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View Diary: "Winter Deep Freeze Will Cause Breakdown of German Electric Grid" (245 comments)

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  •  The author of that article, Alexander Neubacher, (15+ / 0-)

    has absolutely no clue what he is talking about in regards to renewables.

    His main problem is that he trusts in the "analyses" of the RWI, which is basically a Big Fossil think tank with extremely close ties to R.W.E., one of Germany's biggest coal-burning electricity providers.

    New numbers issued by the pro-industry Rhine-Westphalia Institute for Economic Research (RWI) will only add fuel to the fire. The experts calculated the additional costs to consumers after more solar systems were connected to the grid than in any other previous month in December. Under Germany's Renewable Energy Law, each new system qualifies for 20 years of subsidies. A mountain of future payment obligations is beginning to take shape in front of consumers' eyes.

    According to the RWI, the solar energy systems connected to the grid in 2011 alone will cost electricity customers about €18 billion in subsidy costs over the next 20 years. "The demand for subsidies is growing and growing," says RWI expert Manuel Frondel. If all commitments to pay subsidies so far are added together, Frondel adds, "we have already exceeded the €100 billion level."

    "RWI expert"... now that's an oxymoron. That second paragraph doesn't even make any sense.... "the currently connected solar power systems will cost $18 billion over the next 20 years, yet have already exceeded $100 billion"? Say what?

    Furthermore, what this so-called expert, who works for the Big Fossil institute, doesn't mention, is that the solar feed-in-tariff rate is degressive, ie. it goes down by a minimum of 15% to 30% every year, ie. the new solar power systems coming online are producing far, far less expensive electricity than those that went online even 2 years ago, ie. new solar power systems are hardly contributing to a rise in electricity costs anymore.

    What is probably the shabbiest journalism in that article is that Neubacher concludes with the hare-brained statements of the German economics minister, a guy who hails from the neoliberal FDP party, which is polling at around 2 to 3% .... nobody even takes that guy seriously anymore. We all know that he's firmly in the pocket of Big Fossil.

    There are so many factually incorrect statements in that article/op-ed, that I'd have to spend hours debunking them all. It's basically a Big Fossil hit piece. It's no surprise to see that kind of thing happening, though, as Big Fossil is running scared because solar is becoming so successful and they can't figure out a way to keep their oligopolies intact with solar.

    "A candle loses nothing by lighting another candle" - Mohammed Nabbous, R.I.P.

    by Lawrence on Wed Feb 08, 2012 at 06:30:27 PM PST

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    •  Sure - I have no idea who the author is (5+ / 0-)

      I'll take your word for it that her's in the pocket of 'big fossil' as you put - I don't track German politics closely enough to know.

      However, if you just take the current subsidies for 2011 at 8 billion euros for 3 percent of power that's not particularly sustainable.

      If the solar feed in tariff is regressive as you say - and I can't find a link, but again I'll take your word for it, then clearly the incentive to go solar will also decrease.

      I don't know the answer but I have this sneaking feeling that this diary is not presenting a clear cut picture - especially since it's apparent that renewables are not currently sustaining Germany - not according to the news articles that they have been importing energy since they shuttered their nukes last August - and not at 3 percent of output.

      I do agree that France is buying energy from Germany - and apparently vice versa. Seems to go month to month, depending on who needs it.

      •  Well, it's a European grid, so there is a certain (12+ / 0-)

        amount of im- and exporting going on all the time.

        Germany did export more electricity than it imported last year, despite 8 nuke plants going offline. Germany's biggest problem right now is not the amount of electricity produced, but the challenge of redesigning the grid so that it is adapted to renewables instead of large-scale power plants. The current, conservative German govt. has been dragging its feet on that because they originally intended to extend the run times of nuke plants.... that was before Fukushima happened and they reversed course.

        That 8 billion in subsidies is not just for solar. The article just attempts to portray it that way, as it is a hit piece. The 8 billion is likely for all renewables, which accounted for about 20 to 21% of electricity production in Germany in 2011.

        If you really want to dig into this and learn more, the live blog diary that I linked to in the diary update is a must-read, especially if you want to understand how the F.I.T. works.

        The incentive to go solar isn't really decreasing, as the price drops in solar power systems have been similar to the degressive F.I.T. That has always been the intent of the F.I.T. - to stimulate a market and reduce the cost of renewables via economies of scale and technological advancements.

        "A candle loses nothing by lighting another candle" - Mohammed Nabbous, R.I.P.

        by Lawrence on Wed Feb 08, 2012 at 07:20:11 PM PST

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        •  Thanks, I will (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Lawrence, basquebob, translatorpro

          Like I said, I just happened to be following some articles recently on the subsidy battle on Der Speigel.

          Is this really a major issue? Or just Merkel's government freaking about costs in a time when the EU's economy is such a blast with the sovereign debt debacle?

          •  It's the corporate wing of the conservative CDU (10+ / 0-)

            and also the neoliberal FDP coalition partner that is freaking out. Their corporate Big Fossil bosses are seeing their oligopoly disintegrate and are doing everything in their power to stop it.... it's similar to the situation with Republicans in the U.S.

            It'll be an issue until the next election, when they are extremely likely to be kicked out of govt. When that happens, you'll see renewables growth accelerate drastically.

            The vast majority of Germans are really big on renewables and will kick out any govt. that wants to go nuke again.

            "A candle loses nothing by lighting another candle" - Mohammed Nabbous, R.I.P.

            by Lawrence on Wed Feb 08, 2012 at 07:39:14 PM PST

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      •  Imports/exports (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        eigenlambda
        I do agree that France is buying energy from Germany - and apparently vice versa. Seems to go month to month, depending on who needs it.
        To understand what's going on you have to understand how the European grid works. Electricity flows all the time back and forth across the French/German border, often both ways at the same time. It's not uncommon for electricity to be flowing through French lines on the way to another country, like Italy. This gets registered both as an import and an export for the French grid. Thus, if you count just "imports" or "exports" you'll get a spuriously high number.

        At the end of the day, it's net imports or net exports that matter. Both France and Germany have historically been net exporters of electricity. What Germany's new reactionary energy policy will mean is still yet to be seen. Apparently, they've just restarted several of their "shutdown" reactors to deal with the recent cold weather.

        Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former.
        -- Albert Einstein

        by bryfry on Wed Feb 08, 2012 at 07:24:19 PM PST

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      •  Yeah, you're right. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        kyril

        It isn't (the diary). Countries, states and provinces buy and sell power from each other all the time, and the amounts don't always correlate directly with their domestic output. This is often obfuscated by people trying to make an argument one way or the other.
        And of course their are economic factors affecting domestic consumption. Usually the better the economy, the lower the net exports because of high internal demand.

        •  There are very clear (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Lawrence

          statistics available on every type of energy used in Germany, where it comes from, who is using what kind and how much. No one is obfuscating anything. The Germans are very exact - even to a fault, and I think their engineering skills alone can vouch for that.
          You can start here:
          http://www.ag-energiebilanzen.de/...
          Click on the various tabs on the bottom of the excel table.
          And that's just for openers. If you want really precise information and not the mush you get in news articles or reports not based on official German sources, I can provide links to keep you busy until Doomsday, assuming you are genuinely interested in facts and not propaganda.

          „Wer kämpft, kann verlieren. Wer nicht kämpft, hat schon verloren.“ - Bertolt Brecht

          by translatorpro on Thu Feb 09, 2012 at 05:37:58 AM PST

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