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Well, at least that is what pro-nuke advocates predicted when Germany shut down its eight oldest nuclear power plants last year and decided to drive towards a renewable energy future. The recent deep freeze in Europe has, however, proven that to be thoroughly untrue. Recently, it is, in fact, nuclear-dominated France that is having problems covering its electricity needs because of the severe cold snap.

The German Spiegel Online Magazine is reporting that France - with its 59 nuclear reactors - is currently having to import up to 7 GW of electricity a day, with 3 GW of that coming from a Germany that just switched off half of its nuke plants.

Germany, meanwhile, is having no problems whatsoever. And it seems that renewables are a major contributor to preventing problems there, as electricity generated from solar pv is pumping up to 20% of the needed electricity into the Grid during peak electricity consumption times. That's in the middle of winter, in a country that is not exactly renowned for being a sunshine paradise!

Furthermore, France - despite having only about 80% of Germany's population - is currently using double the amount of electricity that Germany is using. To be fair, a big part of that is because Germany uses more of the efficient distributed heating and efficient gas heating while France uses a lot of very inefficient electric heating, but the figure is still astounding.

Experts are even warning that the French electricity grid could collapse, and then take the European grid with it, if 1 or 2 French nuclear plants experienced technical difficulties at this inopportune moment. Luckily, the likelihood of that happening right now is low, but it still does highlight one fact:

Renewables are not an unreliable source of electricity, as both nuke proponents and Big Fossil boosters would have us believe. When renewables are intelligently integrated into a large-scale grid, the opposite is actually true.

**********************

A link to the article in Der Spiegel, for those who understand German:

http://www.spiegel.de/...

And here a video of one of those solar power plants in Germany that are currently producing so much peak electricity. It was constructed on the site of a former military airport:

5:18 PM PT: For those who missed it: translatorpro recently organized a live blog here on DKos with an energy expert from the German Green Party. There's some excellent reading to be had there, especially for those who are interested in renewables:

http://www.dailykos.com/...

Originally posted to Lawrence on Wed Feb 08, 2012 at 03:48 PM PST.

Also republished by Kosowatt, Good News, and SciTech.

Poll

What's your favorite energy source?

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| 415 votes | Vote | Results

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (175+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    According to Fish, Marie, txcatlin, yet another liberal, Timaeus, Orinoco, Involuntary Exile, Radical def, PatriciaVa, brainwave, enemy of the people, Aunt Pat, Youffraita, Jim P, tacet, hanswall, Egalitare, mint julep, copymark, retrograde, 2laneIA, Thinking Fella, uciguy30, phonegery, Meteor Blades, SeaTurtle, citisven, Horace Boothroyd III, BalanceSeeker, Shockwave, weck, marleycat, Fiona West, Laurence Lewis, deepeco, roses, Evolutionary, Josiah Bartlett, Carol in San Antonio, maybeeso in michigan, smiley7, US Blues, Dr Squid, My Spin, Habitat Vic, Joieau, Lujane, KenBee, Cronesense, LamontCranston, Tinfoil Hat, jamess, angelajean, dewley notid, 6412093, rja, tobendaro, DawnN, SouthernLiberalinMD, GeorgeXVIII, Jay C, Losty, terabytes, jhop7, MrJayTee, Debs2, Alumbrados, Cliss, kirbybruno, zerelda, daveygodigaditch, ExStr8, xaxnar, hubcap, Jim R, bnasley, on the cusp, tofumagoo, VA Breeze, Larsstephens, dotsright, One Pissed Off Liberal, Aquarius40, vacantlook, Statusquomustgo, tle, TDDVandy, cotterperson, dsteffen, antirove, Steveningen, HoundDog, merrylib, Bule Betawi, maggiejean, mythatsme, alnep, basquebob, radical simplicity, Regina in a Sears Kit House, asterkitty, Just Bob, mikeconwell, bear83, JayDean, James Wells, Alice Venturi, Into The Woods, high uintas, fran1, NoMoreLies, science nerd, Siri, operculum, bronte17, defluxion10, DerAmi, Sandino, Cedwyn, OMwordTHRUdaFOG, McMeier, rmonroe, Nebraskablue, translatorpro, jabney, gerald 1969, wvmom, chimene, Rona, ask, monkeybrainpolitics, kaliope, rl en france, Angie in WA State, Executive Odor, northsylvania, kyril, Andhakari, matador, coppercelt, SaraBeth, elziax, WI Deadhead, dRefractor, gulfgal98, radarlady, joynow, aufklaerer, semiot, jcrit, letsgetreal, Matt Z, Permanent Republican Minority, PBen, blue jersey mom, ChemBob, anodnhajo, CharlieHipHop, GreyHawk, Wino, Geenius at Wrok, native, Paul Ferguson, jnhobbs, artisan, davidincleveland, CA Nana, Deep Texan, Debby, maxzj05, PrahaPartizan, too many people, melo, bablhous, splashy

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

    by Lawrence on Wed Feb 08, 2012 at 03:48:29 PM PST

  •  Electric heat is so terribly inefficient (42+ / 0-)

    you're basically converting heat to electricity and then back to heat again. Pretty bad idea unless the electricity comes from hydro or wind or any other kinetic energy source.

  •  How many nuke plants are there... (7+ / 0-)

    ...in the world? I wonder.

    I started a blog. It's still a work in progress but if you're interested, come on by. Dawn of Ambivalence

    by DawnG on Wed Feb 08, 2012 at 04:15:04 PM PST

  •  Price per kWh - Germany vs France (6+ / 0-)

    Germany: 0.28 Euros
    France: 0.15 Euros

    Source: http://www.energy.eu/

    Nuclear much cheaper than renewables.

    Learn about Centrist Economics, learn about Robert Rubin's Hamilton Project. http://www1.hamiltonproject.org/es/hamilton/hamilton_hp.htm

    by PatriciaVa on Wed Feb 08, 2012 at 04:15:52 PM PST

    •  Not right now. ;) (39+ / 0-)

      Current spot prices for wholesale electricity are somewhere around 34 Eurocents in France right now.

      And btw, your price for electricity in Germany is pretty off. I currently live in Germany and pay 23 Eurocents a kw/h for electricity from a 100% renewables electricity provider.

      And who says that super cheap electricity is a good thing, anyway?

      Super cheap gas prices sure aren't a good thing.

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

      by Lawrence on Wed Feb 08, 2012 at 04:26:53 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

        •  Indeed. (21+ / 0-)

          Or the Ukraine and White Russia.

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

          by Lawrence on Wed Feb 08, 2012 at 05:20:12 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  Ask anybody 100 years from now (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Lawrence

          Guaranteed that there will be several more Fukushimas and Chernobyls as these nuke plants age. Not only that, but the waste keeps piling up, and it's not going away for a million years or so.

          If people had any idea just how toxic high-level waste is and just how much of it there is, there would be a massive global movement to shut down all nuke plants. A tablespoon of plutonium is enough to kill New York City. One microscopic particle of that shit finds its way into your lungs, sinuses or throat, and you're as good as dead.

          They will hate our guts ferociously in the future as the consequences of our selfishness and shortsightedness become impossible to deny.

          When the power of love overcomes the love of power, there will be peace. - Jimi Hendrix

          by CharlieHipHop on Thu Feb 09, 2012 at 06:28:54 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Really? (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            eigenlambda

            Another True Believer in the "One microscopic particle" delusion rears its head... Deary deary me. This is the "hot particle" theory which, like the Easter Bunny and Santa Claus, has no basis in reality. If it was real then humanity and all other vertebrate life on earth would be extinct by now.

             Between 1945 and the early 1970s there were hundreds of nuclear weapons explosions in the atmosphere, most of them carried out with plutonium-based devices (some used highly-enriched uranium but not many). Only a small fraction of a weapon's core is converted into energy, the rest of the plutonium is vapourised and spread across the world in the winds and water. A rough calculation suggests that, at 10kg of plutonium per device and about five hundred atmospheric explosions in that period then about fifty tonnes of plutonium has been spread around for people to breathe in and, according to the "hot particle" fantasists, die from lung cancer after a few years. Except that it hasn't happened, because it's a fantasy.

             Anecdotally, a few people in the US during the 1940s and 1950s got exposed to quite high doses, including inhalation, of plutonium while working on nuclear weapons research. A group of ten or so were studied in depth over their lifetimes; by the 1990s only four out of the ten had died, only one from cancer, forty or fifty years after their significant exposure to plutonium, much greater than Joe Public would ever receive even from, say, the Tchernobyl incident. The others in the study who had died had succumbed to heart disease and such in their sixties and seventies and the rest were still alive at that point.

            •  Flawed (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Lawrence

              You can't prove that any of the people in the study were directly exposed. It's a worthless study.

              Other studies have shown very high cancer rates among workers and neighbors of facilities like Rocky Flats and Hanaford. We can't say for sure that plutonium caused it, but the toxicological profile of plutonium sure makes it a worthy hypothesis.

              http://www.atsdr.cdc.gov/...

              As a matter of fact, recent science has shown that, if anything, plutonium is far more deadly than was thought back in the no-nukes '70s.

              http://www.newscientist.com/...

              All you need is three chords and the truth, man - Jimi Hendrix

              by CharlieHipHop on Thu Feb 09, 2012 at 10:10:47 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  One more thing (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Lawrence

                Perhaps you're confused because PU is not dangerous outside the body, other than the fact that it can go critical. Cyanide isn't dangerous outside the body either. Do I want to take a chance of it ending up in my air or water?

                Many animal studies have shown that, indeed, a tiny particle of plutonium embedded in the lungs will absolutely cause cancer.

                 

                All you need is three chords and the truth, man - Jimi Hendrix

                by CharlieHipHop on Thu Feb 09, 2012 at 10:17:43 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

              •   The people in the study (0+ / 0-)

                ...WERE exposed to plutonium. They were working directly hands-on with mass quantities of the stuff, grammes and kilogrammes of it. The protection and environmental controls weren't as good as they should have been, in part because a lot of the research work was being done in a hurry as WWII drew to a close and the Cold War started up and in part because back then folks just didn't take as much care as we now expect in workplaces -- back in the 1970s when I was working with beryllium components for aerospace I used a faceshield and thin latex gloves on a lab bench. Nowadays I'd be working with the same parts in a negative-pressure glovebox fitted with sub-micron HEPA filtering. As for what I did with explosives...

                 They got plutonium into cuts, they inhaled it, they ingested it and it didn't kill them. It's not that toxic or dangerous, not the way it's been made out to be by the fantasists. It's a good thing to treat it with care as you would materials like asbestos, beryllium or chlorine which WILL kill you if inhaled or ingested in sufficient quantities but believing Pu has some magical super-lethality is just giving in to wishful thinking.

            •  So... (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              translatorpro, Lawrence

              ...nothing to see here just move along? We should go fishing to the Bikini Atoll tomorrow? And a picnic at nuclear test sites in Nevada the day after? Why does the U.S. government spend so much money keeping the public from getting close to so many sites that are contaminated if they are so "Anecdotally" safe according to you?

              Do you have a source for a peer reviewed study that backs this up:

              A rough calculation suggests that, at 10kg of plutonium per device and about five hundred atmospheric explosions in that period then about fifty tonnes of plutonium has been spread around for people to breathe in and, according to the "hot particle" fantasists, die from lung cancer after a few years. Except that it hasn't happened, because it's a fantasy.
              Or, you just conflated a bunch of stuff and came up with a nice calculation that satisfies your prejudice? What were the atmospherics during each of those tests? What were the fallout rates? Where were these tests geographically conducted? And during those tests, what was the main purpose of the test? The health effect of the weapons or the effectiveness of the weapons?

              Regardless of where you stand in the nuclear energy debate, every serious scientist and engineer on both sides of the debate agree on one thing: nuclear waste is dangerous and radiation in high doses kills. We might agree or disagree on how well we can manage the waste. We can debate if we should worry now on what to do with some of that waste for the next 50,000 years. We can debate what level of dangerous is acceptable. But for you to imply that plutonium, which has been described the world's most dangerous element, as not being as dangerous as most know, not think, but know, flies in the face of reality and science.

              Your rough calculation is not even rough, is baseless. Anecdotes are exactly that anecdotes not science. Talk about "True Believers".

      •  High energy costs stimulate conservation ... (22+ / 0-)

        and since the sixties double pane windows combined with roll down shutters became a virtual building standard in Germany. On another note, the Technical University in Darmstadt, already won twice the solar decathlon with their "surPlus Home" intended to generate 200 percent of the energy needed by the house.

        Good tests kill flawed theories; we remain alive to guess again. Karl Popper

        by hanswall on Wed Feb 08, 2012 at 06:01:47 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Higher Energy costs exacerbate Inequailty (18+ / 0-)

          And for a community so concerned inequality, many Kossacks are remarkably ambivalent when it comes to increasing the REGRESSIVE energy tax burden on the working poor.

          I'm all for government initiatives that involve retrofitting older homes. I'm emphatically against any government effort to hike the price of energy on the working poor and middle-class.

          Learn about Centrist Economics, learn about Robert Rubin's Hamilton Project. http://www1.hamiltonproject.org/es/hamilton/hamilton_hp.htm

          by PatriciaVa on Wed Feb 08, 2012 at 06:13:24 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Patricia - a point that is rarely made here (14+ / 0-)

            and I agree. Higher energy prices do force conservation, but the poor are the most directly affected.

            "let's talk about that"

            by VClib on Wed Feb 08, 2012 at 06:16:24 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  Reasons to think otherwise right here. (12+ / 0-)

            Inequality is far worse in France, where juice is cheap, than in Germany.

          •  Energy costs (8+ / 0-)

            should be made progressive, IMO, so energy conservation will be rewarded. Also, bad energy habits are not limited to the well off. BTW, your Hamilton Project link seems to be broken.

            Good tests kill flawed theories; we remain alive to guess again. Karl Popper

            by hanswall on Wed Feb 08, 2012 at 07:02:45 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  In California, the more electricity you use, (8+ / 0-)

              the higher rate you pay per kwh. I heard a solar energy expert today say that he installed solar panels on his roof five years ago so he doesn't have to pay those higher rates for the electricity he purchases.

              The spirit of liberty is the spirit which is not too sure that it is right. -- Judge Learned Hand, May 21, 1944

              by ybruti on Wed Feb 08, 2012 at 08:48:20 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

            •  See my comment about Hansen's Cap & Dividend (0+ / 0-)

              http://www.dailykos.com/...

              Making carbon reduction progressive is exactly what it does.

              The Hamilton Project is part of the Brookings Institute. It promotes centrist "don't rock the boat, don't do anything too brave or useful" policies - such as the ever popular retraining for people who have lost their jobs as the solution to the economic depression, completely ignoring the need for plugging the massive drains resulting from "free" trade policy and from the upward wealth siphon represented by unfair tax policies that favor those who don't need the money, and completely ignoring the fact that thousands upon thousands of people emerge from these training programs only to discover that there still aren't any jobs. For example, I've been trained as an energy auditor. Good luck finding anyone who can afford an audit without a job!

              Here's a blurb about one of their recent "studies," straight from their own site:

              In a paper published in the Fall 2010 edition of the Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Marianne Bitler and Hilary Hoynes examine how the safety net responds to recessions and dips in the business cycle, finding that it has weathered the recent deep recession well.
              It largely ignores the fact that much of the safety net has been wiped out over the last few decades, lauding the tattered remains' ability to withstand an economic downturn. Don't worry your pretty little head about the actual people not served by the safety net or those who can't actually afford to feed their families because the net excludes the most common and expensive family costs from its calculations.

              None of that matters. The inadequate net is holding up just fine, thank you. Let's not rock the boat by insisting the net should actually provide protection from destitution, malnutrition, and death. The republicans wouldn't like that, so we can't propose it.

              This is the wellspring from which those democrats who are too chicken to do anything to help their constituents emerge. It provides crappy "studies" that provide the backstop for the ever-rightward drift of the "centrists" in the democratic party.

              I call it "milquetoast central."

            •  Ive told her that three times (0+ / 0-)

              And the fact that her own organization advocates a carbon tax that sticks it to poor people and she never responds.

              Causation was, is, and ever shall be a slippery bitch, so we're best sticking with noting the facts

              by jam on Sun Feb 12, 2012 at 10:28:04 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

          •  and that's why germany has higher inequality (8+ / 0-)

            than the US or britain, right?

            your talking points defy reality.

          •  ooooo - recced 100x !! (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            kyril, Matt Z, PatriciaVa

            excellent point. It should be stated more often.

            “Fair? Fare is what you pay to ride the bus. That’s the only ‘fair’ I know.” ~ Heylia James, from Weeds - 1st season

            by ozsea1 on Wed Feb 08, 2012 at 08:16:49 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  should it? (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Andhakari, Matt Z, CharlieHipHop

              if it costs $5 a month more and will really hit a fairly small number of people hard, but provide a powerful talking point in favor of planet killing fossil fuels, is that a good point? I'm sure banning child slave labor in Bangladesh would raise some pricess in a regressive way. Should we then keep that too?

              •  No, it should not (4+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                kyril, Matt Z, CharlieHipHop, PatriciaVa

                Regressive taxation moves the Overton Window the wrong way. Time to cost-shift the other way. Carbon taxes on monster luxury cars anf trophy homes, as one example.

                And this:

                I'm sure banning child slave labor in Bangladesh would raise some pricess in a regressive way. Should we then keep that too?
                is classic conflation followed by the obligatory hypothetical question....c'mon, I know you're a better thinker than that !

                “Fair? Fare is what you pay to ride the bus. That’s the only ‘fair’ I know.” ~ Heylia James, from Weeds - 1st season

                by ozsea1 on Wed Feb 08, 2012 at 11:27:36 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  it's a pretty good analogy (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Andhakari, Matt Z

                  arguing against renewables because a small proportion of people might bear hardship is very similar to arguing against banning child slavery because a small proportion of people would bear hardship.

                  Of course instituting renewables isn't taxation at all, and neither is a carbon tax insofar as it is merely internalizing the true costs of the activity.

                  Really the key is to make sure poor people are btter off generally as a totally separate matter from whether renewables should be instituted.

                  In that sense, raising the issue of whether it would affect poor people is the argument that is conflating things. Just being poor doesn't give anyone a right to pass their costs off onto others.

                  •  Didn't say it was (3+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    kyril, Matt Z, PatriciaVa
                    Just being poor doesn't give anyone a right to pass their costs off onto others.
                    Their carbon footprint is less than the affluent. Start there.

                    Let me clarify, by regressive taxation, I mean for food and fuel, especially for heating and cooling. Not the sort of goods and/or services that Bangladeshi child labor would be supplying low income American consumers.

                    Again, conflation on your part.

                    Oh, and how did you get this:

                    Of course instituting renewables isn't taxation at all
                    from what I said??

                    “Fair? Fare is what you pay to ride the bus. That’s the only ‘fair’ I know.” ~ Heylia James, from Weeds - 1st season

                    by ozsea1 on Wed Feb 08, 2012 at 11:46:15 PM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  Starting with the comment you supported (0+ / 0-)

                      That opposes and "regressive taxation" by increasing energy costs. In the context of a diary supporting renewable (which is critical) we have a comment opposing the idea based on the notion that if it costs poor people more then it's a non starter, which you said was a good point.

                      There are three key counter points to make: first the original comment equates raising energy prices as a result of forcing externalities to a tax. By suggesting that such an internalization is bad the commenter implicitly suggests that it is ok for poor people to externalize their costs (by buying cheap coal power). Second, given the massive environmental effects on others I made the analogy (not saying that child slave labor supports poor people although you might look at Walmarts practices) that arguing against renewables because poor people might have to pay more is like arguing against child labor laws because it might cost more. In both cases the proponent shows himself willing to accept a serious harm to other because it would cost poor people less money. Thus theyare analogous statements morally. Third, as I will say again that this line of argument is really using one problem to justify the creation of another. The solution here is NoT to advocate for planet killing fuels, but to advocate instead for economic justice and stop using a lack of progress on one to justify a lack of progress on the other. Again to resort to an analogy, it's be like arguing that we shouldn't do anything to raise living standards because that'll just make environmental problems worse. Again both are poor arguments

                      •  nice bit of backpedalling (0+ / 0-)

                        typical of the Comfortable Class. Fine. Concern noted.

                        “Fair? Fare is what you pay to ride the bus. That’s the only ‘fair’ I know.” ~ Heylia James, from Weeds - 1st season

                        by ozsea1 on Thu Feb 09, 2012 at 09:42:53 AM PST

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  Whatever (0+ / 0-)

                          You managed to stupidly not read what I wrote and went off abOut how we should screw the planet over because it would be to gosh darned hard to say focus on the real issues of economic disparity. Mindless selfishness duly noted. Really you are no different than banks or oil companies

                          •  Nope (0+ / 0-)

                            You managed to take yourself much more seriously than your comment rated. I read it and it's well-crafted but still anti-poor. Surprised you didn't bring us their childred as "externalized costs".

                            “Fair? Fare is what you pay to ride the bus. That’s the only ‘fair’ I know.” ~ Heylia James, from Weeds - 1st season

                            by ozsea1 on Thu Feb 09, 2012 at 09:53:31 AM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  It certainly wasn't backpedalling (0+ / 0-)

                            The idea that the fact that we have a screwed up economic system is an argument against taking action on climate change is unbelievably wrong headed and short sighted. That's all I've said, and I will continue to shout it from the rooftops. There's nothing "anti-poor" about it, because your original statement isn't anywhere near "pro-poor" It is very pro-corporate oil industry however.

                          •  OK (0+ / 0-)

                            This is bullshit.

                            statement isn't anywhere near "pro-poor" It is very pro-corporate oil industry however.
                            Have a day.

                            “Fair? Fare is what you pay to ride the bus. That’s the only ‘fair’ I know.” ~ Heylia James, from Weeds - 1st season

                            by ozsea1 on Thu Feb 09, 2012 at 10:01:38 AM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Really (0+ / 0-)

                            if you were concerned about poor people for real, you might give consideration to the genuinely poor who are going to get hammered by this: Namely those in subsaharan Africa or low lying areas of countries like Bangladesh. However, this line of reasoning is perfectly willing to throw all those people under the bus in order to advance an agenda the Koch brothers are busily advancing as well. Coincidence?

                    •  These are related issues (2+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      ozsea1, Lawrence

                      We should be working toward a world where nobody is poor... or at least there aren't so many poor people.

                      One way to do that would be to tax energy use progressively so that those who use the most (the rich with big houses, cars, private jets) pay the most.

                      When the power of love overcomes the love of power, there will be peace. - Jimi Hendrix

                      by CharlieHipHop on Thu Feb 09, 2012 at 06:35:03 AM PST

                      [ Parent ]

          •  The problem with your theory about renewables (10+ / 0-)

            being more expensive is....

            ...that it is not necessarily true.

            In the short-term, it is true for many renewables(except onshore wind).

            In the mid- to long term it is, however, false.

            And head to head, even new solar pv is less expensive than new nuclear because solar pv has come down in price so rapidly in the last couple of years.

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

            by Lawrence on Wed Feb 08, 2012 at 08:21:58 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  that's a pretty small effect (5+ / 0-)

            and a terrible reason to provok world wide destruction.

          •  Hansen's Idea would alleviate that (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            James Wells, Lawrence

            A tax is only regressive if we choose to implement it in a regressive manner.

            James Hansen proposes a brilliant Cap and Dividend mechanism:

            1) Put a cap on how much carbon each industry is allowed to use. Just like with other cap & trade mechanisms, those who use more than the limit have to pay for the privilege. Unlike cap & trade, they can't just buy someone else's unused carbon, they simply pay a premium for having exceeded the limit. The premium goes into a fund toward renewable energy.

            2) Place a carbon tax on carbon based fuels. This tax will increase each year.

            3) At the end of each month, send a check to each household for the average tax paid by each household. Note - not the specific tax paid, but the average. As a result, those who use TONS of carbon get back less than they paid in carbon taxes, while those who use less carbon get back more.

            This would create an incentive for those who use carbon profligately (rich families with multiple large, energy-sucking homes, multiple SUVs, private jets) to cut their use and will subsidize people who use less carbon (the poor), while still creating an incentive to cut back.

            Overall, it makes using less carbon than average into a profitable exercise. Even poor people can turn off light switches, unplug TVs, etc.

            If the dividend envelope came with a monthly energy saving tip that's inexpensive or free to implement, a coupon or set of coupons for energy saving devices (such as LED lightbulbs) and a chart showing your use vs the average, and how much money you made by saving energy, we'd see a rapid drop in energy use in this country.

            And rather than hurting the poor, it would help them - all while making the reduction of carbon use very attractive.

      •  German demand keeps the price up. (0+ / 0-)

        Nincompoopery has never been a bar to high office in our nation. - Molly Ivins

        by SpamNunn on Thu Feb 09, 2012 at 04:38:34 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Those are consumer prices (9+ / 0-)

      The question is, how much subsidies factor into these?

      •  And taxes. (7+ / 0-)

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

        by Lawrence on Wed Feb 08, 2012 at 04:28:32 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  You can see the difference here (14+ / 0-)

          At: http://epp.eurostat.ec.europa.eu/...

          For the "medium standard household" consumption band of 2500 to 5000 kWh, taxes/levies/VAT make up 28% of the price in France and 44% in Germany.

          It's also worth noting, that medium standard household range provides some indication of just how much more energy efficient Europeans are than Americans - any comparable medium standard range for U.S. households would be far higher.

          •  This is a point I keep trying to make (4+ / 0-)

            but it seems to fall on many deaf ears. Energy efficiency is a huge factor and American habits are appalling. Every time I visit family I see unbelievably wasteful practices, like driving to malls and THEN moving your car WITHIN the mall parking lot to avoid walking a few steps when going to different stores. Or leaving car engines running for the air conditioning in summer and heating in winter. The list goes on and on.

            Nice to see you commenting here, btw. You have a lot to add and make yourself too rare. And thanks for recc'ing my Live Blog diary a couple of weeks ago - I noticed. :-)

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

            by translatorpro on Wed Feb 08, 2012 at 11:47:57 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  We're going to have re-engineer... (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              translatorpro, basquebob, Lawrence

              ... our whole society to make driving less necessary.

              It has been done once before to make driving necessary. Time to reverse that.

              We'll also have to start building more efficient structures and filling them with more efficient appliances. I'd be willing to bet that we could reduce our energy consumption by 50 percent without any degradation of quality of life and possibly some improvement.

              When the power of love overcomes the love of power, there will be peace. - Jimi Hendrix

              by CharlieHipHop on Thu Feb 09, 2012 at 06:38:16 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

            •  Was happy to rec it (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              translatorpro, Lawrence

              Always happy to rec a great diary, even if I'm not around here much to contribute comments. I hope there can be more diaries like that one.

              •  Me, too. (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                retrograde, Lawrence

                Georg said he only got to talking about 1/3 of what he wanted to say. I imagine we'll do another one in a month or two. It depends on his schedule. When the Parliament is in session, he has to work a lot of extra hours, so we have to fix a date when they are not in session.

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

                by translatorpro on Thu Feb 09, 2012 at 09:25:42 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

      •  Consumer Price of Renewable Energy... (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Larsstephens, eigenlambda

        ....in many countries doesn't reflect the true price of production.

        In a wind-turbine project in the Northeast, the local/state government is about to set the rate at about 22 cents kWh. And even at that high rate, the government had to plug a operating deficit via a taxpayer subsidy.

        Learn about Centrist Economics, learn about Robert Rubin's Hamilton Project. http://www1.hamiltonproject.org/es/hamilton/hamilton_hp.htm

        by PatriciaVa on Wed Feb 08, 2012 at 06:16:37 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Subsidizing renewable energy makes sense ... (12+ / 0-)

          .... as the objective to subsidize renewable energy is to compensate for the economies of scale that favor fossil/ nuclear fuels for now. We need energy policies that help renewable energy to achieve the same or better economies of scale as a way to combat global warming. IMO your argument to protect the working poor is valid but you need to take the hidden costs of fossil and nuclear energy (health, environment, long term radiation risks, etc.) into consideration as those are not reflected in present energy prizes.

          Good tests kill flawed theories; we remain alive to guess again. Karl Popper

          by hanswall on Wed Feb 08, 2012 at 07:24:25 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Subsidizing renewables the way we do (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            PatriciaVa

            doesn't encourage economies of scale. It encourages rent seeking. When there was little wind turbine manufacturing infrastructure an argument could have been made for subsidizing renewables to kick start the industry but wind manufacturing is fairly mature by now with many manufacturers and thousands of wind turbines constructed. Yet wind subsidies, if anything, continue to increase. Photovoltaic prices have been in free fall for decades and are finally within sight of being competive in certain locations. But that is primarily due to R&D (which I maintain is a legitimate subsidy), not improvements in economies of scale.

            As to the hidden costs, those are being internalized (e.g. tightening emissions standards are reducing particulate emissions and their attendant health effects) and most of the commonly imagined externalities for nuclear (e.g. waste storage and accident risk) are in fact already internalized.

            •  As the Spanish are finding out last year and (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              PatriciaVa

              this, their huge feed-in tariff subsidies are going to die, and with it new installation. Spanish nuclear is doing just find. They need to build more of it to get otu from the huge costs of solar subsidies.

              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 Thu Feb 09, 2012 at 09:20:56 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Spain is in a entirely different (3+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                basquebob, Lawrence, hanswall

                economic place than Germany. Things are going gangbusters here, so obviously they are doing something right. Why do you care what Germans pay for their energy, btw. or their subsidies? If they can afford it, let them. It's all good!

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

                by translatorpro on Thu Feb 09, 2012 at 09:28:42 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

              •  adsf (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Lawrence, hanswall
                Spanish nuclear is doing just find.
                What is the basis for this statement? I follow Spain pretty closely, as in everyday, and your statement contradicts basically all the news. Spain has 8 aging nuclear plants and none being planed in the near future. Some of the existing plants' production has been curtailed due to various problems. So, when you say:
                Spanish nuclear is doing just find.

                What's the basis for such statement?

                From recent article that quotes the Minister of Industry says (link):

                Soria ha precisado que tampoco es partidario de dar autorizaciones a nuevos reactores nucleares...

                Soria (M. Industry) said that he is not in favor of authorizing new nuclear reactors...

                This is the new Minister of Energy of a very right wing pro business government. Yes, the article says that they are not planning on shutting any of the existing ones down, but I would not invest on any nuclear energy stocks based on Spain's future plans either. The fact is that based in Spain's current economic conditions, Spain will not need new energy sources for a while. They just need to maintain what they have.
    •  Who are you trying to kid? (22+ / 0-)

      Your numbers, as noted elsewhere in these comments, may not be accurate and you are only, in any event, speaking of the cost paid by the consumer. Nuclear energy has hidden costs not present in other technologies.

      What do you think nuclear energy would cost if governments didn't underwrite the industry?

      What do you think nuclear energy would cost if operators had to pay for honest insurance for the risks of their business?

      What do you think nuclear energy would cost if the expense of safeguarding waste and abandoned plants forever were honestly accounted for?

      You can cook the books all you want, but boiling water using radioisotopes is still stupid, wasteful and unnecessarily dangerous.

      Bumpersticker: GOP. Cheering Death. Booing Soldiers. Join Us.

      by LeftOfYou on Wed Feb 08, 2012 at 05:07:43 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Most of those nuclear plants in France are... (32+ / 0-)

      ...getting old, ranging in age from 21-32 years old, which means their costs have mostly been amortized. That's just one reason that French electricity costs are cheaper.

      Half the German renewables are not owned by utilities, but by average consumers. This distributed approach is a smart one, and it is part of the reason Germany is now doing such a good job with renewables—21% of total electricity, only 3% of it hydro. Ten years ago, the total was 6%. Installation costs and, more importantly, material costs have been plummeting in solar. While off-shore wind power is still very expensive, most of Germany's renewables will not be coming from such turbines, but from solar, on-shore wind and geothermal.

      Don't tell me what you believe, show me what you do and I will tell you what you believe.

      by Meteor Blades on Wed Feb 08, 2012 at 05:18:15 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Maybe, for now (6+ / 0-)
      Nuclear much cheaper than renewables.
      Once "externalities" like waste storage and "accidents" are priced in, renewables become cheaper than nukes. And, when renewables are scaled up, the difference will become undeniable even to pro-nuclear power folks.

      Thanks for your play, and have a nice day.

      “Fair? Fare is what you pay to ride the bus. That’s the only ‘fair’ I know.” ~ Heylia James, from Weeds - 1st season

      by ozsea1 on Wed Feb 08, 2012 at 08:15:23 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  They're already priced in. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        eigenlambda

        And nuclear power plant operators do pay for their own insurance. Google the Price Anderson act and look up the specifics of how the risk pool is financed if you don't believe me.
        Solar, and especially wind, have terrible energy density. That's why their large-scale cost cannot be competitive with nuclear with current technology.
        You're so convinced nuclear is bad that you're trying to maximize liabilities that have already been accounted for in the KWh price and ignoring the subsidies to renewables.

        •  Fukishima Daiichi? as a most recent example (5+ / 0-)

          I need no convincing, the events and "externailities" speak for themselves.

          And yes, I know about the Price Anderson Act. It deals with liability insurance and industry funded risk pools.

          It has nothing whatsoever to do with tax breaks and subsidies, without which the nuke power industry could not make enough profit to remain investor-attractive and economically viable.

          Once renewables are scaled the same degree, this

          That's why their large-scale cost cannot be competitive with nuclear with current technology.
          will be moot.

          “Fair? Fare is what you pay to ride the bus. That’s the only ‘fair’ I know.” ~ Heylia James, from Weeds - 1st season

          by ozsea1 on Wed Feb 08, 2012 at 10:47:17 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  As long as the Germans don't object, (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Lawrence, fran1

      why should you? I, like Lawrence, live in Germany and enjoy an elevated quality of life on all levels. In exchange for rather high taxes, I can sleep at night knowing people who live here and may not earn as much as I do are not in danger of losing their homes or freezing to death. You should try it some time.

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

      by translatorpro on Wed Feb 08, 2012 at 11:29:30 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  The huge increase in gas sales to Germany (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        PatriciaVa

        in January doesn't bother you in the least? All you are doing is NIBYing your nuclear. A big German utility wants to buy Rusisian nuclear energy from the two new plants now being built in Kalingrad.

        Without gas, Germany's renewable projects would be dead in the water.

        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 Thu Feb 09, 2012 at 09:24:05 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Oh, sure, bury the Solar Waste problem. (39+ / 0-)

    Do you have any idea how many square kilometers have had to be abandoned, for decades, because of Solar Waste?

    Wait. Oh, it's not using the Sun that's the waste problem. Never mind.

    It's too expensive! That's the ticket! Oh.

    Hey! Solar Energy's development depends on government tax breaks and funding, while nuclear... hmmm. Forget that.

    Ah! Here we go: Sunlight can cause mutations and cancer, so we should shun it. Get something that can only be run by huge utilities in its place.

    On a serious note:
    Germany's southernmost city Freiburg lies at 48° 0' 0" N latitude. All of Maine, and most of North Dakota lie below that point.

    Germany has no deserts.

    Germany's area, compared to the contiguous, lower 48, is about 5%.

    Can anyone see how solar might work here?


    Today, if you exist... that's already suspicious.

    by Jim P on Wed Feb 08, 2012 at 04:53:54 PM PST

  •  great news, Lawrence (20+ / 0-)

    if anyone can pull this off, it's my fellow countrymen and women. Just as an example of how determined they are, my brother, who lives in Stuttgart, sent me an email this week saying that he will ride his bike to work in -16 degrees Celsius. He said all it will take is four pairs of long underwear. Pffft, that's all? ;-)

  •  heh (5+ / 0-)

    The cold passion for truth hunts in no pack. -Robinson Jeffers

    by Laurence Lewis on Wed Feb 08, 2012 at 05:15:24 PM PST

  •  What's the output of those solar panels when (9+ / 0-)

    there's a half-meter of snow on top of them?

    Do the panels generate enough internal heat to be self-cleaning?

    Are they placed on adjustable mounts so they can be set to a steeper pitch in the winter? That would make sense, the sun's lower in the sky in winter.

    Even if it take a squad of Schneeschauflers with long-handled sweeps to clean 'em off, that's still better than a team of Nuklearen Arbeiter in lead suits, handling fuel rods in a reactor building.

    Have you noticed?
    Politicians who promise LESS government
    only deliver BAD government.

    by jjohnjj on Wed Feb 08, 2012 at 05:25:51 PM PST

    •  Most of them are at a 30° to 45° angle, so the (10+ / 0-)

      snow usually melts/slides off pretty fast when the sun comes out.

      There are some tracking system solar installations as well, that can be adjusted, but they're still pretty rare.

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

      by Lawrence on Wed Feb 08, 2012 at 05:36:42 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  We have solar pv collectors on our house (18+ / 0-)

      and generally the snow slides off them much sooner than the rest of the roof. Which is good, since they are too high up for me to reach them with my broom.

      For the last three years I've had no electric bills between April and November. With the price of collectors about half what it was when we installed them, we're thinking of adding more.

      We also have a solar hot water system and even this time of year we get warm water up to 100 or 110 degrees F if it is sunny out.

      •  heh, do you have a room to spare? I pay my rent (11+ / 0-)

        always on time ...

        I am sitting in a thin-walled drafty US plywood/woodframe/vinyl siding end townhouse with electric baseboard heaters. My nose regularly gets red and frozen while I type nonsense comments into dailykos diaries and my cold feet remind me that I have them.

        To save electricity costs I sometimes use a kerosene heater to heat my living room area. But today (snow is forecasted) I wanted to buy some kerosene and it was $5.50 per gallon. A 5 gallon container would heat my living room area in the evening for three to four hours around 3 - 4 times. I decided to not use my living room anymore and spend my winter season snuggly in my bed (room) ...:-) Can you imagine me retiring and being housebound and able to pay my electricity bills during winter on my SS check? Nah, I can't.

        Now, call me a true American patriot please, because a German in US diaspora freezing her loyal butt off here is really pretty rare. I am a proud idiot though, but I guess you figured that already.

  •  Whoa - Isn't Germany having to import electricity? (4+ / 0-)

    Wait a second - I was just reading an article in Der Speigel a couple of weeks ago that Germany was in some sort of tizzy about the solar power subsidy issue.

    http://www.spiegel.de/...

    The only thing that's missing at the moment is sunshine. For weeks now, the 1.1 million solar power systems in Germany have generated almost no electricity. The days are short, the weather is bad and the sky is overcast.

    As is so often the case in winter, all solar panels more or less stopped generating electricity at the same time. To avert power shortages, Germany currently has to import large amounts of electricity generated at nuclear power plants in France and the Czech Republic. To offset the temporary loss of solar power, grid operator Tennet resorted to an emergency backup plan, powering up an old oil-fired plant in the Austrian city of Graz.

    Has this changed suddenly in three weeks?

    Are the solar subsidies that Germany has given - somewhere in the billions if I understand it correctly - going to end as the German government seems to think?

    Look - renewable energy is fantastic, but according to the website it cost Germany more than 8 billion Euros in solar subsidies in 2011 alone to generate 3 percent of their total power.

    Are there other renewables picking up the difference? Because, I can tell you one thing: If the subsidies come to an end, you can kiss the market goodbye. Sounds like a bubble waiting to burst

    •  the author is a neo-libertarian plant from (5+ / 0-)

      outer space and a traitor of the good cause.:-) Heh, we have freedom of speech in Germany too, even in the socialist Der Spiegel.

      Sorry, I it's too cold to be serious at the moment. Kidding around helps me keep my spirit warm.

    •  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

      [ Parent ]

      •  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

          [ Parent ]

          •  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

              [ Parent ]

        •  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

          [ Parent ]

        •  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

            [ Parent ]

    •  That's a very misleading article (9+ / 0-)

      Just a few examples, I've no time to debunk it more thoroughly:

      Start with the graph: observe that it estimates the net cost of all PV systems constructed between 2000 and 2011 at 2007 prices - but a very large majority of that was added after 2007 at much lower than 2007 prices. Very dodgy use of statistics there.

      Another misleading bit is focusing on a percentage with "In 2004, Germany held a 69 percent share of the global solar panel business. By 2011, it had declined to 20 percent." when it's clear that as an industry, German PV grew massively from 2004 to 2011.

      The focus on the "8 billion euro subsidies in 2011" is also dodgy, as it ignores a bunch the resulting economic benefits that mean the net cost to government is really much lower than that. For example: that the German PV industry has reached 50% of its production being exports. That the industry has something in the order of 150,000 full time jobs. That federal and local German governments receive around 2 billion euro in annual taxes from the industry. That solar PV generation, being in daytime during peak industry demand, produces an effect lowering daytime industrial electricity prices - which was estimated to total several hundred million euros in 2011.

    •  A German Green Party energy guy (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Just Bob, Lawrence, basquebob

      asked me not too long ago: Why do the Americans care how and how much we spend on energy? Good question. I live in Germany as a long-time US expat, and I know how much my American compatriots dislike having other countries pontificate on how they should be doing things better or making dire predictions about the future of America. But you/we have real cause for worry now. Heaven knows how that future will look if the Republicans win in 2012. Then we can all kiss our asses good-bye, not just the renewables market. Then what Germany does or doesn't do becomes moot.
      The German government has some remarkable information on their various Ministry websites, all in both German and English.
      Here' a good place to start if you are interested in the topic of renewables and how Germany plans to achieve their goal of 100% by 2050: http://www.renewables-made-in-germany.com/...

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

      by translatorpro on Thu Feb 09, 2012 at 12:26:23 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Germany gets its winter heating from natural gas (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      kyril, eigenlambda

      France gets its winter heating from baseboard heaters. So during cold winters France has to write checks to its neighbors for imported electricity and Germany writes checks to Russian oligarchs.

      •  Source for your opinion? nt. (0+ / 0-)

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

        by translatorpro on Thu Feb 09, 2012 at 12:39:29 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Here you go. (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          kyril, eigenlambda

          link

          French electricity demand is sensitive to changes in weather conditions as a one degree Celcius drop in temperatures causes a 2,300 MW rise in demand, driven by the fact that around 30 percent French homes use electricity for heating.

          RTE said overall European power demand rises by 5,000 MW following a one degree Celcius drop. With France in first place, UK demand is the second most suscpetible to changes in temperatures with a 600 MW rise per one degree drop.

          Besson also reiterated that France depended less than other European countries on Russian gas thanks to its use of electricity in heating systems.

          "The dependency on Russian gas is becoming a real problem for Europe," he said, in an apparent reference to comments made by major natural gas exporter Russia last week that it needed more gas internally to satisfy high domestic demand.

          Gas supplies to the frozen European Union from Russia improved at the weekend but have not fully recovered, the European Commission said on Monday, as Italy convened a crisis committee to handle what it called critical shortages of Russian gas.

          •  The link (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            kyril
            •  LOL. Monsieur Besson is wrong. (0+ / 0-)

              Or I should say: Your interpretation of Mr. Bresson's statement is completely wrong. You can do better than that, Mr. Blubba:

              http://www.dailykos.com/...

              18% nuclear
              44% coal
              13% natural gas
              5% other (probably trash burning power plants)
              You must have missed that comment, which is just below.

              Another source, called "the German government":

              Zahlen & Fakten
              Die Zahlen rund um Deutschlands Stromerzeugung sind beeindruckend: Die installierten Kraftwerkskapazitäten hierzulande erbringen eine gewaltige Leistung von 165 Gigawatt. 18 % dieser Leistung wird durch importierte und heimische Steinkohle bereitgestellt, gefolgt von Wind (17%), einheimischer Braunkohle (14 %) und Erdgas (14%). Auf die Kernenergie entfallen 13%, auf Photovoltaik 10% der installierten Leistung. Im einstelligen Prozentbereich liegen Wasser (6 %), Heizöl (4 %) und sonstige (4 %).
              http://www.bmwi.de/...
              Bolded: Gas = 14%. Makes your comment
              Germany gets its winter heating from natural gas
              look pretty ridiculous.

              Some more links for your edification, so you stop repeating nonsense:
              http://thinkprogress.org/...
              http://www.brookings.edu/...

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

              by translatorpro on Thu Feb 09, 2012 at 03:27:15 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Uh,....no. (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                eigenlambda

                If you read the original comment, I was talking about the differences between where Germany and France as to where they get their home heating, not where they get their electricity.

                •  Baloney. You said (0+ / 0-)
                  Germany gets its winter heating from natural gas
                  Nothing about "home heating" in your original comment at all. You are just covering for a deliberately misleading statement on your part, hoping no one would question the truthiness of your wisdom. I'm not buying it until I see an official source that supports M. Besson's sayso. And no one else should, either.

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

                  by translatorpro on Thu Feb 09, 2012 at 04:13:08 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  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-)
                      Recommended by:
                      Lawrence

                      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

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  I did some additional digging and was surprised (1+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        eigenlambda

                        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

                          [ Parent ]

      •  Germany does get some of its heating from (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        translatorpro

        natural gas, but only half of it is from NG, and not all, as you make it out to be.

        Heating with natural gas is on a downward trend in Germany, though, as heating with heat pumps and solar thermal systems is on the rise.

        Germany also imports NG from Norway, btw.

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

        by Lawrence on Thu Feb 09, 2012 at 05:31:30 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  And the Netherlands, and a few (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Lawrence

          other countries. I think Mr. Blubba is stuck in the Cold War. Germany gets about 33% of its natural gas from Russia, not anywhere near what he is trying to make people believe. Germany has nothing but lots of lignite as a natural energy resource, and has no choice but to import or to develop renewables if it wants energy independence. I think that is what they are doing, no?

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

          by translatorpro on Thu Feb 09, 2012 at 05:42:19 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  I would be curious to see statistics on this. (0+ / 0-)

          I can understand installing heat pumps for new construction but my understanding has always been that it is not trivial to retrofit existing structures.

          Perhaps my sources are dated on the state of solar thermal systems in Germany.

          •  Yeah, they're dated and you are cherry-picking. (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            translatorpro

            I'm getting used to the cherry-picking by pro-nukers, though.

            147,000 solar thermal systems were installed in Germany last year, and half of those are for space heating in addition to water heating.

            And that's happening despite the conservatives currently being in charge of govt.

            http://www.solarserver.de/...

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

            by Lawrence on Thu Feb 09, 2012 at 11:40:40 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

  •  Of the 80% of German electricty (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    cotterperson, erush1345

    from non-renewables, how much is from coal and gas fired power plants?

  •  Ahem..."Freeze forces Germany to restart nuclear" (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Alumbrados, FG, eigenlambda, mojo workin
    BERLIN: The cold snap gripping Europe has forced Germany, which last year decided to abandon nuclear power, to restart several reactors taken off line, the daily Handelsblatt reports in its Thursday issue.

    The cold related surge in electricity demand prompted Germany's network operators to call upon nuclear power plants that had been taken off line but left in reserve as a "preventative measure", a spokeswoman for Tennet, one of the operators, told the newspaper.

    ... In December, Germany imported power from neighbouring Austria to stabilise its network.

    (source)

    Could this diary be any more ironic? What timing!

    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 06:35:14 PM PST

    •  The Times of India needs better German-English (11+ / 0-)

      translators....

      None of the shut-off nuclear reactors have been restarted. None of the German "cold reserve" power plants are nuke plants....

      It is interesting to note that Germany has to utilize it's cold reserve plants in order to stabilize nuclear France, though.

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

      by Lawrence on Wed Feb 08, 2012 at 07:49:23 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Wow, who could argue (4+ / 0-)

        with your impeccable sources ... er ... what sources?

        This story was picked up by dozens of news outlets, the Times of India was just one.

        Here's more (source):

        London, 8 February (Argus) Germany's transmission system operators (TSOs) have today called on cold reserve capacity available to them in Germany and Austria to ensure security of supply as the country faces gas supply issues, forecasts of weak wind-power output and sub-zero temperatures.
        How's that "renewable-powered" grid holding up there? Did you actually have the nerve to write today that, "Germany, meanwhile, is having no problems whatsoever." Ha ha ha ha ha ha!!

        I really should rec your diary for its comedic value. ;-)

        But wait ... there's more ...

        The country's four TSOs decided yesterday evening to call on the reserve capacity as a precautionary measure to meet demand in south Germany today, Dutch-German TSO Tennet told Argus. The cold reserve power plants in Germany and Austria are running today, Tennet said.

        The situation is expected to be most critical in south Germany and during the demand-intensive evening hours, when temperatures are expected to fall to as low as -10°C.

        ... German evening prices, comprising hours 19-24, for delivery today fetched 124.75/MWh ($163.85/MWh) on the Epex Spot power exchange in yesterday's day-ahead auction, a 45.18/MWh day-on-day gain. Prices have eased in today's auction, with evening hours clearing at 94.21/MWh, as TSOs will decide later today whether to call on the reserve capacity again to ensure security of demand tomorrow.

        Renewables are such a value, aren't they? ;-) Seriously, however, the most expensive electricity is the electricity that you don't have when you need it. Germany is finding out this the hard way.
        Supply squeeze South Germany's available nuclear power generation capacity fell by almost 5GW last year, with five of its eight nuclear reactors forced to retire.
        Bad ideas are just bad ideas. I guess everyone is entitled to their own "duh" moment.
        Supply margins have been squeezed further by recent Russian gas supply issues, with deliveries at the Waidhaus entry point below long-term gas contract nominations. German utility Eon continues to operate several gas-fired power stations at reduced capacity as a result. This includes a 446MW output reduction at its 846MW Irsching 5 combined-cycle gas turbine (CCGT) power station.

        If the situation gets worse, further vital gas-fired plants might be forced out of service, TNG said.

        Wow, who would have imagined that Russian gas supplies would be so unreliable?

        So if the gas-fired plants are going down, what "cold reserve capacity" is picking up the slack? It certainly isn't gas-fired plants, and it ain't renewables.

        And lower wind levels are adding to the risk of supply bottlenecks, with forecasts showing a significant reduction of wind power feed-ins [to the power grid] for this afternoon, according to TNG.
        Ah wind, as fickle as the weather. "No problems," as you say.
        ... This is the second time that the country has been forced to call on cold reserve capacity this winter, the first coming in December. But that was caused by a high influx of wind power in the north and the resulting strain on the country's north-south network connection, rather than supply bottlenecks.
        What? Wind power causing a strain on the network?! I'm shocked, shocked!!

        You folks are in serious denial, and this diary is just more evidence of that.

        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 09:14:27 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Nice try. (9+ / 0-)

          But nowhere in there does it state that nuclear power plants are being turned back on in Germany.

          As I stated above, none of the "cold reserve" power plants in Germany are nuke plants.

          Nice try at obfuscation, though.

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

          by Lawrence on Wed Feb 08, 2012 at 09:20:42 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Once again (3+ / 0-)

            any kind of citation or reference to back up your claim is conspicuously missing.

            Let's assume for the sake of argument that you're right, however. Do you feel any better that Germany (and Austria too) is powering up old coal and oil burning plants?

            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 09:29:39 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Sure. I can provide citation from the article (10+ / 0-)

              that your badly-translated/interpreted article was based on:

              Die Sprecherin bezeichnete den Schritt als „Vorbeugemaßnahme“. Ähnlich äußerte sich ein Sprecher der Bundesnetzagentur. Die Maßnahme zeigt aber, wie angespannt inzwischen die Situation ist. Seit der Energiewende sind acht Kernkraftwerke vom Netz und damit ist die bislang recht üppige Reservekapazität gesunken, mit der sich die vier Netzbetreiber Tennet, 50 Hertz, Amprion und EnBW absichern, um bei plötzlichen Kraftwerksausfällen das Netz zu stabilisieren oder einzugreifen, wenn die inzwischen zahlreichen Wind- und Solaranlagen abhängig vom Wetter keinen Strom liefern. Um trotzdem einen Puffer zu schaffen, hatte die Bundesnetzagentur im Rhein-Main-Neckar-Gebiet vier alte, eigentlich unrentable Kraftwerksblöcke als so genannte Kaltreserve bestimmt und auch im benachbarten Österreich Reserven organisiert. Schließlich ist die Situation besonders in Süddeutschland angespannt, weil dort gleich fünf Kernkraftwerke vom Netz mussten und große Stromverbraucher sitzen.
              http://www.handelsblatt.com/...

              You'll have to use babelfish, though, although I think you already know that what I have told you is correct.

              I am not too bothered by old power plants being powered up for a couple of hours if it prevents the French grid from collapsing.

              I am a bit bothered by the fact that some of the French nuclear plants are running full steam despite having had some kind of "incidents" last year, though.

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

              by Lawrence on Wed Feb 08, 2012 at 09:54:48 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

        •  To much wind power (0+ / 0-)
          high influx of wind power
          for the
          north-south network connection

          "Drop the name-calling." Meteor Blades 2/4/11

          by indycam on Thu Feb 09, 2012 at 08:54:55 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  I know for a fact that many of (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        kyril, Lawrence

        those translators are indeed Indians who have taken German courses at the Goethe Institut in India, have never set foot in Germany (like those pro-nukes who are spouting off about German policy here without having the first clue of how things work there) and now pass as translators. Yup. You can imagine that their rates are a bit lower than those in Europe or the US. To say nothing about the quality. You might as well use Google translations, they are even cheaper and the quality probably not much worse! :)

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

        by translatorpro on Thu Feb 09, 2012 at 02:21:54 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Knew you'd come and infest this diary (5+ / 0-)

      At least, try to be more accurate the next time you troll. Just sayin'....

      “Fair? Fare is what you pay to ride the bus. That’s the only ‘fair’ I know.” ~ Heylia James, from Weeds - 1st season

      by ozsea1 on Wed Feb 08, 2012 at 08:34:49 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  adsf (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ozsea1, Just Bob, translatorpro, Lawrence

      After Fukushima Germany decided to phase out nuclear by 2022. Right after Fukushima 8 of 17 reactors were shut down. In other words Germany did not shut down all its nuclear reactors and 5 of the 8 that were shut down were left as reserves.

      After doing a search in Google a lot of headlines say this or something similar:

      Freeze forces Germany to restart nuclear reactors
      But when one reads the story, and most seem to point to the same source because they are very similar, it reads:
      Eight of Germany's 17 reactors were immediately taken off line, but five of them are serving as reserve generators in case electricity demand cannot be met from other sources.
      The story does not live up to the headline, surprise, surprise.

      The google search link

      One story, another one, and another one. They all seem to come from the same source.

      •  Thanks for going to the trouble of (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        basquebob, Lawrence

        finding the source of the erroneous articles. You might want to go to an older diary to get some more accurate information about the background of the German Renewable Resources Act of 2000 (enacted 2002) and how Germany envisions a future based on renewables. As an engineer, you would probably appreciate it.
        Link: http://www.dailykos.com/...

        PS. It's a live blog Q&A with a German Green Party energy guy that I hosted a couple of weeks ago, so yeah, I'm pimping my own dead diary. :-)

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

        by translatorpro on Thu Feb 09, 2012 at 06:10:31 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Thanks Lawrence (8+ / 0-)

    Great post. Thanks for the great info.

    Germany rocks!

  •  I vote wind (7+ / 0-)

    simply because Texas produces a lot of that. :)

    27, white male, TX-26 (current), TN-07 (originally), liberal-leaning independent

    by TDDVandy on Wed Feb 08, 2012 at 08:01:46 PM PST

  •  Ok, good night everyone... I'm hitting the sack. (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    basquebob, Just Bob, translatorpro, Matt Z

    I stayed up way past my bed time in order to answer questions as best I could. Time sure does fly when you're tending to a reclisted diary with lots of good comments and questions....

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

    by Lawrence on Wed Feb 08, 2012 at 08:28:35 PM PST

  •  Using Germany as the guiding light in renewables (0+ / 0-)

    policy seems premature, given this report. (PDF)

    And as reported here, the CO2 debate there doesn't seem exactly "settled".

    •  You call that a report? (7+ / 0-)

      That's a climate change denial group(or one-man group) pretending to be some kind of official organization.

      It's kind of droll to see someone posting links to climate change denialist sites here on DailyKos, though.

      Please don't pollute this diary with that kind of stuff.

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

      by Lawrence on Wed Feb 08, 2012 at 08:40:57 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Is the information accurate or not? n/t (0+ / 0-)
        •  You'll get much better information (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Lawrence, fran1

          here:
          http://www.bmwi.de/...

          The report you link to starts off with the incredible statement that Ms. M (for Chancellor Merkel) wanted to get rid of nuclear power. That is so wrong it's laughable. Her party is the CONSERVATIVE, pro-business party and managed to get the nuclear power plant operations EXTENDED in 2010, contrary to the German Renewable Resources Act of 2000 (enacted in 2002). Her government reverted to the ORIGINAL policy after the Fukushima disaster because there was a hue and cry from the population. People power works here. The report goes downhill from there.

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

          by translatorpro on Thu Feb 09, 2012 at 03:57:15 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  Bullshit (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      basquebob, happymisanthropy, Lawrence

      The CO2 debate is settled. Shut up already.

      "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro." - HST

      by DocGonzo on Wed Feb 08, 2012 at 10:32:49 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  In addition to a completely (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Lawrence

      inaccurate (to put it mildly) report, which I refer to in another comment, you link to the BILD Zeitung  as a reliable source??? Yikes. That is the worst POS tabloid that makes mountains out of molehills based on scaremongering and scandal (real or supposed) in Europe. Do you really think Germany is going for 100% renewables by 2050 or not burning its abundant supplies of lignite (the only natural energy resource it has huge amounts of) or has steadily outperformed the Kyoto goals if there were any doubt about the harmful effects of CO2 in this country? You are either naive or living under a rock.

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

      by translatorpro on Thu Feb 09, 2012 at 11:49:47 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Japan (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    translatorpro

    Japan has 54 nuclear power plants only 5 of which are operating now. Will be interesting to see what their experience is with this winter. They survived the summer without extensive blackouts according to reports.

    Solar is civil defense. Video of my small scale solar experiments at solarray.

    by gmoke on Wed Feb 08, 2012 at 09:22:57 PM PST

    •  And (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      gmoke

      temperatures in the high rises at about 80 degrees from what I read. The exact number may have been 82 before any ac was turned on.

      •  They did it how? Wanna guess? is the (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        eigenlambda

        answer relevant to anything that concerns you? They started their gas and diesel and oil plants back up kept in reserve. That's a "Bad Thing" not a good thing. So, because of the decision to keep a majority of their plants on reserve shutdown, they are now pumping prodigious amounts of GHG into the air. Well done. No nukes means more GHG emissions or don't you understand that yet?

        David

        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 Thu Feb 09, 2012 at 09:40:51 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  What (0+ / 0-)

          I understand is that we are going to pay for our hubris either way.

          I guess I would prefer not to be nuked in my lifetime.

          And we can go down the road of using less energy.

          There will be energy decent in our futures no matter what.

        •  How Much Demand Reduction? (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Lawrence

          What was the percentage of Japanese demand reduction from 2010 to 2011? I suspect it was considerable given the concentrated public education campaign after Fukushima: "If you want to help, save electricity." The before and after pictures of Shinjuku at night are particularly instructive as to how much energy conservation the Japanese are capable of.

          They have also increased their solar developments beyond expectation.

          The nuclear power plants were shut down because the Japanese government, not in any sense an enemy of nuclear power, determined they needed to pass stress tests for safe operation.

          According to a recent NHK survey, only 2% of the Japanese public favors an expansion of nuclear power.

          Solar is civil defense. Video of my small scale solar experiments at solarray.

          by gmoke on Thu Feb 09, 2012 at 07:02:17 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  I voted Nuclear but not the Plants now in use (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ozsea1

    but those that are of new modular small designs that serve City sized areas instead of whole regions and hopefully Thorium designs.

  •  it is so cold here (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Just Bob

    I am not in Germany but another country in Europe and I just needed to whine...

    www.tapestryofbronze.com

    by chloris creator on Wed Feb 08, 2012 at 11:52:01 PM PST

  •  Terrific diary, Lawrence. (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Just Bob, Andhakari, Lawrence, basquebob

    Good info and lots of excellent questions/points which you dealt with in a stellar manner. Thanks for writing this up and congratulations on achieving the pinnacle of DK fame!

    PS. And thanks for the heads up on the Live Blog diary I put up a couple of weeks ago. I hope lots of people read it and the fantastic links Georg added, even though the thread itself is long inactive.

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

    by translatorpro on Thu Feb 09, 2012 at 12:55:58 AM PST

  •  I must pour some cold water here, sadly... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    translatorpro, Lawrence

    We Germans are having some electricity trouble now, too.

    From the Spiegel Online frontpage just today:

    Link

    •  It's actually been amazing so far, (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Andhakari, Lawrence

      but not surprising considering how cold it is here. But what we don't have in Germany is power outages, as is common in the US when there are mass outages with hundreds of thousands or even millions of people without power for days and even a week or more due to weather. I have rarely experienced an outage of an hour in Germany, usually - if it happens at all - it's far shorter. It's supposed to get warmer again next week - we'll see what happens then.

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

      by translatorpro on Thu Feb 09, 2012 at 02:27:50 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Power outages (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        translatorpro, Lawrence

        Yeah, the only time I ever witnessed a power outage in Germany was when a fuse overloaded. ^^

        •  I should also say that the only (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Lawrence

          ones I've experienced here in Germany were when I lived out in the boondocks where there were still overhead lines. Most of the power grid is underground, as you know. This info is aimed at Americans who might not realize that. I get that that would be infinitely more difficult in a country the size of the USA, of course.

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

          by translatorpro on Thu Feb 09, 2012 at 04:03:19 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  I wouldn't really call that electricity trouble (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      translatorpro

      quite yet, but I am glad that the weaknesses in the current grid are being exposed.

      A major part of that weakness lies in the fact that 5 of the 8 nuclear plants that were switched off are in southern Germany, where the dominant conservative state govt.'s have also blocked the development of renewables(especially wind), so there is a lack of capacity for transmitting abundant electricity from northern wind power to southern Germany.

      As the grid is upgraded and more offshore wind power(which is more steady than onshore wind) goes online, this problem will likely recede.

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

      by Lawrence on Thu Feb 09, 2012 at 04:51:05 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Hopefully that will change now, (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Lawrence

        at least in Baden-Württemberg, where the Green Party-SPD ousted the long-ruling CDU party last March. I should check to see what they are up to on that front, since the state governments have the say over the grids. Thanks for reminding me.

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

        by translatorpro on Thu Feb 09, 2012 at 06:55:00 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  From the Guardian (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    translatorpro, Lawrence, basquebob

    More good news:

    £1.2bn Walney scheme, off Cumbria, with more than 100 turbines generating enough power for 320,000 homes
    is now online.
    The new 367.2MW scheme, which will itself be dwarfed by the massive London Array off Kent
    Guess how much nuclear power you get for 1.2 billion pounds.
    Walney breaks a number of records: it has been built more cheaply and quickly than previous schemes
    Guess how long it takes to build a nuclear reactor.
    The company claims the second part of [Waley] was the quickest-built of its kind, with all turbines and cables installed in less than six months, and that it has achieved considerable cost reductions at a time when critics claim offshore wind is too expensive.

    "As long as people believe in absurdities they will continue to commit atrocities." ~ Voltaire

    by Andhakari on Thu Feb 09, 2012 at 03:03:50 AM PST

    •  Great Britain has some amazing offshore (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Andhakari

      wind resources.... pretty much the best in the world.

      That combination of lots of shoreline with shallow water depths also makes it easy and comparatively cheap for them to develop those resources.

      And yes, those resources can be brought online so much faster than nuclear.

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

      by Lawrence on Thu Feb 09, 2012 at 04:44:02 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Lessee (0+ / 0-)

      How much nuclear power for 1.2 billion pounds? That's about 2 billion dollars US, or about 40% of the cost of the EPR 1000 reactors being built in China (the others being built elsewhere are more expensive). The Chinese EPR 1000s will produce about 1.6GWe baseload at a predicted 90% duty cycle, so they will generate about 1.3GW averaged over a year.

       The Walney wind scheme has a nameplate power output of 367MW. That means only when the wind speeds are in a narrow band will it produce 25% of the rated baseload output of an EPR 1000. The rest of the time it will produce less power, or none at all if the wind is too strong. The best-sited land-based wind power systems have a 30% supply figure; assuming this offshore facility can match that 30% then it will produce about 120MW averaged over a year, intermittently. That's 10% (intermittent) of the baseload capability of an EPR 1000 reactor for 40% of the cost.

       I don't know what the breakdown and failure statistics are for sea-based wind turbines. Perhaps someone can point me at reliable resources that give numbers?

      •  The EPR 1000 features turbine generators (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Lawrence

        manufactured by MHI, maker of those at San Onofre that are self-destructing. We'll see what the cost turns out to be.
        And then, of course, the UK will be disposing of its waste in the deep geological repository which will take up to 25 years to site and build - la la la - more fantasies.
        Nobody is going to worry about the waste and pollution from a wind turbine, and when one fails you lose a megawatt. When a nuke plant goes down for maintenance, repair, or decommissioning it throws the whole system out of balance.

        "As long as people believe in absurdities they will continue to commit atrocities." ~ Voltaire

        by Andhakari on Thu Feb 09, 2012 at 07:15:34 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  UK repository for nuclear waste (0+ / 0-)

          The UK's waste repository will not be the size and scale of Yucca Mountain since Britain, unlike the US, reprocesses its nuclear fuel rods. The amount of actual waste is miniscule in comparison to the stacks of unprocessed fuel rods the US Government[0] has to deal with. The rest of the material in the spent fuel rods (about 90% plus) gets reconstituted as fresh fuel for the next generating cycle. Most of the actual waste material from fuel rods is short-lived isotopes which decay into harmlessness over a few days or weeks; that's what the long-term storage ponds and dry cask storage are for.

           The result of reprocessing means an individual reactor fuelling cycle produces only a few kilogrammes of actual waste that gets vitrified and jacketed ready for deep geological disposal in years or decades to come. There's no need to start work on the UK's disposal site, not for decades since the tiny quantities of waste created per gigawatt-year of electricity generated mean above-ground storage of such waste is perfectly acceptable right now.

           [0] The US Government levies a charge of 0.1 cents per kw-hr of nuclear-generated electricity on the generating companies to cover the cost of accepting and dealing with spent nuclear fuel rods from the nuclear power industry. It has been collecting this levy for the past thirty years or so but seems to be in no hurry to actually accept the spent fuel rods it has collected the levy on, to either process them (which would require a reversal of a long-standing political decision made by the Carter administration) or properly store them long-term.

          •  Last year was a decline in new approvals (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            eigenlambda

            for wind power in the UK. everyone seems to hate wind as it's environmentally destructive in building them and ruins the ridge lines. The UK is the one Western European country where nuclear is more popular than wind, and the anti-nuclear movement reflects this weakness. Wind remains amazingly unpopular (amazingly to me, anyway) in the UK.

            The UK is on schedule to build 19 GWs of new nuclear.

            The UK is is going to decide to build 2 proposed fast reactors to eat the waste of the other online nuclear power plants so as to get rid of it.

            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 Thu Feb 09, 2012 at 09:45:13 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  The UK and nuclear power (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Andhakari

              The UK Government has, with some hemming and hawing, announced it is in favour of building out some new nuclear power. It's not yet had anyone step forward (Areva, I'm looking at you here) and say they will actually jump through all the hoops and break ground on construction. Possible sites have been mentioned and preliminary approval granted but no political or financial capital has been expended yet. It may be a case of waiting to see what happens with the EPR 1000 units being built in China, France and Finland before a design is chosen and construction actually begins.

               As for breeders we've had a couple and are currently in the process of decommissioning what's left of them. One of them will probably not be totally demolished as its outer containment is a landmark and icon.

               Most of the reported experience with power breeders around the world has not been particularly positive (Monju, Phenix and Superphenix etc.) and with the low cost of uranium metal on the world market I'd guess that they will continue to be a technology of the future for some time to come.

               Britain buys in 2 GW of spare French generating capacity much of the time via a HVDC link under the English Channel/La Manche and that could be expanded in the future if we start to run short -- an independent Scotland would probably shut down the Torness and Hunterston B stations and the Scottish Government has committed itself to no new-build nuclear despite those two stations providing about half of Scotland's native electricity supplies.

  •  Germany buys large quantities of electricity (0+ / 0-)

    from nuclear France. C'est vrai. You can look it up.

    Nincompoopery has never been a bar to high office in our nation. - Molly Ivins

    by SpamNunn on Thu Feb 09, 2012 at 04:37:17 AM PST

    •  You are wrong. Period. (0+ / 0-)

      Look it up. Bwahhahahaha.

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

      by translatorpro on Thu Feb 09, 2012 at 04:55:29 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  France and Germany buy power from each other. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Lawrence, translatorpro

        What 'large quantities' means in the preceding comment is anyone's guess.
        I wonder sometimes why we're even bothering with this conversation, such as it is, regarding the efficacy of nuclear vs solar and wind; but I guess we have to keep it up as long as the nukers have so much influence over government subsidies and regulatory bodies.
        Wind and solar have so many natural advantages. About all nuclear has going for it is institutional inertia.

        "As long as people believe in absurdities they will continue to commit atrocities." ~ Voltaire

        by Andhakari on Thu Feb 09, 2012 at 05:11:49 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  I know, but his/her statement (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Andhakari, Lawrence

          was just so ludicrous that I couldn't help but answer in kind. Usually I provide links for every statement I make that needs it. I'm half German, after all ;-).

          We are having this conversation to make sure that people who are interested but not energy junkies get the true picture, not the distorted one. But I think we are succeeding. If you take notice, you'll see that the pro-nuke diaries get less and less attention, fewer and fewer recommendations each time. The rudeness of some of the advocates has also succeeded in turning people off, so that group is being increasingly marginalized on this site. Most people at DK are for renewables, so I think the pro-nuke advocates are on a downward trajectory here. Eventually they will give up and go away once they finally get that people here aren't buying what they are selling so incredibly badly.

          Here's an interesting report, in case you are interested, called Global Nuclear Generation Capacity Falls:
          http://vitalsigns.worldwatch.org/...

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

          by translatorpro on Thu Feb 09, 2012 at 06:00:46 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Sometimes I wonder if the rude nukers (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            translatorpro, Lawrence

            are actually anti-nuke sock puppets trying to make nuclear look even worse than it already does. It's one thing to become emotional about an issue you care about, but it's another thing entirely lob personal attacks at any and all who have a different point of view.
            I wonder other things about them as well, but speculating about the psychiatric issues confronting orange members is discouraged.

            "As long as people believe in absurdities they will continue to commit atrocities." ~ Voltaire

            by Andhakari on Thu Feb 09, 2012 at 07:57:01 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  Not a chance. I could care less what you are (0+ / 0-)

            buying.   The reality is that, for now, renewables are not enough.  

            Most people at DK are for renewables, so I think the pro-nuke advocates are on a downward trajectory here. Eventually they will give up and go away once they finally get that people here aren't buying what they are selling so incredibly badly.

            Nincompoopery has never been a bar to high office in our nation. - Molly Ivins

            by SpamNunn on Sat Feb 11, 2012 at 01:35:05 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  You don't know that because (0+ / 0-)

              you don't have a clue about what's happening in countries outside of the US, which has dropped years behind in clean energy because of the wasted Bush years. If you're talking about America, fine. I haven't lived there for 25 years, so I'm not up on things other than what I read, but I do live in Germany and know that this country is at least 10 years ahead of the United States in developing alternative sources of energy. So I would suggest you turn your attention to doing something about the situation in the country you live in and don't try to lecture me or other expats who live in Germany about what is going on here. And citing completely absurd sources to try to prove otherwise. A British tabloid is not a reliable source and only shows up your lack of knowledge about Europe.

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

              by translatorpro on Sun Feb 12, 2012 at 03:33:51 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

    •  I did look it up. (0+ / 0-)

      Nincompoopery has never been a bar to high office in our nation. - Molly Ivins

      by SpamNunn on Sat Feb 11, 2012 at 01:38:01 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  The Daily Mail ?? (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Lawrence

        Hoo, boy. One article from a Murdoch paper? That's like quoting an article from another Murdoch rag "The New York Post". You need to practice your research skills. Besides, the article referenced in the diary is linked just above the video, you just need to use an online translator to be able to read it.
        Here are a few more:
        https://www.entsoe.eu/... (european network of transmission system operators for electricity)
        http://www.renewableenergyworld.com/...
        http://k.lenz.name/...
        http://www.reuters.com/...
        http://cleantechnica.com/...
        Page 27 in http://www.iea.org/...

        Check your sources before you make yourself look even more foolish than you already do by making silly comments based on nothing but guesswork or nonsense.

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

        by translatorpro on Sun Feb 12, 2012 at 03:22:33 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Not just the Daily Mail (0+ / 0-)

          http://www.spiegel.de/...

          Germany is now a net importer of power, at an increased cost to its citizens.  

          Nincompoopery has never been a bar to high office in our nation. - Molly Ivins

          by SpamNunn on Sun Feb 12, 2012 at 05:07:14 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  You are really not getting it. (0+ / 0-)

            We are having unprecedented winter weather, and FRANCE is having problems keeping up with their needs despite 59 nuclear power plants and a population that's 80% of Germany's. So Germany is EXPORTING to France now, and switched on a couple of reserve plants to  stabilize FRANCE's grid. You obviously did not read this diary. At all. The article you reference is from last September, when it wasn't clear what the longterm effect of shutting down 8 of 17 nuclear plants (in March 2011) would be. It has turned out to be ZERO, because the renewables development is that fast. They are only exporting LESS than before. Duh. And why the hell do you care what their citizens are paying? We expats aren't complaining, either, so why should you?
            Again, clean up in your/our own backyard first, where it would do a lot more good. You are cherrypicking articles that you like without knowing anything about Germany, and I refuse to discuss anything else regarding Germany's energy policy with someone who is willfully ignoring the sources I am putting at his lazy fingertips and making no effort at all at intelligent debate. You, sir, are a dining room table, not worth my energy. Ignored.

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

            by translatorpro on Sun Feb 12, 2012 at 10:41:05 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

  •  They shall beat their military airports into solar (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Lawrence

    farms and their missles into windmills. Selah.

    Rakoff for president! "An application of judicial power that does not rest on facts is worse than mindless, it is inherently dangerous.."

    by davidincleveland on Thu Feb 09, 2012 at 07:04:34 AM PST

    •  Actually the reality is that they are beating (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      eigenlambda, fearlessfred14

      nuclear weapons into nuclear megawatts. One out of every ten electrons is produced in the US from former nuclear weapons from Russia.

      D.

      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 Thu Feb 09, 2012 at 09:46:51 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Scrapped nukes are a great fuel source (0+ / 0-)

        especially if you have a plant that runs on 5% enriched uranium. Just dilute the scrap uranium with natural uranium and you have lots of 5% without the trouble, cost, and pollution that uranium enrichment brings.

        Male, 21, -4.75/-6.92, born and raised TN-05, now WI-02, unapologetic supporter of Obama and Occupy. Tammy Baldwin for Senate and Recall Walker!

        by fearlessfred14 on Thu Feb 09, 2012 at 05:58:27 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  What are doing is this; (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    eigenlambda

    Germany forced to tap into electricity reserves

    (AFP) – 4 hours ago

    BERLIN — Germany has been forced to call upon its reserves for producing electricity for the second time this winter as Europe is gripped by a severe cold snap, officials said on Thursday.

    The country's four main power operators requested the reserve generator at a coal-powered plant in southern Germany and two plants in Austria be activated, the regional environment ministry in the southern state of Baden-Wuerttemberg said.

    AFP is the French Press Agency.

    The issue wasn't starting nuclear plants, its starting coal plants and upping the gas plants. This is what Germany is relying on right now.

    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 Thu Feb 09, 2012 at 09:52:05 AM PST

    •  That's why they're called "reserves", (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      translatorpro, Lawrence

      no one here is calling for a return to the stone age.

      •  Exactly right. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        basquebob, Lawrence

        http://www.thelocal.de/...

        Brutal cold triggers reserve power plants

        After exporting power to France earlier this week, Germany has switched on reserve energy plants amid surging demand for electricity due to the ongoing deep freeze hitting Europe.

        The country's four main power operators requested the reserve generator at a coal-powered plant in southern Germany and two plants in Austria be activated, the regional Environment Ministry in the southern state of Baden-Württemberg said.

        The power station in Germany, in the southern city of Mannheim, would continue to be used Thursday, a spokesman said. "We do not have a problem of supply, of quantity, it's principally a question of stabilising the network," a spokeswoman for the Germany electricity market regulator said.

        The rest of the article is quite illuminating, going on to say that the loss of 8 nuclear power plants has largely been compensated for by renewable energy-based supply, thus refuting the doomsayers' dire predictions. This is definitely a strictly temporary measure, and a good opportunity to test the back-up systems which will be on reserve as Germany continues to expand its renewable energy resources.

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

        by translatorpro on Thu Feb 09, 2012 at 12:27:58 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Yep, tapping in to cold reserves for a couple (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      translatorpro

      hours/day because France is using so much and paying so much for electricity right now.

      France is currently paying more for wholesale electricity than even the most expensive cold reserves cost to produce.

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

      by Lawrence on Thu Feb 09, 2012 at 12:26:40 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Solar efficiency increases in cold weather (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Lawrence, translatorpro

    So as long as it's sunny and you can clear the snow off the panels (at least here, deep freezes are typically sunny), it's not a bad energy source. Yes, you might need reserve power, but this sort of cold doesn't happen all the time in Germany, so using reserves is entirely appropriate.

    Male, 21, -4.75/-6.92, born and raised TN-05, now WI-02, unapologetic supporter of Obama and Occupy. Tammy Baldwin for Senate and Recall Walker!

    by fearlessfred14 on Thu Feb 09, 2012 at 05:56:32 PM PST

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