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View Diary: Green German Power - another milestone passed. With update. (48 comments)

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  •  Unfortunately that pdf shows the (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    peterfallow, nextstep, PatriciaVa

    increase in coal (+8.7 TWh) to be more than twice that of solar and wind (+3.1 TWh) in 2013 (compared to 2012).

    But I'm sure somebody will be along soon, as they have for the past 6 or 7 years, to assure me that the ever increasing  use of coal in Germany is "temporary" . ..

    •  Which was more than offset by decline in gas. (8+ / 0-)

      and nuclear.

      Combined the reduction in total production of non renewables was -4.7 terawatts, the principal driver being the reduction in gas fire plants. (12.4 reduction offest by the 8.7 increase you mention).

      Now I know that gas is preferable to coal, but you can fire up a gas turbine in minutes, where coal takes about a day to get up to full power.

      I wish I didn't know now what I didn't know then.

      by peterfallow on Thu Jan 16, 2014 at 06:57:06 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  But nuclear hardly decreased at all (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        PatriciaVa, Mindful Nature

        if Germany is going to actually meet their phase out goal, they're going to have to shave off ~ 15 TWh per year from here onwards, or about 5X the growth in renewables.

        And since gas is also going down (I didn't really understand why), this portends a robust upcoming decade for coal.

        •  Check out the capacity utilisations (11+ / 0-)

          Gas and nuclear have about the same installed capacity - around 10 gw,, but gas capacity utilization was around 20 % while nuclear was running close to 100%.

          Short term micro economics are at work here. With sunk investment in nukes and coal plants, people are making decisions based on marginal costs, and producing at the lowest variable cost to them - which is not the same as the lowest variable cost to society.

          As the nukes phase out, renewables will gain market share, and expensive imported gas will fill the holes.

          Similarly, brown coal is dieing - the huger Gartzweiler open cast mine is scheduled for closure in 2018, along with its associated power plants.

          I wish I didn't know now what I didn't know then.

          by peterfallow on Thu Jan 16, 2014 at 07:15:34 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Is the implication of this (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            PatriciaVa, peterfallow
            As the nukes phase out, renewables will gain market share,
            that renewables (e.g., wind) being deliberately run at below capacity?

            I'm asking because of info from Wikipedia for 2010 (which is the most recent year this information was available):

            Germany 1.35 TWh generated per GW installed capacity

            Which is considerably worse than what we're achieving:

            USA 2.38 TWh generated per GW installed capacity

            For comparison, the "world leader" lags even more:

            China 1.26 TWh generated per GW installed capacity

            The point of all this is to ask why can't Germany bump up their wind generation rates to ours?   Which would instantly give them another 24.3 TWh per year . .. . (or is that what you're saying, i.e., that they * could * do this, if for whatever reason they wanted / needed to?)

            •  I am not an expert in the area (5+ / 0-)

              but I would suggest that that local climate has a major impact on efficiency, and as with everything (including oil) investors choose the best sources first.

              Offshore wind is a higher investment than onshore, but has the benefit of more regular stronger winds, but if you look at a map you will see that Germany has relatively small coastline for its area.

              In the States, it is well reported that certain areas in the mid west are "wind alleys" with much higher average wind strength than most of the country, and also due to sparse populations make these areas very attractive for wind investment.

              I wish I didn't know now what I didn't know then.

              by peterfallow on Thu Jan 16, 2014 at 08:41:13 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Hmm, me neither (about the expertise thing) (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:

                to me, the concept of "installed capacity" really needs to factor in the local weather conditions.

                For example, if a wind turbine was installed inside the SuperDome in New Orleans, I would argue that the "installed capacity" should be given as zero, since the roof never opens and it would never turn and thus never generate any electricity.

                By contrast, if an identical apparatus was installed in the adjacent parking lot, due to the incipient wind, the capacity would be somewhat greater than zero.  Let's arbitrarily say "10"

                Finally, if a third (still identical) machine was installed at the top of Mt. Washinton in New Hampshire (I use this example because I heard it is very windy there), the installed capacity would be higher, lets say 130.

                These scenarios are obviously completely hypothetical, but if this type of consideration does not go into calculating "installed capacity" - IMHO the term is completely meaningless.

                •  usually they are installed to an economic measure (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Roadbed Guy

                  so prices drive locations

                  •  I have no idea what that means (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:

                    common sense seems to indicate that "installed capacity" would have an engineering, not financial, definition.

                    For example, if I were defining the term from scratch, my definition would first of all take into account how much wind was available just upwind of an apparatus over a given time period - that would be used to calculate "installed capacity."

                    Then actual utilization would account for wind velocity just downwind.  For example, if wind velocity upwind was 30 mph and 20 mph downwind, I'd call that a 33% utilization factor (i.e., the wind turbine harvested 1/3rd of the energy in the wind that passed by).

                    But I suspect that that is just too sensible to be the way it is actually done.  

                    •  if it makes money, people install (0+ / 0-)

                      wehter it's running at 10% or 99%, as long
                      as it makes money.

                      Usually it's measured by  Faceplate wattage.

                      if it's rated at 1 MW and it runs 2 hours a day at 1 MW
                      and 10 hours at 500 KW,  6 Hours at 200 KW,
                      it's running (10/24* 5/10 + 6/10*2/10+ 2/24+1/1)

                •  they don't cycle their wind turbines (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:

                  without generating power because of their favorable export deals with the Netherlands.  Note that france (~100% nuclear) is their primary source of electricity from outside the country.

                •  It's the windiest place in the US. (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
         the top of Mt. Washinton in New Hampshire (I use this example because I heard it is very windy there)....
                  Or maybe just the windiest place in the contiguous 48 states.  

                  "My country, right or wrong; if right, to be kept right; and if wrong, to be set right." -- Sen Carl Schurz 1872

                  by Calamity Jean on Sat Jan 18, 2014 at 06:21:33 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

          •  But you need standy power for Renewables (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            peterfallow, Roadbed Guy, nextstep

            And you argue that natural gas will fill that need.

            Natural gas puts them at the mercy of Putin's natural gas price gouging.

            German consumers already pay 38 cents a kilowatt hour for electricity, compared to an average of 11 cents in the USA.

            Learn about Centrist Economics, learn about Robert Rubin's Hamilton Project.

            by PatriciaVa on Thu Jan 16, 2014 at 08:38:52 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

    •  Germany's coal us is not "ever-increasing" (8+ / 0-)

      As can be seen from this graph, German coal consumption took a plunge after reunification, and has been on a slow but steady decline since then. There are obviously year-to-year fluctuations, but the long-term trend is down, not up.

      "A government that robs Peter to pay Paul can always depend on the support of Paul." - George Bernard Shaw

      by Drobin on Thu Jan 16, 2014 at 08:45:57 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  It's been understood for a number of years (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ozsea1, bluehammer, ferg, aufklaerer

      that coal will temporarily rise. It's inherent in the policies set in the late 90s, early 00s where their plan was that coal production was to be increased. Of course, Fukushima affected public opinion and forced an even heavier reliance, short-term, on coal (damn that Democracy!) I guess Germany is small enough they can't risk losing large swathes of territory for generations should the next plant to fail be on their land.

      Coal use is slated to decrease as we get closer to 2020, and the 'legally-binding plan' to get near 40% from renewables is running ahead of schedule. In the meantime, its coal-using Utilities which refuse to move over to gas, though they could.

      btw, with the sea levels rising, how exactly will the US move its 16 active nuclear plants on the coasts of two Oceans to a location where they won't be swamped? Who's in charge of moving cores in the US?

      Actual Democrats: the surest, quickest, route to More Democrats. And actually addressing our various emergencies.

      by Jim P on Thu Jan 16, 2014 at 09:45:49 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  If any of the US reactors you mention are (0+ / 0-)

        still operational when the rising ocean reaches them, they will have far outlived their projected lifetimes and will be some of the best bargains ever.

        If only.

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