, just look at the photos it uses in its report. The powerful government agency would like us to think that the weather in Germany is like the weather in Phoenix, Arizona – in November, and year-round – where temperatures and conditions are very agreeable. The truth is that German weather is often very lousy, cold, wet, windy, and so traveling by e-bike is often far from pleasurable or practical.

People will still need to buy and own cars for bad weather and for most trips over 10 kilometers, or trips involving a passenger. E-bikes will replace very few cars – unless it gets forced. Nothing offers flexibility, comfort, speed and convenience like the automobile, and few people will be willing to give it up.

Cargo cycles, pedelecs for business trips

In its recommendation part of the report, the UBA urges political decision makers provide “ample financial and human resources for the development of bike-friendly infrastructure” and that businesses implement pedelecs in commercial traffic and employ “cargo cycles” and for transport tasks. It also recommends pedelecs for business trips and commuter journeys to work premises. “Many car and compact van trips can instead be made using pedelecs or bikes,” the UBA writes.

To me an e-bike sounds like a good way to limit the freedom and mobility of women who stay home to care for the family.

 

“Grid Overload” Blacks Out Northern Holland! Reports ‘Der Spiegel’ And Dutch Daily ‘AD’

According to the online Der Spiegel, northern Holland has been hit by “a widespread blackout” since earlier this morning.

The flagship German news magazine writes that major infrastructure, such as the capital Amsterdam and its international airport Schiphol and rail system, have been severely impacted.” Spiegel cites a report from Holland’s daily “AD” (formerly the “Algemeen Dagblad”.

The ad.nl site itself reports the power failure was caused by a fault at a high-voltage station in Diemen.”The station is one that handles 380,000 volts.” This would likely mean that its part of the power transmission system.

According to Spiegel (my emphasis):

The ‘AD’ newspaper reports that there was possibly an explosion at the station. According to Reuters news agency, grid operator Tennet attributed the outage to an overload of the power grid.”

The Dutch news site reports that fire departments and police officers have been mobilized to free people from stopped elevators and to beef up security in and around Amsterdam.

According to the reports, a Tennet spokesman says that power is being restored slowly and expects it to be in full service soon.

The question that remains unanswered is why the station exploded and why there was a “power grid overload”, as grid operator Tennet reported. Looking at neighboring German wind power feed in, we see there was a modest 4-gigawatt input surge of wind energy occurring early this morning between 3 and 4 a.m. That’s like four regular power plants coming online, or 1000 large wind turbines. But such fluctuations are becoming routine, and so it is probably unrelated.

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ASIDE:
And now here’s something totally unrelated to Holland power. Hat-tip: Bishop Hill

 

Bloodbath! Four Of Germany’s Top 12 “Capital Destroyers” Of 2014 Are Solar Tech Companies…Solarworld No.1!

No matter what data one presents to hardline proponents of solar energy, they choose to bury their heads in the sand and hope it isn’t so. Today Spiegel presents data that are so striking that they could even jolt those caught deepest in fantasy back to reality.

Online Spiegel has an article today dubbed: Market Losers: These German Companies Destroyed The Most Capital. It lists the top capital destroyers of 2014. I had a feeling I’d find find maybe one or two solar companies, but it turns out that it’s actually far worse than I thought. Four of the top 12 are solar companies!

The number one German capital destroyer of 2014, Spiegel writes, was Solarworld. “The company lost almost 82 percent of its value. Since 2010 the share price has gone in the cellar, falling 99.5 percent, …”

Not only Solarwold made it on the list of the Top German Destroyers Of Capital, but so did 3 other solar technology companies. Brandenburg-based Aleo Solar took 6th place, losing 57 percent of its value in 2014.

The solar technology bloodbath was extended by 1999-founded Phoenix Solar, which lost 96% of its value last year, Spiegel writes. The company took 9th place.

Solar technology company SMA took 12th place on the list of the top German capital destroyers. No industry comes close to destroying the amount of capital that the solar industry wiped out last year. The big losers are from the solar industry, hands down.

The capital destruction that is Germany’s highly ballyhooed “Energiewende” (transition to renewable energy) does not end in the solar sector, but extends to the conventional power companies, who are reeling from the impacts of the subsidized renewable energies. Energy giants RWE and E.on come in at 35th and 43rd place respectively.

One senses that Germany’s entire energy industry is breaking up and falling to pieces.

It is truly mind-boggling how anyone can say solar energies are the future – unless you’re an insolvency administrator, that is.

 

German Wind Power Goes Completely AWOL For The 11th Time This Year…Fossils, Nuclear Again To The Rescue!

It’s a good thing Germany still has a lot of conventional power supply from coal and nuclear on line. Otherwise the entire country would have blacked out this morning during the partial eclipse of the sun. Conventional fuel saved the day.

As the following diagram depicts, there was almost no wind output from Germany’s 40 or so gigawatts of installed wind capacity over the last 36 hours. The country’s wind turbines called it an early weekend.

Agora mar 19-20

Wind energy (blue) has virtually disappeared over the last 36 hours. Solar disappears every night, and often during the day in the wintertime. Often less than 1% of Germany’s electrical demand gets supplied by wind and sun. Source: agora.

German wind and solar power disappeared this morning and over the last 36 hours, leaving fossil and nuclear power to step in to the rescue. The following chart of Germany’s energy supply and demand shows how wind has gone AWOL already 11 times since January 1:

Agora Mar 20

Since January 1, Wind power failed to show up some 11 times. On average about 85% of the installed capacity doesn’t show up to begin with. Charts cropped from agora.

The point here is that it doesn’t matter how much wind and solar capacity gets installed. Once the wind stops blowing and the sun does’t shine, which is often enough, you get no power – period. Imagine if a doctor sold you an artificial heart that could run for 100 years, yet the heart pumped only sporadically, sometimes at only a beat or two a minute over for hours or even days. So it is with wind and solar energy. Our society needs a steady and constant supply; it can’t afford to constatntly stall and sputter, otherwise it collapses and dies.

Today’s partial eclipse had little impact

Today’s partial eclipse of the sun did not strain Germany’s power grid as much as feared. Fog and cloudy weather over northern Germany helped to dampen the feared fluctuation. Sunny day projections of 12,000 megawatts of power going offline in just an hour followed by 19,000 megawatts surging online in an hour warned that the grid could be destabilized. Here’s what the sunny-day scenario solar feed-in looked like:

Solar eclipse_1

Sunny day solar power feed in into grid during eclipse. Source: cropped form here. Animation by: pvspeicher.htw-berlin.de.

What actually happened was nowhere near as bad as feared:

Eclipse_2

Fluctuation was far less than feared. Source: SMA.

As the sun’s energy disappeared, conventional fuels saved the day.

What follows is a photo I took outside near peak time of the partial eclipse in northwest Germany, where it was overcast:

Solar eclipse_2

 10:45 this morning. Looks like a typical dreary day in north Germany.

In general, power companies and grid operators had months to prepare for the eclipse. Lapses and wild fluctuations in wind and sun energy are common (see above) and so today’s eclipse was manageable though with considerable effort. Power companies asked large consumers such as aluminum smelters, cement plants and glass manufacturers to ramp down their production before the event. That would not have been necessary with conventional power.

 

German Power Giant EnBW Warns Customers Of Power Disruptions From Tomorrow’s European Solar Eclipse

Hat-tip: European Institute for Climate and Energy

German power producer EnBW has sent a letter (see below) to its customers informing them that the situation was under control as tomorrow’s solar eclipse is poised to put Germany in partial darkness shortly before noon and to test the country’s power grid stability.

Because of the eclipse, up to 12,000 megewatts of PV power could disappear from the grid (if it’s sunny) in a mere hour at around 10:00 a.m. Then, shortly before noon, 19,000 megawatts could surge into the power grid in just an hour as the moon allows the sun’s radiation to shine back in unhindered.

EnBW warns of possible grid instability and the disruption of frequency sensitive industrial machinery as a result. In Germany power generators themselves are not allowed to operate power grids. Independent grid operating companies perform that task.

EIKE writes that the letter seems to pre-emptively point the finger at the grid operators should blackouts or disruptions occur.

What follows is that letter, translated in English (German version thanks to J. Kowatsch):

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

Re: Partial solar eclipse on March 20, 2015:
Your power supply is in good hands

Dear Ladies and Gentlemen

On March 20, 2015, a partial solar eclipse will occur over parts of Europe. This natural phenomenon will also have impacts on the power supply. As your partner for all matters concerning energy, we have put together a few important facts.

The solar eclipse will begin in Spain and end in Scandinavia. In Germany between ca. 9:10 and 12:00 noon up to 82% of the sun will be covered by the moon. If the sky is overcast, then the possible impacts will be very limited. However on a sunny day it will lead to a drop in power generation from PV systems of up to 12,000 megawatts in Germany, which is equivalent to 12 large power plants. Beginning at about 10:50 the power will then increase by up to 19,000 megawatts within about an hour.

The four power transmission grid operators in Germany are responsible for ensuring the usual system stability. The challenge is to completely balance the drop and the later subsequent rapid increase in power fed in from the PV systems by using many flexible power generations units. The power transmission grid operators have prepared well for this event. The employees at the grid control and switching centers have been trained for this special situation, and control centers will be manned with extra personnel on March 20, 2015.

Yet the chances of disruptions cannot be fully excluded. For example frequency fluctuations can effect sensitive systems (CNC machines, robots and other computer-controlled systems, etc.). Should you have any concerns, we recommend that you drive your systems down to a stable condition.

You will find more information at a mutual press release by the four power transmission grid operators dated 23 February, 2015, which we have enclosed. Moreover you will find at “Zeit online“ a fuctuial article as well as a video animation [scroll down] which illustrates very nicely the possible impacts on power feed-in by PV systems in Germany on a sunny day: http://blog.zeit.de/gruenegeschaefte/2015/03/03/sonnenfinsternis-energiewende/.

Have you got questions? Then give me a call. I’m gladly at your service.

Sincerely

Sales & Solutions GmbH

i.V. Christoph Schade

Mail: c.schade@EnBW.com

Enclosed: Press release by the four power transmission grid operators from February 23.

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Green Progress: World’s Most Efficient Gas-Fired Turbines To Get Shut Down Due To “Energiewende”!

With a whopping efficiency of up to 60.75%, it is considered the world’s most efficient gas-fired power plant; it’s the ultimate when it comes to turbine engineering (see following promo video).

“Answer to climate protection” to be mothballed! World’s most efficient gas-fired power generation plant to shut down as a consequence of a run-amok “Energiewende”.

No other conventional power plant on earth is able to extract as much energy from what gets put into it. And because it burns natural gas, the 1400-megawatt Irsching gas-fired Siemens SGT5-8000H power generating units emit relatively low amounts of CO2 and pollutants.

Yet its operators, among them energy giant E.on, are aiming to mothball the recently installed modern gas-fired facility for good. The reason? It’s losing money because Germany’s renewable energy feed-in act, which allows conventional plants to operate only when the wind and sun aren’t putting out.

Hat-tip: EIKE here.

The Irsching gas-fired power generators are unable to operate at a profit because the facility has to yield to wind and solar energy, which are mandated to be fed first into the grid by law. The result: the modern gas turbines are forced to operate intermittently when the sun and wind are AWOL, which means they are unable to cover their high operating costs. The dirtier coal power plants have lower operating costs, and so they are making a comeback. Result: the green energy revolution is leading to more CO2 emissions, and not less.

According to FOCUS magazine, the Irsching gas-fired plant located near Ingolstadt in southern Germany has become “the symbol of the faulty development of the Energiewende” – Germany’s ongoing transition to green energies.

Industry association leader Hans-Joachim Reck, complains: “It’s the paradox of the Energiewende that now the cleanest and most efficient power plants in Germany, the gas-fired power plants, cannot earn money.”

The gas-fired Irsching facility isn’t the only one that risks being shut down because they are prevented from operating at their capacities and efficiencies. FOCUS writes: “approximately 50 applications to shut down similar plants have been submitted across Germany“. As more and more erratic solar and wind power come online, the less efficiently gas-fired plants operate. As a result, Germany’s stable component of its power grid is eroding rapidly.

So how bad has Germany’s energy policy become, outsiders may ask? At EIKE economist Dr. Klaus Peter Krause tells us:

What the political leadership has inflicted with its ‘Energiewende’ and continues to inflict is a ‘farce to the tenth power’. When it comes to the financial burden for Germans and the entire [German] economy, it will surpass the also ruinous euro bailout policy.”

That’s awfully ruinous.

The shutting down of gas-fired plants has already put the south German power supply stability at risk. Already the federal government has intervened and forbidden the mothballing of several gas power plants. This of course will only serve to further burden the power utilities with even more costs. Eventually those too will get passed on to German consumers, who are already paying the second highest electricity rates in the world. Little wonder 600,000 households can no longer afford it.

So far only about a quarter of Germany’s power is supplied by renewables. The target is 90% by 2050. Little wonder many experts think the whole system is going to collapse well before that.

Emerging Environmental Scandal: “Thousands Of Tons Of Toxic” Wind Park Rubbish To Get Dumped At Sea!

Bard Offshore windparkFace it. When it comes to environmental protection, the EU can be awfully strict. Drop just a single molecule of something hazardous out somewhere in nature, and expect it to be treated like the crime of the century. That’s the way it usually is with eco-bureaucrats, except of course when it comes to green energies like ugly wind turbines. There everything suddenly has no real environmental impact, and so they get a free pass.

German news weekly Der Spiegel here recently reported on how windmills are now polluting the North Sea through their corrosion protection systems. Spiegel writes:

With the continued expansion of wind parks out to sea, over the coming decades thousands of tons of toxic metal compounds will be brought into the North and Baltic Seas. The reason is the use of so-called sacrificial anodes. These are for preventing the corrosion of the steel bases of the wind parks.

Spiegel describes how these sacrificial anodes, which contain heavy metals, dissolve over time in the water and that no environmental impact study has ever been conducted. According to Spiegel just the interior corrosion protection of each steel tower will dump up to ten tons of aluminum over its 25-year lifetime. Yes, “each tower”!

With plans to install 6500 turbines out to sea by the year 2020, Spiegel calculates that this means 13,000 tons of aluminum rubbish could end up in the North Sea.

The German weekly also writes that the electrical method of corrosion protection, such as that used on ships, is also possible, but that the method is too expensive due to “higher maintenance requirements”. After all, wind power is already unaffordable enough!

So in Europe are 13,000 tonnes of chemical rubbish getting dumped into the sea anything to really worry about? Obviously not if they comes from “green” sources.

Photo credit: Bard 1.