Dig baby dig!
Germany has put the shutdown of all its nuclear reactors on the fast track since the Fukushima accident. Finally, Germany’s Renewable Energy Revolution to rescue the planet from nuclear power and climate-killing CO2 emissions appears set begin in earnest, at least that’s what the climate rescue heroes would like to believe.
Unfortunately for the renewable energy cheerleaders, and the enemies of fossil fuels, things are in reality developing quite differently globally and even in Germany. For example, China is putting one brand new coal power plant online every week, and will do so for the next 40 years. Now, suddenly, Germany looks poised to crank up its coal power capacity too. Edgar L. Gärtner at eigentumlich frei has a commentary called: Energy Revolution” – The New Age of Coal“. The climate fantasy rescuers aren’t going to like it.
Since Germany has taken 8 of its nuclear reactors out of operation since April, 2011, its energy supply now stands vulnerable. To keep the lights from going out, which is a real prospect should a very cold winter day befall Germany, old coal plants are now being brought back to operationability in order to serve as “cold reserve capacity”. Gärtner writes:
This confirms what independent specialists have been predicting since the ‘energy revolution’ was announced by Chancellor Angela Merkel: Instead of the rise of the promised “Age of Renewable Energies“, the nuclear phaseout will lead to a Renaissance of coal and (to a small extent) natural gas.”
Indeed, even ultra-green Germany is going back to coal. And Gärtner adds:
There are lots of signs indicating the age of coal as a resource for electrical power generation is actually just getting started.”
And anyone who doesn’t believe this is probably listening to too much German public media news, or is in chronic denial. Gärtner explains:
According to the most recent Statistical Review of World Energy of oil company BP, one of the most reliable sources of energy market data, coal consumption has increased by almost 50% over the last 10 years alone.”
And during those same 10 years, global temperatures have plateaued, or even fallen slightly, depending which data-set you’re looking at. Gärtner continues (emphasis added):
Such a rash increase has never been seen before. China and India alone account for 90 percent of this increase. Coal’s share of global energy generation has almost reached 30% and is now as now at 1970 levels. At 48.2% almost half of the world’s coal consumption is by China. Plans by China’s leadership provides for a coal power expansion of 600 gigawatts by the year 2035. Also in western countries coal consumption increased in the year 2010 by 5.2%, the most since 1979.
So why is coal burning gaining so fast? The answer is economics and science.
Global coal reserves are huge, enough to last an estimated 1000 years according to some estimates. Moreover the fuel is easy and cheap to extract, transport and use. And because there are now 7 billion people on the planet to sustain, its low price means that it is a real life-saver, one that can be relied on and does not depend on the weather. Thus only the most ignorant, or most tyrannical, of politicians would sit on mountains of coal and allow citizens to freeze to death in the wintertime.
Now that climate science is uncovering that CO2 is indeed a minor climate driver, the use of coal should be allowed unabated. Indeed science is showing more and more that coal is by no means a climate killer, but a human life-saver.
8 responses to “It’s The Dawn Of Life-Saving Coal: 2010 Consumption Jumped 5.28 – Most Since 1979”
I think Germans liked coal also for fuelling their houses. In the Netherlands this became gas in the sixties but I rember that in the eighties during wintertime in Berlin the sky was yellow and you smelled sulphur everywhere. Compare it with the London fog. Besides these problems the Germans are on their way to a very hard landing after the Green adventure. Thanks for the article, very well written.
We’re going to need it
Solar energy pioneer builds house that supplies itself and produces enough surplus to charge an electric car (and its own lead-acid battery banks).
House designed for 2 adults, 2 kids;
Price tag only 343 k EUR; and you need some free space around it so the PV panels are not shaded; that’ll be another 300 to 700K (in the Rhein-Main area). Make sure you don’t have trees to prevent shading.
Does the price include the poles and high-intensity lights to keep the PV running at night?
The house is far from energy-independent. They burn wood in winter. Is the small forest included in the price?
And you can’t go past the huge lead battery to supply electricity for a nominal 15 days. Wow… that’ll cost how much to replace in about 5 years?
Walls 42 cm thick … that’s medieval. They must be “cheap” to transport.
Looks like it’s costing about 5 Euros to save each cent a year. Bank interest rates are a better investment.
Love this reader comment:
“Man fragt sich halt manchmal, wozu man eigentlich mühevoll die Grundrechenarten erlernt hat. Es geht ohne diese doch viel besser im Leben.”
Loosely: “One asks oneself sometimes why one made all that effort to learn basic arithmetic. Life is so much better without it.”
Which sarcastically paraphrases John McCarthy:
“He who refuses to do arithmetic is doomed to talk nonsense.”
“Looks like it’s costing about 5 Euros to save each cent a year.”
Exactly. Next step: Cry for “incentives”.
Another instance of what Edward Tenner calls “revenge effects”:
[16Jos_Vik – 05.10.2011 16:31 Uhr] – “…und es gab bereits mehrere Fälle, wo im Brandfall, die Feuerwehr so ein Haus abrennen ließ, weil die Stromproduktion der Solardächer nicht abgeschaltet werden kann u. Feuerwehrleute durch Stromschläge verletzt wurden. Dazu kommt die Vergiftungsgefahr durch Cadmium, welches nicht nur beim Brand, sondern immer freigestzt werden kann, wenn das Glas bricht.”
“…there have been several instances where firefighters let such houses burn down because the electricity production of the solar roofs could not be switched off, and firemen were hurt through electrocution. Add to that the hazard of cadmium poisoning, which can occur not just in cases of fire, but every time a glass panel breaks.”
On the other hand, that’s the raison d’être for projects like the Villa Savoie, that Australian Harbor Opera House, Fallingwater (well: everything by Frank Lloyd Wright, actually), the Centre Pompidou, and everything designed by Santiago Calatrava: they are beta versions, tested in real life, to show later prospective investors what not to do. If you were wondering why this kind of nonsense tends to be public works rather than those of idealistic (i.e. misguided) pioneers: city committees can spread the money around, and their members do not have to live inside the results of their pioneer entrepreuneurship 24/7/365 until they can find a sucker to buy it at “bargain prices”. Just check if you ever heard what became of these “houses of the future” AFTER they were built.
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