Germany’s new “renewable” energy policy

Wind and solar power + soaring electricity prices = outsourced jobs + more coal burning

Meanwhile, eco activists demand “sustainable lifestyles” – for other people

Guest post by Kelvin Kemm

It is amazing how biased the international media is when it comes to reporting on energy generation, specifically electricity.

In mid-August, Germany opened a new 2200MW coal-fired power station near Cologne, and virtually not a word has been said about it. This dearth of reporting is even more surprising when one considers that Germany has said building new coal plants is necessary because electricity produced by wind and solar has turned out to be unaffordably expensive and unreliable.

In a deteriorating economic situation, Germany’s new environment minister, Peter Altmaier, who is as politically close to Chancellor Angela Merkel as it gets, has underlined time and again the importance of not further harming Europe’s – and Germany’s – economy by increasing the cost of electricity.

He is also worried that his country could become dependent on foreign imports of electricity, the mainstay of its industrial sector. To avoid that risk, Altmaier has given the green light to build twenty-three new coal-fired plants, which are currently under construction.

Yes, you read that correctly, twenty three-new coal-fired power plants are under construction in Germany, because Germany is worried about the increasing cost of electricity, and because they can’t afford to be in the strategic position of importing too much electricity.

Just recently, German figures were released on the actual productivity of the country’s wind power over the last ten years. The figure is 16.3 percent!

Due to the inherent intermittent nature of wind, their wind power system was designed for an assumed 30% load factor in the first place. That means that they hoped to get a mere 30% of the installed capacity – versus some 85-90% for coal, natural gas, nuclear and hydroelectric facilities. That means that, when they build 3,000MW of wind power, they expect to actually get merely 900MW, because the wind does not always blow at the required speeds. But in reality, after ten years, they have discovered that they are actually getting only half of what they had optimistically, and irrationally, hoped for: a measly 16.3 percent.

Even worse, after spending billions of Euros on subsidies, Germany’s total combined solar facilities have contributed a miserly, imperceptible 0.084% of Germany’s electricity over the last 22 years. That is not even one-tenth of one percent.

Moreover, the actual cost of Germany’s wind and solar electricity is far and away higher than its cost of coal and nuclear power. So much for “free” solar and wind. So much for all the German jobs that depend on reliable access to plentiful and affordable electricity.

As to natural gas produced via hydraulic fracturing, that too is prohibited, even if it is required to back up undependable wind and solar facilities. No wonder Germany’s natural gas and electricity prices are practically unaffordable.

Meantime the extreme greens continue to preach about the wonders of life based on solar and wind power. They also talk constantly about “sustainable living,” a “sustainable future,” and an otherwise hydrocarbon-free and “decarbonized” tomorrow. Be warned! What these vacuous exhortations mean is that people must not enjoy the lifestyles and living standards of a modern world.

They mean the First World must cut back significantly on its living standards, and the developing world must give up its aspirations for achieving the lifestyle of the First World.

Believe me, African small-scale farmers all dream of becoming like the large commercial-scale farmers they see next door. They do not wish to plough their fields with oxen, when their neighbours have tractors and automated grain handling machines. The same is true of small-scale commercial and industrial operations in which an affordable and reliable supply of electricity is essential. It is likewise true of virtually every office, shop, hospital, school and family on the entire African continent.

Meanwhile, in South Africa, an organisation calling itself “Green Truth” has distributed a notice about a newly released movie titled simply “Fuel.” Here is part of the promotional notice:

“FUEL is a comprehensive and entertaining look at energy: A history of where we have been, our present predicament, and a solution to our dependence on foreign oil. Rousing and reactionary, FUEL is an amazing, in-depth, personal journey by eco-evangelist Josh Tickell, of oil use and abuse, as it examines wide-ranging energy solutions other than oil; the faltering US auto and petroleum industries; and the latest stirrings toward alternative energy.

“The film includes interviews with a wide range of policy makers, educators and activists such as Woody Harrelson, Neil Young and Willie Nelson. Tickell knew he just couldn’t idly stand by any longer. He decided to make a film, focusing on the knowledge and insight he discovered, but also giving hope that solutions are at reach. A ‘regular guy’ who felt he could make a difference, he spent 11 years making this movie, showing himself – and others – that an individual can indeed make a difference. Stirring, radical and multi-award winning energy documentary! FUEL features experts and eco-celebrities such as: Sheryl Crow, Larry David, Richard Branson and Robert Kennedy, Jr.”

The notice frequently emphasizes “sustainable living” and “a hopeful future.” And the singers, actors, activists and other energy “experts” featured in the film are all extremely wealthy, and not at all likely to adopt the “sustainable” lifestyle that they and Tickell advocate so passionately.

Does this film have anything to do with “truth” about energy? Or is it simply a propaganda film for the producers’ and activists’ version of “sustainable lives,” for others, though not for themselves? It takes but a fleeting moment to realize that it is just like Al Gore’s “An Inconvenient Truth” – leagues removed from truth, and laden with scientific errors, personal biases, and the hypocrisies of affluent partisans who own big houses and fly private jets to events where they tell other people how to live “more sustainably.”

I’m sure “eco-evangelist” Josh Tickell is just “a regular guy,” just as his movie promo says he is. But I would much rather have my country’s electricity future planned by electrical engineers and scientists, and by citizens and politicians who actually live here – rather than by a “regular guy” environmental activist and his self-proclaimed “experts” on energy and “sustainable” lifestyles.

As formerly eco-evangelist Germany has demonstrated, countries cannot afford to have national energy policy moulded by movies like “Fuel” and “An Inconvenient Truth.” Their policies – and their future – need to be based on genuine truth and honest reality.

____________

Dr Kelvin Kemm is a nuclear physicist and business strategy consultant based in Pretoria, South Africa. A member of the International Board of Advisors of the Washington, DC-based Committee For A Constructive Tomorrow (www.CFACT.org), Dr Kemm has been awarded the prestigious Lifetime Achievers Award of the National Science and Technology Forum of South Africa.

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136 thoughts on “Germany’s new “renewable” energy policy

  1. The silly thing is that this was obvious 10 years ago. Until we learn how to store gigawatt/weeks of energy for our electric supplies, wind and solar will never be economically viable. The only viable renewable energy source at the moment is cellulose ethanol; there the energy as produced is stored..

  2. And that is not only for Germany. A lot more countries in Europe are on the wind power bandwagon… sadly enough.
    Maybe cold hard figures will finally wake them up.

  3. When I see the names of the “experts” from that film review I am reminded of the credit card commercial where Alex Baldwin tells the pilot of the plane “it’s ok, I’ve played a pilot on tv.”

    Ask people if they would board a plane whose pilot was an actor and though not a certified pilot, had played the role in film or tv and you’d have a lot of empty seats. But let someone famous tell them about energy, climate, finance, or any other technical field and a surprising number will believe.

  4. So the Germans have turned off nice, clean, reliable nuclear energy and switching to coal, which has to be mostly imported, or even worse burn low grade, domestically produced, brown lignite..

    At least they have the common sense to see that the use of renewable energy on a large scale makes no sense in a modern economy. As the effective ruler of the Eurozone, they can ignore all the targets set by the bureaucrats in Brussels – see below:

    “The EU aims to get 20% of its energy from renewable sources by 2020. Renewables include wind, solar, hydro-electric and tidal power as well as geothermal energy and biomass. More renewable energy will enable the EU to cut greenhouse emissions and make it less dependent on imported energy. And boosting the renewables industry will encourage technological innovation and employment in Europe.”

  5. If only these truths could be conveniently disseminated to the general public in the developed world…

  6. Germany’s wind and solar many not have actual produce much power , but you can bet someone done very nicely out of farming the fat subsides .

  7. “As formerly eco-evangelist Germany”
    Unfortunantely it still is. The need for coal-plants just arose because of the is only one thing Germans fear more than climate change and gene technology: nuclear power.
    After fukushima politicians across the board (and after recommendations of an “ethics commission”, consisting of 17 member of which most were of non-technical background, like priests. politicians, sociologists and philosophers (sic!)) decided to accelerate the shut-down of all nuclear-plants.

    Long story short: The situation over here is even more [snip . . you know the rules . . . kbmod] up than that text conveys. And it gets worse by the day.

  8. coeruleus says:
    August 28, 2012 at 9:33 am
    “Nope. No alarmism here. Carry on, mates!”

    I’m German and I’m paying 23.5 Eurocent a kWh. Prices are expected to rise to 25 cent next year. Guess we’ll be finally overtaking the Danes and have the most expensive electricity in the world.

    Come to Germany, you’re invited, pay German taxes and German energy prices and see how you like it.

  9. On the bright side, does this mean that the Germans need only build 1/2 of the fossil backup power generation for wind energy that they had planned on? But then there is still the max and min issue.

  10. ” Just recently, German figures were released on the actual productivity of the country’s wind power over the last ten years. The figure is 16.3 percent! ”

    Any chance of details of the source for this please?

  11. Peter Miller says:
    August 28, 2012 at 9:21 am

    “At least they have the common sense to see that the use of renewable energy on a large scale makes no sense in a modern economy. As the effective ruler of the Eurozone, they can ignore all the targets set by the bureaucrats in Brussels – see below:

    “The EU aims to get 20% of its energy from renewable sources by 2020. “”

    Basically Germany designed the Kyoto treaty.

    http://www.weeklystandard.com/articles/secret-history-climate-alarmism?page=1

    So we set the parameters of that treaty so that we don’t have to do a thing besides wrecking the obsolete industries of the DDR – in 1990 , which was the reference point, they still emitted loads of CO2.

    Even with the new added coal plants we probably still fulfill our Kyoto targets. We had so much leeway that we even gave carbon credits to France for free.

  12. PLEASE….. Someone send this [article] to ALL the mad British politicians who want to cover the UK with windmills

  13. The following is completely biased reporting.

    Germany’s total combined solar facilities have contributed a miserly, imperceptible 0.084% of Germany’s electricity over the last 22 years. That is not even one-tenth of one percent.

    Most of Germany’s solar capacity came online over the last few years. You need to report the percent contributed by solar over the last 2 or 3 years. Shame on you. Such misrepresentation dishonors WUWT.

  14. Kelvin Kemm notes

    on wind power: But in reality, after ten years, they have discovered that they are actually getting only half of what they had optimistically, and irrationally, hoped for: a measly 16.3 percent.

    on solar: a miserly, imperceptible 0.084% of Germany’s electricity over the last 22 years.

    10 years, 22 years – those are weird measurement periods. Even if Germany got 100% of its power from solar this year, then next year they would have gotten less than 5% of its power from solar over the previous 23 years. Well, not accounting for increased energy use overall.

    I’d be lot more interested in present times until the subsidy decline can’t be ignored. Then I’d want to see a graph over time of the growth and contraction of even the most miserly and imperceptible newish energy source.

  15. I agree with Lance Wallace.
    Links please.
    If I send this to my green friends, thats what they will ask.
    So please give us some references to the 16,3% and the 23 coal plants, that will make this post very lethal. Thanks in advance!!!!

  16. DirkH says: [...]
    Come to Germany, you’re invited, pay German taxes and German energy prices and see how you like it.

    ——————————-

    I’m also German, living in the US. Germans have historically paid higher prices for natural resources. At this point in history the Russians kind of have you by the balls. OTOH, usage is far more efficient, so paying more hurts a little less than if we were to pay that amount here. I’m not saying that’s necessarily good, but it is what it is and you will need to run things a bit tighter over there than in the US for the foreseeable future.

    You also pay higher taxes. But that’s not all about energy production and use; some of the revenue generated goes to some pretty crazy stuff like Kindergeld. And a VAT approaching 20%? Are you kidding me? You really want to complain about marginally higher energy prices before coming to terms with the fact that that’s way too high?

    My point was that posts like the one we’re both commenting on tend to sound rather, eh-hem, “alarmist”. What with the German and European economies about to collapse because of wind power. Really? German banks making bad loans to Greece is meaningless compared to a bit of tinkering around in the North Sea? I’m “skeptical” as one would say around here. Especially since whenever I travel back to Germany to visit relatives, it’s plainly obvious that people generally enjoy a much higher standard of living than we do here in the US, and that isn’t going to change anytime soon. People just complain about things more than we do here.

  17. What hypocrisy. The Germans invented feed in tariffs to create an industry for themselves and forced the rest of Europe to follow with all the consequent problems of destruction of the countryside, inflated prices and an unmanageable grid. Now, since the Chinese have taken over with solar, and will soon do the same with wind, they find that it is hurting their own industry more than it is gaining them new business. So it is now OK to burn the most “polluting” fuel of them all. But look at the mess they have left in the rest of Europe and beyond. And what would have been their attitude to us in the UK if we had shown them two fingers to their policies?

  18. This post is a highly skewed hit piece. For example:

    “Germany’s total combined solar facilities have contributed a miserly, imperceptible 0.084% of Germany’s electricity over the last 22 years.”

    Why not go back 100 years and see how low you can get it?

    According to this:

    http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/05/26/us-climate-germany-solar-idUSBRE84P0FI20120526

    Germany nearly reached 50% of its electrical needs with solar power on a recent sunny afternoon, and overall has achieved 4% from solar and around 20% from renewables. The fact is that Germany is planning for its future, things are going as planned, and they do not really care what you think.

  19. Paul rightly commented that the solar capacity quoted did not reflect the installations of recent years.

    This Reuters report seems reasonably balanced

    http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/02/23/us-germany-solar-incentives-idUSTRE81M1EG20120223

    The German govt is cutting subsidies and slowing down installations due to the cost to the end user of electricity.

    An intent problem of solar of course is lack of sun/bright day light in many countries coupled with that inconvenient down time called ‘night’

    It may have a place in the tropics but probably not in an industrialised northern country with limited sun hours
    Tonyb

  20. While German energy giant RWE is building coal-fired power stations in Germany, in the UK RWE is grabbing the huge subsidies to build wind farms (to save the planet of course). Hypocritical money-grubbers, all of them. The UK Government still has no clue that we are being ripped off by the rest of the EU.

  21. Hmm. According to wiki solar PV covered 3% of total German electricity consumption in 2011.

    It notes a report that says “using photovoltaics in emission reduction is 53 times more expensive than the European Union Emission Trading Scheme’s market price, while wind power is 4 times more expensive, thereby discouraging other industries from finding more cost-effective methods of reducing emissions”.

    So 3% at 53 times standard cost means they could have multiplied their electricity generation by 159% using standard means, for the same money.

    Surely some mistake on my part? If not, certainly on their part!

  22. Recently I talked to someone who was in the business of building windfarms at sea. He was convinced that the costs and maintanance of these windmills, the costs of the cables to the mainland and the effective output of these things could never, NEVER, lead to an economic viable price of electricity.

    They earned good money but were sure the game would soon be over. I allow everybody to make a good living, but this wasting of resources and (taxpayer) money is indeed beyond any reason (economically and environmentally) and I hope it stops asap. Pity for him, but he will find a new job for sure. Probably in the oil, coal or shalegas business! :)

    Germany will lead the EU out of this misery, I hope…
    At least they do think and calculate sometimes.
    And it also helps that they are running out of OPM.
    Maybe Greece and Spain are a blessing in disguise?

  23. “Argonne National Laboratory, under the stewardship of the Department of Energy, just released a study that found wind energy does not reduce carbon dioxide emissions from electricity generation as much as expected due to the need to ramp up fossil fuel plants when the wind is not blowing. It takes more energy and thus more carbon dioxide emissions to ramp a coal plant up and down than if the same coal plant is operated at a continuous, efficient base-load level.”

    I think the following conclusion would also apply to PV:

    “Wind capacity does not displace actual fossil fuel plants—it displaces the generation from the back-up plants when the wind is blowing.”

    http://www.instituteforenergyresearch.org/2012/06/08/argonne-lab-study/

  24. I’d also like to see references for some of these “facts”. According to the BDEW (and they should know) there were 17 plans in place for coal-fired plant new builds or upgrades/refits of existing sites as of May this year. That’s quite a lot, but I’d be very surprised indeed if that has suddenly turned into 23 plants under construction.

    As for the new 2200 MW unit near Cologne, RWE’s Grevenbroich-Neurath project was actually an upgrade of an existing plant, replacing old and inefficient equipment with two highly efficient units with 43% efficiency (that’s a heat rate of 7,935 btu/kWh for Americans). The new units will save around 6 million tonnes of CO2 emissions annually compared with the older units they replaced. They are also much more flexible than older coal-fired plant, having the ability to increase or decrease output by around 500 MW in 15 minutes.

  25. Paul says:
    August 28, 2012 at 10:13 am
    The following is completely biased reporting.

    Germany’s total combined solar facilities have contributed a miserly, imperceptible 0.084% of Germany’s electricity over the last 22 years. That is not even one-tenth of one percent.

    Most of Germany’s solar capacity came online over the last few years. You need to report the percent contributed by solar over the last 2 or 3 years. Shame on you. Such misrepresentation dishonors WUWT.
    ===================================================================
    So solar contributed so much they have to build new coal plants?
    Such misrepresentaion ….

  26. Electricity is expensive enough over here in Germany – I know, because I have to foot the substantial bill each month for my family of four.

    Over the past two years, our energy-bill grew 30 percent while consumption remained virtually unchanged.

    German power stations use to burn Lignite, which we have in abundance. The known reserves are said to last at least 400 years.

    We would be nuts not to use this cheap, domestic source of enery – albeit it comes at a price other than money: The open pits where Lignite is mined are HUGE. But once the Lignite is gone, they make for great, recreational lakes.

  27. Matt Skaggs says:
    August 28, 2012 at 10:49 am
    This post is a highly skewed hit piece. For example:

    “Germany’s total combined solar facilities have contributed a miserly, imperceptible 0.084% of Germany’s electricity over the last 22 years.”

    Why not go back 100 years and see how low you can get it?

    According to this:

    http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/05/26/us-climate-germany-solar-idUSBRE84P0FI20120526

    Germany nearly reached 50% of its electrical needs with solar power on a recent sunny afternoon, and overall has achieved 4% from solar and around 20% from renewables. The fact is that Germany is planning for its future, things are going as planned, and they do not really care what you think.

    =========================================================================
    So if they can just figure out how to blast those pesky clouds out of the sky, they’d only have to build half as many coal plants.
    (Of course, the resulting drought might be troublesome. Maybe they can import rice and tea from China?)

  28. At least in Germany they are partially realizing their stupidity and building coal-fired power stations.

    Here in Britain we still have a huge number of windfarms in the pipeline. Could I ask for help on one such scheme? An offshore wind-farm of capacity 1,000 to 1,390MW is about to receive final consent in the Bristol Channel. This will blight the beauty of both the North Devon and South Wales coastline will turbines 590ft or 722ft high.
    Objections need to be in by 5pm GMT 31st August (around 9am in California)

    http://manicbeancounter.com/2012/08/12/stop-the-blighting-of-lundy-north-devon-by-rwes-atlantic-array/

    http://www.slaythearray.com/

  29. sunshinehours1 says:
    August 28, 2012 at 10:46 am

    What a grotesque waste of money in a country that barely gets any sunshine in the winter.
    —————————————————————————————————————–
    You know, we german guys happen to be so extremely cool that we use to cuddle up to a block of ice to stay warm.

    Because it’s not the energy-content of the ice per se, but the Delta T which makes all the difference…

    /sarc

  30. Okay so this is another WUWT energy post with hits and misses. Thoughts: 1) Yes, the solar contribution figure is low and out of date and it was mostly rooftop centered FITs so do they really know what they have, 2) Yes, the Germans were a little crazy going overboard on wind while renouncing nuclear and solar FIT and the PV industry at the same time!, 3) The coal plant investments are part of this whipsaw policy picture to stabilize a low cost component as secure base load capacity in addition to the renewables. , 4) The lowest cost solar producer is pulling out due to high production costs in Germany like a lot of other firms have discovered there over time. This is not the end of the story but an end to artificial markets and production. Meanwhile the lowest cost producers will move on to market-based costs and pricing after having benefited from German subsidy schemes for the proof of concept period and scale up. If these comments seems off base to you, then you are still looking at solar averages or still looking at start-up firms like DOE Secr. Chu and other fools with a disdain for due diligence work.

  31. Visiting the inlaws in Northern Germany. Work on a neighbouring new build has come to a halt due to constant rain. The roof is ready for the solar panels but the weather just won’t cooperate. Don’t know wether to laugh or cry.

  32. What I would really like to know is who have been the recipients of all the lucre generated by this huge world wide hoax. We know Gore Pocketed ~$18 Million from Now-Defunct Chicago Climate Exchange

    …Richard Sandor, founded the exchange with a foundation gift of $1.1 million, and pocketed $98.5 million…
    NOTE: …Barack Obama was on the Joyce Foundation Board when it provided the funding to establish the CCX. Maurice Strong, founding head of the United Nations Environmental Program (UNEP), precursor to the IPCC, was a CCX board member.

    I wonder what Barak Obama and Maurice Strong’s take was?

    The US government has spent over $79 billion on CAGW between 1989 and 2009. Carbon trading worldwide reached $126 billion in 2008, and 30 billion dollars was spent on pure scientific research. Climate Scientists are among the most highly paid professionals/university professors in the USA today. not to mention this WUWT article Carbon trading fraud in Belgium – “up to 90% of the whole market volume was caused by fraudulent activities” ( Russian mafia and IRA were linked to swindles,)

    According to Climate Money by Joanne Nova

    President Bush signed on October 3 last year included the Energy Improvement and Extension Act of 2008 which contained about $17 billion in tax incentives for clean energy services.

    Then in February 2009, the $787 billion American Recovery and Reinvestment Act was signed into law, containing some $110 billion in clean energy investments in the bill. Many of these “investments” defy easy categorization…. But expenses like the $3.4 billion for carbon sequestration have no other purpose or use. They depend 100% on the assumption that carbon dioxide is a dangerous pollutant…

    According to the World Bank, turnover of carbon trading doubled from $63 billion in 2007 to $126 billion in 2008…. The potential involved in an entirely new fiat currency has banks and financial institutions “wholly in bed” with a scientific theory.

    Commissioner Bart Chilton, head of the energy and environmental markets advisory committee of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), has predicted that within five years a carbon market would dwarf any of the markets his agency currently regulates:…

    He predicted trades eventually will total $10 trillion a year.” In other words, carbon trading will be bigger than oil, and even the promise of a market that massive and lucrative represents a major vested interest.
    As Bart Chilton says:
    “This issue is too important to our economy and to our world…

  33. “[Josh Tickell] A ‘regular guy’ who felt he could make a difference”

    Hardly. At least not according to the stomach-turning hagiography at Wikipedia (You’ll get RSI, Josh). The description of his high-flying, no doubt lucrative, eco-career makes creating the universe in a week sound like slacking.:

    “Josh Tickell is a thought leader at the intersection of new energy, new technology, new fuel and new urbanism. He serves as a worldwide strategist for Fortune 500 Companies, billionaires, and industrialists.
    (…)
    His specialty is showing industries, groups, and companies how to save money and how to take advantage of new emerging technologies to create wealth and profits.

    Tickell consults on issues ranging from new technology product launches, to consumer attitudes, legislative strategies, operations-wide waste to energy and new technology installations for companies such as Green Mountain Energy Resources, Clif Bar, Yum Brands, Audi, General Motors and William Morris Endeavor.
    Tickell has been a featured guest on Jay Leno’s The Tonight Show and Good Morning America. He is a regularly featured opinion leader in news stories on CNN, Discovery, Reuters, NBC, Fox and NPR. Articles on Tickell, his films, and his work have appeared in the Los Angeles Times, New York Times, USA Today, The Huffington Post, Maxim Magazine, Popular Mechanics and thousands of international newspapers and magazines.
    (…)
    Tickell continues to speak publicly to promote and educate on the subject of biodiesel. He has consulted for companies and organizations such as National Biodiesel Board, Arizona State House of Representatives, Solar Energy International, Quicksilver and Clif Bar. Tickell has spoken at numerous colleges and universities including MIT, Ohio University, Bard College, Vassar College, Harper College, Colorado College and Rider University and has presented in countries including Cuba, Argentina, Burma, and Australia.”

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Josh_Tickell

    We are truly not worthy to occupy the same planet.

  34. August 28, 2012 at 11:31 am
    ….This is not the end of the story but an end to artificial markets and production.
    =================================================================
    Key point. All this Green Stamp of Approval energy stuff is artificial demand. NOBODY REALY NEEDS IT! The desire for it has only been planted in the public’s mind by those who profit from it, be that profit in money or power.
    (Sorry for the “shout”. I would have just put it in bold but I don’t know how with my system. It’s a dinosaur.)

  35. Kelvin Vaughan says:
    August 28, 2012 at 11:14 am

    That article is a bunch of marketing crap. I moved back here to Germany in 1998, and
    my electricity bills have climbed ever since (even though our consumption has dropped…).

    We currently pay 26 Euro-cent per KwH, and the BW greens are bound and determined
    to make that even higher. Add to that the bird-choppers on order, and we have an
    unstable net to look forward to as well….

    Last time I checked, we hadn’t had a tsunami in Germany in recorded history (a lot
    longer than IPCCs 30-year recorded history :) or :( ), and though a couple of
    nuclear plants (Phillipsburg (sp?)) should be shut down because of age, the others
    are OK. Kind of ironic that Germany is giving carbon “credits” to the French when
    they have mostly nuclear power….who’s winning here? Certainly not the consumer…

    Would love to dig deep and strike oil or gold….my luck I’d just strike a sewer line….

  36. One of the most interesting reads on Coal I’ve had in a while…

    http://www.peakprosperity.com/blog/78984/coal-ignored-juggernaut

    Richard Bell says: August 28, 2012 at 10:07 am

    PLEASE….. Someone send this [article] to ALL the mad British politicians who want to cover the UK with windmills

    Richard, as we have seen in recent weeks, it is little wonder that our ‘representatives’ are still pushing the CC/renewable/sustainability agenda. Controlling the committees that direct taxpayer loot is a very profitable enterprise for your typical “sustainability” parasite..

    (a James Delingpole piece that has links to the many and various stories)

    http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/jamesdelingpole/100177587/tory-sleaze-is-worse-than-ever-

    yeo-and-deben-must-go/

    I particularly like the (UK Lord Provost of AGW) Yeo/Boris (London Mayor) scam of forcing London taxi drivers to upgrade to ‘eco-taxis’ supplied …. shockingly by Yeo’s own company…

    http://order-order.com/2012/08/17/taxi-for-tim-yeo-green-torys-dodgy-wheeler-deal/

    Talking parasitic class – you have to admire our new CCC head (Sir Deben BSE (Gummer)) who, for some reason, wants the largest wind farm on Earth …. to be built by his own company. Shocked I am that he has manoeuvred himself (job interview by Yeo BTW) into a position where he gets to decide that it will be built and how much the taxpayer will cough up.

    I’m torn between bankers and politicians and ‘scientists’ as to which leeching parasites we should execute first.

  37. artwest says:
    August 28, 2012 at 11:57 am

    “[Josh Tickell] A ‘regular guy’ who felt he could make a difference”
    __________________________
    Sounds like a well paid PR type.

  38. Gunga Din says:
    August 28, 2012 at 12:01 pm
    (Sorry for the “shout”. I would have just put it in bold but I don’t know how with my system. It’s a dinosaur.)

    Gunga, start with openning WUWT test pages and read through it should help:

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/test-2/

  39. Historians of the future will ask why did the EU fail so completely to live up to the promises of its designers and architects and political class? The EU has squandered and wasted countless billions on the CAGW/renewables fraud, the EU teeters on the brink of economic ruination brought about by an insane fixation with CO2, a completely harmless trace gas and plant food. But why did the leaders of Europe do it? Whatever their reasoning they have contrived to destroy the very industrial fabric of Europe, made emotionally driven political choices in place of pragmatic economic ones, somehow fooled themselves into believing the unbelievable that wishing for a utopian ideal would make it come true. They wished upon a star and were surprised those wishes failed to come true, they persuaded themselves that they could ice skate uphill and that the concrete laws of economics could be bent to their will.

    Europe is failing because the political class of Europe failed to understand that without wealth creation there can be no wealth consumption, failed to understand the basics of industrial wealth creation, were influenced by a failed extremist anti capitalist ideology. In fact the EU has worked hard to hamper and cripple the industrial sectors we need by way of red tape and regulation and needlessly increased costs, what on earth did they think would happen? Did they actually think that by strangling industrial development and growth Europe would somehow become richer? As industry after industry closed or relocated did they not stop to think their anti capitalist wealth creator policies were working to impoverish Europe? If they believed that in order to encourage growth in the developing world they must destroy the industrial base of the developed world they are surely suffering from some kind of collective mental impairment. If they believed that the West could consume wealth without creating it they are only now finding out to their cost that Marxist economics is a dead end failure.

    The cost of their mistaken faith in a flawed political ideology will of course be born by the majority of ordinary people, we in Europe will have to live with the consequences whether we like it or not, our children will inherit a wasteland gifted to them by fools who believed that wishes come true, that they were not bound by the laws of economics and that they could somehow buck the system and create a political fantasy. Common sense and the laws of economic dictate that if you increase the cost of goods and services by way of regulation and red tape restrictions and raise taxes the money has to found somewhere and there are going to be negative economic consequences. We are seeing the negative consequences yet our leaders are seemingly blind to them, the warning signals go unheeded. The EU was built on political idealism and fuelled by naive emotionalism instead of hard headed common sense and pragmatism, the EU could and should have been the industrial power house leading the world to a better tomorrow instead it has become a declining failure and increasingly irrelevant, another failure of the utopianist dream.

  40. “whenever I travel back to Germany to visit relatives, it’s plainly obvious that people generally enjoy a much higher standard of living than we do here in the US, and that isn’t going to change anytime soon.”

    Bold words!

  41. Lars P. says:
    August 28, 2012 at 12:53 pm
    Gunga Din says:
    August 28, 2012 at 12:01 pm
    (Sorry for the “shout”. I would have just put it in bold but I don’t know how with my system. It’s a dinosaur.)

    Gunga, start with openning WUWT test pages and read through it should help:

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/test-2/

    (Let’s see if this works.) Thanks, Lars!

  42. Wind and solar are the work of the devil. If God didn’t want us to burn fossil fuels, he wouldn’t have created them and given us the means.

  43. Yes, Germany will need more coal.

    ” GREVENBROICH-NEURATH, Germany–German Environment Minister Peter Altmaier said Wednesday the country will need to build more coal- and gas-fired power plants in coming years to ensure energy supplies, even as Germany is pursuing one of the world’s most ambitious climate protection strategies.
    Speaking at the opening ceremony of a new lignite-fired power plant that utility RWE AG (RWE.XE) built west of Cologne, Altmaier said that Germany will require conventional fossil-fueled power plants for “decades to come” to complement unreliable and intermittent renewable energies such as wind and solar power. ”

    http://www.4-traders.com/RWE-AG-436529/news/RWE-AG-Environment-Minister-Germany-Needs-More-Coal-Gas-Power-Plants-14461100/

    ” Germany Hits Brakes on Race to Renewable Energy Future ”

    http://www.spiegel.de/international/germany/germany-addresses-problems-with-renewable-energy-subsidy-system-a-852549.html

  44. @ Sun Spot who says:
    August 28, 2012 at 10:44 am
    @ Lance Wallace says: August 28, 2012 at 9:41 am
    and
    @ LizC says: August 28, 2012 at 9:53 am
    Are you two internet illiterate?? Try google.com you dum@%%#$(). How about doing your own home work !

    http://fossilfuel.energy-business-review.com/news/rwe-commissions-2200mw-coal-fired-plant-in-germany-170812

    Hahahaha! Calling people “dum@%%#$()” for asking for references to be included in an article. And then, to show how stupid they really are, he gives a link to an article about ONE newly built power station….
    Who is the dumba$$ here? Dumba$$…..

    Funny quote from that article about a coal fired power plant though:
    “Germany Federal Environment Minister Peter Altmaier said, “The new power plant is an impressive example of how the high levels of efficiency of modern coal- and gas-fired power plants not only help to reduce carbon emissions but can also make an outstanding contribution to the success of energy industry transformation.

  45. Germany is switching from Nuclear to Lignite. Huge open mines are needed to mine the very inefficient Lignite, which upon burning, releases much more ash and dust than coal or LNG. Asthma will be thriving as a consequence. Is that the price Germany wants to pay for a broken energy policy?
    I always had a much more sane image of Germans and their technology

  46. The good Chancellor was in Canada last week telling the Canadian government that (i) she wants our money to bail out Europe and (ii) the oil sands are bad. Of course the Canadian media could have had some fun with the irony of lecturing us on the plant food emissions from our energy sector while powering up her coal plants but nah. That would have only confused us.

  47. Regarding the 19% efficiency quoted for windmills in Germany, I’m not surprised, having last year computed 18% by comparing actual output to average installed capacity (official German figures).

    For solar, one should compare solar installed capacity (25GW) to total installed capacity (155GW or so), and take into account the fact that German solar hardly produces @ 10% nominal in average.
    The may 2012 world record (50% of consumption) is to be put in perspective of the figures : 22GW @ mid day would mean that this record took place @ a moment of a very low consumption ; May (when solar exposure is @ its max) is clearly far from those period with high demand from cold (dec-feb) or high temperature (july-august) ; and midday may be the precise moment where solar would experience its peak ?

    To those who criticize (with some good reason) the 22 Y average figure quoted by the author, it will immediately appear that the ‘world record” is mainly anecdotical.

  48. The claimed 23 new coal fired plants is doubtful. The following link could be the source of the figure, but doesn’t provide supporting information:

    http://www.mining.com/germanys-coal-power-revival-to-boost-energy-change-56711/

    Best to have the location of the 23 new plants, their MW generating capacities, start dates and development stage.

    Reuters mentioned a number of German coal fired projects back in May 2011, but reported abandonment of some and others being re-developed to burn gas:

    http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/05/10/germany-coalplants-idUSLDE74910720110510

    Looks like E.ON’s 1100MW Datteln-4 plant is well underway:

    http://www.kraftwerk-datteln.com/pages/ekw_en/Datteln_Power_Plant/Overview/index.htm

  49. bacchus says: August 28, 2012 at 2:10 pm “Lignite, which upon burning, releases much more ash and dust than coal or LNG. Asthma will be thriving as a consequence.

    New generating plants must comply with the European Industrial Emissions Directive. The Directive sets out limits for emissions to air, water and land, as well as noise. There should be no reason to be concerned about asthma because a plant burns lignite burning.

    On the other hand, the UK government has introduced incentives to install domestic wood burning stoves and heating. Wood burning is supposed to be carbon neutral. There is now low-level smoke in my neighbourhood – catches the back of the throat on a cold evening. More reason for health concern than a lignite burning power station.

  50. Well evidently, new EPA unelected regulations, will mandate 55 mpg by 2025 for your family one person velocipede. They claim that is a cost differential of $1US per gallon of gas (good luck on gas being that cheap, unless hope turns to change).

    All will be for naught of course. We are already at the point where the breeding rate of traffic lights, 4-way stop signs, bike lanes, HOV lanes, easily eats up any increase in vehicle test gas mileage.

    My 2012 hatchback five seater Subaru Impreza ( 2 litre) easily gets 50-60 mpg at any speed from 25 mph to 55 mph, and 45-50 mpg at 60-65. Simply stopping for ANY reason, puts me back in the 3.5 to 15 mpg starting range. The other day, an 18 mile one way freeway trip, which I did at better than 45 mpg at 60 mph, turned into a reverse commute hour BtoB stop and go that, fell below my total integrated overall average of 31.8 mpg (well it dropped my average to 31.5 in just 18 miles).

    Traffic engineers use a traffic algorithm, which answers the question; “Which traffic should I allow to proceed ?” , so most lights are mostly red most of the time.

    If they swtched to a “Which traffic should I stop ?” algorithm, then most lights would be mostly green most of the time.

    But that wouldn’t work in California, because of all those B- self esteemed drivers.

    Personally, I like roundabouts; but they probably wouldn’t work too well during moslem appreciation week. Well all the ladies would be off the road that week.

    Government bureaucrat solutions, are always lowest common denominator solutions, and invariably make things worse.

  51. So what about the USA?

    A record-high 57 coal-fired generators in the US will shut down in 2012.

    At the same time, China will be partnering with Romania to build a single coal plant in Bralia.

    Source for the 57 closures: http://dailycaller.com/2012/07/28/record-number-of-coal-fired-generators-to-be-shut-down-in-2012/#ixzz21wYr6BfG

    Source for the single replacement in Romania: http://energychinaforum.com/news/65284.shtml

    It’s deeper than that, though:

    “…Facing declining demand for electricity and stiff federal environmental regulations, coal plant operators are planning to retire 175 coal-fired generators, or 8.5 percent of the total coal-fired capacity in the United States, according to an analysis by the Energy Information Administration (EIA)…”

    *** See that bolded part? Stiff federal environmental regulations. 175 coal fired plants. 8.5 percent of the total coal-fired capacity in the United States.

    How much electrical energy is that? According to the source:

    “…A record-high 57 generators will shut down in 2012, representing 9 gigawatts of electrical capacity, according to EIA. In 2015, nearly 10 gigawatts of capacity from 61 coal-fired generators will be retired…”

    So those 118 plants listed there take out a total of 19GW of power.

    The Chinese/Romanian replacement? Try 500MW.

    I do wonder what stiff federal environmental regulations they’ll follow in Romania.

    But the story goes on.

    Another source states how busy the Chinese are at home:

    BEIJING — China’s Shenhua Group will build the largest coal-fired power station in Asia over the next five years, the official Xinhua news agency said Tuesday, as the country struggles to meet its energy needs.

    China’s biggest coal company and officials in the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region signed a deal for the 8-gigawatt thermal plant on Monday, according to Xinhua and the local government’s website…”

    Source here: http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5h8yIgx4Jl4fGeWZi1URmdTZgP6yg?docId=CNG.f7ab34b17766df497253151fb35e8bcd.5c1

    So we knock out a total of 175 plants with a power output of somewhere around 19GW, and they build a SINGLE plant that puts out 8GW.

    But wait, there’s more:

    “…While many of those coal plants are old and relatively inefficient, the scope of this new planned shutdown is unprecedented.

    “The coal-fired capacity expected to be retired over the next five years is more than four times greater than retirements performed during the preceding five-year period,” EIA noted in the analysis.

    The generators that will be retired between 2012 and 2016 are “approximately 12% more efficient than the group of units, on average, that retired during 2009-2011,” according to the EIA…”

    *** Key phrase – unprecedented.

    But read that again – on average, the plants to be shut down are 12% MORE efficient than those older plants they’ve retired.

    Seems efficiency wasn’t considered – we’re just replacing plants fueled with those “coal trains of death”.

    What else besides stiff environmental regulations could be driving the retirement of more efficient power plants?

    Well, there’s this:

    “…The low price of natural gas resulting from the shale boom has led to reduced coal consumption and made the shutdowns necessary, experts say…”

    Natural gas. The country that is number 6 in world proven reserves (5,977,000 million cu m) beats China’s number 15 (2,265,000 million cu m).

    Bottom line is still the gov’t, though.

    “…But federal and state regulations have also damaged the industry and contributed to plant closures.

    “The cost of compliance with anticipated and existing Federal environmental regulations such as the Mercury and Air Toxics Standards (MATS) is a factor,” the EIA noted. “Particularly in the case of older, smaller units that are not used heavily, owners may conclude it is more cost efficient to retire plants rather than make additional investments.”

    Most of the coal-fired generator retirements will occur in the Mid-Atlantic, Ohio River Valley and the Southeast…”

    *** I’m going to Google the Mercury and Air Toxics Standards (MATS), and see how the Chinese plants are going to abide by those.

    Oh, wait – they don’t have to. Never mind.

  52. @manicbeancounter

    I wouldn’t lift a finger or less to help the British. They Royally deserve everything they get out of their pompous over-rated system, wherein one Julia Slingo of the Met Office is an OBE, Officer of Order of the British Empire.

  53. From the information provided in the article at http://www.germanenergyblog.de/?p=3063 , one can calculate the capacity factor for German wind in 2009 as 16.9% for the year 2009. This is completely believable, if perhaps a bit high.

    The figures for solar — given Germany’s famous cloudy climate — are likely to be much poorer, no matter how many arrays are installed. Angela Merkel has not yet found a way to get the sun to shine or the wind to blow according to grid load demands. Until she can do that, she deserves all the contempt which is building toward her and her decision to cut the legs out from under German industry and German utilities..

  54. I’m sitting here more or less center court, netwise, watching the German team battle the rest.

    Now who was it that sort of swallowed the “East Germany” pill without choking, and now is shovelling hay to just about the rest of the Brussels Sprouts.

    I’m not much of a gambler; but if I was looking for a pretty safe bet; I’d put my money on Germany.

    And If I was the recipient of some of that Teutonic largesse, well I’d be a lot less critical of how they are doing things. Sure they are maybe leaving some options off the table; but there’s a lot of mutts under the table looking for handouts.

  55. It strikes me the Merkel may be playing a rather clever long term gambit. The most sensible thing for Germany to do is nuclear, and option that the German public is just dead set against. When I heard the announcement that they would be shutting down the nukes, here’s what I predicted:

    1. Announce nukes going away. Makes anti-nuke movement happy.
    2. Announce more wind and power. Makes the greens happy.
    3. Announce that wind and power just isn’t working out, economy will collapse without an alternative. Everyone jittery. Sounds scary that economic collapse thing.
    4. Announce scads of new power based on coal. Greens freak out!
    5. Greens can’t advocate for wind and solar at this point, itz been tried and failed and besides, it is an emergency, the economy might collapse.
    6. After much discussion, nukes come back on the table as the lesser of two evils. Greens must choose which of two evils to accept, and I predict they’ll choose nukes.

    Merkel is no dummy. When she announces something stupid (like shutting down the nukes) you can bet she’s done it for a reason, and the reason ain’t a stupid one. We’re now on Step 4….

  56. ‘Sustainable living’ is what our grand parents and their parents endured. Actually, it is worse. If anyone wishes to experience ‘sustainable living’ today, I invite them to spend a month living amongst the traditional Samburu tribesmen of Kenya… in a manyatta, no refrigerator, no cooking, no microwave oven, no flush toilet, no electricity… try all that for one month… actually, even just for a day, and then tell us how great sustainable living is!!!!!!!

  57. Matt Skaggs says:
    August 28, 2012 at 10:49 am

    According to this:

    http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/05/26/us-climate-germany-solar-idUSBRE84P0FI20120526

    Germany nearly reached 50% of its electrical needs with solar power on a recent sunny afternoon, and overall has achieved 4% from solar and around 20% from renewables. The fact is that Germany is planning for its future, things are going as planned, and they do not really care what you think.
    ———————————————————————————–
    Did you actually read the article? Putting aside just what 22GW “per hour” actually means (energy acceleration?!), did you note this humble passage,

    “A spate of good weather has helped the country break the record, along with the fact that the milestone was reached on 26 May: a Saturday, with factories and offices closed.

    So on a Saturday when a significant amount of industry is idled down –Herr und Frau Seitz rauch deine Pfeiffe (apologies for my very rusty Deutsch)– and under perfect conditions, i.e. day and not night, then renewables managed to generate half of the reduced consumption demand for the span of a few hours. Well if that’s not a ringing endorsement, I don’t know what is!

  58. Matt Skaggs says:
    August 28, 2012 at 10:49 am
    This post is a highly skewed hit piece. For example:————————–

    According to this:

    http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/05/26/us-climate-germany-solar-idUSBRE84P0FI20120526

    Germany nearly reached 50% of its electrical needs with solar power on a recent sunny afternoon, and overall has achieved 4% from solar and around 20% from renewables. The fact is that Germany is planning for its future, things are going as planned, and they do not really care what you think.
    =======================================================================
    The linked article states;
    (Reuters) – German solar power plants produced a world record 22 gigawatts of electricity per hour.
    ===========================================================================
    Apparently the jounalist has no understanding of power or energy. Gigawatts per hour is not an accepted unit of anything. 22GW per hour = 0.366666667 GW per minute or 0.0061 GW per second. Watts per hour is nonsense.
    Energy is power X time. Daily solar energy intensity is defined by a bell curve. High instantaneous output is only possible for about four hours per day. A high peak of output may not provide much energy if it is for a short time but it causes major disruption for other generating assets.

    BTW the 43% efficiency rating of the Cologne coal plant is a maximum value under ideal conditions and may never be achieved in normal operation. Windmills in the system will reduce the efficiency of most fuel burning plants. Just like your car in stop and go traffic.

  59. Matt Skaggs and Paul: The reason that it is relevant to consider 22 years of solar is that Germany began in earnest to build and push solar 22 years ago. What they have accomplished since that push with unsustainable levels of subsidies and coersion? That is why the number is relevant. Yes, the number for 2011 or 2012 would also be relevant. But a honest look at those numbers only continue to embarass the solar drive.

  60. Stephanie Clague says: August 28, 2012 at 12:56 pm

    Good comments Stephanie – sad, but true.

    In North America, we too have our share of CAGW scoundrels and imbeciles – an ignorant stew of Harpo and Groucho Marxists who are convinced that if all industry were shut down and everyone worked for the government, the economy would perk along just fine. These leftist ideologues appeal to that idiot 30% of humanity who are somehow convinced they are much more intelligent than the rest of us, despite their lack of any technical or economic competence.

    From time to time, these ideologues gain power and proceed to wreak havoc upon their economies – witness the Canadian Liberals under Pierre Trudeau and Jean Chretien, or the Ontario Liberals under Doltan McGuinty. Out of neighbourly courtesy, I will not comment on USA politics.

    Because of the boom in cheap natural gas from shale, and similar apparent success in shale oil, North America is again enjoying abundant cheap energy. The question is, will we use this incredible competitive advantage to rebuild our economies and our manufacturing sectors, now increasingly outsourced to China, or will be squander this opportunity in a quagmire of regulatory incompetence and pseudo-environmental obstructionism?

    Stay tuned.

  61. Reality check.

    If the contribution of solar and wind to total power generation is so minuscule how can it possibly contribute to sky high electricity prices. After all the price should be just a weighted average of all contributions and that means that wind would have to be very expensive indeed to escalate prices significantly given it’s small percentage of the total.

    I’m betting that German electricity prices would be nearly as expensive without wind energy as a contribution.

  62. Quote from this article:

    “Due to the inherent intermittent nature of wind, their wind power system was designed for an assumed 30% load factor in the first place. That means that they hoped to get a mere 30% of the installed capacity – versus some 85-90% for coal, natural gas, nuclear and hydroelectric facilities. That means that, when they build 3,000MW of wind power, they expect to actually get merely 900MW, because the wind does not always blow at the required speeds. But in reality, after ten years, they have discovered that they are actually getting only half of what they had optimistically, and irrationally, hoped for: a measly 16.3 percent.”

    The above paragraph reflects a common misunderstanding – the misuse of a term often called the Capacity Factor, which makes wind power look much BETTER than it really is.

    The following comments apply to GRID-CONNECTED power. Off-grid uses, often in remote locations, are different.

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2012/08/18/mcintyres-talk-in-london-plus-the-uks-tilting-at-windmills-may-actually-increase-co2-emissions-over-natural-gas/#comment-1060656

    Repeating: [excerpt]:

    Wind power is not nearly that GOOD.

    The actual required conventional generating backup for wind power is between 90% and 100%.

    The Capacity Factor of wind power is typically about 15- 25% – close enough. However, much of the time the wind is blowing when this power is not needed, and other times when the power is needed, the wind is not blowing. Wind power typically cannot be stored and is worthless except when needed, usually at peak demand times.

    The Substitution Factor (how much conventional generating capacity can be permanently retired due to addition of grid-connected wind power) recognizes this problem, and it is between 8% and 4% according E.On Netz for their large German network. Hence the need for 90-100% conventional backup.

    For proof, see Fig. 7 at http://www.wind-watch.org/documents/wp-content/uploads/eonwindreport2005.pdf

    Simplifying, for Matt:

    “Wind Power – It doesn’t just blow; it sucks!”

    Solar power is much more expensive than wind power. Without huge, wasteful, life-of-project subsidies, grid-connected wind and solar power are green-energy nonsense.

    “Solar Power – Stick it where the Sun don’t shine!”

  63. Excellent post Dr. Kemm but the problem is that no ”green” will read it let alone understand it.
    Do you favour Liquid fluoride Thorium Reactors as a safe, fuel plentiful method of generating electricity?

  64. Allan MacRae says:
    August 28, 2012 at 8:25 pm
    “What is German for “I told you so”?”

    Hab ich doch gleich gesagt.

  65. davidmhoffer says:
    August 28, 2012 at 6:05 pm
    “It strikes me the Merkel may be playing a rather clever long term gambit. The most sensible thing for Germany to do is nuclear, and option that the German public is just dead set against. When I heard the announcement that they would be shutting down the nukes, here’s what I predicted:
    [...]
    6. After much discussion, nukes come back on the table as the lesser of two evils. Greens must choose which of two evils to accept, and I predict they’ll choose nukes.”

    David, you are disregarding the aspect that the Greens have been playing a gambit since about 1980 as well. You see, their leaders come from c0mmunist groups of the 70ies , the K-Gruppen, which had no beef with nuclear at all nor with the environment.

    It happened that an apolitical anti nuke pro enviro movement developed, and only AFTER that movement gained traction, and the green party began to form, did the K-Gruppen members realize that this was THE vehicle for mass politization and mass mobilising. So they infiltrated the movement, kicked out competing leaders, purged the party and turned it into THEIR movement. (This is documented in the biographies of Trittin, Joschka Fischer and Kretschmann, for instance)

    To this day this K-Gruppen elite rules the Greens, and they have hijacked the movement very efficiently. None of them has a personal reason to be against nukes but every one of them knows that being anti-nuke is what enables them to run the movement.

    So, they will be pro-nuke the day hell has frozen over, not a second before.

  66. Correction to above:
    Grid-connected wind and solar power schemes require huge, wasteful, life-of-project subsidies and are green-energy nonsense.

  67. henrythethird,

    But read that again – on average, the plants to be shut down are 12% MORE efficient than those older plants they’ve retired. Seems efficiency wasn’t considered

    The delivered price of steam coal in the US varies from about 75 cent/MMBtu to about $4/MMBtu with the US average being about 2.40/MMBtu. Natural gas prices are at about $2.60/MMBtu and CCGT plants run as baseload are about 50% more efficient then most coal plants.

    Economic efficiency was considered when deciding which coal plants to close.

  68. DirkH says:
    August 28, 2012 at 9:42 am

    Most expensive electricity in the world?

    No! My last (paid) bill states an actual price just above €0.27/kWh and this isn’t the highest rate in the Nordic countries (I live in Sweden).

    Our politicians here in the Nordic countries set up some years ago a so-called “power exchange” (like the stock market). The idea was to regulate prices to the benefit of consumers. The effect was just the opposite … When the result become obvious, no politican was interested to do anything about it, as many of them have personal economical interest in energy …

    Then they try to make it sound cheaper, by splitting the cost in different parts; base feet, energy taxes (incl. the nonsense CO2 tax), network charges, transfer fees and VAT. (Yes, VAT on tax! That’s tax on tax …)

  69. Merkel’s Other Crisis Spurs German Quest for Energy Holy Grail

    “The energy overhaul is an epic project that will span many decades,” said Claudia Kemfert, chief energy expert at the Berlin-based DIW economic institute. She estimates at least 200 billion euros ($250 billion) of public and private investment will be needed over 10 years to compensate for nuclear. If Merkel manages it smartly, it’ll bring “economic advantages, raise competiveness and create jobs,” Kemfert said.

    Sixty energy-storage projects have been singled out for a total of 200 million euros in research grants through 2014. The government is also mobilizing the state-owned bank, KfW Group, to provide low-interest loans to storage projects. . . .
    The average German household may have to pay 175 euros a year next year to subsidize renewables, a rise of 40 percent, according to Stephan Kohler, head of the Dena energy agency, a researcher part-owned by the government. That will prompt “a heck of a power-price debate,” Kohler told reporters Aug. 22.

    Germany aims to raise its share of power production from renewables to at least 35 percent by the end of this decade from 25 percent now. The U.K. is targeting about 30 percent by 2020, while Sweden, Austria and Spain, each of which have richer hydro-electric resources, have pledged to better Germany’s share. The U.S. has no federal mandate for renewables.

    Meanwhile, Brent crude oil increased 1200% from $10/bbl in 1999 to $120/bbl in 2012.

  70. SasjaL says:
    August 29, 2012 at 7:49 am

    Most expensive electricity in the world?
    No! My last (paid) bill states an actual price just above €0.27/kWh and this isn’t the highest rate in the Nordic countries (I live in Sweden).

    Thanks for the info, Sasja, I didn’t know that. Maybe the drastic fall of the Euro in May has helped to push you to pole position.

    We’re doing our best to catch up!

  71. David L. Hagen says:
    August 29, 2012 at 8:39 am
    “Meanwhile, Brent crude oil increased 1200% from $10/bbl in 1999 to $120/bbl in 2012.”

    All nice and well, but coal didn’t, and wind turbines and PV don’t replace oil. BTW, if fossil fuels became very expensive, would we still need subsidies for PV and wind? No. Would we be able to ramp up PV and wind in such a scenario? Yes. Why are we doing it before it is making economic sense? The answer is the widespread fear of CO2 and nothing else. So in my opinion, we are solving a non problem with money we don’t have. The problem of exploding oil prices – IF it affected us – would make the switch to wind and solar economic and therefore meaningful and solve a real problem. That time is not now.

  72. @sunshinehours1 — Thanks for your link. Unfortunately it just leads to dueling blogs and commenters… because, while, the Argonne National Labs report sounds very interesting, it’s paywalled at $35… All we get as a result is the “full analysis” by mouthpieces of Wind Energy or other groups, some of whom might actually be accurate in their reporting.

    Of course, it also appears the Argonne study was computer simulations, and I’m never very keen on those unless it is a well-established model. But even then, computer model simulations are … computer model simulations, not observations.

  73. Thank you Dirk for your interesting comments on German politics, regarding the (former?) communist K-Gruppen and its takeover of the Green Party.

    A similar phenomenon has occurred throughout the Western world – the environmental movement is now the old Harpo and Groucho Marxists, covertly cloaked in green.

    The destruction of Western civilization through “green” energy policies is the stated objective of many of these scoundrels and imbeciles. It is not a foolish accident – it is their stated objective.

    In their own words:

    * Source:

    http://www.green-agenda.com

    Excerpts:

    “Complex technology of any sort is an assault on
    human dignity. It would be little short of disastrous for us to
    discover a source of clean, cheap, abundant energy,
    because of what we might do with it.”
    – Amory Lovins, Rocky Mountain Institute

    “The prospect of cheap fusion energy is the
    worst thing that could happen to the planet.”
    – Jeremy Rifkin,
    Greenhouse Crisis Foundation

    “Giving society cheap, abundant energy would be the
    equivalent of giving an idiot child a machine gun.”
    – Prof Paul Ehrlich, Stanford University

    “The only hope for the world is to make sure there is not another
    United States. We can’t let other countries have the same
    number of cars, the amount of industrialization, we have in the US.
    We have to stop these Third World countries right where they are.”
    -Michael Oppenheimer,
    Environmental Defense Fund

    “Global Sustainability requires the deliberate quest of poverty,
    reduced resource consumption and set levels of mortality control.”
    -Professor Maurice King

    “We’ve got to ride this global warming issue.
    Even if the theory of global warming is wrong,
    we will be doing the right thing in terms of
    economic and environmental policy.”
    – Timothy Wirth,
    President of the UN Foundation

    “No matter if the science of global warming is all phony…
    climate change provides the greatest opportunity to
    bring about justice and equality in the world.”
    – Christine Stewart,
    former Canadian Minister of the Environment

    “The data doesn’t matter. We’re not basing our recommendations
    on the data. We’re basing them on the climate models.”
    – Prof. Chris Folland,
    Hadley Centre for Climate Prediction and Research

    “The models are convenient fictions
    that provide something very useful.”
    – Dr David Frame,
    climate modeler, Oxford University

    “I believe it is appropriate to have an ‘over-representation’ of the facts
    on how dangerous it is, as a predicate for opening up the audience.”
    -Al Gore,
    Climate Change activist

    “It doesn’t matter what is true,
    it only matters what people believe is true.”
    – Paul Watson,
    co-founder of Greenpeace

    “The only way to get our society to truly change is to
    frighten people with the possibility of a catastrophe.”
    – emeritus professor Daniel Botkin

    “The climate crisis is not a political issue, it is a moral and
    spiritual challenge to all of humanity. It is also our greatest
    opportunity to lift Global Consciousness to a higher level.”
    -Al Gore,
    Nobel Peace Prize acceptance speech

    “We are on the verge of a global transformation.
    All we need is the right major crisis…”
    – David Rockefeller,
    Club of Rome executive member

    “We must make this an insecure and inhospitable place
    for capitalists and their projects. We must reclaim the roads and
    plowed land, halt dam construction, tear down existing dams,
    free shackled rivers and return to wilderness
    millions of acres of presently settled land.”
    – David Foreman,
    co-founder of Earth First!

  74. Dan in California says:
    August 28, 2012 at 1:57 pm
    Meanwhile, the Russians are selling oil and gas to Europe and receiving lots of hard cash. What are they doing for their own electricity? They currently have 10 nuclear power plants under construction with 14 more on order.

    http://www.world-nuclear.org/info/reactors.html

    While Angela Merkel is afraid of a Tsunami.

    According to this:

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sponsored/russianow/business/9370958/russia-uk-nuclear-plants.html

    Russians might soon also be building nuclear plants in the UK (“soon” by nuclear planning and construction standards). Plus maybe the Chinese. This is partly due to Germany’s nuclear exit.

  75. LazyTeenager says: “After all the price should be just a weighted average of all contributions and that means that wind would have to be very expensive indeed to escalate prices significantly given it’s small percentage of the total.”

    There are different ways retail electricity costs are increased by wind generation.

    Feed-in-tariffs costs about 200% of the wholesale generation price. But wind only displaces about 50% of the costs of fossil fuel power stations as there is a need to hold standing generating capacity in reserve for those times that the wind doesn’t blow.

    There are other hidden costs.

    The network operator needs to hold firm-flexible (fossil) fired generation in variable operation to handle the minute-by-minute variability of wind input. This “operating reserve” has reduced thermal efficiency in much the same way that urban driving has higher fuel consumption in your car. Running costs are high – not just the waste of precious fuel, but the costs of additional CO2 permits (thanks to your global warming scare story). These costs are paid by the consumer.

    The network usually needs to be extended to connect additional wind generation as wind farms are not usually at the same location as existing fossil fired power stations. This is a significant additional cost to be paid by the consumer.

    And the network is not an infinite conduit for power flows. Local constraints on power flow and voltage can result in constrained-off wind generation (which gets compensation for lost profit) and constrained-on fossil fired generation. This is more cost to .the consumer

    It’s nothing like a weighted average of power inputs.

    Reality check?

  76. [LazyTeenager says:
    August 29, 2012 at 1:25 am
    Reality check.....I’m betting that German electricity prices would be nearly as expensive without wind energy as a contribution.]

    You suffer from a Lazy thought process, probably wind powered.
    What would be the price of electricity if the Germans had spent the billions of euros wasted on wind power on coal fired plants instead?

  77. Detailed discussion in Der Spiegel
    Germany Rethinks Path to Green Future

    Germany’s energy revolution is the government’s only major project — but the problems keep piling up. The pace of grid expansion is sluggish, and electricity costs for consumers are rising. The environment minister wants to fundamentally alter the way green energy is subsidized, but will it mean putting the brakes on the entire project? . . .

    Attractive feed-in tariffs have given eco-friendly electricity production such a boost that the expansion of the power grid and many other projects simply haven’t been able to keep pace.. . .
    welfare benefits for the long-term unemployed, for example, receive a fixed sum for electricity and can’t afford energy-saving fridges or washing machines. . . .
    the country’s biggest electricity guzzlers account for 18 percent of overall consumption, but bear only 0.3 percent of the costs associated with the EEG.

    PS DirkH
    Re: “problem of exploding oil prices – IF it affected us”
    With transportation almost entirely dependent on oil, crude prices DO affect all of us. OPEC is raking in $1 trillion/year = $40 trillion over the next generation. That is equal to global market capitalization in Sept. 2008.
    i.e., from a lack of fuel policy we are paying OPEC to buy all OECD companies.

  78. “Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government decided last year to shut the 17 nuclear power stations in the country by 2022, which sent the country’s big utility companies slumping down.”

    Well that was a little unilateral, don’t you think?

  79. LazyTeenager says:
    August 29, 2012 at 1:25 am
    Reality check.

    If the contribution of solar and wind to total power generation is so minuscule how can it possibly contribute to sky high electricity prices. After all the price should be just a weighted average of all contributions and that means that wind would have to be very expensive indeed to escalate prices significantly given it’s small percentage of the total.

    I’m betting that German electricity prices would be nearly as expensive without wind energy as a contribution.

    No, that’s not how it works. The electricity prices are high because of the intermittent nature of wind and solar. The same reason they are so high in Denmark.
    During times of high wind production and low demand there may be more electricity produced than needed. This excess is exported at very low prices, sometimes 0 cent per kWh. Because, as is the case in Europe, some of the potential customer countries also experience low demand and it costs money to idle thermal power plants, whether they produce electricity or not.
    But because of the feed-in tariffs, that electricity has to be paid for at high prices by the consumer regardless, because the producers of wind or solar electricity are paid for electricity produced, whether needed or not.

    During times of high demand but low renewable production, electricity has to be imported at high prices (spot market), again driving the price paid by the consumer high.
    A country with a high intermittant renewable portfolio and guaranteed prices for energy production from such renewables might be a net exporter of electricity, but its consumers need to pay higher electricity prices than the countries they export their excess to.

  80. What is the three most important things to consider for producing power?

    “The delivered price of ….”

    Answer: location, location, location.

    Power production is a local thing. I do not care what the average price of fossil fuels or how much wind there is in Germany or Iowa.

    “In 2010 coal provides 43.5% of the country’s electricity, nuclear 22.5%, gas 13.5%, biofuels & waste 6.5%, wind 6%, hydro 4%, solar 2%. ”

    http://www.world-nuclear.org/info/inf43.html

    Common sense dictates that reliable sources of power provide and adequate reserve margin so a small amount of renewable energy does not hurt anything. Most industrial countries have interconnected grids. Needless to say that the number of closures of power plants for economic or political reason is greater than the number reopened quietly when opps the power is needed.

    Only one thing matters, having enough power.

  81. David L. Hagen says:
    August 29, 2012 at 2:38 pm
    “Detailed discussion in Der Spiegel
    Germany Rethinks Path to Green Future”

    Yeah, unfortunately the article is written by a person who uses the terms energy and electrictiy as synonyms; hint, primary energy consumption for Germany is 7 times the electricity consumption. This is a frequent mistake by journalist school graduates; use different words with different meanings for the same thing – someone taught them to not repeat the same word too often; the result is useless garbage like this wonderful example.

    “Indeed, the Federal Network Agency has calculated that the country’s biggest electricity guzzlers account for 18 percent of overall consumption, but bear only 0.3 percent of the costs associated with the EEG. ”

    The “biggest energy guzzlers” are also known as steel mills, aluminum and copper smelters; also known as “employers”. The terms that the Spiegel uses tell us about its mission. Hint: It’s the german Grauniad.

    “There’s only one problem with the EEG: It’s been too effective.”

    Only a dyed in the wool pre-October revolution Leninist can call price-fixing measures like the EEG “effective” – the type of person Der Spiegel would hire. (Hint: Lenin himself had to re-introduce market prices for agricultural goods when the price-fixing lead to collapsing production).

    The only “effectivity” of the EEG is the destruction of the free market. I hold that the contribution of wind and solar to German ENERGY usage (that’s a different thing than electricity, it’s seven times bigger, see above, I’m NOT using words like a journalist) is about 1%, maybe at 1.5 %.

    To LazyTeenager, nomen est omen: This 1 to 1.5% percent of energy costs us 0.5 % of our GDP BECAUSE this energy is extremely highly subsidized. The reason, in other words, that is COSTS so much is that it is so EXPENSIVE. Hope that came through. I know it’s not an easy concept.

  82. LazyTeenager says: “After all the price should be just a weighted average of all contributions and that means that wind would have to be very expensive indeed to escalate prices significantly given it’s small percentage of the total.”

    Yes, it’s expensive.
    German GDP is 3000 billion Euros,
    population is 80 million
    annual subsidy sum to renewables is 16 bn Euros, (0.5% of GDP)
    makes 200 Euros per head,
    tendency rising,
    total contribution of wind+solar+biogas to primary energy consumption : 1 to 1.5 percent.

  83. Tim Clark says:
    August 29, 2012 at 2:28 pm
    [LazyTeenager says:
    August 29, 2012 at 1:25 am
    Reality check.....I’m betting that German electricity prices would be nearly as expensive without wind energy as a contribution.]

    What would be the consumer price of electricity in UK if all the subsidies for “renewables” were not included in the consumer price?

    [Answer: A LOT less]

  84. There are meanwhile companies in Germany that openly say that, if the price for electricity just goes up by 1 cent, they will have to either close down or leave the country. It’s utterly insane.

    Since we’re talking Fukushima… After 3-11 Geiger counters were sold out in Germany, the media went crazy with openly racist comments on Japan (some “journalists” even comparing Fukushima 1 with Hitler’s bunker and claiming that the Fukushima Fifty were really nothing else but people forced to work, even claiming that they were foreigners, minors and homeless people forced by “evil” Tepco) and everyone panicked. The German Lufthansa stopped flying into Narita for a few days because (officially) they said there were limited resources in Narita, the truth is they stopped because of fear of radiation (the competition continued to fly.)

    Worst of all, the German S&R team sent to Japan, the THW, abandoned their mission. They fled from an imaginary nuclear death cloud after not even finishing one rescue operation. While doing so, they also abandoned their equipment in Japan. A day after the Germans fled like headless chickens, the Turkish team arrived in Japan. The German S&R team is the only team that ran away. Everybody else finished their mission. After the German team returned, politicians in Germany were quick to knock the Japanese civil protection as “not being ideal”. That was shortly after the news broke that 80,000 people were missing and 400,000 people were homeless, which was a logistic nightmare and I’m still very impressed how the Japanese got through this. Luckily most of those missing were found alive, but the German politicians and media didn’t care. They continued to push this completely ridiculous nonsense.

    Meanwhile in Germany the Green party milked the crisis and claimed that Fukushima could happen in Germany tomorrow.

    Professor Zöllner from the Japanology department of Bonn university then exploded in an open letter at the people pushing these open lies and racism. He went postal at them, calling them all out and pointing out how utterly shameful the German behavior was. He concluded with saying: “With friends like these you don’t need a nuclear crisis.”

    And in Austria the old “Nuclear power? No thank you!” crowd came out of their holes. Just like in the 80s they still have no rational arguments against nuclear power, but just the same old “think of the children” whine. I run into them every Wednesday when I go to university. They camp out in the subway station and hand out their propaganda stuff from the 80s.

  85. DirkH, let’s also not forget the German national debt at 2 trillion Euro (official) and way past 6 trillion (unofficial.)

  86. Davidmhoffer wrote:
    “It strikes me the Merkel may be playing a rather clever long term gambit. The most sensible thing for Germany to do is nuclear, and option that the German public is just dead set against. When I heard the announcement that they would be shutting down the nukes, here’s what I predicted:

    1. Announce nukes going away. Makes anti-nuke movement happy.
    2. Announce more wind and power. Makes the greens happy.
    3. Announce that wind and power just isn’t working out, economy will collapse without an alternative. Everyone jittery. Sounds scary that economic collapse thing.
    4. Announce scads of new power based on coal. Greens freak out!
    5. Greens can’t advocate for wind and solar at this point, itz been tried and failed and besides, it is an emergency, the economy might collapse.
    6. After much discussion, nukes come back on the table as the lesser of two evils. Greens must choose which of two evils to accept, and I predict they’ll choose nukes.

    Merkel is no dummy. When she announces something stupid (like shutting down the nukes) you can bet she’s done it for a reason, and the reason ain’t a stupid one. We’re now on Step 4….”
    ———————————————————-
    I think this is a very good analysis. Nuclear power in some countries tends to be more of a moral than an energy question. Back in -oh, many years ago-, the Swedish prime minister promised to close all the Swedish nuclear plants by the year -oh, that’s a long time ago too! How time flies!, and as is natural, memory fades with age, so today, there are still many nuclear powerplants in operation in Sweden.

    It may well be that Merkel’s government has thought along this line. But, to make the tactic work, Germans will have to pay an unnecassary high power bill for years to come still.

  87. This whole green power generation thing is shaping up into a massive and hilarious black comedy. If the euro crisis does not sink Europe, this will.

  88. Always when I read this blog I’m amused about Americas ignorance about global warming. Here I’m always amused about how uninformed you are about Germany.
    Yes energy prices are high and rising, as well as gas prices. Nevertheless we have a healthy and growing economy. The industry normally pays much lower energy prices than private persons.

    The high prices lead to more efficiency. Germans buy efficient cars (my Skoda Octavia makes 49 miles per gallon), efficient refrigerators or dishwashers consuming a very low amount of electricity.

    The truth about coal power plants is that there 6 under construction and 12 planned:

    http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Liste_geplanter_Kohlekraftwerke_in_Deutschland

    These new plants are also much more efficient as the old ones they are replacing.

    Yes it’s efficiency that will lead to lower greenhouse gas emissions and having a modern sophisticated way of live anyway.

    I admit that it’s a bit over the target to install a huge amount of solar energy in Germany. But on the other hand how easy could America use solar energy in the southern states where the sun is always shining. You don’t do it because energy is too cheap for you and because you believe in your “man does not change climate”-religion.

    So stay happy in your inefficient country. We will see how long it will take till you finally realise what is happening to the planet you also live on. ;-)

    • @A German Native: While I respect your opinion on the issues of efficiency, new technology can actually cause increased demand, therefore wiping out the potential gains… The potential is there, but to really maximize on that potential, one really needs adjustment of not only technology (i.e., “efficiency”) but also habits and usage.

      We’ve seen increased auto efficiency (mpg) and decreased auto emissions negated by the vast increase over time in both additional vehicles on the road and vehicle miles driven, resulting in both increased fuel consumption and emissions. I’ve also witnessed a huge sift in the use of CFL and LED technology for mainstream home lighting, along with a much greater tendency to leave that more lights on, even though they may be more efficient, in aggregate there may be increased usage.

      Another example: the City of Cincinnati looked at energy use (under the guise of carbon emission reductions) in depth a few years ago and undertook numerous efforts to remove all the under-desk heaters and other items to remove the parasitic energy demands that may actually have reduced the overall building heating/cooling system efficiency. But a bigger issue was who used the electricity or energy and who paid the bills. The bills were paid centrally, but the various departments scattered through buildings all over the City had no clue how much energy costs were because they never saw the bills. New technology was operated just like the old because (a) no one knew any different, (b) no one really cared, and (c) no one had any incentive to do anything different.

      There is also, of course, an economic feasibility component: new technology that is very expensive is not likely to be broadly implemented, therefore actual gains will be low. And a new improved system in the immediate aftermath of an upgrade will not likely be implemented either until gains have offset costs from the first upgrade.

  89. Allan MacRae says:
    August 29, 2012 at 11:15 am

    In their own words:
    * Source:

    http://www.green-agenda.com

    Scary green quotes.

    Paints a picture of a scenario somewhat analogous to pre-revolutionary Russia. What starts around wealthy-class dinner tables can break out onto blood-soaked streets and into corridors of power. Better keep up my shooting practice.

  90. Regarding the economics of German wind power:

    From E.On Netz Wind Report 2005 (see above for source), the Substitution Factor is now about 5%.

    That means that they have to add 20 units of wind power to the grid to get the same effect as 1 unit of conventional power.

    This fact explains the very high cost of wind power.

    In Ontario Canada, wind power is subsidized at more than double the cost of conventional electricity, and solar power is subsidized at about ten times the cost of conventional electricity.

    Similar huge subsidies are provided all over the Western world so that wind and solar power operators do not go bankrupt – but they should – they are energy parasites who rob from consumers and from taxpayers, with the active collusion of corrupt and incompetent politicians.

    Furthermore:
    Since fossil-fuel energy is a good proxy for the cost of manufacturing, there is no reason to expect that rising oil prices will make wind and solar power more competitive in the future – the costs of wind and solar power will rise along with the price of fossil fuels, such that wind and solar will still be parasitic energy nonsense.

  91. Trying again:

    LazyTeenager says: “After all the price should be just a weighted average of all contributions and that means that wind would have to be very expensive indeed to escalate prices significantly given it’s small percentage of the total.”

    No, that’s not how it works. The problem is not the renewables per se, but their intermittent and uncontrollable nature.
    During times of high renewable production and low demand, the renewable producers are guaranteed a high price for their electricity, whether its needed or not.
    If there’s more than needed, the excess will be exported at low prices to other countries. The prices are low because during those times the neighboring countries also experience low demand. Sometimes the achievable price is zero or even negative. But the in-country rate-payer has to pay for that electricity in full as guaranteed by the FIT.
    During times of high demand and low renewable production electriticy needs to be imported at high spot market prices because the neighboring countries also typically at that time experience high demand.
    In addition, during high renewable production the other power plants have to throttle back or go idle. But at that time they still have to pay their workers, capital costs, maintenance and so on.
    The only thing they save is fuel, which is typically only a fraction of the production cost. Meaning they have to raise their electricity prices when they are allowed to produce to cover the times when they don’t.
    This way a country can be a net exporter of electricity on a yearly average, but still have skyrocketing electricity prices.

  92. @Allan MacRae: Your statement is the perfect proof that the average American has no idea about efficiency. Efficiency leads to less energy consumption and thus less production costs.

    @phlogiston: The euro crisis is a dept crisis. You in the US have the same crisis. Europe will solve this (partly) by rising taxes for the rich. This will not happen in America where you seriously consider to elect a guy for president who pays 13% taxes and brings his money abroad. In Germany this guy would be regarded as criminal.

    You should really mind your own business before laughig at Germany.

  93. A German Native,

    Half of all Americans pay NO federal taxes. To those of us who pay all the taxes, that is criminal.

    You write: “…energy is too cheap for you… you believe in your ‘man does not change climate’-religion.”

    Two fallacies there. First, cheap energy is a benefit. Otherwise, you should be paying 100 euros per kwh for your electricity in order to reap the benefits. And there is no evidence that humans change the global climate. If you disagree, post your evidence. Make sure it is testable and measurable per the scientific method.

  94. henrythethird says:
    August 28, 2012 at 3:29 pm

    So what about the USA?

    A record-high 57 coal-fired generators in the US will shut down in 2012….
    _______________________________
    Oh so that is why I am getting more and more intermittent flickers in my electiric (the UPS beeping is relly geting annoying) Coal Plants ===> Solar and wind.

  95. @Eugene: I agree to you that efficiency is useless when habits do not change. This is only possible when people are aware of the problem. Expencive energy make people very much aware of the fact that energy is precious.

    @Smokey: Is the causal relationship more greenhouse gases (measured) -> radiation imbalance (measured) -> rising temperatures (measured) so hard to understand? Evidence is not hard to find when you look over the horizon of wattsupwiththat.

    In Germany I pay 38 Euros (less than one percent of my family income) per month for my familiy electricity consumption and this is 100% renewable electricity (It’s water power when the sun doesn’t shine and the wind doesn’t blow). I think this is quite affordable for everybody.

    Concerning taxes: I’m pretty sure that all Americans pay taxes because you have consumers taxes and everybody buys something.

  96. Ignore A German Native, he’s a classic anti-America troll, one of the Germans who protested against nuclear power in the wake of 3-11. 200,000 Germans were dumb enough to fall for that. Thousands of them voted for the Green party after they claimed that Fukushima could happen in Germany tomorrow and even today Germans are deathly scared of flying to Japan.

    After the shameful behavior of the entire German nation after 3-11 I refuse to recognize them as civilized anymore.

    Oh and by the way.

    In Germany the income tax is up to 49% of the monthly salary. What is minimum wage in the US pays income tax in Germany. VAT is up to 19%. I’m not bothering listing up all the other hidden taxes that are bleeding the working people in Germany dry, so that the country can finance it’s completely out of control spending (and fail at that, because they can’t finance it, even with criminally high taxes.) In the past 40 years Germany had an even budget (tax income = government spending) only once. The other years the spending was always bigger than the income. The German welfare state is completely out of control, eating up almost 50% of the budget in 2010 (and that with 30% of the budget being new, additional debt.) German’s national debt has risen way past the 2 trillion mark and, best of all, whether the German gold reserves still exist or not… nobody knows.

    So, A German Native, what’s your talk about “efficiency”? Germany is, as I call it, collectively meshugge. The Germans are the leading nuclearphobics on the planet, their arguments against nuclear power are even more irrational and ridiculous than those of the usual anti-nuke nutters.

    The Euro crisis is not a debt crisis. The Euro crisis happened because the Euro was a completely stupid idea. Everyone with a basic understanding of the economy knew this. The Euro crisis happened because countries are spending money they don’t have. Right now we’re “saving the Euro” with more debt. We’re saving a completely worthless currency, that is only kept up by the rich countries in the EUSSR, with money we don’t have. Of course the solution, according to A Native German, is to raise taxes for “the rich”. They already pay taxes like crazy. Not a word of cutting down on spending, of course. Typical German. Oh heck, typical Kraut. And who are “the rich”? People like me and my dad? My father was a cop for 40 years. For dealing with the scum of the earth and risking his live the government taxed him into the ground. Same with me. I already pay 43.7% income tax (and I’m not going to count how many other taxes I pay every day, I’d just get angry), how much more of the money I make every month will be taken from me to finance a failed experiment? The Euro was a stillbirth. Period. Time to drop it and move on. Time to leave the EUSSR and move on. The EU has failed. It’s a wealth redistribution system. Enough is enough. Austrian money only for Austria. Dutch money only for the Netherlands. The Euro, the EUSSR and the PIIGS can go to hell.

    I have no respect for the Germans anymore. When I was a kid we looked up to them as our big brother. Today, however, people just shake their head at German nonsense. What little respect I had for the country and the people was washed away by the utterly shameful and openly racist idiocy that has been plaguing Germany since the Tohoku quake.

    As Prof. Zöllner said: with friends like Germany you don’t need a nuclear crisis.

  97. @ A German Native:

    Of course personal habits make a difference, but your original point was only about efficiency. On the matter of expensive energy, you are correct that it will likely change habits, but only among those who feel the pain of such cost increases. Al Gore and Maurice Strong could care less. Governments too, for the most part unless someone has been able to gain the entire community’s attention that it’s spending taxpayers’ money like a bunch of drunken sailors. I suspect that a key difference in our opinions would be our (probably) different willingness to assume that governments and activists should collude to force prices to rise by forcing investment in or purchase of some particularly expensive energy source, for any reason. If the free market (such as it exists anymore) is allowed to regulate price due to supply and demand pressures, costs will naturally rise as a given energy source approaches exhaustion, other source options will be found, and economics at the personal level will drive change in consumptive behavior. Econ 101.

    Also, I suspect many readers here could care less how many Euros it costs you per month for your family’s electrical needs as you have told us nothing about your household consumption (how many units, for what purpose, etc.) Rhetorically, one would need to know if you have a washer & dryer, electric heat & stove, air conditioning, the size of the home, etc. As well, is that value an average or lowest cost month? Worst month of the year? Without all of that detail, your cost per month is meaningless; there is no context. As well, your reference to your electricity being 100% renewable is an interesting acknowledgement that you can see that the pursuit of wind and solar is no panacea; I also assume by “water power” you are referring to what is known in the United States as large “hydropower.” Our government is slowing tearing out quite a few of the hydro dams around the country to “restore” the environment and aquatic habitat. Our environmental activist community has been opposed to those also since at least the 1970’s.

    (Now maybe I can finish what I started hours ago, a reply to your earlier post…)
    _______________

    Always when I read this blog I’m amused about Americas [sic] ignorance about global warming…

    American ignorance? Really? That’s a pretty rude statement for what should be a civilized discussion (and a few others should take note as well about name-calling and assertions of who others are or what they may/may note be — unless you have definitive personal knowledge).

    But on the other hand how easy could America use solar energy in the southern states where the sun is always shining.

    Easy is relative and meaningless. I note you don’t mention if you think it’s “cheap,” too. My first reaction was to be astounded that I was unaware that the southern states in America did not experience a period of darkness generally known throughout the globe as “night,” despite my travels as far south as Florida and Texas. It’s also interesting that you would make such a bold assertion at a time when numerous southern states are being impacted by a tropical storm (former hurricane) with extreme winds, clouds and torrential rainfall. Hurricanes and tropical storms cause damage with their winds and rain, but also frequently spawn thunderstorms (with hail) and tornados.

    As a risk manager and engineer, I would encourage my clients to proceed with caution in any investments tied to solar or wind energy in “southern” states; many are located in the so-called “hurricane belt” and thus damage from heavy rain and high winds (and related weather events) would be quite possible. Then too are the many states in the U.S. South, Southeast and Midwest that are subject to frequent tornados, both within and outside our so-called “Tornado Alley.” Between 1950 and 2006, some areas of the U.S. Midwest — nearly a third of the Continental United States land mass — has experienced up to 15 EF3, EF4 & EF5 tornados per 2,470 square miles; those are the most destructive and least frequent of such storms. (EF = Enhanced Fujita scale for tornados). Approximately half the mainland U.S. is considered subject to damaging winds of 200 mph (89m/s)) or greater. Some of these hazard areas overlap (hurricane and tornado).

    Beyond the tornado threats, even in the Ohio River Valley wind gusts to 75 mph (121 km/h) have been recorded, the equivalent to sustained wind levels found in a Category 1 hurricane. In particular, high wind gusts and sustained high winds were present during September 2008 when the remnants of Hurricane Ike passed through the Ohio Valley, winds and gusts that were sustained for hours, resulting in millions without electricity, some for days, others for a week or more. (See, for example: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hurricane_Ike#Farther_inland and http://www.erh.noaa.gov/iln/sept14_2008/sept14wind.html.) I’m not convinced the risk profile for solar and wind power investments in those areas is low, but it ultimately does depend on ones willingness to gamble with their own or other people’s money.

    Many of the geographic areas in the United States you advocate for solar are relatively remote from the main electrical grid necessitating installation of new high capacity power cables. (The same is true for most areas in which wind turbines are advocated, especially mountain ridges and coastal areas.) I’m sure you realize that damage to such connections to the power distribution grid makes power transmission impossible, which is something often forgotten in the debate about “free wind and solar,” their technical feasibility and cost. Burying such lines is an option to minimize some forms of damage, but open the door for other types of damage and increase the repair and replacement costs.

    In addition, solar and wind are not universally loved. There have been numerous incidents of legal action (to force delays, mostly), activism (in the form of illegal activity) and even sabotage (sometimes labeled as “vandalism”) on “green energy” projects. I’m aware of no formal statistics on the matter (which is unfortunate), but it appears that these efforts are on the rise. Take for example, the recent damage (estimated at about $100,000) to the Los Angeles area Antelope Valley Solar Rance One (AVSR1) where cables and water lines were cut. In that case, an entire length of cable needed to be replaced (http://www.greentechmedia.com/articles/read/100000-vandalism-at-the-first-solar-exelon-antelope-valley-solar-ranch-one-/). Legal action had previously stalled the project for two months.

    Lawsuits are frequently used as delay tactics and have been for more than a generation. All one needs is an assertion that there might be an historical site or an endangered species and the courts will generally order a work stoppage order until the facts can be determined, regardless if the assertion was a lie or not. And the project is forced to absorb all those costs unless it can be proved that the assertion was a deliberate fraud, which is difficult at best and impossible at worst.

    Or consider the activists who blocked access to a wind power project recently… http://www.burlingtonfreepress.com/article/20120806/NEWS02/308060007/Protestersarrested- Multiple arrests followed that one, because the blockade was determined to be illegal and police were called.

  98. Edohiguma says:
    August 30, 2012 at 1:43 pm

    @ A German Native

    … The Euro crisis is not a debt crisis. The Euro crisis happened because the Euro was a completely stupid idea.

    Great reply Edohiguma. So how could a great nation like Germany do something so economically stupid i.e. launch he euro. The answer lies in what Germany did to all their financial expertise 70 years ago.

    BTW it has been abundantly shown in the economic literature that increasing efficiency of resource use does not reduce resource use – in the end it causes a wider range of activities using resources to become economical, so resource use still rises.

  99. A German Native says: August 30, 2012 at 10:01 am
    @Allan MacRae:
    Your statement is the perfect proof that the average American has no idea about efficiency.

    Allan responds:

    My God, where do I start this discussion, when you display such colossal bigotry and ignorance.

    First , I am an energy engineer with an excellent track record. I understand energy efficiency very well.

    Next, I am Canadian, not American. I have lived in the USA for extended periods of time, and I find your anti-American bigotry highly offensive.

    Anti-Americanism is the Pavlovian mantra of the international left, and it is one of the BIG LIES of our age.

    America, despite its faults, is still the greatest protector of human rights on our planet.

    If it were not for the exceedingly generous Marshall Plan at the end of World War 2, you Germans would all be speaking Russian today, and living like slaves.

    American has always been the country that provides the most aid to other nations in times of crisis, only to be smeared and slandered by odious individuals like you when times get better.

    I have spent considerable time in Germany over the years, in both East and West. I went through Checkpoint Charlie into East Berlin in July of 1989, a few months before the fall of the Berlin Wall, and witnessed the last gasps of the hated Honecker regime. I also visited West and East Germany many times thereafter.

    I have great respect for the German and the American peoples, and have many friends in both countries (present company excepted).

  100. OK so much things to answer. First I perhaps should say Sorry when my statements where too rude. I was a bit angry about this Germany bashing artikle full of lies. And of course I know that not all Americans think the same as of course not all Germans think the same.
    Maybe i can not express my thoughts always very clear and friendly at one time due to my limited knowledge of your language.

    @Edohiguma: Although you insult me as troll I will try to answer you respectful. If we talk about civilisation you should be careful. Before “Obamacare” Millions of Americans didn’t even have healthcare. Taxes are high here in Germany but not for the working class. The 47% (not 49%) apply only for the part of income over 200000 Euros a year. In Germany rich people pay higher. In America it’s obviously the other way round when a Millionaire only pays 13%.
    High taxes let you maintain a good infrastructure, In America a thunderstorm front can leave thousands without electricity for days. In Germany electricity is restored after a few hours. Another thing is the quality of public transport. Driving bus in the US is pain in the ass…

    The euro crisis is a topic for endless discussions and we better skip it here. I’m certainly not absolutely right in everything I say about this. Even our economists all say different things. Only one point – cutting down spending is cutting down the economy and this was probably the biggest mistake in Greece. But this is also something you can argue about for hours.

    I hope I can adress the other points later.

  101. Here’s one solar power plant you Germans got ripped off on. http://notrickszone.com/2011/07/04/weed-covered-solar-park-20-acres-11-million-only-one-and-half-years-old/

    Didn’t put the panels on mountings tall enough to drive a mower under and the panels are on fixed angle mounts. If the weeds weren’t growing up through the panels, they’d hit maximum output only for a short time a few days of the year, when the sunlight is hitting them close to perpendicular – if the sky happens to be cloud free at the time.

    To get the most power out of solar panels they have to be on 2-axis sun tracking mounts, or at least adjust for azimuth, and the weeds have to be kept cut down or the ground under and around paved or covered with materials impermeable or inhospitable to plant growth.

    How many of the other solar installations in Germany are built like this?

    As for the EU, it’s my opinion it was cooked up by the ideological descendants of Napoleon, the Kaiser and that other guy that gave us trouble in the 1940’s. They consistently failed to rule Europe by force of arms, so they decided to try it by economic means – and it’s failing just like past attempts with all the shooting. Should have taken a lesson from the economic backlash Japan went through in the 90’s after trying to buy the world – after failing to take it by force in the 40’s.

  102. A Bit of Perspective:

    To be clear, I do not like German-bashing OR American-bashing.

    Please stop this racist, xenophobic nonsense.

    When you travel throughout the world, you find wonderful, kind generous people.

    You also find, for the most part, repressive governments that tightly control their populations and too often feast upon them.

    We who are fortunate to live in the few democracies that exist on this planet have comparatively little to complain about.

    Yes, we are being systematically misled by the environmental movement, which has been commandeered by the extreme left.

    Yes, we are having our wealth confiscated by green energy scams, aided by the same phony green activists.

    Still, we have a chance to live a decent life and to raise our families without fear.

    Count your blessings.

  103. Allan MacRae says: August 29, 2012 at 11:15 am
    Thank you Dirk for your interesting comments on German politics, regarding the (former?) communist K-Gruppen and its takeover of the Green Party.
    A similar phenomenon has occurred throughout the Western world – the environmental movement is now the old Harpo and Groucho Marxists, covertly cloaked in green.
    ————————————————–
    Allan:
    Great list but you missed possibly the most important one, Barack Obama from his interview with the San Francisco Chronicle:

    “When I was asked earlier about the issue of coal…under my plan of a cap and trade system, electricity rates would necessarily skyrocket…even regardless of what I say about whether coal is good or bad, because I’m capping greenhouse gasses, coal power plants, natural gas…you name it…whatever the plants were, whatever the industry was, they would have to retro-fit their operations.

    That will cost money…they will pass that money on to the consumers. You can already see what the arguments are going to be during the general election. People will say Obama and Al Gore …these folks…they’re going to destroy the economy.

    This is going to cost us 8 trillion dollars or whatever their number is. If you can’t persuade the American people that, yes, there is going to be some increase on electricity rates on the front end, but that over the long term, because of combinations of more efficient energy usage and changing light bulbs and more efficient appliances, but also technology improving how we can produce clean energy that the economy will benefit.”

    But don’t take my word for it, listen to the audio from the interview here:

    http://newsbusters.org/blogs/kerry-picket/2008/11/02/obama-energy-prices-will-skyrocket

    This innumerate politician thinks 8 trillion dollars, or whatever ruining the power generation industry will cost, will be more than repaid by using more efficient light bulbs.

  104. @ A German Native:

    Your knowledge of our language appears to have degraded from two days ago when it seemed pretty darn good. Your last post looks like you either were in a hurry or trying to make yourself look like you have a poor grasp of the language. Regardless…

    After “Obamacare” has started to be implemented we now have health care costs rising as fast, if not faster, than before. And we have medical insurance providers who are tacking exclusions onto new policies for whatever they can, and denying coverage if they have any possible reason to do so (personal experience). Many of those who did not have coverage before Obama’s Great Healthcare Plan did so by choice with the understanding that if they have a major medical issue they will have to pay out of pocket for the care received. We even have physicians now considering dropping healthcare insurance. And we now have a penalty that we’re required to pay to the federal government if we want to elect to not have insurance. What no one seems to be able to explain to me is if I “elect” to not have insurance so I can perhaps pay to keep my home, or keep food on the table, how am I going to pay the penalty to the Feds. And if I don’t have income at all and have lost my home, how will I pay the penalty then? A stupid provision if ever there was one. Perhaps the Feds will let us pay it off later, when we’re employed again? Good luck with ever getting out of debt… I suggest that if you don’t live under the system, you are probably not very well-qualified to make commentary about it, especially if you must rely on the American mainstream media for your information; that machine has generations of bias built into it, with well-known examples such as selectively editing video and audio in a manner that suggests one thing when the extra seconds of context illustrate a completely different picture, or failing to provide coverage of certain speakers at a national political convention, which results in a suggestion of a different ethic mix in that party.

    Also, the American millionaire who pays 13% on $20 million in income is still paying $2.6 million in taxes. That’s not chump change, especially given the large numbers of Americans who don’t work or are exempted from paying taxes because they have such a low income level, and excluding the drug pushers and other criminals who actively avoid declaring income. In addition, our tax code is very complex, probably too much so, but that complexity does includes many provisions, including the right for that same millionaire to donate a few million to charity, thereby reducing the tax amount owed. He still has to pay the money to the charity to get the credit. So, with tithing (10% to charity), his personal income for the year would have been decreased, between taxes and charitable contributions, by about $4 million dollars, or 23%.

  105. Friends:

    This discussion seems to have been hijacked by ‘A German Native’. I don’t know if that was – or was not – deliberate, but it has replaced rational discussion of the thread’s subject with jingoistic anti-American, anti-German and anti-Japanese rubbish.

    Let us be clear, every country has cultural differences that should be applauded. Diversity is good because monoculture and monopolitics stifle competition and support between nations so hinder development which benefits all.

    If you don’t like the way things are in America or Germany or Japan then don’t live there. Indeed, this is one of the benefits of the differences between countries: the differences provide places to go (within constraints) if you prefer somewhere elsewhere to where you are.

    Importantly, we can learn from each other by exploring the advantages and disadvantages of our differences. A thread such as this gives opportunity to do that (in this case with respect to the Energy Policy being adopted by Germany).

    Most people prefer the culture in which they were raised. It is their home so they like their country. The problems arise when people denigrate other countries for no good reason. (There are good reasons to denigrate countries – e.g. militaristic expansionism – but that is not my point).

    Sadly, many people prefer to denigrate other countries for no good reason instead of learning from the experiences of others.

    One deflection of this thread provides a clear example of denigration for no good reason; viz. Health Services. And the ‘discussion’ of that clearly shows why such denigration not only inhibits learning from each other (in this case, has inhibited discussion of German energy policy) but is harmful in itself. I explain this harm by outlining the issues of the clear example.

    There are two basic systems for National Health Care provision and variations of them have been successfully adopted throughout the world. They are the British National Health system and the French Universal Health Insurance system. People who like a variant of one of these have a choice of many countries in which to live. But American individualistic culture makes it difficult for the US to adopt a variant of one of these systems. Simply, many (possibly most) Americans don’t want government to have responsibility for their medical provision.

    So, the US has always had a basically ‘third world’ health system where people in government employ or in particular jobs get medical costs met – or supplemented – by their employer, others cope as best they can (usually by buying personal insurance), and the extremely poor get a ‘handout’ of medical assistance. Obamacare attempts to spread the ‘handout’ to the “others” who were expected to cope. It is up to Americans whether they want to embrace Obamacare or revert to what they had before. And people who value independence from government can choose to live in the US or another country with a similar system.

    So people can choose a country with the medical provisions they want. There is no valid reason for denigrating others who make a different choice. There is only good reason to learn from the different experiences others.

    Such denigration inhibits (prevents?) learning from the differences. The differences are important. In this case, the denigration has inhibited discussion about German energy policy.

    Richard

  106. “””””…..Galane says:

    August 31, 2012 at 4:05 am
    ………………..
    Didn’t put the panels on mountings tall enough to drive a mower under and the panels are on fixed angle mounts. If the weeds weren’t growing up through the panels, they’d hit maximum output only for a short time a few days of the year, when the sunlight is hitting them close to perpendicular – if the sky happens to be cloud free at the time.

    To get the most power out of solar panels they have to be on 2-axis sun tracking mounts, or at least adjust for azimuth, and the weeds have to be kept cut down or the ground under and around paved or covered with materials impermeable or inhospitable to plant growth…….”””””

    Actually that’s an urban myth. They don’t need to be moveable at all. Easy to show that the greatest amount of total solar energy (let’s say PV only) is gathered by a flat panel parallel to the surface (ground). That’s because the sun only provides about 1,000 Watts per m^2 (normal to the sun-earth line, and if you have say 1,000 square metres of land, you can only collect cos(sun altitude) megaWatts peak. Then you have to factor in PV conversion efficiencies.

    Steerable structures are less efficient, and two axis are worst of all; they all have one fatal flaw; commonly called SHADOWS. The very worst of all solar collectors are the “solar furnace” types where hundreds of more or less flat mirrors are individually steered to track the sun, and reflect the energy onto a central boiler/absorber.. To track over say an average 8 hour day, from 60 degrees before meridian, to 60 degrees after, the shadow zone of each steerable mirror is huge so the mirrors have to be placed so widely apart, that the collection efficiency s zilch.

    Yes two axis steering is useful, when you only need to collect a fraction of the insolation, and you want to use high concentration focussing arrays, so that you can use very expensive triple junction concentrator solar cells. Wind energy is worse by orders of magnitude, because of the huge inlet manifold of thousands of acres, plus the exit duct of thousands more acres, to allow smooth air flow to the tiny propellor.
    The failure of Solyndra was largely due to their cylindrical (stupid) collectors. Cylinders cast shadows on each other, flat plates do not, so even if they gave them away for free you would be crazy to waste your valuable incoming solar energy space, on such silly designs. And that’s even before you consider the current hogging losses of a cylindrical solar cell.

  107. “””””…..richardscourtney says:

    August 31, 2012 at 11:44 am

    Friends:

    This discussion seems to have been hijacked by ‘A German Native’. I don’t know if that was – or was not – deliberate, but it has replaced rational discussion of the thread’s subject with jingoistic anti-American, anti-German and anti-Japanese rubbish……”””””

    Richard, I’m in agreement with you on the “German bashing” issue; a country that has brought the world so much science and culture; not to mention good beer.

    But that doesn’t transport to medical care, or medical insurance. Obamacare provides exactly zero medical care for anyone, which is why the Congress exempted themselves from its benefits.
    it is basically a forced “insurance” plan. Now we have de facto mandatory “automobile insurance” but not actually. Nobody (certainly in California) is REQUIRED to purchase automobile insurance in order to drive a car. EVERYBODY, is required to comply with the ” financial responsibility” mandate, which is to protect THE OTHER GUY from YOU. The government could care less whether you want to bash up your car and get it fixed or not. They do insist that if you bash up someone elses car or person or property, that you pay to make them whole again.
    The automobile insurance industry developed on its own to provide drivers and car owners, a good risk management tool to comply with the financial responsibility law.
    You can if you wish, self insure, and put up a bond to be used in the event you damage someone else; they don’t care if you damage yourself or property, and don’t want coverage to fix you.

    Medical insurance is a risk management vehicle to cover unforseen medical events. Many people don’t need maternity care (or insurance); young marrieds probably would want it, and share the costs with other in the same boat. Many folks never intend to have a sex change operation, so they see no need to insure against that eventuality. So anyone in the USA can purchase insurance, to cover their perceived likely risks, with a cost based on the numbers of persons in that category, and the costs of those issues.

    If you go sky diving five times every weekend, and specialize in jumping without a parachute, but getting one passed to you on the way down, by a fellow jumper; then you can buy health insurance for that risk.

    Many young people in good health see no need to have ANY medical insurance, and the vast majority of them get away with it and do just fine, till they hook up and suddenly have responsibilities.

    When I left NZ in 1961, they had government medical care, and private medical care, and you had your choice either way as you saw fit. Worked very well,, and the public hospitals were very good. Not sure it is that way now, but I know that a cousin of mine waited for over six months in
    line to get surgery for a brain tumor.
    Most Americans would gladly buy the medical insurance plan that the US Congress has for themselves; I would too.
    My own personal doctor, who is less than half my age, just quit his medical business, and left the industry; and he’s just one of many.

    Canadians, with their free medical system, still come to the USA for treatment.

    Free doesn’t mean it’s available. I can always offer at a lower price, something that I don’t even have for sale. The guy who can actually provide the product or service, has to do so, at a price that enables him to stay in business.

    But Obamacare covers all bases; it does provide for the death panels that Governor Palin mentioned; made up of beaurocrats, who will decide if you have lived long enough and don’t deserve a particular treatment. And these scoundrels will even NOT ALLOW you the treatment even if you can easily pay for it yourself. Those resources have to be reserved for the deserving; whome the death panels will choose. Seems like we went through this at least once already.

  108. george e smith says:

    “Free doesn’t mean it’s available.”

    George, I learn something worthwhile from every one of your posts.

  109. Dan in California says: August 31, 2012 at 10:01 am

    Thanks Dan. I saw Barack Obama’s coal comments and wrote about it at the time. This was a perfect example of America “shooting itself in the foot”.

    In 2007, US primary energy consumption consisted of oil (40%), natural gas (25%), coal (24%), nuclear (8%) and hydroelectricity (2%). As a percentage of total proved reserves of fossil fuels, the US held just over 2% of the world’s oil, 3% of natural gas, but almost 29% of global coal.

    http://www.bp.com/sectionbodycopy.do?categoryId=7500&contentId=7068481

    That is correct – the USA has almost 1/3 of global proved coal reserves, and yet you have been hurting your economy for decades by importing excessive amounts of foreign oil. Go figure.

    Since 2008, natural gas from the shale gas boom has eclipsed coal as an inexpensive energy source for the USA.

    For those in Europe who are paying “world prices” for natural gas, please note that natural gas in Canada and the USA now costs about $2 to $3 per GJ.

    $3 per GJ is the energy equivalent of $18 per barrel of oil, whereas actual oil prices are hovering just below $100 per barrel in North America, and well over $100 in Europe.

    When European governments ban fracking, they are “protecting” their citizens from inexpensive natural gas to heat their homes and generate their electricity.

  110. Friends:

    It seems that in trying to get people to address the subject of the thread I encouraged continued discussion of something else.

    Sorry.

    Richard

    • richardscourtney says:

      Friends:

      It seems that in trying to get people to address the subject of the thread I encouraged continued discussion of something else.

      No you didn’t Richard. Your point is clear and the thread needs to be brought back on point. I wonder if Anthony should not reconsider guidelines for this site on when moderators should step in when individuals appear to act like trolls, whether it can be proven they intended to or not.

      It remains clear that the Germans are doing some very strange things with their energy policy and many posts here point out a vast flotilla of problems from what appear to be poorly maintained PV solar “farms” to a rapid shutdown of nuclear power to an apparent wholesale resurgence of coal-fired electricity production, and what may have been an expensive subsidies and mandates experiment with the “free” and “100% renewable” solar and wind production methods. A key question remains if this is all because there is no one at the helm to craft a good, clear long-term policy, or if it’s all just reactionary politics.

      In the U.S., we have similar issues and much of it is clearly reactionary; how many people jumped on the “we could have a Fukushima here” bandwagon, when clearly we can’t have one of those. Re-asssessment is prudent when it’s evident there may be major scientific developments, but re-assessment for each and every new (and unverified) development along the way is unwise. Similarly, a rapid shutdown of all nuclear, coal- or gas-fired power plant would be lunacy; people in nations around the world would hear the thud of our industry and economy crashing to a halt — but I’m guessing a lot of enviro-activists would love to see that, as would a lot of foreign nations so that they might capitalize on our stupidity.

      We should be watching the Europeans and others as they stumble forward and seek to avoid their mistakes, considering of course that their experiences may not completely transfer to our system. Yet, for example, a net loss of jobs and net loss of wages with a shift to “green industry” wouldn’t appear to demand many caveats…

      The other troubling issue for the United States is that, for our local, state and federal politicians, “long-term” is the time from when the parties, glad handing, and favor distribution processes associated with this election end until the start of the next election cycle (as little as a few months to as much as about three years). That’s probably not far off from trying to make a cross-country trip that requires a change in direction at every major (and many minor) cross-roads along the way. Unfortunately, our citizenry and businesses (for- and not-for-profit) need more static goal posts at which to aim, instead of a state of constant shift and blockage. It would appear that other nations are operating in a similarly silly fashion with regard to what constitutes “long-term.”

  111. This report is unfortunately biased. Important are the last 2-5 years regarding “green energy” in Germany. Indeed, electricity is getting more and more expensive – but only for private consumers and smaller companies. The big industrial companies who consume over 55% of Germany’s electricity don’t pay eco taxes nor pay they the EEG (subvention paid to producers of green energy which is included in the price per kWh).

    The weird thing is now that we often have too much electricity coming from wind and solar power. The prices for electricity become partly negative or very low (without the EEG subvention). So the big companies not only save the EEG and eco-tax, they also significantly increase their profit due to very low energy prices as a consequence of the strong increase in renewables. In the end, private consumers are not only paying subvention for wind and solar power but also for the big national companies enjoying the very low energy prices at the energy market.

    Another aspect you might consider as private consumer: Save energy! But the problem is: The more energy is saved, the more energy is provided by renewables (as they come first, power plants based on coal and gas have to temporarily shut down in this case. If renewables have to shut down they get the same money as they would get if they would still run). The more electricity private consumers and small companies save, the lower the price for electricity but the higher the EEG subvention.

    So the problem is not, that renewables are extremely expensive. The problem is the subvention system and i.e. the EEG.

  112. So, at last Germany’s bluff is getting exposed on Renewables. Soon it will be followed with its irrational objection to GM food.

    All other countries who are apping the Germans will find tar on their faces.

    The scientific community knows the foolishness behind the so called “Green” / “Sustainable” talks of these “experts”. But just because of their distance from the mass media, especially the Nuclear community, the public opinion is on the wrong side.

    In the Indian State ( Province ) of Tamil Nadu, in the past 10 years, we have invested a huge amount of Rs.51,000 crores ( USD 10 Bn) in Wind Power and set up about 6300 MW of installed capacity. This 6300 MW has hardly given about 1500 MW average for just 4 months with a maximum output of 3000 MW for just few days in a year. That too it was erratically varying from 500 MW to 3000 MW in these few days. Rest of the times, it was varying from 0 to 1000 MW. The average PLF data is hard to get ! It could be at the maximum 20%.

    If only we had invested in Nuclear / Coal, we could have set up about 7000 MW coal / nuclear with the same amount and we would be getting about 5000 MW all 24 hours and all through the year, and not just for few months in a year when the wind blows !

    The highlight is that these are the best wind velocity sites in Inda and we can imagine what will be the PLF of the new Wind Mills which are being set up in other sites.

    The same fate awaits the Solar Power. We are investing huge amounts to satisfy the “green lobby” knowingly well what we are doing is foolish !

    A day will come when the public will come to know of the foolishness of the “green activists” and the “saviours” of the environment. On that day, these people will be thrown into the dust bin. Unfortunately, by that time it may be too late that the developing countries would have lost their steam in catching up with the developed countries and the gap can still widen.

  113. Well Peter Miller , 20% can never be reached, at the moment the figure is 0.001%, Wind Energy is expensive to build, expensive to keep functioning and are a super wast of money and also pollute the countryside and kill birds. Nuclear Plants are safe enough, as long as you don’t place them anywhere near a geological fault!! and coal burning helps provide CO2 gas for all plant life, and did you know that greenhouse farmers actually pump CO2 gas into their greenhouses to get better fruits etc.
    How am I qualified to enter tis blog? I am a certified Gas Analyst,
    Thank you,
    Fred Irving (Holland)

  114. It’s actually painful to watch Germany validate my contempt for renewables and the Greenist POV in general. Shadenfreude only goes so far.

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