Wednesday, January 8, 2020

Merkel's Green Energy Folly

The singularly inept German Chancellor Angela Merkel has taken the lead in the race toward renewable energy. She will not just be known for foolishly flooding her nation with Muslim migrants but she will also be remembered for shutting down Germany’s nuclear power industry in a fit of tree-hugging righteousness.

For the record, Merkel is not a zany left winger. She hails from the center right.

Now, Die Zeit editor Jochen Bittner brings us up to date on the fallout from Merkel’s embrace of renewables. In the New York Times:

The Merkel government has decided to phase out both nuclear power and coal plants. The last German reactor is scheduled to shut down by the end of 2022, the last coal-fired plant by 2038. At the same time, the government has encouraged the purchase of climate-friendly electric cars — increasing the demand for electrical power. And despite efforts to save energy in the past decades, Germany’s power consumption has grown by 10 percent since 1990.

How much more virtuous can you get?

Bittner continues that Merkel and her advisers did not calculate the practical consequences of the makeover:

Though renewables account for around 40 percent of Germany’s electricity supply, there are limits to further expansion, for reasons that are political rather than technological.

In some rural parts of Germany, people are fed up with ever growing “wind parks”; more citizens are protesting new — and often taller — wind turbines in their neighborhoods. And there is growing resistance to the new paths needed to transport electricity from coasts to industrial centers. According to official calculations, close to 3,700 miles of new power lines are required to make Germany’s “Energiewende,” or energy revolution, work. By the end of 2018, only 93 miles had been built.

Apparently, wind turbines are a noisy nuisance, one that kills large numbers of birds and that harms one’s little gray cells. As for power lines, the nation is behind the curve.

Better yet, in the absence of nuclear power Germany is forced to rely on coal:

By shutting down nuclear plants faster than those for coal, Germany may consign itself to dependence on fossil fuels, and all the damage to the climate they cause, for longer than necessary. Nevertheless, Germans’ opposition to nuclear power endures: 60 percent of them want to get rid of it as soon as possible.

Of course, this is the Democratic party program. Go figure.


trigger warning said...

It's only 500 km or so from Berlin to wind farms in Denmark. Should be a piece of cake. A self-proclaimed, well-educated technical guy from a Minneapolis engineering consulting firm (who once haunted these threads) suggested we cover AZ with solar panels and string imaginary superconducting high-voltage transmission lines from AZ to ME. Seems legit.

Chancellor Merkin, call your office. :-D

For the record, Lawrence Berkeley physicist and former O'Bama Energy Secretary Stephen "paint your roof white" Chu is in the news:

"A $1 Billion Solar Plant Was Obsolete Before It Ever Went Online"
--- Bloomberg, Jan 6, 2020

David Foster said...

"climate-friendly electric cars"

The emissions impact of electric vehicles is entirely dependent on the energy source used to generate the electricity.

It is odd that France has for a long time managed to generate 70% or so of their electricity consumption from nuclear, safely and reliably, but Germany, land of craftsmanship, manufacturing, and engineering, believes it can't do so itself. Maybe you have to speak French to do nuclear right?

I have a post and discussion thread up on the future of the global auto industry and especially electric cars:

UbuMaccabee said...

Darn it, David. I was just about to link that thread. Read it yesterday, excellent analysis. Red Napoleon is excellent as well.

USA = All energy options on the table. Low energy prices and economy is humming and we’ve reduced emissions and we have near energy independence (with YUUUGE political advantages as a result). Lots of birds. Mostly primitive Christian immigrants. Germany = Green energy only. Energy cost are outrageous, economic stagnation, slid into recession, exports uncompetitive, and dependent on France and Russia for energy. About to raise taxes to cover the giant hole Britain just blew in the budget. Dead birds everywhere. 8th century rape gangs congregating outside empty cathedrals.

Germany is a case study in energy failure, and with classic German arrogance, they will continue to double down on energiewende. But they will feel good as other nations study them for what to avoid.

Orangemanbad + Rick Perry = MAGA.

Sam L. said...

Remember, Merkel was brought up in East Germany. She's afraid that if they had nuke energy, she'd wake up one day to find an A-bomb in her bedroom, and wonder "To whom should I send this...?"

Ignatius Acton Chesterton OCD said...

Where are all those “Green Jobs”?

Ignatius Acton Chesterton OCD said...

Asking for a bevy of displaced coal miners.

This just in: fossil fuels employ a lot of people.

I have never understood hatred of the automobile.