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

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  •  I don't understand your issue. (0+ / 0-)

    Energy is used for a variety of purposes; transportation, lighting and heating to name a few. That energy comes from a variety of sources (oil, coal, natural gas, renewables...) but they aren't used in the same proportions for each use. All industrial nations rely heavily on on petroleum for transportation but few places rely on it for electricity (Hawaii and remote locations in Alaska being notable exceptions). The two primary means of providing winter heating (or "home heating", I believe the terms are pretty much interchangeable - at least in the US) are electric baseboard heating and natural gas furnaces - acknowledging that there are non-trivial amounts of heating provided by users of wood burning stoves, oil fueled boilers, geothermal heat pumps, some co-generated district heating and possibly others.

    The sources of electricity in Germany is relevant to the issue of residential heating only to the exent Germany relies on resistance heating as the source of the heat, which I am led to believe is very little. But in France, as the article indicates, electric baseboard heating is much more prevelant, which is why electricity demand increases proportionally more for a drop in temperature than it does in Germany. Conversely, other than the electricity needed to run furnace blowers and heat pumps, Germany's electricity demand should not increase as much for a drop in temperature, but use of natural gas will increase.

    •  That's the problem with people (1+ / 0-)
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      who are talking about one system and applying it to another. Germany is NOT the US, and you cannot use the same standards, yardsticks, assumptions, etc. etc. We have lots of different types of home heating. Up until the place I live in now, which has an energy-efficient pellet burning system, every other house or apartment I lived in used heating oil, except once when I lived in a place with electrical heating. Heating oil was reasonably cheap at one time, but - obviously - has become prohibitively expensive over the last few years, and is one big reason I moved in 2010. I have never lived anywhere that used natural gas for heat, and I would say my experience would be fairly typical. That's one reason I dispute your (M. Besson's) claim and need to see more evidence of it. I do know that gas usage has increased because the streets in the neighboring town of my last rental was torn up for months because of gas pipes being installed. But that is merely anecdotal, I would like to see some statistics and not a French minister's sayso. Politicians will say anything for political points anywhere, France included.
      But that is beside the point of where the gas being used comes from, Germany gets 33% of its gas from Russia, the rest from other countries like Norway and the Netherlands. So any way you slice the energy pie, you are wrong about that point. The only source of energy Germany has in abundance naturally is lignite. Would you rather they use more of that? I didn't think so. If renewables is the best way for Germany, and it seems to be working, why fight it so hard? Your energy (ha) would be better put to changing things in the US, like energy efficiency and changing absolutely horrible energy-wasting American habits. I see it every time I visit home. Mind-boggling waste.

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

      by translatorpro on Thu Feb 09, 2012 at 07:20:58 AM PST

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      •  I did some additional digging and was surprised (1+ / 0-)
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        at the apparent extent to which Germany apparently still relies on oil for heating (although I understand it is also still commonly used in New England). I am having a hard time finding independent corroborating sources but this (pdf) seems to indicate the primary sources of heating in germany are oil and natural gas boilers and co-generation district heating (which I can only assume is also largely from natural gas). Not much in the way electric resistance heating. I can also only assume that as Germany moves away from oil for heating it will retrofit to gas boilers or similar.

        If this is the case, I fail to see how my statement that France relies proportionally more on electricity for heating than Germany is invalid.

        As to where Germany gets its natural gas, my sense is that when Russia cuts back on its deliveries to Western Europe it is not a trivial matter for Norway and the Netherlands to pick up the slack.

        •  You were trying to score (0+ / 0-)

          points on a mistaken basis, trying to make Germany look bad for whatever reason by intimating that Germany uses natural gas from Russia for most of its winter heating needs. That was where my problem was and is, and your statement is false. I don't really care what France uses, my only interest is to not let misconceptions about Germany's energy policy stand unchallenged on this website. That's all. Your "sense" of how Germany gets its gas or from whom is pure speculation without some facts to back it up.
          And you still haven't stated your reason for trying to denigrate Germany's efforts to combat climate change. That looks pretty suspicious and makes me question your motives. Who in their right mind would have anything against developing renewable energy sources unless there was a hidden agenda? Hmmm?

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

          by translatorpro on Thu Feb 09, 2012 at 08:55:56 AM PST

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