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View Diary: Germans abandon Big 4 Energy Companies in droves - Govt. to Close Nuke Plants (95 comments)

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  •  The framing "coal or nuclear" is (11+ / 0-)

    .....old. And closes people's minds to alternatives.
    The new energy system will be based on renewables and energy efficiency. No need for coal. Gas can serve as a bridging fuel for some time without endangering climate protection.
    Germany can go renewable by 2050 and reduce its carbon dioxide emissions by more than 95 % (compared to 1990), some German research institutes say it can be done by 2030.
    The future is renewable :-)

    •  Will Germany slap trade sanctions against China? (0+ / 0-)

      I ask because China has stated that under a best-case scenario, it will increase CO2 emissions by 75% by 2020, compared to 2005 levels.

      And that's best case.

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

      by PatriciaVa on Mon May 30, 2011 at 07:39:08 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  You mean it will not help a transition (4+ / 0-)

        to new energy supply systems in other countries around the world if Germany, a wealthy industrialized country shows how it can be done?
        That's ridiculous.
        Germany can be a model - technically and organisationally. The Germany Law for Renewable Energies from 2001 has been copied around the world because it has proved to be extremely effective.
        A German model can help a great deal by providing technical solutions to other countries which are now sitting on the fence. It will show the people living there what their governments can do, if they actually want to do it and thus it can empower people to stand up for their own future. That creates leverage.
        It will show policy makers that the transition can be done and how it can be done. It will show that the new industrial revolution creates prosperity and an incredible number of jobs. It will encourage companies to take the same path in order to profit from and contribute to this new industrial revolution.
        It will encourage developing countries because they see that industrialized nations finally begin to take seriously their moral responsibility to reduce CO2 emissions (something the developing countries have always seen as a prerequisite to real negotiations) and it will show them a sustainable path to take. Negotiations with developing countries can thus become easier and more fruitful.
        China is worried about their CO2 emissions because climate change means they become much more vulnerable as extreme and frequent droughts are bad if you have to feed so many people. So there's an important point for them and if you combine this with industrialized companies showing the way, they will come around.
        We will get there. Why do you want to prevent Germany from taking the first steps? Are you afraid this might work?

    •  No really...those "solar GWs" onl work for (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      4 hours a day...look at the famous meter they have in Germany that shows real time solar...every single one of those "GWs" is backed up by...nuclear and coal and natural gas.

      Part of the previous gov't phase out plan, in 2001, was the increased used of coal and gas. After G. Schroader and his Green Foreign Minister signed the accord for a nuclear phase out, they both ended up going to work for competing natural gas companies. In the case of Social Democratic Schroader, it was Gasprom.

      So..yes...lobbies work quite effectively and the biggest single one against nuclear was...Gasprom.

      That 17% or more of the German electric grid some times is provided by solar and wind means absolutely nothing in terms of replacing the nuclear. They will IMPORT nuclear energy (and hydro) from Scandanavia and France.

      As Putin recently put it..."those whacky Germans, well, no we can sell them wood...".

      Dr. Isaac Asimov: "The most exciting phrase to hear in science, the one that heralds new discoveries, is not 'Eureka!' but 'That's funny ...'"

      by davidwalters on Mon May 30, 2011 at 08:32:09 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  What are you trying to tell us? That Germany (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        mahakali overdrive, Russgirl, amry

        doesn't have a purely renewable energy supply system yet?
        I guess people know that.

        Unfortunately, or I should rather say fortunately, the renewable park has become so big that even last year, when there was unusually litlle wind, there were situations during which a competition between wind farms and baseload plants meant that wind farms had to be turned off fast or that electricity had to be sold to other countries at a negative price (that means you pay someone so that they take electricity off your hands; it has also happened to Spain) in order to stabilize the grid (now there is an arrangement with compensation payments for turned off wind turbines) Baseload plants can't be regulated very fast (for technical, safety and financial reasons) that's why, from a certain point on, there is a competition between renewables and baseload plants which then have to be reduced correspondingly.
        Gas plants are easier to regulate that's why they can serve as a bridging fuel to balance the fluctuating renewables until fossil gas is no longer required. Apart from that, fossil gas is low in carbon dioxide emissions compared to coal, so it is the best solution.
        Mr Schroeder's behaviour obviously was a disgrace but I am sorry to tell you that in Germany it was not only Mr Schroeder (or Mr Fischer who I recall first became a professor for several years) who wanted gas as a bridging fuel: it was the Greens in general and big environmental organisations like Greenpeace Germany for example.
        Because gas simply makes sense as a bridging fuel as explained above.
        Let me add one more thing:
        Germany has been exporting electricity for years and even at times when 6 or 7 nuclear plants were not operating, Germany was still exporting.
        The country has gone from less than 5% renewable electricity to more than 17% in 10 years...I am sorry for Mr Putin but I will think that poor guy will have to keep his wood. Germany is not planning on importing electricity but on ramping up renewables and energy efficiency.
        The future is renewable :-) whether it pleases you or not.

        •  No KIB, that Germany's decisions are 100% (0+ / 0-)

          political and not scientific. "Gas plants" are easy to regulate? What does this mean? THe entire renewable grid now and in the future is based on gas and coal. It's not going away and despite Germany's 'preference' for it to do so, no one IN the electrical industry believes that gas and coal will ever go a way.

          The "bridge" technology is music to the ears of the gas industry, which is why they are "for" the entirety of the Geman plan: more wind and solar, more gas. They know that only gas can cut into nuclear's baseload ability.

          You simply prove my point, like Joseph Kennedy, Jr a big wind developer, speaking before the Gas Industry lobby in the US who told the audiance "wind and solar = gas". Germany is going to be the laughing stock of the energy industry because they have assured that this "bridge" will be, like the Brooklyn Bridge, one made quite sturdy and lasting centuries.

          But again, I think France and Sweden with help by shipping clean nuclear energy to Germany. So they could "appear" to use renewables but on a bedrock nuclear baseload.

          Dr. Isaac Asimov: "The most exciting phrase to hear in science, the one that heralds new discoveries, is not 'Eureka!' but 'That's funny ...'"

          by davidwalters on Mon May 30, 2011 at 10:28:12 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  The decisions made by Merkel were as (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            mahakali overdrive, Russgirl, amry

            political in autumn (when they allowed longer operating times for nuclear plants who were previously supposed to be shut down by 2021) as they are now. But this doesn#t change the fact that what they are planning now is possible (if relatively unambitious, they could do it faster) and beneficient on all kinds of levels.

            "Gas plants" are easy to regulate? What does this mean?

            I wanted to say that it is easy to make them produce a little more or less energy and even to turn them off completey - fast. This is important in order to balance the grid with fluctuating renewables until the system is calibrated within itself (and has enough storage) which you, pretending to know so much, should know.

            The entire renewable grid now and in the future is based on gas and coal.

            You are not making sense now. In your dreams, maybe. Who do you work for? Ever heard of 100% renewables? Um?
            no one IN the electrical industry believes that gas and coal will ever go a way.

            let me correct you: no one in the big coporations wants to give away the power, the huge amounts of money and the market dominance they get through the current centralized system. They(you?) are hardly disinterested, what do you think? Funny that even the goverment in Germany has been told by the Umweltbundesamt itself that 100% renewables by 2050 is possible. But, hey, everybody who doesn't profit from the current system has, of course, no credibility. Oh, and the utilities' predicitons for renewables have generally, strangely, been proven wrong. They have been much too low in their expectations, somehow (although, to be fair, even the Greens and Greenpeace Germany were too low in their expectations; the growth in renewables was simply amazing and has its own dynamic; but the utilities simply hit the ball out of the field with their more than humble "expectations") Um,and who do you work for?

            By the way could you stop talking about baseload? We won't need it in the future, I am not going to explain this again. And I am not going to explain again how baseload and renewables compete with each other because they basically demand a different concept.

            Fossil gas as a bridging fuel will be needed for about  three decades. As energy efficiency plays an important part in the scenarios, the overall amount of gas needed can be reduced (and gas should be used in the combined production of heat and electricity).

            And, once more, Germany itself will provide the energy the country needs. You just go on with your propaganda and hope you can scare people. Putin, that poor guy with his wood and poor France and Sweden will be sorely disappointed, don't go encouraging them now.

            The future is renewable- if we want it to.
            You've proved beyond doubt that you absolutely don't want it to.
            So, who do you work for?

            •  See the comment that I just made (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:

              downthread about how this poster openly states that he is a nuclear industry worker on his own profile page.

              I appreciate his transparency here.

              •  Thank you mo. Not that this is a surprise... (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                mahakali overdrive, Russgirl

                I am sorry to say that I wish he would take his hardly disinterested propaganda somewhere else. It is an interesting exercise to have this discussion with him, but there doesn't seem to be much of a true exchange.
                Or maybe, for the sake of people who don't look him up on his profile page, he could put the information about his job in every posting.

                •  People, do YOU work for the GAS (0+ / 0-)

                  companies? You do their work for them, just a the German Greens have. Mahakali, don't be a liar. I've worked in a natural gas fired thermal unit for 25 years and diesel GTs. I've never worked nuclear although I could of. Should I be surprised that gas companies who support solar and wind, as Joseph Kennedy openly admitted are paying you? No, but since I can't prove it, and you can't prove what you say, why don't you drop it?

                  You have to understand that people are committed to the technology not "The Industry". We are environmentalists who see nuclear as the only way to save the planet. Just like the folks at and do.

                  "we don't need baseload"??!!! WTF are you talking about!? Do you  even know what baseload is? You need baseload to FEED the grid or you have no grid. The grid doesn't exist if there is no load. No solar, no nuclear, no wind. Baseload is the minimum 24/7 energy provided so that when I turn the light switch on or the they melt bauxite to make aluminum, it's there.

                  Dr. Isaac Asimov: "The most exciting phrase to hear in science, the one that heralds new discoveries, is not 'Eureka!' but 'That's funny ...'"

                  by davidwalters on Mon May 30, 2011 at 02:55:10 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Well then, my bad for the (0+ / 0-)

                    misinterpretation. You said a "plant operator" on your profile. I probably did make a cognitive leap there. My apologies.

                  •  Well, I am a teacher myself. (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:

                    And the Greens and environmental groups in Germany are for gas as a bridging fuel because it makes sense. Funnily enough, none of them seem to think that nuclear makes sense. I have tried to explain to you why.
                    And as I said, not that you were listening, if you combine the path to a renewable future with energy efficiency, the overall need for gas will nevertheless decrease. Try to pay attention, will you?

                    We are environmentalists who see nuclear as the only way to save the planet. Just like the folks at and do.

                    Yea, I don't believe you, sorry. I mean I believe that the links are correct but I also believe that the rest is rubbish and I won't waste my time with this, there is enough to do as it is. And I do think this - and probably you - are sponsored by the industry. I am sorry to say that I concluded that from your statements, not from your profile.
                    we don't need baseload"??!!! WTF are you talking about!? Do you  even know what baseload is? You need baseload to FEED the grid or you have no grid. The grid doesn't exist if there is no load. No solar, no nuclear, no wind. Baseload is the minimum 24/7 energy provided so that when I turn the light switch on or the they melt bauxite to make aluminum, it's there.

                    Yes, I know about electricity... You obviously need
                    electricity in the grid - you should know that I know that, by the way, did you read my postings at all? why are we talking about this? - but in order to keep the grid balanced you don't need it to be fed baseload or let me make it completely clear - you don't need plants which supply a baseload. You can use a combination of fluctuating sources. And now please don#t try to explain to me how the grid is balanced at different times, at peak times or how it has to be permanently monitored and balanced...Because I know that already. If you had read my postings you could have concluded that.

                    Well, one last thing, just in case you are not what I think you are:
                    Open your mind and get it around a new concept :-)
                    Change is a-coming :-)
                    The future is renewable and that is good on oh so many levels :-)

                    The future is renewable.

                    by KiB on Tue May 31, 2011 at 12:24:01 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

      •  Subsidies for coal are phased out by 2016. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Russgirl, amry

        They were put in a few years ago. Germany now gets more from it's renewables -- and solar is not the only renewable though people try to make it so -- than they do from either hard coal or natural gas.

        This was before the radical ramp-up was decided upon, before the public started simply choosing to go renewable on their own dime. NOW the Germans plan on 35% renewables by 2020, and 80% by 2050.

        Germany's southernmost town lies along Bismarck, ND. They have 9% of the coastline of the US's lower 48 states, they have less than 5% of the area of the lower 48. They have no deserts.

        Spain, today, is getting more energy from renewables than from any other single source.

        The Swiss have decided to let their nukes die off in a few years without replacing them.

        Germany can figure they can get almost all their energy by renewables, but the US, oh, the US has no chance, no chance at all.

        I think your mistake is you assume we'll be building plants for a watt-for-watt replacement of current and projected use. But Decentralization is the big thing that changes that. I've got a friend in Rio and friend in upstate NY who get all their hot water from passive solar. No high tech stuff, just tanks in the sun. I've a friend in NJ who went geo-exchange. She's cut her electricity and fuel use 90%! (And will go for solar photo-voltaic to get rid of the rest.) I've a close person in upstate NY who found geo-exchange was too expensive for all the rock she has, but her neighbor has put it in. My daughter is scouting land for her retirement in a few years, and she's picking geo-thermal doable land for it. Easily half the nation could go for geo. Then there's wind, tide, solar (passive and converting)...

        These are the industries which we need. Once it's done, it's done. You've got your energy. You're grandchildren have their energy. Everyone's got the money they saved from the utilities. The sun and wind and earth will not become ever-more scarce. There's no waste-wind, no waste-sun problems for people to pay for, and deal with, yea, until our great-great-great-great-great-grandchildren's time.

        Finally: worldwide -- and mind you this is not treating the matter as a huge priority, which is what publics are starting to demand:

        Renewable energy generation exceeds nuclear power
        Global power generation by renewable energy sources outpaced that by nuclear energy for the first time in 2010, a recent report published by a U.S. think tank showed.

        ''In 2010, for the first time, worldwide cumulated installed capacity of wind turbines, biomass and waste-to-energy plants, and solar power reached 381 gigawatts, outpacing the installed nuclear capacity of 375 gigawatts,'' the report, ''The World Nuclear Industry Status Report 2010-2011,'' issued by Worldwatch Institute, noted.

        Barry Commoner showed in 1980 that if the President issued an executive order for all government buildings to put in solar alone (and this is 1980's solar) the economies of scale kick in. Bringing costs down to where homeowners and business could make back it's investment in 15 to 20 years. Now, of course, there's a smorgasbord of RE, so the order could be for whatever is most suitable, not just solar. Bam! Everything is instantly different, give it one to three years.

        On top of all this: R&D is hot and heavy on renewables. Storage breakthroughs, efficiency breakthroughs are being announced practically daily. With a lot of them projected to be marketable from one to five years.

        We'll need transmission grids, but there's already a business trying to sell the idea of using the continental shelf of the coast of Jersey through Virginia, going out 150 miles, to pick up wind and tidal and bring back the energy in DC before converting it.

        All the creative energy is going into renewable energy. All the new markets are around renewable energy. This isn't going to change. There will be innovations, there will be breakthroughs.

        Though all the "x% by 2030, by 2050" plans are based on using technology already in place.

        On the other had, if we use even the 300 new nukes you say we need to replace fossil (and I trust the 1700+ figure myself)  well -- it's going to be between 20 to 40 years before they can get approved and built. It's going to cost trillions of dollars, and it's going to be too little, too late. And you'll still have the waste problem, which costs are passed onto the consumer; you'll still have the potential of wiping out large sections of usable land in the blink of an eye.

        Whereas, just from one executive order alone, a massive cut in CO2 is obtainable.

        David, I'm sure you are sincere in your conviction about nuclear, but really, the arithmetic shows it doesn't make sense in the short, and especially in the long, terms. The people's desire, the practical solutions to the CO2 problem are here, and better ones are coming. No matter what anyone's faith, nuclear will always have catastrophic potential and generations-long problems and expense

        And it can't happen in time to stop the climate crises.

        Decentralization will be the key. It's going to happen. The nuclear dinosaur is dead, and all its got left is the twitching.

        Until we break the corporate virtual monopoly on what we hear and see, we keep losing, don't matter what we do.

        by Jim P on Mon May 30, 2011 at 10:23:02 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  First, Jim, 100% of the rooftop (0+ / 0-)

          solar...the only 'decentralized' (and not really) "renewables" paid for by the rate payers as a whole. it provides, at best 4 hours of rated capacity.  They get PAID by the State 50 cents per KW hour. SILL. So how is that 'cheap' by ANY standard?

          Coal subsidies? I never raised this, you did. Coal use has gone UP, not down, but nice try. This is true even as solar/wind has increased it's overall %. I'm telling you and Germany shows this, unlike France which DID shut down all it's oil and gas plants in 12 years(!) by going nuclear...Germany will be burning gas and coal forever. Their overall gas consumption has gone up faster than their use of solar in terms of energy units used (KWhrs).

          You think they are building THREE gas pipelines in the country for fun?

          Dr. Isaac Asimov: "The most exciting phrase to hear in science, the one that heralds new discoveries, is not 'Eureka!' but 'That's funny ...'"

          by davidwalters on Mon May 30, 2011 at 10:54:21 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Um, no. (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Jim P, Russgirl, amry

            Solar is currently at 29 cents per kW hour (this standard is getting lower every year and is aimed at protecting new investments because old, previously heavily subsidized nuclear power plants and coal plants are now paid for and thus offer prices that new plants can't). That means, that some of that 29 cents is extra, depends on what rates you compare it to. Solar is still expensive, though.  The extra costs are currently not paid by the government but by the customers who evenly pay the extra costs for the EEG through their electricity bills.
            It is still worth investing in solar though because prices are decreasing and solar on roof tops alone could supply Germany with a third of its electricity demand. And, for 100% renewables, you need a good mix.
            Wind, on the other hand, has made electricity cheaper on the whole (although they are also being paid a fixed standard which is also considerably lower than the one for solar), because it often makes electricity cheaper at peak times in the electricity stock market, when prices are notoriously high.

            Nuclear power, on the other hand, has received around 200 billlions in direct or indirect government subsidies (i.e. taxpayer money) since its beginnings in Germany and it will need at least another 100 billion before all the fun is over (not considering monitoring and storage for hundreds of thousands of years or any potentially disastrous accidents in plants or storage facilities).
            But, of course, that was and is fine. sarcasm
            And, if there is an accident, the taxpayers will pay as well, which, of course, is as it should be. sarcasm

            Privatising profits and socialising losses is the secret behind "cheap" nuclear energy. It is expensive as hell, but nobody notices and the profits are directed to a small elite.
            Interesting game,isn't it?

          •  Previous policies are not current policies. (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            The building started years ago, not this April.

            In today's world, not yesterday's, they intend to be 35% by 2020, and 80% by 2050.

            Until we break the corporate virtual monopoly on what we hear and see, we keep losing, don't matter what we do.

            by Jim P on Mon May 30, 2011 at 02:19:29 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

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