Energiewende Update: German Solar Energy Production Still Not Working At Night

Or when it’s cloudy and gray and yucky outside (an estimated 359 days a year here). Wind energy does, however. But only when there is enough so-called Wind (wind) to go around.

Wind

German environmentally renewable scientists have now been informed, however, and once they figure out a way to keep it sunny and windy all day long this German energy turnaround thing is going to turn everything around for good.

Because Energiewende has been accompanied by a rapid move away from nuclear power following the Fukushima disaster Germany has had to make up its energy deficit by increasing its reliance on coal for the first time in years. German CO2 emissions have actually been rising over past three years.

Germany Still Threatened By Fukushima

Or by the ghost of Fukushima, I should say.

Fukushima

Danger! Danger! More “experts” issuing expert warnings here again: Nearly three years have passed since the Fukushima disaster in Japan and Germany is still not adequately prepared for a nuclear incident, the Süddeutsche Zeitung reports.

I can only assume that they mean being not adequately prepared for  a nuclear incident caused by a magnitude 9.0 undersea megathrust earthquake hitting somewhere off the coast of Bremerhaven in a region of the world that doesn’t “do” earthquakes and causing a massive tsunami that could wipe out one of Germany’s coastal power plants, or maybe even one in Bavaria, provided, of course, that said tsunami could still find a German nuclear power plant that was still in operation, which is very doubtful indeed, but still.

Nope. You can never be prepared enough when it comes to preparing for one of those worst conceivable and most completely unpredictable natural disasters like-in-recorded-history-type-disasters that has already happened somewhere else, I guess.

Deutschland ist nicht ausreichend auf einen nuklearen Störfall vorbereitet.

Energy Turnaround? Nein, Danke!

Not if the SüdLink power lines have to go through my backyard!

Grid

Network providers planning one of the country’s most important power-transmission pathways presented a proposal on Wednesday for an 800-kilometer, or 500-mile, corridor of high-voltage lines. The power lines would carry electricity from wind turbines in the blustery north states to power-hungry industries in the south...

But many Germans balk at the idea of high-voltage power lines running through their backyards and the fields around their communities. Last week, angry villagers in Bavaria protested plans by the network operator Amprion to construct a similar high-voltage line through their state. An attempt by the power company TenneT last year to have citizens invest in another planned expansion to the grid in the state of Schleswig-Holstein failed to win substantial support.

And mark my words here folks, the real ugliness hasn’t even begun yet. They’re never going to get this thing built.

“The corridor is not definitive, and we need feedback from citizens and communities to be able to plan this important link.”

Sunny, Windy, Costly And Dirty

What’s not to like here?

Super Minister

“Super minister?” I’d say this is more like a job for Superpenner.

The difference between the market price for electricity and the higher fixed price for renewables is passed on to consumers, whose bills have been rising for years. An average household now pays an extra €260 ($355) a year to subsidise renewables: the total cost of renewable subsidies in 2013 was €16 billion. Costs are also going up for companies, making them less competitive than rivals from America, where energy prices are falling thanks to the fracking boom…

Cost is not the only problem with the Energiewende. It has in effect turned the entire German energy industry into a quasi-planned economy with perverse outcomes. At certain times on some days, sun and wind power may provide almost all German electricity. But the sun does not always shine, especially in winter, and the wind is unpredictable. And “batteries”—storage technologies that, for example, convert power to gas and back again to electricity—on a scale sufficient to supply a city are years away. Nuclear-power plants are being phased out (this week’s court decision that the closure of a plant in Hesse was illegal will raise costs even more, as it may entitle the operator to more compensation). So conventional power plants have to stay online in order to assure continuous supply. 

Silvester Still More Deadly Than Atomkraft

More Germans get injured and die EVERY year by fireworks while celebrating on New Year’s Eve than have ever been injured by German nuclear power plants (no fatalities).

Fireworks

Especially now, I suppose, now that the last few reactors running will soon be turned off for good.

No, I haven’t the slightest idea what the connection is here, either. Ha! Other than perhaps… Germans FEEL that nuclear energy is more dangerous although they KNOW that getting drunk and shooting rockets at one another is a very real and present danger. And hey, what you FEEL wins. Loses?

System One Thinking: System one thinking is automatic, unconscious, lightening fast and generates strong feelings of certainty. System one decisions are difficult to put into words other than ‘it feels right’.

Zerfetzte Hände, schwere Verbrennungen, Tod: Die Silvesternacht hat nicht nur viel Freude, sondern auch einiges Leid gebracht. Mehrere Menschen starben durch Raketen und Böller, andere stürzten aus dem Fenster oder vom Balkon.

German Word Of The Day: Zwangsumlage

Zwangs- = compulsory. Umlage = levy, share in the costs. Put those two together and what do you get? Forced to share. But we’re talking about money here folks so let’s  just call it another tax and get it over with already.

Strom

This latest planned tax consists of forcing German households to purchase so-called “smart meters” or modern electricity meters that are supposed to regulate energy consumption by drawing electricity from that so wonderfully green German energy grid whenever this energy is cheaper. You know, like when hell freezes over?

This will only set back German consumers another 70 or 80 euros after already having been hit with a seven percent energy bill increase planned for next year, too (the seven can and will change, of course, and we all now in which direction it will be going).

Turn it around as much as you want. Anyway you turn this German energy turnaround around, you’ll always get the same result. Once you’ve turned it around, I mean. She is like way too expensive, señor.

But what can you expect from a government that is about to go retro and way back in the Wayback Machine to the good old days of SPD Never-Never Land again?

“Verbraucher sollten mit attraktiven Angeboten überzeugt, statt mit immer mehr ordnungsrechtlichen Einbaupflichten gezwungen werden.”

PS: The next German word of the day will be Abzocke. Here’s a tip: It means rip-off.

Taxing Nuclear Fuel Rods That Aren’t Being Used?

You can never be too rich or too thin, I guess. And if you’re Germany, you can never tax too much, either.

Taxation

Germany’s biggest utilities, still reeling from the country’s early exit from nuclear power, scored a major victory Tuesday when a Hamburg court said the national tax on nuclear fuel rods may violate European law.

The Hamburg finance court said it “cannot assess beyond any doubt” whether the tax on nuclear fuel used for electricity generation complies with European law. It will now ask the European Court of Justice to decide whether the levy conforms with rules that prohibit member states from creating new taxes on electricity for “general budget financing purposes.”

The tax was introduced at the beginning of 2011 and came as part of an extension of nuclear reactors’ operating lives that the government had agreed on. However, the nuclear disaster at Japan’s Fukushima power plant in March of that year triggered a U-turn in German energy policy, with Chancellor Angela Merkel ordering the immediate shutdown of the oldest plants and the early phaseout of nuclear energy by 2022. Out of 17 reactors that were in operation in March 2011, only nine are still producing power. But the fuel-rod tax remains in place, to the utilities’ annoyance.

Das Hamburger Finanzgericht will vom Europäischen Gerichtshof (EuGH) in Luxemburg zentrale Fragen zur umstrittenen Brennelementesteuer klären lassen.

Germany’s Eight Unplugged CO2-Free Atomic Reactors Have Increased Air Pollution For A Second Year In A Row

No, wait. It’s the German coal-fired power revival doing that.

Green

Green shift? Sounds more like a green shaft to me.

Coal is the most polluting fossil fuel and is blamed by scientists for contributing to global warming. Merkel opted to shut nuclear power plants after an earthquake in Japan two years ago resulted in meltdowns at reactors owned by Tokyo Electric Power Co.

“Climate protection is a key target of the government and greenhouse gases should fall, not climb.”

Big Phasehout Payout On The Way

A three-month closure imposed by the government on RWE’s Biblis A and B reactors as an immediate response to the Fukushima accident was illegal, a German court has ruled.

Phaseout

The administrative court for the German state of Hesse has found the state ministry of the environment acted illegally on 18 March 2011 when it issued an order for the immediate closure of the Biblis units.

This decision, as well as a tax on nuclear fuel levied in anticipation of continued operation of nuclear plants before the phaseout decision, have cost German nuclear operators dear: RWE estimated that the phase-out cost the company over €1 billion ($1.3 billion) in 2011 alone.

Any claims for damages against the state of Hesse would be decided in subsequent civil court proceedings.

Don’t Hold Your Breath, Tokyo

Two years after the Fukushima nuclear disaster, Japan is making a big push to win back German tourists, who are still avoiding the country because of concerns over radiation.  Visitor numbers from Germany, the world’s biggest spenders on foreign holidays in 2011, fell 35 percent between 2010 and 2011, and in 2012 did not recover as much as other markets, officials said in Frankfurt on Thursday.

Tokyo

It’s like this, folks: The level of radiation occurring naturally in Japan is much lower than that of Germany. The levels of naturally occurring radiation PLUS the radiation resulting from the accident at Fukushima are still within the range considered average for Germany.

None of this matters, of course. Hysteria bleibt (stays) hysteria.

Even at the dentist, Germans are often skeptical about the effects of x-rays and require reassurance over radiation levels.

PS: Speaking of hypochondria (sort of), Berliner Beamte (civil servants with disgustingly cushy benefits), police mostly, are off sick two months a year – on average.

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