Thursday, May 23, 2019

The Green New Deal Fails

Apparently, British Prime Minister Theresa May has reached the end of the road. This supremely incompetent politician had one job: to effect Brexit. She has failed. She has shown no leadership whatever. Until now she has refused to resign her position, out of pig-headed stubbornness. The result: the British conservative party is in a shambles. So, a conservative prime minister has destroyed her political party because she could not accept her failure.

In MittelEuropa German Chancellor Angela Merkel is playing out her term in office. Another right of center politician, touted as the leader of the world, seems to be gaining some political sustenance by being more anti-American than thou. She has signed Germany up to receive a massive amount of natural gas from Russia, thus making her nation’s energy supply dependant on Russia. She is doing everything in her power to defy American sanctions on Iran, to keep doing business with the world’s leading anti-Semitic terrorist state. And of course, she has sown the seeds for Germany’s eventual destruction by flooding the nation with Muslim migrants.

But, Merkel is sensitive to the environment. She instituted the German Green New Deal by shutting down Germany’s nuclear energy plants. Being sensitive to the needs of mother nature, and terrified by the possibility of a German Fukushima Merkel went all-in for alternative energy.

How is that one working out? Apparently, not too well. In a long and detailed story the German magazine Der Spiegel measures the progress of the greening of Germany. It is not very optimistic.

It opens:

It's a fantastic idea. The energy landscape of tomorrow. There are 675 people in Germany working every day to make it a reality -- in federal ministries and their agencies, on boards and panels, in committees and subcommittees. They are working on creating a world that on one single day in April became glorious reality. Here in Germany. It was April 22. Easter Monday.

That day, it was sunny from morning to evening and there was plenty of wind to drive the turbines across the entire country. By the time the sun went down -- without the need of even a single puff of greenhouse gases -- 56 gigawatts of renewable energy had been produced, almost enough to cover the energy needs of the world's fourth-largest industrialized nation.

Unfortunately, it was only for that day.

The other days are dirty and gray: Most of the electricity that Germany needs is still produced by burning coal. Then there are the millions of oil and natural gas furnaces in German basements and the streets packed with the cars with diesel- and gasoline-powered motors.

Renewables, my foot. They are a bright idea for bug-eyed buffoons, But if the wind does not rise and the sun is not out, they are wasted space. The great German project called Energiewende is failing:

The so-called Energiewende, the shift away from nuclear in favor of renewables, the greatest political project undertaken here since Germany's reunification, is facing failure. In the eight years since Fukushima, none of Germany's leaders in Berlin have fully thrown themselves into the project, not least the chancellor. Lawmakers have introduced laws, decrees and guidelines, but there is nobody to coordinate the Energiewende, much less speed it up. And all of them are terrified of resistance from the voters, whenever a wind turbine needs to be erected or a new high-voltage transmission line needs to be laid out.

How much has it cost? And what has it done for the country?

Germany's Federal Court of Auditors is even more forthright about the failures. The shift to renewables, the federal auditors say, has cost at least 160 billion euros in the last five years. Meanwhile, the expenditures "are in extreme disproportion to the results," Federal Court of Auditors President Kay Scheller said last fall, although his assessment went largely unheard in the political arena. Scheller is even concerned that voters could soon lose all faith in the government because of this massive failure.

Surveys document the transformation of this grand idea into an even grander frustration. Despite being hugely accepting initially, Germans now see it as being too expensive, too chaotic and too unfair.

You might think that this is a saving grace. The project is such a miserable failure that people will lose faith in government.

What went wrong? Her is Der Spiegel’s analysis:

But the grand transformation has lost its way. The expansion of wind parks and solar facilities isn't moving forward. There is a lack of grids and electricity storage -- but for the most part there is a lack of political will and effective management. The German government has dropped the ball.

One example is STEP up!, an incentive program meant to help companies deal more efficiently with electricity. Its initial goal was to approve 1,000 applications in 2017, but only seven were authorized in the first three quarters of that year. Then there is the law providing tax incentives for electric vehicles. Six months elapsed between the drafting of the law and its publication, despite the legislation's status being "particularly urgent."

As for the famous Paris Accord on climate change, Germany, along with the United States signed it in 2015. Was it anything more than virtue signalling? Apparently not.

In December 2015, Merkel signed the Paris Agreement on climate change, in which Germany pledged to do its part to slow global warming. More than three years have passed and almost nothing has been done. The migration debate and the rise of the right-wing populist Alternative for Germany have largely shunted the issue of climate change.

At the 2007 G-8 Summit in Heiligendamm, in northern Germany, Merkel indicated she was sympathetic to the idea that every person on earth should be allowed to emit the same amount of CO2. It was a revolutionary idea. But nothing came of it.

The government has taken a few steps to implement the policy, but it has happily avoided the more costly and difficult steps. Running industry and running motor vehicles on clean energy requires more than a few windmills and solar panels:

The transformation that has already taken place -- the shift in electricity production, fueled by billions in expenditures -- was the easiest step in the process. Politicians have ignored other elements, like industrial production, building efficiency and, especially, vehicle traffic. Involving those areas and coming up with an overarching concept, that's the hard part that must now be addressed. And it will determine whether Germany will once again become a model of sustainable economic production or whether the entire experiment will end in failure.

So, how did this marvelous idea turn into such a monumental failure?

As it happens, transferring the energy produced by wind and solar farms requires a considerable infrastructure. You need to put windmills in people’s back yards and to run power lines over their heads. Some suspect that these steps produce help hazards. Even if they don’t people don’t want them. Politically, it has become untenable. Using the courts and the regulatory state citizens have undermined policy implementation:

Instead of explaining to voters why it is necessary to conduct such a grid to bring energy from the windy north to the industrially strong south, politicians have wilted in the face of NIMBY protests. Indeed, almost everywhere such a power line tower or wind turbine is to be erected, officials are met with protest. Politicians have thus decided to put most of it underground, which is vastly more expensive and will take years longer to build.

Nine years ago, Rainer Spies, the mayor of the municipality of Reinsfeld in southwestern Germany, began planning the construction of a wind park. Together with the power company EnBW, he wanted to erect 15 turbines in a small forest not far from the highway between Trier and Saarbrücken. "Everything seemed to be ready," Spies says. But then the permit process began.

The overall result:

The number of new construction projects has collapsed in Germany, with just 743 new wind turbines joining the grid last year, 1,000 fewer than in the previous year. In Bavaria, Germany's largest state, just eight went into operation. The wind power boom is over, and manufacturers are suffering. Enercon and Nordex are slashing hundreds of jobs while Senvion, known as Repower Systems until 2014, has filed for bankruptcy. The industry is concerned that it could be facing a debacle of the kind that has already befallen German solar.

As noted, citizens, like the yellow vested protesters in France, do not like it:

The head of the local citizens initiative accosted Altmaier, saying the plan as it currently stands is nothing less than an experiment with the lives of humans and that the magnetic radiation of high-voltage lines had not been sufficiently researched. "I will take a close look at the route of the line," Altmaier promised. And then he and the state secretary climbed back onto the bus.

Apparently, the answer is not blowing in the wind:

Germany is also falling short of its initial targets when it comes to the expansion of offshore wind parks. In the North Sea and Baltic Sea combined last year, the extra capacity that went online didn't even add up to one gigawatt -- 23 percent lower than the previous year. In mid-April, Merkel inaugurated the Arkona wind park off the coast of the Baltic Sea island of Rügen. But not even the charming images of people blowing into their toy windmills at the ceremony can hide the fact that not even offshore wind parks are a growth market anymore.

And, let’s not forget, that renewables are heavily subsidized by government, through taxation, obviously:

The state has redistributed gigantic sums of money, with the EEG directing more than 25 billion euros each year to the operators of renewable energy facilities. But without the subsidies, operating wind turbines and solar parks will hardly be worth it anymore. As is so often the case with such subsidies: They trigger an artificial boom that burns fast and leaves nothing but scorched earth in their wake.

Germany is facing energy shortages, brown outs, shut down industry, what you will.

If all goes according to plan, the last nuclear power plant in Germany will be mothballed in just four years. The first coal-fired power plants are also set to go offline by then. At the same time, though, Germany's energy needs are likely to continue climbing.

That means that if renewable capacity isn't quickly expanded, a shortage could soon develop. All it would take is an overcast cold spell in 2023 with no sun and no wind. Should the so-called "dark doldrums" continue for several days, the system could quickly reach its limits. Mid-January 2017 was the last time Germany experienced such a situation.

As for what needs to be done, here are the numbers:

According to ESYS, Germany needs to increase its solar- and wind-facility capacity by a factor of five to seven, make synthetic fuel a pillar of the energy system and introduce a CO2 tax in all sectors. According to ESYS predictions, the transformation would cost 2 percent of the country's annual GDP. Currently, that would be about 70 billion euros.

By 2050, the costs would add up to 2 to 3.4 trillion euros, depending on the scenario. Other forecasts fluctuate between 500 million and about 2 trillion euros. One way or the other, the second part of the Energiewende will be expensive and exhausting, a project as demanding as German reunification.

Dare we mention that if higher energy costs make manufacturing too expensive companies will move production out of the country. They will move to places that did not get seduced by the promise of cheap, reliable, plentiful green energy.


David Foster said...

"Dare we mention that if higher energy costs make manufacturing too expense companies will move production out of the country."

Not ALL manufacturing is energy-intensive, but a lot of it is. And even for those manufacturers and other business that are not directly energy-intensive, they are still indirectly influenced by energy costs, because those costs have an impact on cost of living and hence of employee costs.

David Foster said...

My post Freezing in the Dark is relevant to this topic:

Leo G said...

The reporter is not well versed in the business of "green" energy. That one day when it all came together and wind and sun produced enough energy, the coal fired power plants were not shut down. Yes there was still CO2 being delivered to the atmosphere. Those plants are not instant on or off like a light switch. Therefore they are put into an "idling" mode.

trigger warning said...

The Boomer hope that we could all live the good life by making macramé basket hangers and singing "We Are The World" is Busted.

I await the obligatory accusation that Energiewende failed because not enough money was spent. And, of course, there's the dearth of superconducting transmission facilities drawing on Tesloid batteries made with unobtanium anodes.

Nothing, however, is quite so beautiful as politicians' fragile dreams frozen in the amber of "environmental" regulations demanded by enviroloons and polished by an army of bureaucrats. "Shovel-ready was not as shovel-ready as we expected." (Buraq "The Lightworker" Obama). :-D

David Foster said...

A useful piece on the problems of running a power grid encompassing unpredictable sources such as wind & solar:

Sam L. said...

Brexit: I wouldn't say that May failed; she torpedoed it fairly well, and her political position completely. Merkel had torpedoed herself, too, but not well enough to sink quickly. Turning off the nuclear power generators...that was just stupid.

Green energy: The green (currency) flows into many pockets, and the energy "is just resting".

ga6 said...

took almost fifty years but Stasi girl came through for her mentors, and honored the memory of her dead father..

UbuMaccabee said...

Germany's energy endgame. They destroyed their economy and have no plan to get out of this mess. Either they double down and go completely down the drain, or they backtrack entirely and admit they lied about everything. This German failure has been known for a while now, and the leftist cult in the US will not talk about it. It is a huge embarrassment for every green plan in the world. A major economic power, with tremendous engineering heft, actually did what the idiot green cult demanded--and it is a catastrophe. Nice to see this make the international news in such an unforgiving portrait of German stupidity.

Great job getting this out, Stuart. One of the most important stories this year. Send it to every environmental cultist in the nation.

Michael Leahy said...

Three points:

1). I rather think that May has succeeded in her objective, which was always to sabotage the will of the British people. Not incompetent, but supremely dishonest.

2). Merkel's actions are easily explained by researching her origins. A wildly effective 'sleeper' agent from the DDR.

3). Global warming allegedly causes increased atmospheric activity, including increased winds. These windmills are intended to reduce global warming. Consequently, they will decrease wind activity...need I go on?

Anonymous said...

You can take Angela Merkel out of East Germany, but you can't take the East German out of Merkel.
She has intentionally and purposefully made Germany dependent on Russian energy supply.
The Germans may distrust the Russians somewhat, but they HATE the Americans. For whatever reason I cannot understand, the Germans have an affinity for the Russians.
Recall, even Hitler signed made a deal with the Russians.

LIke the democrats here in the USA, who abhor everything about the USA (thus their support of a no border policy) , Merkel and her pals in the Green Party (i.e.,the German Bolshevik Party) seek to destroy Germany as it presently exists.
One way is to make it into an the German Islamic Republic. For Merkel, that is far superior than what is present day Germany.
This is all in line with the Marxist-Leninist vision of utopia in which their are no nations or borders; just a world order of worker's paradises.