Germany to shovel climate fund dollars into coal plants

Less than a month after the failed Bonn UN climate confab, Germany has announced a most audacious energy policy:  in order to shutter nuclear plants (but not completely scuttle their economy), the German government will direct climate fund cash to building coal and natural gas plants.  You can’t make this stuff up.

Germany plans to dump nuclear power by 2022 but clearly needs to meet burgeoning electricity demand especially for a still powerful manufacturing economy dependent upon exports.  Solar panels at their latitude and windmills are not going to suffice, so the solution is more coal.  The environmental movement must be apoplectic with so many politically correct wires crossing at once.

With yesterday’s story of “wide blackouts” expected to affect Europe (during winter, no less) due to Germany’s anti-nuclear decision by Chancellor Merkel, Germany has decided not to freeze during the winter by relying on renewable energy resources:

The plan has come under stiff criticism, but the Ministry of Economics and Technology defended the idea. A spokeswoman said it was necessary as the government switches from nuclear to other renewable energy sources and added that the money would promote the most efficient plants possible.

Will Merkel cave or shovel climate fund cash into coal burners?

 

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104 thoughts on “Germany to shovel climate fund dollars into coal plants

  1. I think maybe she needs to get the Thorium religion, and solve all the “problems” at once.

    But in any case, something productive of lotsa energy has to be online. In this as in all markets, the Invisible Hand has brass knuckles for use if needed.

  2. It’s something we should have done long ago, with the coal reserves we are sitting on, it’s a blindingly obvious route to take.
    Only the whole debate has been corrupted by the climate changers.

  3. The AGW crowd is made up of many factions. The only thing that holds them together is the craving of power over others. But if you pick the scab, you do see the many divisions within them: PETA and the Oz solution to reduce GHG (Kill camels). Climatologists vs Nuclear Power Activists (that should be anti nuclear, but they somehow glommed onto the title with no negative in it), ELF/ALF and CO2 activists.

    Germany’s policy is just another act in the theater of the absurd that is the AGW movement. So Napoleon will teach the sheep a new bleat. oil bad, coal good! (after all, coal leaves coal dust that does cool the world as we have now been told).

  4. Are the German leaders havin “Octoberfiest” every day i

    Merkel has to be severly drunk!

  5. Even though all government-funded projects are inevitably more wasteful and less effective than are privately-capitalized (and profitably operated) endeavors in the same areas and of the same size, the Germans’ decision to build new coal-fired powerplants – presumably incorporating recent advances in petrochemicals combustion to improve energy yield and mitigate adverse externalities – isn’t half as wasteful and screwed-up as are most government dumbpuckeries.

    Sure, the coal fuel cycle is inescapably more dangerous – front-end (mining, transportation) and back-end (vast mountains of carcinogenic coal ash, carcinogenic effluents in the atmosphere, etc.) – but “clean coal” technologies have been hellaciously researched, and should be implemented in these brand-spankin’-new Kraut furnaces.

    There’s also the fact that all the coal ash can be “mined” as a source of radioactive Thorium isotopes, which the French will no doubt be happy to take off their neighbors’ hands as the Frogs dive merrily into the Thorium fuel cycle to power their fission reactors, generating electricity to sell – at a nice premium – to the Germans.

    “Never underestimate the power of human stupidity.”

    — Robert A. Heinlein

  6. Simple fact…..
    South African coal is a lot cheaper…..
    …..which means a lot more profit

  7. Why is it that when the knee jerks it usually knocks your teeth out? Why is the grass gray? Why is a rainbow gray, gray, gray, gray, gray, and infragray?

  8. The story, http://www.thelocal.de/national/20110713-36277.html , closes with

    The Economics Ministry spokeswoman said that in any event, that Germany’s goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 40 percent by 2020, would not be damaged by the new initiative.

    Hmm. Build more coal-fired power plants, not damage the 40% reduction goal. Sounds to me like they already know there’s no chance of reaching the goal.

  9. It’s either burn more coal and gas or ironically import nuclear generated electricity from France. The Greens can’t have it both ways on nuclear and fossil fuels. Currently, alternative energy just doesn’t cut it in winter.

  10. So the Germans are building coal fired powerstations to replace nuclear, we Brits are building them as backup for wind power and the French are doing their usual whatever they please whilst telling us all what to do. The one redundant and expensive part of all this that could be got rid of would of course be the wind and solar.

    Well done us!

  11. King Coal heading to Asia. Asia is the pc term for Red China and its client states.
    …-

    “Coal deal clinched”

    “London-based Fortune Minerals Ltd. has secured a long-awaited investment deal that will pave the way for development of a huge anthracite coal deposit in British Columbia.

    On Wednesday Fortune announced the deal with the Canadian arm of POSCO, a South Korean company that is the third largest steel producer in the world.

    POSCO will provide $181 million, including $30 million upfront in return for a 20% stake in the Mount Klappan project.

    Fortune has estimated it will take $768 million to get the mine into full production, which includes a $317.8 million for a 150-km rail connection and upgrade to the CN Rail line to ship the coal to the deep water port at Prince Rupert, B.C.

    Fortune Mineral founder and President Robin Goad said POSCO’s initial $30 million will help get the mine through the permitting, engineering and environmental assessment stages.”

    http://www.lfpress.com/news/london/2011/07/13/18413051.html

  12. Cold fusion products will scuttle all these plans way before substantial funds are allocated for any of these long-range myopic solutions.

  13. Germany, never will compromise its manufacturing base. (unlike the UK)

    Germany will ensure that they have sufficient secure energy at a cost that ensures Das Autos are competitive. Can’t do that with wind and solar!

    VW, Audi, Merc, Porsche….

  14. I bought some stock in a company, BWC, involved in nuclear power a couple of years ago. I have to admit that the Japanese nuclear accident did cause me some financial pain. But I decided not to sell. It seems to me that nuclear is the right answer and that everyone will realize it eventually. So I’m keeping my stock. The countries that had the knee jerk reaction to Japan’s nuclear accident will change their minds once all of the emotional huppla is over.

  15. i think that you guys have missed the boat by a foot or two.

    the germans have a huge coal mine/generation station in central germany. it is big enough that it shows up on google maps quite well.

    they use bucket wheel excavators connected to conveyor belts and have been doing so for about thirty or more years. they have reached the stage where they dump the overburden and ashes back into the hole (open pit mining) as they move along.

    the place already looks like the face of the moon only worse, so whats the damage expanding it by what, 50-75% so there’s a couple of 4block square villages over the unmined coal.

    they’ve already paid the price in being called dirty b@#%$rds for decades, so every thing is up from here.

    C

  16. green sand:

    the costs of building autos mostly labor, tooling and engineering time. very little is energy costs.

    C

  17. @ Tilo Reber says:
    July 13, 2011 at 1:48 pm

    I bought some stock in a company, BWC, involved in nuclear power a couple of years ago. I have to admit that the Japanese nuclear accident did cause me some financial pain.

    If you didn’t sell any, how did it cause you financial pain? If anything it would have been a buy opportunity.

  18. A lot of the coal in Germany is “Brown” coal, high in sulphur so that should help cool things down nicely. Perhaps that’s the new anti-AGW strategy?

  19. Since the particulate emissions will block further warming (by blocking sunlight), it sounds like another win-win! Coal is merely a highly portable form of sunlight. Plants create coal. It’s concentrated biomass (again, which is merely stored sunlight. It’s basic science).

  20. There is another partial explanation (apart from far too many Germans being stuck-up, envious, self-righteous, narrow-minded cowards with deeply disturbed conscience, doing dirty business with shady totalitarian regimes).

    Many influential German decision-makers are firmly in Putin’s pocket.

  21. pk says:
    July 13, 2011 at 1:58 pm

    green sand:

    the costs of building autos mostly labor, tooling and engineering time. very little is energy costs.

    C

    The cost of every element you mention and all the many, many more elements required in the production of autos are affected by the cost of energy.

    It is not possible to have a cost effective competetive manufacturing industry with uncompetitive energy costs. Germany recognises this and will take steps to ensure their supply of cost effective energy as you are witnessing today.

  22. Ha ha only crazed climate communist hippies would’ve thought otherwise.

    It was there from the get go. The economy of germany is not too good. So what to do when almost all your reactors are too close to retirement, due to them closing up shop in the eighties for new ones, and it would become too expensive to build an equivalent of 30% of total energy need in such a short period. They first went with extending the reactor life spann to not have to build more dirty coal ‘an necessary, but that was clearly hugely expensive trying to make old reactors work for longer than they were initially designed for. Enter the natural dissaster in Japan, during a time of financial crisis and weak economy in pretty much the whole EU topped with high unemployment. It must have been a great boon for now they can dissmantle the old crappy expensive to maintain reactors and build cheap coal and gas power plants that’ll employ far more people ‘an from building new nuclear reactors which requires more academics, at the same time they still come out as being toatally on line with being green to pacify the crazies. Ontop of all this of cours is the holy grail of EU’s highly manipulative but very much tax rewarding CO2 cap and trade and an odd assortment of energy taxes. Essentially a win win win win . . . win situation for the German government, and EU.

  23. It takes a lot of energy to manufacture the components that get assembled to make automobiles (Aluminum, Steel, rubber, plastics, etc). Germany could always get some of their power from France- who would likely be more then happy to built a couple more nuclear plant to meet their needs. Speaking of Nuclear there is going to be a meeting on the subject for California coming up soon-

    “Committee Workshop on California Nuclear Power Plant Issues

    The California Energy Commission’s 2011 Integrated Energy Policy Report (IEPR) Committee will conduct a workshop to review California utilities’ progress in completing studies and actions recommended by the Energy Commission and directives by the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) during ongoing and future plant license renewal evaluations for Diablo Canyon and the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station (SONGS). The workshop will also discuss uncertainties about seismic and tsunami hazards at Diablo and SONGS along with the environmental, safety, and economic implications of recent events at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in Japan.

    Chair Robert Weisenmiller is the Presiding Member of the IEPR Committee and Commissioner Karen Douglas is the Associate Member. Vice-Chair Jim Boyd is the State Liaison Officer to the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission and will participate in this workshop. Commissioners and staff from the CPUC may also attend and participate.

    TUESDAY, JULY 26, 2011
    Beginning at 10 a.m.
    CALIFORNIA ENERGY COMMISSION
    1516 Ninth Street
    First Floor, Hearing Room A
    Sacramento, California
    (Wheelchair Accessible)

    Remote Attendance and Availability of Documents

    Web Conferencing – Presentations and audio from the meeting will be broadcast via our WebEx web conferencing system.

    Computer Log on with a Direct Phone Number:

    – Please go to [https://energy.webex.com] and enter the unique meeting number 923 884 546.

    – When prompted, enter your information and the following meeting password meeting@10 . (Please note that password is case sensitive.)

    – After you log in, a prompt will appear on-screen for you to provide your phone number. In the Number box, type your area code and phone number and click OK to receive a call back on your phone for the audio of the meeting. International callers can use the “Country/Region” button to help make their connection.

    For more information:

    http://www.energy.ca.gov/2011_energypolicy/notices/index.html

    (If link above doesn’t work, please copy entire link into your web browser’s URL)”

  24. Liquid Fluoride Thorium Reactors need serious consideration, assuming Rossi’s LENR fails to be commercially viable.
    Otherwise reopen the Welsh anthracite coal mines and give our unemployed youth a chance.
    Germany will continue to lead and come to its senses in the very near future.

  25. 1DandyTroll says:
    July 13, 2011 at 2:57 pm

    Ha ha only crazed climate communist hippies would’ve thought otherwise.
    —————————————————————————————————–
    Yup, you got it!

  26. I regret to have to say that it appears to me that Rossi’s LENR is an attempt to get Govt money, one way or another. Having an Italian invention developed by a Greek company is just a little bit strange. Add in the management of the US company coming from the EPA, and it just doesn’t look like a going enterprise. It looks like a handout waiting to happen.
    I’ve followed LENR for 22 years, promoters have repeatedly made claims that disappeared when subjected to scrutiny – the science continues, and understanding improves, but promoters are the bane of scientific progress. see Al Gore et al.

  27. Most Germans are no stupid beer drinkers. They know, no cheap energy no Germany.
    No German Bailout money ,no EU.

    But now we know, CO2 is not the problem. Germans are not stupid.

  28. I think the Germans do the right thing at the right time:
    a) Exiting Nuclear Energy Production –> This will for sure give the development of renewal energy sources a huge blast (renewal energy is not only about wind and solar!). Germany could become a technology leader in this area due to this. The economics might benefit from this in the future.
    b) Facing Reality –> Germany most of the time has the fascinating ability to find a pragmatic way. Building effective coal and gas power plants is just pragmatic for ensuring cheap energy based on not too limited ressources at this time. Since many of these units are smaller and easier to handle, Germany will stay re-active to new development trends or new findings regarding alternate energy sources.

  29. To be fair, the minister proposing this – and whom I expect to be overruled by Merkel in the next few days – was very critical of the hasty nuclear exit now avowed by the government. He is a level-headed and reasonable person – something of a dinosaur and definitely a misfit in German politics these days.

  30. The situation in germany is kind of special. There’s a huge anti nuclear movement since the 80’s. 2001 the government decided to dump all nuclear plants by 2021. This decision was reverted last Oktober. After Fukushima, politics went crazy and the decision was reverted again. Eight plants have been shut down shortly after the incident. The remaining seven plants will be shut down in 2022.
    Before the shut down the portion of nuclear power was 23% and 60% in southern Germany. This winter will show if the grid can compensate this loss…

  31. This is just further descent by the Germans into irrational reaction, rather than fact based, rational planning. I have no objection to them building and improving coal fired plants. It is irrational, however, to use ‘Climate Fund’ cash to do this. It is irrational to HAVE a ‘Climate Fund’, to begin with!

  32. Somehow with France not only the largest exporter of electricity in the world, 30% of the total generated is sold to other European countries, of which 80% of the total output by Nuclear power AND the French authorities are expanding the Nuclear generation programme, I doubt if Germany’s dereliction of Nuclear power will affect France, until they start having to pay exorbitant prices for it of course, we can’t have Herr Merkel admitting she was wrong now, can we?

  33. I’m certain many Germans are only too well aware of the potential irony of this situation.

    It’s democracy of a sort, but the greens are overplaying their hand and leveraging their position in the establishment – and people will see through the simplistic fairy tales the watermelons have been preaching.

    The Germans know only too well that the “rush to renewables” is an expensive farce and a woeful eyewateringly expensive abject failure. perpetrated by a shouty, innumerate and ideologically hollow green movement that has erected taboos and dogma to deflect from sane debate and continues to bray away unconfronted by a largely dim witted and politically timid media as is certainly the case in the Anglophone bubble.

    Reality… inconvenient – I’m waiting for some prominent gweenies to talk their way out of this one.

  34. Dr T G Watkins says:
    July 13, 2011 at 3:03 pm

    Liquid Fluoride Thorium Reactors need serious consideration, assuming Rossi’s LENR fails to be commercially viable.

    I’ve read somewhere that Rossi’s “E-Cat” (Energy Catalyzer) can’t heat water beyond 200 degrees F; the reaction stops. So it’s only good for space heating, not electricity generation. Still, that’s something. And it could be used to pre-heat the water going into the boiler at a power-generation station.

  35. I don’t think the Germans are suicidal. They won’t wreck their economy when they know renewables won’t perform. Merkel made a big mistake knocking nuclear, pandering to Hamburg and elsewhere to trying to help her party avoid losing local elections (http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/02/19/us-germany-hamburg-idUSTRE71I3WE20110219). It didn’t work. So the next best alternative to an admission of blatant political trickery is to invest heavily into coal and natural gas. It also serves as a hit against the Left, who didn’t support Merkel when she tossed them a big bone.

    Politicians. Sometimes you wonder what they were thinking. Unfortuately, given the poor understanding most voters have of deeper issues, the politicians do have to play these games. Only when the economic conditions become too painful will the dumbass voters finally consider they might have been wrong (or lied to). Ah, but don’t they usually forget their lessons as soon as conditions improve? That old formula might be changing. I’m not convinced we are ever going back to our old ways. They just won’t work anymore. If we want nuclear power, we only have to wait. There aren’t many other good choices.

    Rad hysteria, like cliimate hysteria, will go away. When Japan returns to normal (it won’t take very long), their support for nuclear power will probably go back up. They face even more difficult choices than Germany or we do. Japan is not known for its coal and oil reserves. The japanese people can be fooled for a time by anti-nuke political forces, but economic reality will hit them hard. They’ve had very tough economic prospects since the early 1990s. You can bet they will want to maintain their standard of living. Dependence on green power is the fast track to third-world living conditions. Germans won’t go there either. Californians? Those are the quintessential deniers of reality, believing they are so much smarter than the rest of the world.

  36. wsbriggs says:
    July 13, 2011 at 3:21 pm

    I regret to have to say that it appears to me that Rossi’s LENR is an attempt to get Govt money, one way or another. Having an Italian invention developed by a Greek company is just a little bit strange. Add in the management of the US company coming from the EPA, and it just doesn’t look like a going enterprise. It looks like a handout waiting to happen.

    Here’s the link to an article about Rossi’s contract with his US partners:

    http://www.nyteknik.se/nyheter/energi_miljo/energi/article3179019.ece

    I’ve followed LENR for 22 years, promoters have repeatedly made claims that disappeared when subjected to scrutiny

    Rossi’s claim has stood up to ten times more scrutiny than his predecessors’.

  37. I have said it before and I’ll say it again – this past winter Scotland was forced to import nuclear generated electricity from France after its windmills failed to deliver. Only a disaster will end this charade.

  38. Well, Germany can now buy all the shale gas found in Poland the Greens critisised so much not so long ago.

    Oh and btw, LOL. I’m sure this will be the environment friendly, carbon neutral coal. Good grief.

  39. James Sexton says:
    July 13, 2011 at 2:18 pm

    I don’t have much to say about this, other than….. lolrotfpmp!!!!! hahahahahahaahahahhhahhahaha!!!!!!!!

    You’re a merry old soul. (Unlike James (“death train”) Hansen today.)

  40. Of course the humongous Russian Nord Stream gas pipeline from the “North Pole” across the Baltic to Germany will take some of the pressure off in some areas – but.. well… it’s bound to pile it on in others….

  41. For centuries politicians have been reversing what they told us for our vote. Maybe now the reversal will be in our favour: green promises in, green promises out (when the bill is added up).

  42. It gets better. Sweden is one of the most pro-AGW countries on the planet. The Swedish Government owned power company Vattenfall is building a new 675 MW power plant at Boxberg in Germany, powered by lignite. This was planned well before Fuikushima.

  43. Almost artistic the way this policy mixes the irrational and the counter productive. Finally a rival fro the world’s stupidest energgy policy title so long held by the US.

  44. Tom:

    At July 13, 2011 at 4:09 pm you say:

    “Reality… inconvenient – I’m waiting for some prominent gweenies to talk their way out of this one.”

    Perhaps you missed the post by Chris T at July 13, 2011 at 3:27 pm.
    Oh! Wait a moment. Ahhh, I see what you mean, but he did try.

    Richard

  45. Germany will also need to invest in pipelines to bring in gas from Russia under the Baltic Sea to establish a ‘reliable’ supply. The Russians will be overjoyed.

  46. And their fear of nuclear power plants would be possible tsunamis?

    At least they are admitting that wind and solar sucks in the dark.

    They should not forget to weed their solar panels or are they actually biofuel growing trays?

  47. Note to the GreenShirts: Be careful what you wish for.

    No, actually, just run ahead trying to ban every form of energy and every member of the periodic table. Derision looks good on you; kinda complements your middle-class faux piety.

  48. Giants of leadership are emerging in the tradition of Otto Ludwig Piffl, who answered the great political questions of his day by declaring, “The situation is hopeless, but not serious.”

  49. Hoser,

    Talking of politicians, you should look to ancient Athens and the modern politician Alcibiades http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alcibiades. Some have suggested his Sicilian Policy was deliberately stupid, that he intended it to fail. I don’t know, but given the consequences ….

    Unfortunately, politicians go hand in hand with democracies; actually with all human activity, political or democratic or not. We, the people, must not be deceived by promises of “Free Anything”.

  50. The Germans will get their gas from the Russians who will ensnare them even more firmly by he short hairs. They will be another Russian satellite if they hock their energy future to the Russians–and that is what they are going to do if they end their nuclear energy program…

  51. pk says:
    July 13, 2011 at 1:58 pm
    the costs of building autos mostly labor, tooling and engineering time. very little is energy costs.

    It takes about as much energy to make a car as the car uses in a lifetime of driving. There is very little energy required in the assembly of cars, but that is only a very small part of the manufacturing process.

    So, when you junk your old beater and buy a new car, you are using more energy than if you kept driving the old beater, once you factory in the life-cycle energy budget.

  52. John Leon says:
    July 13, 2011 at 3:46 pm
    Somehow with France not only the largest exporter of electricity in the world, 30% of the total generated is sold to other European countries,

    Is it any wonder the EU is trying to get the UK to switch to windmills? France is using this to sell nuclear power into the EU, knowing full well that the UK will not be able to generate reliable power using the wind. It is a brilliant scheme the French are using to shaft their old enemies, the English once and truly. And the British government has fallen for it hook, line and sinker.

  53. 1DandyTroll says:
    July 13, 2011 at 2:57 pm

    You got that right DandyTroll !!!

    So France will turn out to be the nuclear experts in Europe, he? So ironic! The british gave it up long ago, and now the Germans. Left standing is France! Well, good for you, France!

    Maybe we, the Norwegians, who already export gas and oil to Europe, can start selling coal from Spitsbergen too? Ha, what luck for us! And the poor, poor hyphocrates in Germany,bying coal from the hyphocrates (spelling mistake here? I think so…) in Norway, oh, what an irony!

    hahahaha!!!!

  54. @1DandyTroll

    …expensive making old reactors last longer than they were designed for…

    Not true, at least in the US. The 40 year design life was chosen because nobody really knew what the long-term cumulative effect of neutron bombardment would be on the carbon steel reactor pressure vessel. It turns out the effect was way over-estimated. Lifespans can safely be extended to 60 years and even 80 years. This has been an economic boon to reactor owners in the US. It basically means 20 or 40 years of low cost power from a plant that was paid for over the 40 year life.

  55. Now we clever Ausies intend to tax and tax coal mining until it becomes uneconomic and all the mines are closed.
    There is a problem – we have no alternative souce of power for electricirty production.
    But there is a solution – import German coal.
    Problem solved.
    See I told you that we are clever.
    Now you believe.

  56. There may be a silver lining here. The most devout Groonies (green loonies), who are the most troublesome, may suffer cranial explosion/brain eviseration from the irony of it and from the derisive laughter of the sane Germans, if such there be.

  57. Ferd july 13 at 12:52 pm says ” It takes about as much energy to make a car as the car uses in a lifetime of driving. There is very little energy required in the assembly of cars, but that is only a very small part of the manufacturing process. So, when you junk your old beater and buy a new car, you are using more energy than if you kept driving the old beater, once you factory in the life-cycle energy budget.”

    Ferd, I saw a post over on tips a few weeks ago noting a study putting some data behind lifecycle energy (CO2 budgets) on vehicles that you might find of interest- http://www.lowcvp.org.uk/

    The Australian made note of the report here- http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/health-science/electric-cars-may-not-be-so-green-after-all-says-british-study/story-e6frg8y6-1226073103576 “ELECTRIC cars could produce higher emissions over their lifetimes than petrol equivalents because of the energy consumed in making their batteries, a study has found. “An electric car owner would have to drive at least 129,000km before producing a net saving in CO2. Many electric cars will not travel that far in their lifetime because they typically have a range of less than 145km on a single charge and are unsuitable for long trips. Even those driven 160,000km would save only about a tonne of CO2 over their lifetimes.”

  58. Reminds me of all the ignoramuses shouting that Alberta can keep its dirty oil so they can get just as dirty oil from elsewhere.

  59. Merkel is a genius!

    First she cancels all the nuke power plants, and the greens rejoice.
    Then she announces that it isn’t possible for wind and solar to keep the economy going, scares the sh*t our of the working class, small business, anyone who depends on a pay cheque.
    So… they’ll have to ramp up coal instead.

    What a finesse move! The greens just got caught in a pincer move. On one side of them stand the hordes of workers with families to feed screaming about their jobs. On the other side stands Merkel with a smirk on her face that says to the greens “you got what you wanted, no more nuclear. Coal fired plants are the price. you wanna change your minds? Pick one. Not picking one or the other isn’t an option. So STFU and pick one.”

    When the dust finally settles, the greens will be marginalized and my money is on the nukes, because once you have to choose…that’s the only sensible choice.

  60. Responding to the huge anti nuclear movement since the 80′s and to the Fukushima incident, Merkel has shut down eight plants shortly after the incident. The remaining seven plants will be shut down in 2022. (See comment Alex: July 13, 2011 at 3:35 pm)
    I think that there exists an agreement between Merkel and Sarkozy. While German is reducing nuclear generation production, the French authorities are expanding the Nuclear programme: Sarkozy will invest one billion euro in nuclear energy. France is already the largest exporter of electricity in the world and it will enlarge it in the future.
    Conclusion: The portion of nuclear power in Germany was and will be around 23%. The only difference is that it will not be produced in Germany but in France. In the meantime, coal and natural gas plants have to be built in Germany. A nice solution, isn’t it?

  61. German nuclear plants have been operated without problem for many years so an accident in a geologically active region causes Germany, in a geologically quiet region, nuclear fears. One sometimes wonders at the educational levels of politicians.

    Still reliance on coal can’t be all bad. It is reliable 24/7 and plentiful and plants need the CO2.

  62. It would seem that this Merkel women is as cunning as an out house rat. She seems to have snookered the greens and then given them a wedgie. Well done girl.

  63. The Germans, and the rest of the world, would benefit even more if they would throw at least some of that funding towards research and construction of walk-away-safe nuclear power technology, and maybe even to help refine Liquid-Fluoride Thorium Reactor technology.

  64. >>barnacle bill says: July 13, 2011 at 1:10 pm
    >>It’s something we should have done long ago, with the coal reserves we are
    >>sitting on, it’s a blindingly obvious route to take.

    Errr – tell us where you are, Barny….

    If you are UK based, than be advised that our coal is hugely fractured, geologically speaking, and thus very expensive and slow to remove.

    Selby pit, the great white hope of the UK coal industry at the time of Thatcher, was going to revolutionise the UK coal industry and usher in a new era of modernity. It closed a few years later, because the seams were too fractured.

    .

  65. So another nation will ignore Thorium power.

    Thus it will be India and China who will end up securing their energy future.While the west dithers around on what “environmentally” sound they can develop.

    Coal is abundant and easy to burn.But the environmental damage it causes is not excusable.

  66. Ralph:

    Your post at July 14, 2011 at 5:53 am displays a complete lack of knowledge of the destruction of UK coal industry that was for purely political reasons.

    You say:

    “If you are UK based, than be advised that our coal is hugely fractured, geologically speaking, and thus very expensive and slow to remove.

    Selby pit, the great white hope of the UK coal industry at the time of Thatcher, was going to revolutionise the UK coal industry and usher in a new era of modernity. It closed a few years later, because the seams were too fractured.”

    No! You are wrong on every point.

    The UK’s coal is not “hugely fractured” and if it were then this would assist its extraction except for cases where seams have slipped in deep mines.

    The deep mine industry was closed by political decision despite UK coal being the cheapest available at UK power stations. This has proven to have been an economic disaster because the UK was then self sufficient in energy but now imports more coal than China. The situation cannot be reversed because it would be uneconomic to sink new deep mines, but the UK would still be self-sufficient in coal if existing deep mines had not been closed.

    Open cast mines have extreme difficulty obtaining permission to operate in the UK. They are very economic, productive and competitive where they are allowed to operate.

    The Selby coal field was a complete success. It had a scheduled life because its operations could not extend such as to lower a water table or, for example, under York Minster. The Selby coal field completed its scheduled life and bettered all expectations.

    Closure of the UK coal industry was part of the political horror that Thatcher imposed on our country. She shut much of our productive base (i.e. more than 20% of UK economy) and deliberately made the UK dependent on ‘financial services’ instead. This had dire results when – as was certain to occur with sufficient time – there was a banking crisis long after she left office.

    And before you ask, yes, I was part of the management of the UK coal industry at the time of its deliberate destruction.

    Richard

  67. ferd berple says:
    July 13, 2011 at 7:28 pm
    Is it any wonder the EU is trying to get the UK to switch to windmills? France is using this to sell nuclear power into the EU, knowing full well that the UK will not be able to generate reliable power using the wind. It is a brilliant scheme the French are using to shaft their old enemies, the English once and truly. And the British government has fallen for it hook, line and sinker.

    It’s better than that Ferd, looka this:

    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/defects-found-in-nuclear-reactor-the-french-want-to-build-in-britain-808461.html

  68. >>Richard
    >>The UK’s coal is not “hugely fractured” and if it were then this would assist its
    >> extraction except for cases where seams have slipped in deep mines.

    You have never been down a coal mine, have you? Fractured coal and the fractured shale seams around it are an absolute nightmare. It encourages methane gas, it encourages water ingress, and it collapses drifts and shafts (no support). More importantly a long-wall miner (a cutting machine) cannot work in fractured seams – it cannot jump to the new seam level like a jack-in-a-box !!!

    .

    >>The deep mine industry was closed by political decision despite UK coal
    >>being the cheapest available at UK power stations.
    >>The Selby coal field was a complete success. It had a scheduled life
    >>because its operations could not extend such as to lower a water table or, for
    >>example, under York Minster.

    Absolute cods. What world are you living in Richard? This report is from the left-leaning Guardian, not a Thatcher rag…..

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/2002/jul/16/1

    Quote:
    “The (Selby) company has long complained that poor geology and the falling price of coal on world markets have meant that Selby is not viable”

    ie, Selby coal was more expensive than imported coal. And that is obvious, when you see Australians working in 4 meter coal seams, rather than the fractured 1 meter seams that Selby had to deal with. There was still loads of coal left in Selby, but it was simply uneconomic in world terms. Slapping import duties on imported coal would have helped, but that was a political decision that would have increased UK energy prices. And it was a Labour Government that decided not to do this, and to let Selby go to the wall.

    And dig under York Minster?? You don’t have a clue, do you? Every mine has to leave a pillar under an entire city, not just a cathedral, and this was known at the planning stage. Incidentally, the pillar under Doncaster is on fire, and has been for 40 or more years. More CO2 anyone? They had a long campaign of plastering it up, which I presume is ongoing, with the sealing of all the old shafts.

    .

    >>Open cast mines have extreme difficulty obtaining permission to operate
    >>in the UK. They are very economic, productive and competitive where they
    >>are allowed to operate.

    Are you surprised? We are a crowded nation, and every open-cast pit destroys dozens of properties. People don’t like that sort of thing. And I have to say that open casting is bloody noisy and dusty, and people in the area do not like that either. Yorkshire is not the Australian outback, you know. The Donny pit started work at 6am, and so you had to get up then, because sleeping was impossible.

    And the real reason it is not so viable here? At Doncaster they were open casting a seam 40cm thick. Yep, 40 cm of coal, for the removal of 20m of overdirt. In Western Australia, they were harvesting a 4m seam, with an overlay of 15m.

    .

    UK coal is only viable, if you treble UK energy costs. Now that may be a political decision worth taking, in terms of energy security, but please don’t try to tell us that UK coal is cheaper, or that using imported coal was simply a Thatcherite decision.

    .

  69. It makes perfect sense……now that we know pollution from burning coal stops global warming

  70. I recall when Koch Industries got out of coal. In fact the major oil companies were all in coal and it was so cheap for far too many years. Expensive energy is a hot market.

  71. Ralph:

    Your post at July 14, 2011 at 1:29 pm demonstrates you know nothing about the UK coal industry past or present.

    My knowledge of the subject on which you are completely wrong is based on my involvement as the Vice President of the British Association of Colliery Management. You say your assertions are based on a report in the Guardian Newspaper.

    The once-great UK coal industry is gone: it finally closed in 1995 so there are now only three remaining deep mines and a few ‘small mines’ (usually operated by a single individual). It cannot be retrieved so I have no ‘axe to grind’.

    I stand by everything I wrote in my post at July 14, 2011 at 11:30 am.

    Richard

  72. >>Richard
    >>My knowledge of the subject on which you are completely wrong is based
    >>on my involvement as the Vice President of the British Association of
    >>Colliery Management.

    No wonder the UK coal industry was destroyed, with management who think that fractured coal seams are GOOD !!!!! Jeezz, did they not teach you anything?

    Unlike you, my experience was gained on the coal face itself – crawling along coal seams only 70cm high between the blades of the jacks – and then discovering that the seam jumps another 3cm downwards, and so the whole process stops for a couple of days. And then you hit an old mineworking, and the entire face is flooded, and again we stop. And stop. And stop.

    That, my friend, was why most of the UK industry folded. Yes, it was a political descision, in that we could have maintained 2 million people just to cut coal, but in world terms it was completely uneconomic. Yes, it could have been done, but at what soaring energy cost? And what would that have done to the rest of industry? As it happens, much of our industry was killed of by Eastern workers at £5 a month, but tripling energy costs with UK coal would have simply accelerated that process.

    .

  73. I thought Thatcher destroyed the mining industry because she was evil… she even took the school kids’ milk away, the evil milk snatching dragon lady!

    Seriously though, didn’t she turn on fossil fuel industry because she wanted energy to flow freely? Coal miners were causing trouble with their strikes, and the middle east tends to be a politically iffy place to get energy AND stay clean and smell of roses at the end of the day.

  74. greeen sand:

    what is the cost of a CNC lathe?
    what is the cost of the operator per hour?
    what is the cost of tooling per hour?
    what is the cost of electricity assuming ~15 amps at 480 volts 60cyc.

    nuff said??

    C

  75. Ralph:

    Re: your comment at July 14, 2011 at 7:16 pm,

    Reality is what it is. You are entitled to your opinions but they do not change reality.

    UK coal was the cheapest available to UK power stations throughout the 1980s and 1990s. A major reason for this was that the power stations were built in the coal field areas so transport costs were low.

    The Selby Project was a complete success and ran its full course.

    I said;
    “The UK’s coal is not “hugely fractured” and if it were then this would assist its extraction except for cases where seams have slipped in deep mines.”
    You assert;
    “Unlike you, my experience was gained on the coal face itself – crawling along coal seams only 70cm high between the blades of the jacks – and then discovering that the seam jumps another 3cm downwards, and so the whole process stops for a couple of days …”
    So, according to you, the exception – which I stated – proves your point. Well, no. Not in the real world.

    I said the UK coal industry was closed for political (n.b. NOT economic reasons). I did not say what those political reasons were. But Wucash does (at July 14, 2011 at 7:25 pm ) and he is right when he says of Thatcher ,
    “Seriously though, didn’t she turn on fossil fuel industry because she wanted energy to flow freely? Coal miners were causing trouble with their strikes …”.

    Ted Heath’s Conservative government collapsed in 1974 in an election he called to decide, he said, “Who governs Britain?”. This was because the country was operating a 3-day-week with rationed power as a result of the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) being on strike for the second time in two years. The election result was indecisive but the Conservatives lost office. They then regrouped by
    (a) choosing a new Leader and their choice of Margaret Thatcher surprised everybody (including themselves)
    and
    (b) deciding how to “destroy the power of the unions” in particular the NUM.

    Nicholas Ridley suggested destroying the coal industry would remove the miners (and, thus, the power of the NUM) from existence. He said this would require stockpiling coal at power stations and ports both in the UK and elsewhere such that the power stations could continue to operate for 18 months if the coal industry stopped producing because the NUM’s response to closure of the industry would be to strike. When the Conservatives returned to power in 1979 they immediately started to implement the Ridley Plan. They were helped in this by the NUM having appointed an incompetent leader, Arthur Scargill.

    The Ridley Plan operated by defining each mine as an independent profit centre required to make a profit in each year. A mine that failed to be profitable in any one year was declared to be part of the “uneconomic tail” of the industry and was shut. This definition meant that each deep mine that was not part of the Selby Complex would close within a few years. The reason for this was as follows.

    A mine developed a panel of a coal seam for removal by building tunnels, installing equipment, etc.. It had all its costs whilst conducting this development but it produced no coal and, therefore, produced no profit (only cost). The panel was then extracted so the mine produced much coal and made a profit in this production phase. The complete development/production cycle made a profit. An Area of the National Coal Board (NCB) planned the operation of its mines (i.e. which were developing and which were producing) such that the Area made profit because most mines were not developing all at the same time.

    Declaring each mine an ‘independent profit centre’ meant that each mine would become part of the ‘uneconomic tail’ – and, therefore, be shut – when it reached a year of development. The only way a mine could avoid this would be immense investment in additional machinery such that it could operate and develop several panels simultaneously, but this investment would make the mine part of the ‘ueconomic tail’.

    The Selby Project consisted of several integrated mines so it operated as an NCB Area and, thus, was protected from each mine being able to be declared an ‘independent profit centre': in effect, the mines of the Selby Project were a single super-mine. However, the Selby Project had a scheduled life and would close – as it did – upon completion of that schedule.

    The NUM did strike when they began to see what was happening but there were insufficient stockpiles of coal for the Thatcher government to break that strike. So, Thatcher then gave the NUM everything it asked for.

    Two years later the stockpiles were in place and Thatcher triggered the NUM strike by deliberately – and blatantly – breaking an agreement with the NUM. This was at the start of the summer so coal usage would be low for months but the government could trigger the strike then because the incompetent Scargill had said he would call a strike if and when the agreement were broken.

    The strike lasted over a year and the Thatcher government was assisted in breaking the NUM by conducting a successful ‘divide and rule’ policy on the miners. The power of the NUM was broken and the UK coal industry was closed in accordance with the Ridley Plan.

    It is a political opinion (judgement?) as to whether closure of the industry was good or bad for the UK. But, as I explained, it is an economic fact that loss of the UK coal industry has caused severe and long-term economic damage to the UK.

    Sometimes working on the coal face can provide a limited view. If you want to know how and why a battle happened then ask a general. The guy on the front line feels the full might of the battle where he is, but he only sees the little of the battle which is where he is.

    Richard

  76. >>Richard

    You still have you political blinkers on, I see.

    As this report states, the whole problem with Selby was the fractured seams, which the managers would not work around because it would have made the coal more expensive. So while a normal mine would be open for generations of workers, Selby operated for just over 12 years and left most of the coal in the ground. It did so because of the geology, Richard – not something that you would know nothing about – and a desire to cream off the easy profits.

    http://www.minersadvice.co.uk/selby.htm

    Here is another ‘Thatcherite rag’ (ho, ho,) report on Selby.

    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/selby-mines-to-shut-with-loss-of-over-2000-jobs-648587.html

    Quotes:
    “Coal miners were told to expect jobs for life 20 years ago when
    they moved from Yorkshire’s worn-out old pits to Selby”

    Not just 12 years, Richard, but to expect jobs for life.

    “”But a host of geological faults, which were undetected during
    seismological surveys, have proved Selby’s undoing.””

    “”Coal seams that were anticipated to be 250 metres wide turned
    out to be just 65 metres wide, forcing the closure of two of the five
    mines in the last five years.””

    It was the geology, Richard, geology. Not something you would know about, I know, but hey, you were just a mine manager, so how were you expected to know about anything other than tea and biscuits and holiday entitlements?

    Like the British motorcycle industry, the coal industry was ruined by its incompetent managers. Lions led by donkeys, as ever…

    .

  77. Ralph:

    I gave you the facts. If there are “political blinkers” then they are yours and not mine.

    The Selby Project was a complete success and ran its full term. And the fact that some miners accepted propoganda that they wanted to believe does not change that.

    The history of the closure of the coal industry is as I described and for the reasons I stated. They ae not refutable and you do not dispute them.

    There is much more that students of political history will study;

    e.g.
    Joe Gormley hung on as NUM President to prevent the communist NUM Vice-President, Mick McGahey, becoming NUM President. Were it not for that then the “Walk ON The Beach” of Joe and Dereck Ezra would not have happened, so the Power Loading Agreement (PLA) would not have been accepted. And Joe’s acceptance of the PLA led directly to the young, fire-brand President of the Yorkshire NUM, Arthur Scargill, becoming President of the National NUM. A competent NUM President would not have assisted the Government to choose when it wanted to ‘fight’ the NUM.

    Who could have guessed that Joe’s action to prevent a communist becoming NUM President would result in the NUM gaining a President who was so incompetent that he assisted in the conduct of more damage to the livelihoods of those who elected him than even a communist could have?

    Richard

    PS I was not a “mine manager”. I was the Senior Material Scientist based at the NCB’s Coal Research Establishment. My peers – including geologists – repeatedly elected me as Vice President of the British Association of Colliery Management (BACM) despite my never having worked in a mine (except for emegency duties during NUM strikes). They would not have done that if I were ignorant of the industry and its circumstances. Of course I visited several mines and crawled several coal faces. Also, I was the only reprsentative of the industry’s management who was invited to address an NUM Lodge during the 1984 NUM strike, and a South Wales NUM Lodge gave me the honour – which I accepted – of helping to carry their banner during a demonstration against the pit closures: I know of no other representativeof the industry’s management who had a similar honour. So, I conclude that some others in the UK coal industry considered me to be knowledgeable concerning what was happening to the industry.

  78. >>Richard,
    >>I was the Senior Material Scientist based at the NCB’s Coal Research Establishment.

    Then how on earth can you suggest that fractured seams are advantageous to the coal industry? I have never heard such a crazy suggestion from someone in authority – it like the CAA asking for more near misses in LHR airspace.

    How on earth do you hold up a fractured roof structure? Most mines were already leaving 20cm of coal at the top of the seam to strengthen the roof (which was then wasted and buried), because the shale was so weak – and you want more fracturing and more weakness? I suppose it was your advice that allowed ‘advance’ mining, instead of ‘retreat’ mining, with all the dangers that entailed of yet further roof collapse. How many miners died, because of your advice?

    Your continual emphasis on the miner’s strike demonstrates that you are at heart a political animal, and not someone interested in safety or the economic viability of the coal industry. Thus you are obviously one of the keystones for the destruction of the UK coal industry. Selby was nothing to do with the strike – this was the great white hope of modernising the industry, it is where the government wanted to go to, not what it wanted to destroy.

    .

  79. Ralph:

    I am making this comment to cease the dialogue between us because I have become convinced that you are a troll.

    The subject of this thread is the expansion of German coal-fired electricity generation in the immediate future. It is NOT the deliberate destruction of the UK coal industry that was completed in 1995.

    And it is clear that you know nothing about which you post. I have presented the facts of the matter while you present selected quotations from newspaper reports and personal insults.

    Anybody can check that the facts I have presented are correct, so I have no need to continue to refute your blather which is disrupting this thread.

    I am now convinced that the disruption ofthis thread was – and is – your intention, and I refuse to continue my unintended assistance of it.

    Richard
    .

  80. >>Richard
    >>I am now convinced that the disruption ofthis thread was – and is – your
    >>intention, and I refuse to continue my unintended assistance of it.

    Wrong again.

    My posts were designed to counter the grossly erroneous claims that geology did not play a huge part in the contraction of the UK industry, and that fractured seams are in any way beneficial to the industry. The last point being a very worrying and dangerous claim, from mining management. It demonstrates their complete disconnection from the real world of the coal-face, and their total disregard for mine safety.

    And my posts come from personal experience, working in a pit, which you obviously did not. And the (left-wing) rags I quoted, were to refute your continual claims that this was all the fault of an ‘evil’ Margret Thatcher. Even the left-wing rags knew what was going on, whereas it would appear that mine management were still fighting the Communist battles of the 1970s. You should have emigrated to the USSR when you had the chance, and seen what it was like to work in your beloved Soviet coal mines.

    And all of this has a lot to do with this thread.

    We could indeed have kept the UK coal mines open, if we had subsidised the 2 million workforce with massive subsidies to dig the world’s most expensive coal from the world’s smallest seams. And that, it would appear, is what the Germans are now contemplating. If they are not careful, they will not only emit millions of tonnes more CO2, they may also end up with a very expensive energy sector, and ruin their manufacturing industry. And a country like Germany cannot afford to impose import duties, because they depend too much on exports.

    .

  81. CO2 is not a problem, nor is coal, burn all you want, just clean up the soot that can damage lungs.

    The following is taken from the site listed below it.

    There has historically been much more CO2 in our
    atmosphere than exists today. For example, during the
    Jurassic Period (200 mya), average CO2 concentrations
    were about 1800 ppm or about 4.7 times higher than
    today. The highest concentrations of CO2 during all of
    the Paleozoic Era occurred during the Cambrian Period,
    nearly 7000 ppm — about 18 times higher than today.

    The Carboniferous Period and the Ordovician Period
    were the only geological periods during the Paleozoic
    Era when global temperatures were as low as they are
    today. To the consternation of global warming
    proponents, the Late Ordovician Period was also an Ice
    Age while at the same time CO2 concentrations then
    were nearly 12 times higher than today– 4400 ppm.
    According to greenhouse theory, Earth should have been
    exceedingly hot. Instead, global temperatures were no
    warmer than today. Clearly, other factors besides
    atmospheric carbon influence earth temperatures and
    global warming.

    http://www.clearlight.com/~mhieb/WVFossils/Carboniferous_climate.html#anchor147264

  82. Ralph (troll):

    Address the issue of this thread or go away. Your nonsense is a waste of space.

    Richard

  83. >>Richard
    >>Address the issue of this thread or go away. Your nonsense is a waste of space.

    You started this, Richard, not me. And it is all ON THREAD.

    i. Barnacle Bill said the UK should do the same as the Germans.
    ii. I said that this was difficult because UK seams were too small and too fractured.
    iii. You said fractured seams were good for the industry. (!!!!!)
    iv. I said this suggestion is grotesquely cavalier, dangerous, and symptomatic of mining management who were totally out of touch and likely to have been the real cause of the demise of the coal industry in the UK. They were indulging in politics, instead of running an industry.

    And you still have not explained why you think that fractured seams are beneficial to the industry. So if we are talking of trolls, I think you are the greatest of all trolls, and in reality you have never been further north than Watford.

    .

  84. Jct: Knowing human carbon burning isn’t causing global warming since there’s global cooling over the past decade, I can only bet the plants are cheering more carbon dioxide they can convert into oxygen.

  85. Ralph (troll):

    I repeat, address the issue of this thread or go away. Your nonsense is a waste of space.

    Richard

  86. >>Richard
    >>I repeat, address the issue of this thread or go away.
    >>Your nonsense is a waste of space.

    No. The real issue, is that you refuse to answer the unfounded allegations you made. Answer why you think that fractured seams are beneficial to the coal industry. Answer why you think that the planned 160 coal faces at Selby were reduced to less than half that size (I’ll give you a clue, it was due to fracturing). Answer why more than half the coal at Selby was left in the ground.

    These are some of the many questions you need to answer, or apologise to the UK mining community; for that it would appear that your Socialist/Communist politicking and lack of knowledge of the industry were symptomatic of the entire mining management. Are we surprised that the industry collapsed in the way that it did?

    It reminds me of the wind-power industry. An entire energy sector supported by political patronage, rather than economic output. An entire industry based upon spin and mirrors, rather than the reality of the real world.

    .

  87. The sky is falling, the sky is falling, watch out people, the sky is faling, DUH ! I can’t believe in this day and age, people are so stupid, and cannot use the brains God gave them to THINK and RESOLVE issues confronting us today.
    Coal is being blamed for much of our Co2 crisis today, BUT, who says we even have a crisis ?
    From where I sit, it would seem to me, a concertrated effort is being made by power groups to take us all back to the dark ages and capitalise on Wall street with the alleged carbon trading.
    What I would like all coal haters to consider, IF they even still have some sort of individuality, is this;
    In the middle East and Turkey even, which is considered these days part of Europe, people have been smoking tabacoe thru water filters for thousands of years, the water it’self, filters the poisons and crap out of the smoke, now I wonder, why such a system could not be implemented for coal power stations.
    Admitedly, the result would be carbon sludge, but this could easily be pumped back into the coal workings, much like the residue from gold mining is done today.
    Of course the power companies will need to finance the reasearch and development of such systems, but I don’t believe for a second, our brains and technology can’t do this successfully.
    I also realise, there’ll be less incentive on Wall street to trade on carboncredits, but then, who cares, we’re led to believe, that’s NOT what it’s all about.

  88. It is a bit of juggling game this process of extracting thermal and metallurgical coal from underground mines to ensure enough electricity and steel capacity worldwide while making sure the impact on the environment and people is minimal. Angie http://www.coalportal.com

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