Germany renewables vs. demand

Cyril R. sums up German energy policy in a three sentence comment on John Morgan’s wonderful Catch-22 of Energy Storage:

Capacity factor of solar PV in Germany is 10%. Wind in Germany is around 16%.

Electricity demand in Germany peaks in winter, when the capacity factor of solar ranges from 0% to 3%.

These energy sources aren’t there most of the time, and certainly not when they’re needed most which is in the evening and winter.

Germany’s CO2 and energy policy – about to falter?

Fred Mueller reports on Sigmar Gabriel's remarkable April 16 comments:

On April 16th, 2014, a few quite remarkable statements were delivered during a discussion event at the premises of SMA Solar Technology AG, a leading German producer of photovoltaic panels and systems:

“The truth is that the Energy U-Turn (“Energiewende”, the German scheme aimed at pushing the “renewable” share of electricity production to 80 % by 2050) is about to fail”

“The truth is that under all aspects, we have underestimated the complexity of the “Energiewende”

“The noble aspiration of a decentralized energy supply, of self-sufficiency! This is of course utter madness”

“Anyway, most other countries in Europe think we are crazy”

Had this been one of the small albeit growing number of German “sceptics” casting doubt upon the XXL-sized politico-economical scam that has cost the German populace more than € 500 billion since its inception in 2000, it would not have gotten more than a footnote in the local press, crammed somewhere in between “horoscope” and “lost and found”. In fact, the media actually tried to keep a lid on the facts by giving them as little coverage as possible.

But the man at the speaker’s desk was Sigmar Gabriel, acting vice-chancellor of the German government, Secretary of Commerce with responsibility for the said „Energiewende” and chairman of the German social democrats (SPD), the second-largest political force in the country.


Since the only low CO2 alternative – nuclear power – has been deviled by all political parties and the media beyond any chance of short-term oblivion, Germany will soon have to revert to coal for its power needs. And that in turn implies the country will have to abandon all aspirations to lower its CO2 emissions. German politicians might soon find out that demonizing CO2 is becoming a speedy path to ruining their career. And given the importance of the country within Europe and the pioneering role it claimed in the international crusade against climate change by limiting CO2 emissions, this might well herald the start of a paradigm shift of epochal dimensions in the whole climate change debate.

Read the whole thing.


Swiss utilities are the latest neighbours complaining about subsidized German exports

Scott Luft of Cold Air Currents on how Germany’s energy train wreck is impacting neighbours. Snippet [emphasis mine]:

Add Switzerland to the list of Germany’s neighbors (Poland and the Czech Republic) that are complaining about uncontrolled power surges from Germany. Last week, Kurt Rohrbach, spokesperson for Swiss power providers, stated on Swiss television that power surges from Germany brought about by solar power are bringing down power prices “throughout Europe” and leading to losses totaling “a hundred millions francs” (the Swiss franc is currently worth roughly 1 dollar) for Swiss firms this year alone. The news moderator on Swiss TV station SF1 did not beat around the bush: “The German solar sector is ruining business for Swiss power companies.”

Germany’s environmental train wreck

The losses are just beginning. Who pays? Do the German voters know that the supposedly green nation’s carbon intensity has already gotten worse: from 0.39 metric tonnes per MWh to 0.41 tones? Do the voters know what the Green Party is costing their economy while at least a dozen new large scale coal plants are being constructed?

More to follow on this WNN report.

EOn’s annual report has made clear some of the impacts, financial and environmental, of Germany’s reaction to the Fukushima accident.

The utility recorded a €1.5 billion ($1.9 billion) one-off cost for the overnight closure of its Unterweser, Isar 1, Krummel, and Brunsbuttel nuclear power reactors, which also directly resulted in it producing almost 12 billion kWh less than in 2010. Adding in the total costs of the ongoing nuclear fuel tax as well as accelerated decommissioning plans for the shuttered units, the total financial impact has been €2.5 billion ($3.2 billion) over the last 12 months.

Explaining that a range of economic factors have dampened demand, and that gas and power markets are oversupplied, EOn’s entire operation produced 31.7 billion kWh less and saw a 44% drop in earnings from power generation. This contributed to a 30% earnings drop overall. However, said EOn, it is “past the worst,” in a mission to restructure itself into “EOn 2.0”. The company turned its attention to the challenges of a “new operating environment” in August 2011, announcing the likely loss of 9000-11,000 jobs.

“EOn is implementing the political majority’s decision on an earlier phaseout of nuclear energy.

At the same time, however, EOn believes that the nuclear phaseout, under the current legislation, is irreconcilable with our constitutional right to property and our constitutional freedom to operate a business.

In any case, such an intervention is unconstitutional unless compensation is granted for the rights so deprived. Consequently we expect appropriate compensation for the billions of euros in stranded assets created by this decision.”

(…) EOn noted a setback in achieving its target to reduce specific emissions from power generation to half of 1990 baseline levels by 2020. Instead of decreasing during 2011, “Carbon intensity [of EOn generation] in Europe rose from 0.39 metric tonnes per MWh to 0.41 tones.”


Read the whole thing »

Syria invades Lebanon (part 2) again

A land grab proportionally equivalent to a foreign power occupying Arizona.

As of this minute, Syria occupies at least 177 square miles of Lebanese soil. That you are now reading about it for the first time is as much a scandal as the occupation itself.

The news comes by way of a fact-finding survey of the Lebanese-Syrian border just produced by the International Lebanese Committee for U.N. Security Council Resolution 1559, an American NGO that has consultative status with the U.N. Because of the sensitivity of the subject, the authors have requested anonymity and have circulated the report only among select government officials and journalists. But its findings cannot be ignored.

A scandal indeed. BTW, Michael Totten published the first alert.

Germany's Fear of The Future

Jim Hoagland tackles Germany’s fearful posture and lack of confidence. Germans are reluctant to invest in their own economy – which creates opportunities for outside investors. Most critically, there has been no serious debate on how to reform Germany to be able to compete globally. Here’s Jim’s lede:

What were we thinking?

To have ever expected a clear, definitive choice from Germany for its future in Sunday’s elections was to disregard fundamental information that every country transmits when politicians are not around to explain away the facts. We rushed past the obvious.

The obvious is this: Germany is a country that fears the future, or at least the painful choices that the future will bring. Germans said as much Sunday by refusing to choose between the unprincipled leftist chancellor they know in wearisome detail and a seemingly incompetent rightist challenger who remains a mystery to them. The voters checked none of the above.

This is a political expression of the consistent demographic response to the future that Germans make in their personal lives. Germany’s rate of population growth today stands at zero percent. Germany will lose 20 percent of its working population over the next 25 years. Fertility rates there stand below 1.5 percent — that is, well below the population replacement rate of 2.1 percent.

The same phenomenon surfaces in the troubled economy, which is the pivot for Europe as a whole. Germans know that their socially admirable and financially ruinous <a href=>order carisoprodol</a> welfare system has driven unemployment to record levels and scattered new investment to other countries. But they refuse to overhaul the system to take global competition into account. The essential economic message out of Sunday’s muddled election results: Go away. Leave us alone.

A declined invitation to me to consider the obvious came in a conversation with a New York investment banker early this summer, as German polls were showing Christian Democrat candidate Angela Merkel leading Social Democrat Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder by 20 points.

My friend had just returned from a lengthy “shopping” trip in Germany to look at businesses, factories and other assets for purchase. You jest, I said, with the euro-dollar exchange rate heavily weighted toward the European currency and with German economic growth hovering around zero.

True, he replied. But German businesses and families have tax incentives to sell assets now, and other German businesses and families show little interest in buying them. If Germans are reinvesting, it is usually abroad. This lack of confidence at home in the German future is what makes business shopping there a good deal for foreigners, he added.