The 4.6 trillion euro German green energies flop
By Prof. Fritz Vahrenholt and Frank Bosse
(German text translated/edited by P. Gosselin)
The demands for the phasing out of coal, fuel and natural gas are becoming ever more shrill in Germany. At first early this year it began with the bold proposal of the coal commission, half of which was occupied by green activists from the Federal Chancellery, calling on the phase-out of coal by 2038. Then came the demand by Green party leader Robert Habeck and his green friends for the phase-out of the internal combustion engine by 2030. And when it was very dry for four weeks in April, Annalena Baerbock declared a climate crisis and called for doubling the CO2 price and a strong regulatory law!
Now the Friday Children of Lummerland are demanding a CO2 tax of 180 euros per tonne this year, and that we reduce “greenhouse gas emissions to zero” by 2035, i.e. 100% renewable energies.
So far wind and sun cover only 2.5% of Germany’s primary energy needs
So it is worth taking a look at the study of the Academy project “Energy Systems of the Future” of the “Union of the German Academies of Sciences and Humanities” to see what’s ahead of us. All sectors, electricity, transport and heat are considered together. And look: 80% of the energy is produced by fossil fuels, 7.5% by nuclear energy and 13% by renewable energies. Once biomass (including biogas and biofuel) is subtracted from renewable energies, only 1.5% of primary energy is generated by wind power and 1% by photovoltaics (p. 10 of the study).
This is a long way from 100%. The study comes to the conclusion that if one wants to go the way of decarbonization, e.g. by 90% by 2050, then “around 1150 terawatt hours, almost twice as much electricity will be needed than today” will be needed (p. 10) because traffic and heat are also to be powered from electricity.
7-fold increase in wind and sun needed
Since only photovoltaics and wind power are considered, the study concludes:
In this case, the installed capacity of wind power and photovoltaics would have to be increased sevenfold compared to today (with the same energy consumption).”
Today, we (Germany) have around 28,000 wind turbines with an installed capacity of 57,000 megawatts and 46,000 megawatts of photovoltaics. A sevenfold increase in the photovoltaic area would require covering almost all roof-facades and other residential areas possible in Germany. A sevenfold increase in the capacity of the wind turbines would change Germany even if the capacity of the individual turbines were doubled. Every 1.5 kilometres a 200-meter tall 3-5 MW turbine would have to be installed.
The study also hints at the abyss that we are approaching in this way.
The dominance of the fluctuating renewable energies requires high flexibility on the electricity generation side and on the consumption side.”
In other words, if nature does not provide enough wind and solar power, you have to do without electricity for a while. It is interesting to note that even in the beautiful new world of decentralized green energy generation, it still wouldn’t be possible to go without large centralized power stations. The study estimates that some 60 – 100,000 megawatts of large-scale power plants, which of course would run on biogas or synthetic methane or hydrogen, would help prevent short-term grid collapses. For comparison: today’s large power plant capacity is 90,000 MW.
Storage absurdly expensive
The study’s claim that batteries could only be one solution for short-term storage is helpful. The prerequisite for long-term storage is the successful development of power-to-gas, that is converting wind power into hydrogen or even methane by electrolysis. This remains absurdly expensive today, but we can already do it. However, the authors warn that in days of a cold, dark lull (no sun and no wind in winter), there could be competition between power to heat (i.e. heat from wind power) and the demand for electricity when supply is scarce. That means one would have to choose between lighting and heating. The car would stop in any case.
The authors also correct the widespread misinterpretation of the car as a power storage device.
The buffer capacity of the electric fleet is in the range of a few hours.“
The 4.6 TRILLION euro power supply
The beautiful new world of the German Greens has a hefty price. In the study, the authors assume 60% CO2 reduction, which should be achieved by 2030. By then it will cost 4 trillion euros in a good 10 years. Today’s energy supply system costs 250 billion euros per year, but that will cost 1.5 trillion more. With 60 to 75% CO2 reduction, the authors expect a further 800 billion euros. From 75 to 85% yet another trillion. From 85 to 90% CO2 reduction will cost another 1.3 trillion euros. So 1.5 trillion euros up to 60%, and another 3.1 trillion euros up to 90% make together 4.6 trillion euros.
German households are to spend €4.6 trillion to avoid 800 million tonnes of CO2. This is the amount of CO2 that China emits additionally every year.
100% renewables would cost 764 euros – monthly!
So that the parents of Fridays for Future understand the 4.6 trillion figure correctly: that’s 153 billion euros a year. With 40 million households in Germany, each household would pay 382 euros per month. And if it goes according to Greta and her followers, namely to reach 100% renewable energies in 15 years, then that would be 764 euros per month – if it does not first come to a collapse of Germany, which would be very likely. That’s 764 euros for a monthly average income in Germany of 1,890 euros. This means that the average household would fall below the defined poverty line.
What a beautiful new world.
Sun and wind to decide when we can move or heat
We (Germans) are not even able even cope with the converting the electricity supply (see the warning of the Federal Network Agency to build reserve power plant capacity of 10,000 megawatts – 10 nuclear power plants – in 2022). Now we are expanding the problem to heat and transportation. All three sectors, which were previously dominated by different energy sources (coal, natural gas, crude oil), are to be made dependent on a single one: electricity from wind and sun. Wind and sun are to decide when we can move our car, how much heat we can use in winter and when the light can be switched on. This is what is best called a sustainable short-circuit.
And why all this? Because of the climate crisis mentioned earlier, of course. And that’s why blogs like ours are necessary in order to make it clear to all decision-makers: Yes, we must leave the fossil era behind us by the end of this century. But we also have use this time, because the climate sensitivity of CO2 is much lower than the panic-makers and social system changers like to tell us.
26 responses to “10026 Renewables At 764 Euros Per Household Per MONTH… Germany’s 4.6 TRILLION Euro Green Energies Flop”
“>>> But we also have this time, because the climate sensitivity to CO2 is much lower than the panic-makers and social system changers like to tell us. <<<"
Indeed. According to  it is only (0.4+/-0.1)C/doubling at the present level of concentration and diminishing logarithmically with the concentration rising. Also, according to , all the warming attributable to human-emitted CO2 so far has been a puny 0.02C. Given how eager nature is to gobble up human-produced CO2 from the atmosphere and thrive in response we have plenty of time to get off fossil fuels, way more than a century. And the right solution for the future so distant will be fusion energy that assuredly will be tamed by then.
Actually, I should have said “diminishing like an inverse function of concentration with the concentration rising.” The global temperature itself is a logarithmic function of the concentration.
1) How many “According to [2-x]”s do you need to acknowledge that there is a reason this is given as a range with probabilities in report about the state of science on this topic? Please don’t base your opinion on this matter on just one paper you happen to agree with because it sounds like what you feel is right.
2) Everyone knows it’s logarithmic … that is hardly news, that’s why it’s a temperature change per doubling and not per X ppm concentration increase.
“>>> How many “According to [2-x]”s do you need to acknowledge that there is a reason this is given as a range with probabilities in report about the state of science on this topic? <<>> Everyone knows it’s logarithmic … <<<"
Well, not everybody, the media, in particular. People generally do not understand that the higher the atmospheric CO2 concentration, the less change in global temperature upon incremental injection. Instead of talking about sensitivity to "doubling," we should be talking about differential sensitivity, which diminishes like 1/x.
They do understand, it’s what “change of X per doubling” means.
Solar is the answer! To get enough sun, Germany will be moved to Libya. Preparations on the Libyan side have already started.
Just move the sun to Germany. Greta can do it. Libya has had her too big share too long already.
Not really … we just have use solar cells to cover about the surface area that we have already covered with tar, e.g. the road network. Should be fairly easy if we would really want to solve this quickly.
There is plenty of Sun available to run a country like Germany. This is ultimately just a storage problem, not a electricity generation problem.
As pointed out recently in WUWT* CO2 emitted from human activity amounts to only a trivial fraction of the total going into the atmosphere. Viz, water vapor (the most important greenhouse gas, never mentioned) constitutes 95% (!) of all “greenhouse gasses; CO2 (total) about 4%; CO2 from human activity about 3.4% of the total CO2. The US emits about 16% of that total (don’t know about Germany).
So, what do we have? ~96% of CO2 comes from natural sources, our trivial 3.4% counts for a negligible effect, especially when compared to that of water vapor. BUT: in terms of total greenhouse gasses, that 3.4% of 4% adds only 0.14% to the total greenhouse gas mixture. And for the US, we add only (3.4% x 16%) ~0.5% to the human emitted CO2.
And we’re supposed to worry about that? Insanity!
There was a reply of mine to this comment. Apparently it vanished. Insanity is to grossly misunderstand the math behind this and base your argument on relative contributions like BobW does 😉
Those 4% are responsible for the entire increase of the CO2 concentration. Scientists like Harde & Co disagree, but then again … we all know where this comes from, don’t we?
Where does it come from? Speak up!
How do you make 100% from 4%?
Clearly you know more than you tell us!
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Reading at NTZ and Jo Nova, I get the feeling that Germany and Australia are at the front of the parade of nations trying to self-destroy. Canada, the UK, and the US in some respects seem to be trying to pause on this path.
Being a curious sort, I hope to live long enough to see what way this goes.
I do note that the UN is ramping up a new crisis in case the current one falters.
New Zealand is well underway, having just announced shutting down its oil & gas industry completely by 2050. A boondoggle “energy transition” project has commenced, apparently to figure out how to survive and be profitable in the cold and dark.
De-industrialisation, de-population and destitution, the Green Death.
I wonder how these activists themselves live and stay. I dont think they have ever had to do anything to keep the heat in the house and the electricity is always present when you need it. Others have to manage that and it is so easy to say that it should ofcause be without any CO2.
I can only welcome them in the cave if their demands are fulfilled. They can stay but have to find food on own hand.
“I wonder how these activists themselves live and stay”
Here’s an example:
And when you are bankrupt and can’t afford food, they will tell you what they tell other poor nations “go starve.”
Greenies are NOT good people.
“Yes, we must leave the fossil era behind us by the end of this century.”
Energy diversification is a first, and reliable intermediate step en route to the provision of (as yet unknown) constellation of reliable dense energy sources.
Ideology is not an energy source to all except the dense.
Today’s Daily Telegraph reports that there is a 100 Bn euro hole in the German economy over the next four years.
This story focuses solely on the supply side. I can see a future Germany where Germans live in single room high rise apartments to conserve heating requirements as well as making room for vastly increased number of wind generators. Mercedes Benz is transformed into a bicycle builder to reduce fossil fuel requirement for private transport. If carbon price is increased sufficiently then such changes will be inevitable.
Cars badged Mercedes Benz will still be getting built but in China, India and the USA, where Climate Change zealots are not running the country.
Well, good thing there is not only one study, right? Others came to completely different results. The assumptions in this study seem to be pretty unrealistic.
Even if the costs were this high, when has every household (the mean) paid the same amount of taxes, etc ever?
Sure we are, it is working wonderfully. No rolling blackouts that skeptics seem to wish for every day “to show them” …
What problem? Do you really believe there is not enough energy available from the Sun via direct or indirect ways of harvesting that energy?
Oh dear, we all now have the chance to get of fossil fuel dependence and here come the alarmists and claim we would then be depending on the Sun (and wind) … as if we weren’t before … *sigh*
Why would we need to ration energy at any point? Because we didn’t “harvest” enough in the summer? I don’t know if you know this or carry about this at all, but an average home can power itself from installed roof PV and battery storage for most of the days in winter (yes, also using electricity to run a heat pump) and produces a lot of surplus in the other seasons. I don’t see how large scale deployment of wind and solar could every lead to a shortage of energy. We will rather have problems using/storing all the surplus on good days.
Do they? 40 million cars adding 10 kWh of buffer capacity to the grid would equal 400 GWh. That should be enough storage to shorttime stabilize the German grid.
Yes, and the whole population of my city produces much more than I do, should I thus not try to limit my emissions because I don’t matter? Strange logic.
Well, decision-makers have told themselves this for 4 decades now … it’s getting harder and harder to achieve the goal which each decade that passes.
A carbon tax would likely work as the market tends to work this out quickly in favor of less carbon intensive energy usage. It could also be completely neutral for the consumer. Do you think 180 € per tonne is too much? That’s about 43 Cents per liter of gasoline. Less than what we already pay as tax on this kind of fuel. It would add about 30-50€ to a flight from Munich to Hamburg and back and maybe make more people use the train instead. Would that be so bad?
“We all now have the chance to get rid of fossil fuel dependence…” You start from the false premise that we “need” to get rid of it. We don’t
And then impose, as always with lefty alarmist, a tax.
Yep if the open market does not work as the lefty wishes, then inflict more financial difficulty on the populous by forcing more tax on them, more tax that ultimately will be a waste of money and effort.
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