Non-Tech : Alternative energy

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To: Eric who wrote (12816)2/13/2012 3:15:43 PM
From: Alastair McIntosh2 Recommendations  Read Replies (1) of 16914
Your numbers are from 2009, a lot has changed in the last two years..

I added 25% to bring the numbers up to 2011. That was the amount of wind added. Solar may have been slightly more but it was only 0.1% in 2009 so its still small. Germany was slightly below average for renewables in the EU in 2009. 1% total renewables is pretty close for the EU as a whole.

Here is another article that might interest you:

Germany’s Energy Transition Fiasco

Monday, 13 February 2012 16:02 FOCUS Magazin

The energy revolution is devouring its children: Germany’s phase-out of nuclear energy is not even near of being finalised, yet there is a growing threat that it will be abandoned. There are more and more signs that the transition from a nuclear to a 35 percent renewable energy supply by 2020 is not going to work.

Problems are mounting more and more violently on several fronts. In many places, citizens are objecting to the building of new wind turbines or much-needed new electricity pylons near their homes. There is even a name for the new type of protest:"Nimby", derived from the initials of the English “Not In My Back Yard”.

First bottlenecks

The existing grid network is already struggling due to power shortages. It is estimated that one third of the German electricity network operates at limit. Network operators are now considering emergency shutdowns. They warn that they cannot build new power lines as fast as the rapid expansion of solar and wind energy would make it necessary. It is increasingly likely, that much of the electricity generated by renewable energy cannot be fed into the grid any longer because it does not have the necessary capacity.

As a result of Germany’s renewables obligation, network operators in the windy state of Schleswig-Holstein had to pay an estimated 15 to 20 million euros last year alone for green energy which they could not accommodate because of network overload. This is an additional cost that is hitting electricity consumers as they have to pay levies for guaranteed market access for green power.

The network expansion is taking place only slowly due to protests and a lengthy approval process. Of 700 planned kilometres in Schleswig-Holstein, just 30 kilometres have been built; in all of Germany, only 200 kilometres have been built. The German Energy Agency estimates the additional requirement for a high voltage grid to be around 4,450 kilometres. According to Stephan Reimelt, head of GE Energy Germany, only 1,800 kilometres are in the planning stage. Germany's energy revolution, Reimelt criticised, was "a political decision without a technical concept behind it", and warned: "I am very concerned that we are running out of time."

The clock is ticking for Germany also in other areas. Already in two to three years, the threat of an acute bottleneck is looming as many old and unprofitable coal and gas power plants will be decommissioned. Overall, nearly 20 gigawatts of thermal power will be missing, according to a new study by Goldman Sachs. To this figure one has to add the loss of capacity due to the nuclear switch-off. The study lists how many gigawatts of which kind of energy will be installed and how much will be eliminated in northern and western Europe. The result is startling: While two years ago there was a reserve capacity of 13.8 gigawatts, this buffer will be gone by 2015.

Urgently needed to compensate for the lack of base load in the electricity grid would be new, environmentally friendly gas-fired power plants with high rate of efficiency. But the energy companies shy away from the financial risk, because gas-fired power plants can hardly compete anymore against heavily subsidized green energy. To have security planning, energy companies demand compensation for the retaining of power capacities. But this demand is strictly rejected by the government. Especially in the south of Germany, with its major consumption centres and where many nuclear power plants are still running, it could soon become close. All this will drive electricity prices up by about 30 percent, the study says.

Translation Philipp Mueller

FOCUS Magazin, 13 February
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