This too will be a sticky post for at least a day or more. Germany’s leading renewable energy expert and climate science critic Prof. Fritz Vahrenholt warns of an irrational and panicked rush into renewable energies.
In a penned opinion piece in Germany’s Manager Magazin titled: “Why a Phase Out of Coal Would Be Damaging“, the German professor believes the movement to divest from fossil fuels is seriously misguided and that the move to a completely carbon-free global society would lead to “destruction on an astronomical scale“. He writes:
In order to produce the same amount of power with wind, we would see a surface area consumption and corresponding destruction of natural habitat on an astronomical scale.”
Fritz Vahrenholt was formerly responsible for the renewable energies arm of European power giant RWE, RWE Innogy GmbH. No one has overseen the installation of as much renewable energy in Europe as Vahrenholt has. In the field of wind energy he is a leading expert. He has since become a leading critic of renewable energy and climate science.
Vahrenholt, a professor of chemistry and former Environment Senator for the City of Hamburg in the SPD socialist party, asks:
How realistic is it really to produce not only electricity but also heat and fuels for transportation worldwide from China to Brazil over the coming decades without fossil fuels? As before in China a coal power plant goes online every 14 days, and India is well on the way to do the same as its neighbor.”
“Cost avalanche of 1000 billion euros”
Vahrenholt sharply criticizes Germany’s transistion away from coal and nuclear power and over to renewables because of the enormous cost burdens that citzens will have to bear in the years ahead. He writes that German Economics Minister Sigmar Gabriel knows that “if the brakes on renewable are not applied, a cost avalanche of 1000 billion euros is headed our way“.
And as exorbitant quantities of wind and solar power are added to the power grid, Vahrenholt warns that during windy and sunny periods, large quantities of power will have to be “disposed of” on foreign markets.
We will have to dispose of the power in foreign countries more often than we do today and even pay money to Austria, Holland, Poland and the Czech Republic to take the power.”
Excess power of course would be ruinous to foreign markets. Vahrenholt reminds that sun and wind energy are fraught with technical problems because they work a minimal part time. Storage technology remains nowhere in sight.
Will have near zero impact
And even if Germany were able to solve the unsolvable technical problems, the CO2 emissions savings that Germany would achieve through a shut-down of its coal power plants would be offset by growth in China in a matter of just 2 months. The result would be no “climate protection” at all and Germans would only be able to boast over a flickering mess of a power supply.
In Vahrenholt’s view, the German green energy model is so costly that “no country in the world is going to follow it“.
Exaggerated science, flawed models
He also calls the climate science “wildly exaggerated” and maintains the climate models have been false:
There are more and more scientific findings showing that the climate effect by CO2 has been wildly exaggerated by the IPCC. There has not been any significant warming in 16 years even though one third of the historical CO2 emissions occurred in the same time period and the CO2 concentration in the atmosphere is rising year after year.”
Vahrenholt describes the climate models as a joke as they do not even take the long-known ocean and solar cycles into account.
Leaping before looking
He tells us that Germany is rushing unnecessarily into renewable energies and that the natural cycles mean we have lots of time and that we should take that time and do the transition in a sensible manner. He asks:
Why the frenzied go-it-alone approach that is putting so much at risk? No nation on the planet is going to follow us when they see their own industrial base being destroyed and citizens financially overwhelmed.”
In addition to the destruction of capital, there is also a grand destruction of many thousands of jobs.”
But none of this seems to impress Germany’s green government authorities, who continue to overzealously pursue shutting down fossil fuels and pushing for large-scale installation of an piece-meal energy infrastructure that has been proven to be technically flawed.
Consequences “close to insurmountable”
The German energy folly is already taking its toll, Vahrenholt writes. He claims that the “insidious process of deindustrialization has already begun” in Germany because of skyrocketing energy prices and growing uncertainty.
Consequently Vahrenholt is calling for a “fundamental reform” of the country’s energy policy and a return to a more market-oriented approach. He calls Germany’s famous EEG renewable energy feed-in act an obsolete model that is “bringing no reduction in CO2 emissions” and one that is “eroding Germany as a place for industry” and whose “consequences will be close to insurmountable“.
58 responses to “Energy Expert Issues Warning On “Carbon-Free Society”: “Destruction On An Astronomical Scale”…”Cost Avalanche””
It takes 700 times more land to produce the same amount of energy as it does for fracking……BBC reports the percentage of energy produced from solar in 2025 will be….wait for this….up to 4 %….think of all that land for solar panels to produce up to 4%
I looked for evidence that other countries would be emulating Germany. There was a New York Times article in 2011 suggesting the U. S. should go down that path, but nothing since. I did find this article, suggesting that the German plan is NOT one for emulation. http://energytransition.de/2015/04/wec-survey-finds-energiewende-no-model/
basically every country is aiming (at least!) for a renewable percentage that is close to what Germany has today.
the biggest difference seems to be, that few countries are willing to be a leader in the renewable sector (being willing to burden those extra costs).
And most countries do not do this for a greater good for all (even in Germany that might have been less of an aspect as it might seem to be) but for simple benefits (less pollution, technology advantages, diversity of power sources, saving spendings on fuels).
So my take on it: everybody is following Germany in some way, just slower and for all sorts of different reasons.
Can you name a single country which is removing alternative sources and going back to fossile?
“but for simple benefits (less pollution, technology advantages, diversity of power sources, saving spendings on fuels).”
Well you and I know better; saving 3 cents on NatGas by paying out 30 cents in subsidies is so stupid not even a German politician would think it’s smart. So the real reason is corruption, but don’t tell anybody.
Yes, I can.
Every nation. Energy demand is rising, and it’s not coming from elves on bicycles.
When are you going to develop some respect for human energy?
“Yes, I can.”
You did not name a single country scaling down renewable energy production.
“Every nation. Energy demand is rising,”
No, energy consumption is falling in most countries (call it a “pause” if you want to). There are only a few countries with rising power demand, and those will profit from experience in demand reductions in other countries.
Your thoughts are based on false facts.
Ahem, sod, your graph shows energy consumption per capita for “the World” as RISING.
Total energy consumption is of course rising faster, as the world population is rising as well.
Who needs friends with enemies like sod.
“Ahem, sod, your graph shows energy consumption per capita for “the World” as RISING.”
I was answering to rising consumption in EVERY country. That is obviously a false claim.
With a dropping use per capita and some more years of a rising population, we will see how it ends. But this is a different talking point from what was brought up above!
In Vahrenholt’s view, the German green energy model is so costly that “no country in the world is going to follow it“. – See more at: https://notrickszone.com/#sthash.UD4K6r99.dpuf
There are plenty of utterly stupid politicians in this world ready to follow the germans. Starting with Cameron, Osborne, Royal and Hollande
Don’t forget Shorten, Turnbull and Hanson-Young in Australia.
Remember, too, Obama, the EPA, and the “green” organizations in the US.
What is curious is the determination of the major parties to keep going. Why?
They must have had evidence that the policy is a sure road to disaster. Large companies are planning to move elsewhere, even to the USA for the cheap electricity brought by frakking. That means a loss of jobs, compounded by the effects on suppliers.
The grid is stretched and power blackouts must happen soon. Then the general public will want to know why. Then it will come out that they’ve been paying their high electricity bills while CO2 emissions were rising and jobs disappearing, and a few were enriched. There will be fury and support for the major parties will plummet. Even clinging together in coalition won’t let them remain in power.
Blind panic; politicians are like rabbits in the headlights on this one. They need a scapegoat to blame for the lies/halftruths, misleading politicians & the public, the hardship imposed on the poor, the waste of billions of public money, etc. Once suitable scapegoats have been identified – and a robust plausible deniability established (aka backside covering) – then the political class will pull the plug on this insanity.
A lot of voters live in the cities, do not get out much, and don’t see all the landscapes decorated by the giant Reichskrafttürme. And they feel SOOO proud about how they are helping to save the planet by voting for a Green Bloc Party like SPD or CDU. They drive bikes, not cars, recycle their rubbish and eat organic Muesli. They also believe the incessant pro-Green propaganda of the journalist class; which is 100% gleichgeschaltet (synchronized). Occasionally they buy an electric car with which they drive a third of the mileage that my old battered VW Polo does in a year, while telling me how much money they save this way. They do not get the kWh consumption of their noddycars right, though, and are more guessing than actually monitoring it. When I correct them they get angry and switch the topic, which I understand. In America, these people would be called the libtards.
Here in Florida I own an electric car as I live on a golf course. While it is an EZ-GO golf cart not licensed for public highways I can still use it for shopping as there is an extensive network of paved paths in my neighborhood.
Those small electric cars will be a huge force in future electric mobility (for example for a growing number of elderly).
Just sit and watch!
Electric cars have a niche in the market, no doubt. But a portion of the elderly is hardly “a huge force”…even if you count electric wheelchairs.
Pierre, this is about scaling up.
People were trying to build electric cars, when the typical application of a battery was the electric torch, unchanged for a century.
Now we have mobile phones, laptops and other electric gadgets driving development.
And batteries scale up, via electric garden devices, e-bikes and small electric vehicles.
we will see prices dropping fast and capacity and other aspects raising fast.
Just sit and watch.
We’ve been sitting and watching 18 years and nothing has happened climate-wise. Also the German government told us to “sit and watch” as 1 million e-cars would be put on the road by 2020. Today we see that this too is nonsense. Electric cars will only work if there is a cheap and steady supply of power, i.e. nuclear, fossil, hydro… You need to get an engineering degree so that you can analyze these things properly.
Just don’t get run over!
7. June 2015 at 10:17 AM
“Those small electric cars will be a huge force in future electric mobility (for example for a growing number of elderly).”
Oh you mean electric wheelchairs. Yeah I’ve seen those.
The reason we have all these “gadgets” now is not because the batteries scaled up (they haven’t). It’s because the silicon MOS transistor has scaled down!
This year is the 50th anniversary of Gordon Moore’s drawing of a simple empirical graph, via which he noted that the number of transistors that Intel was putting into a single integrated circuit was effectively doubling every 18 – 24 months. That didn’t start with the silicon MOS transistor, but for the past 30 or so years it’s been the ability to continually scale down the silicon MOS transistor that has driven Moore’s Law. So now we can put more than a billion of those in a single fingernail-sized sliver of silicon, at a cost that is now less than a billionth of a dollar per transistor. And because they are tiny, you can do the same things with much less power consumption (or, with constant power density, do much, much more for the same consumption of power).
In contrast, batteries aren’t scaling at all. Basically, the battery is the same as when it was first invented by Alessandro Volta in 1800; changes and improvements have been small and incremental. This isn’t because people are stupid or lazy – it’s just not a technology that lends itself to compounding and/or exponential improvements. There is no “Moore’s Law” for batteries (or for basically anything else – “Moore’s Law” is a fluke of an utterly unique world-historical dimension), and there simply is nothing apparent that will cause any change to that reality anytime soon.
It’s also well-known to anyone in (or around) the mobile device field that the battery remains the Achilles-heel of these systems. While we can keep putting more and more electronics into less and less space, the limiting factor regarding how much we can get a mobile device to DO is the battery. In particular, when displays started to get bigger and crisper, battery drain went way up.
But even in various use conditions, there are unpleasant occurrences that are murder on the battery. One example is what goes in inside a mobile device (such as a mobile phone) when it loses its contact with the mobile network (e.g., you step into an elevator). You’d be surprised at how much methodology (and which is instantiated in things like patents and trade secrets) this problem has spawned (not to mention extensive litigation). If you just let the mobile phone try “rampantly” to find a signal and re-establish contact, the battery drains at an alarming rate. (And if you’ve ever been someplace in the world where the mobile network comes and goes, you find that this can drain your battery to nothing in little time while you’re not paying attention). So there are all sorts of methods for attempting to re-establish contact but on a schedule of some sort that preserves the battery.
Silicon transistors scale. Batteries don’t.
Snowman: “There is no “Moore’s Law” for batteries ”
Very good write-up, Snowman.
More generally, according to Ray Kurzweil, Moore’s Law-equivalents develop in information technologies (transistor, harddisk, data transmission protocols…); never in non-Information Technologies.
To sod: The weight and reach of the battery in a noddycar is limited by the charge density; which is a physical property, not an information technology property. That is why the typical reach of a noddycar is always 70 miles.
You can double the weight of the battery but you are on an asymptotic curve where each doubling gives you less and less increase in reach. 70 miles is the compromise they use for typical daily commute.
see David Mackay “Without Hot Air” (for free on the web), Mackay is a warmunist and was climate change afvisor apparatchik for a UK government.
Batteries scale up big time. They got cheaper, live longer and are much more reliable.
You are just plain out wrong.
8. June 2015 at 4:31 PM
“Batteries scale up big time. They got cheaper, live longer and are much more reliable.”
Well, they got marginally cheaper. Normal experience curve effect.
Also, after Lithium there’s no improvement. Charge density is still one tenth of a hydrocarbon.
So, I use hydrocarbons.
” after Lithium there’s no improvement. ”
I am starting to understand your position.
No improvement, apart from the improvements we had already.
No car with a range over 70 miles, apart from the cars that have a range over 70 miles (Tesla and most future cars).
There is a hard limit at 70 miles range, check my source, unless my source contradicts what i said, then i change the subject to maximum speed (with 50 being a reasonable average and that gives ranges above 500km!!!!).
maximum speed (and other factors, liker cars looking like real cars and not like gulf carts any longer) did not change from the cars in the 70s, apart from the changes that happened since then.
Did i miss another major contradiction in your arguments?
8. June 2015 at 11:26 PM
“I am starting to understand your position.
No improvement, apart from the improvements we had already.”
Soddy, isn’t it bedtime already? Of course you don’t understand *anything*. There’s no lighter atom than Lithium that can be used in a battery. It’s the end of the line for battery technology.
The idea of a battery car is a wrong requirement analysis. It ignores the key strength of electrons, their mobility.
So, *I* will surely never buy a misconstructed technology if I can at all avoid it. You want to carry around a ton of material for a bunch of electrons? Pretty insane idea in my book.
Not that it’s the first insanity coming from the socialists, nor the worst.
And Merkel wants the rst of the G7 to join them.
Peter, electric cars get about 70 miles all electric. (I know the Tesla is an outlier getting almost 200 miles, but it’s likely at least a $150K vehicle “in reality”) Look up the range of electric cars of the 1970’s. They also had a range of about 70 miles. There has been no change in the range of EV’s for 40 YEARS! (except for the absurdly over-priced Tesla – which we don’t even know the cost because of so many backdoor subsidies that the consumer doesn’t pay.
” Look up the range of electric cars of the 1970’s.”
What sort of electric car from the 70s are you comparing to?
Because this is a typical example from the 70s!
I would call this sort of comparison a “trick”!!!
see above, look for David Mackay’s (a warmunist) “Without Hot Air”, he explains why 70 miles is the optimal battery reach for a noddycar. Diminishing returns on increase of battery weight.
““Without Hot Air”, he explains why 70 miles is the optimal battery reach for a noddycar. Diminishing returns on increase of battery weight.”
he says the opposite of what you think he says.
“It thus seems to me that the range problem has been solved by the
advent of modern batteries. ”
Well ok, if you want to drive 400 km with 50 km/h.
[…] Gosselin reports at NoTricksZone on Germany’s leading renewable energy expert and climate science critic Prof. Fritz Vahrenholt […]
The US president continues his “War on Coal” while promising to develop “Renewable Energy” but the realities on the ground are a little different at least here in Florida.
Florida Power and Light built a 75 MW CSP (Concentrated Solar Power) facility in Martin county but that might be related to a deal that gave Next Era Energy (FP&L’s parent) a $2.5 billion tax break that makes the Solyndra scandal look like chump change. Newsweek exposed this boondoggle but no indictments followed.
FP&L’s ten year plan includes a couple of Nukes and a bunch of Combined Cycle plants powered by natural gas. It is hard to believe but common sense seems to be trumping ideology:
Graeme No.3 says:
6. June 2015 at 8:06 PM
“What is curious is the determination of the major parties to keep going. Why?
They must have had evidence that the policy is a sure road to disaster….”
I have been wondering about that, too, for as long as the obsession with switching to renewables has been under way, and came to the conclusion that they know that it is destructive. What keeps governments promoting what is for all extents and purposes a massive, unprecedented scam is the knowledge that they trade short-term gain for long-term pain.
The short-term gain comprises the increased tax revenues they collect. Increased energy costs drive up the costs of goods and services. The costs are being passed on, with a mark-up, and with the costs of taxes that must be paid at each stage added on, to boot, to the next step in the provisioning and production process. That is repeated until the final products or service it sold to the end consumer.
The end consumers, naturally, pay the grand total of all of the accumulated taxes and tax increases due to higher energy prices. Those taxes are included in the end consumer prices.
The governments collects a revenue windfall on account of increased energy prices. In that vein, the government subsidies that are being to producers of renewable energy generation are not a bad thing from the perspectives of the government. The subsidies are seed capital that in essence promote tax-revenue increases that are being caused by and collected at every stage of the production and provisioning process.
Governments always search for and find new ways to create and collect taxes. Doing so is never popular and creates a large volume of often heated debate in the media. The increases in energy costs produce an enormous amount of extra tax revenues without increasing tax rates. That means that revenue generation due to increased energy prices does not even require legislative debate. Legislative debate is not necessary, as no approval of any hikes in the tax rates is required. There are nevertheless enormous increases in tax revenues. Those go unnoticed and unreported by the media.
We all know that all of that has very severe consequences for the economy, but those are long-term consequences that will have to be dealt with those who are elected into power years later. In the mean time, the revenue increases to to escalating energy prices are immediate and enormous, as is the pain caused to consumers, especially those on low and limited incomes, as the consumers pay for the largest part of the not-so-hidden tax hikes caused by rising energy prices.
Perhaps I am incorrect about all or much of that, but although I have not enough information to prove my theory of why the governments seem to be the driving force for the energy transition to renewable is correct, it is the only explanation that makes sense to me. I will stick to it until someone comes up with evidence to the contrary.
With the transition to renewables the governments have raised a goose that keeps on laying golden eggs. They will not kill it off any time soon. The only thing that will kill it off is when national economies will no longer be able to feed it. That fact is most likely the reason why governments in other countries will refuse to learn anything from the German experiences gained through the energy transition. No other country will change its course on this unless its economy, too, is faced with the reality that it can no longer feed its goose. The only question is whether that realization will set in just before or after the collapse of its economy. Economies do collapse when the prices of their goods and services have risen so high that they are no longer competitive in the world market.
Sorry, but that sounds like a conspiracy theory.
Renewables have a significant advantage over other power sources:
A significant amount of money is being spend in the country itself (as opposed to buying oil, coal or gas abroad).
And it is a technology with a future, so investments will carry future benefits.
Sorry, but that sounds like you are an idiot.
“Renewables have a significant advantage over other power sources” like higher costs, higher CO2 emissions and less reliability?
And I always thought that Germany mined lignite.
“And … investments will carry future benefits”. Like South Sea Company stocks, Tulip futures, Argentinian bonds, junk bonds, the internet bubble, sub-prime mortgages etc? And, of course, Ponzi and Madoff schemes.
“And it is a technology with a future,”
So are doorhandles.
Not according to Star Trek™.
You obviously have little idea about advanced doorhandle technology with touchless proximity sensors.
And Sirius Cybernetics:
“Thank you for making a door very happy.”
Of course, they also gave us Marvin, the paranoid android.
Maybe they turned sod into a robot… hmmmm…
7. June 2015 at 10:08 AM
“Renewables have a significant advantage over other power sources:…”
That, rather than offering a well-reasoned argument against the alleged “conspiracy theory,” is without a doubt not only an unsubstantiated but a false assertion.
You painted yourself into a corner. A way out would be to show what no one else in the world has been able to show, proof of what the alleged advantages are.
Other than that, the only impression of which you managed to present evidence is that you live up to the definition of your chosen pseudonym. More at “sod“
Walter, it’s easier: Politicians always want to expand the percentage of GDP *THEY* control (because the more money they control the more they can siphon off).
German supreme court has outlawed expanding the state beyond 50% of GDP.
So the politicians needed to find other ways of expanding their share of control.
The FIT cross subsidation of about 1% of GDP = 24 bn EUR a year does NOT count as a tax or as public sector share! It’s a trick to expand the control of the state and its players beyond the official public sector.
The truth is the opposite of what you claim it is.
Tax increases are extremely difficult to get, so the FIT is a scheme to avoid being labeled a tax.
It is done that way, because it could not be done by tax increase. This has massive disadvantages, for example people can directly see the cost of renewables, while they never learn, how much subsidies go to other power sources.
“Tax increases are extremely difficult to get, so the FIT is a scheme to avoid being labeled a tax.
It is done that way, because it could not be done by tax increase.”
You are wrong. Nobody protested when the Red Green Schroeder/Fischer government introduced the Eco tax surcharge on gasoline. THe Green voters actually *LOVE* taxes on consumption.
DirkH, thanks for that. You have in essence confirmed that the cash-flow model I tried to present is correct, and that the suspected objective of gaining increased tax revenues without drawing undue attention is not merely a speculation but a principle anchored in the law.
Ludwig Erhard must be groaning in his tomb.
And EVERYTHING is based on the false assumption that CO2 is affecting the temperature (globally – where no means of measurements are reliable). It’s ALL fake from the beginning and, sadly, it’ll take generations of (if) ‘repairing’ of the catastrophical consequenses from the decisions of the politocrats high and low.
Here in Sweden we have a similar situation to the German, albeit Germany is no longer upheld as a ‘model’ in terms of ‘energy transition’. The debate (in parliament) on what ‘to do’ with Vattenfalls engagements in Germany is utterly idiotic, you can’t believe it…
Sweden w only appr. a 9,5 mio population is at a percentage more depending on export than Germany and our main industry (mining, paper, chemistry etc.) is based on and depends highly of cheap (and safe!) electric energy, which is fully (and in excess) covered by hydro and nuclear means. The greentards here are now dismounting the nuclear production and if they will pull their idiotics thru parliament it’s good-bye Sweden. Sweden also lacks a supreme court/’Verfassungsgericht’/ as well as practically no means of ‘civil servants’ accountability – thus one can easily see the reasons to the many unrealistic laws and regulations of my home country.
My country hurts, as said by a Danish poet at the time of the ‘potatoe crisis’ in Denmark in the -80:ies and many people are now moving abroad with no return. Sad, very and extremely sad.
Brgds from Sweden/TJ
I’m just listening to a whole lot of Red Ice Radio. Palmgren makes no qualms about it. He talks about the zombified state of Swedish society, well a lot like the latter daysEU totalitarianism in Germany.
I’ll hopefully be visiting Stockholm this year. For the first time since 2000 or so.
If you are driving, and going through Jönköping, let me know.
Well, it will be a business trip, so it’ll be the plane, unfortunately.
SOD has a dream the world is switching to renewables.
Oil consumption is at record highs. page 13
Coal consumption is at record highs. page page 33
Of course Nat Gas consumption is at record highs.
Electric car sales world-wide don’t even put a dent in the growth rate of new vehicles on the road.
Here is the Int’ Energy Agency stating coal demand is increasing.
Why do politicians keep buying into this? They are mostly Democrats and that’s how they get their money. Their ignorant constituents somehow think the march to renewable is going to save them money and make them more prosperous. So they are begging their politicians to promote this. For those of us “in the know” – yes, as stated above – we have been surrounded by ZOMBIES!
Wishing it so with subsidy added does not much change the buying habits of folks in the USA.
How long will the AGW madness last? Quote: “Max Planck: Science advances one funeral at a time.” The author of the article in which this quote originated (William M. Briggs) further notes that, “This is important to understand — let this sink into your bones — because this sad but true fact about the human condition tells us how long global warming will be with us. Answer: forever. It will last until the last of it’s proponents die.”
The main “cost avalanche” we should expect comes from coal.
This is an industry on the brink of breakdown. People are divesting from it, because they fear the coal bubble bursting.
And basically the coal industry already owes big time to environmentalist, who kept them from building a number of new coal plants, which would mostly end up as stranded assets under current conditions.
Until the blackouts begin.
“And basically the coal industry already owes big time to environmentalist, who kept them from building a number of new coal plants, which would mostly end up as stranded assets under current conditions.”
Now you people demand that everyone who you sue THANKS you for it? That’s a symptom of a psychopathology, sod.
“People are divesting from it,”
another load of hogwash from s.o.b.
The amount of recent investment in the local coal delivery system to China, Japan and India is enormous !!
Thanks to China, India, Japan, and soon a couple of countries in Africa, world coal usage will continue to soar, and the world’s food supplies will benefit greatly.
Get used to it, silly little child. 🙂
It is only countries where the greenie/socialist agenda has somehow hacked into the system, causing energy supply destruction, that fools are backing away from coal.