Irresistible Filth?

I guess that’s one thing you could call it.

Filth

As previously reported, the Germans are having big problems meeting their ambitious CO2 emissions targets these days. One of the reasons for this dirty little secret – after having turned off most of their nuclear power plants due to a tsunami in Japan (don’t ask) – is their burning need to burn dirty, filthy, dreckig brown coal, aka lignite.

It is mined in vast, open pits that devour landscapes and villages, leaving Martian vistas of desolation roamed by gigantic excavators straight out of “Mad Max”.

Brown coal made up about 23% of the country’s energy supply last year, and black coal another 14%, according to the Economy Ministry. Renewable energy sources made up 33%—up from 6% in 2000.

Hey, whatever gets you through the dark as black coal night.

“The image of Germany as a country leading on the renewable energy transition is very, very wrong,”

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The Short Answer Is No

Not without nuclear energy.

If Germany Can’t Quit Coal, Can Anyone Else?

Coal

It would seem like a major step toward Prime Minister Angela Merkel’s goal to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 40 percent of 1990 totals by 2020. But German utilities just can’t seem to quit burning coal. Some power plants are switching to cheaper imported black coal from the United States, Russia, or Colombia. And at the same time, Germany is also digging more lignite, or brown coal. Lignite is 50 percent water and yields much less energy than the shiny black anthracite. But lignite is easy to bulldoze from massive strip mines that dot Germany’s northwest and eastern border with Poland. Among Europe’s power plants, Germany’s brown coal stations constitute six out of 10 of the worst polluters.

“It’s like organizing your own funeral.”

 

I Got The Power

Electricity bills, actually. Big ones. And talk about renewable. These bills just keep on coming and coming and growing and growing…

Power

Voter support for Angela Merkel’s long-standing pledge for climate protection risks being undermined by stubbornly high pollution levels and power prices.

Average retail power costs are set to climb 111 percent since 2000, when guaranteed subsidies for wind, solar and biomass power first started being added to consumers’ bills, forecasts from the BDEW utilities federation showed last week. Germany may for the first time move up a notch to share with Denmark the highest household energy bills in the EU.

It’s more evidence that gains in wind and solar power competitiveness have yet to trickle down to consumers, frustrating the aim of keeping Merkel’s green energy transition affordable.

“I’m from the government and I’m here to help.”

Now That’s Putting It A Little Drastic

But wenn man recht hat, hat man recht. But when you’re right, you’re right.

Hog

Germany Is a Coal-Burning, Gas-Guzzling Climate Change Hypocrite.

Just this summer, German Chancellor Angela Merkel read U.S. President Donald Trump the riot act for pulling out of the Paris climate accord, chiding the United States for ignoring and perpetuating climate change…

Yet Germany’s image as selfless defender of the climate, which was once largely deserved, is now a transparent fiction. Germany has fallen badly behind on its pledges to sink its own greenhouse gas pollutants. In fact, Germany’s carbon emissions haven’t declined for nearly a decade and the German Environment Agency calculated that Germany emitted 906 million tons of CO2 in 2016 — the highest in Europe — compared to 902 million in 2015. And 2017’s interim numbers suggest emissions are going to tick up again this year.

Angela’s Addiction

It’s one of those nasty little family secrets nobody wants to talk about (there are lots of those here in Germany).

Addiction

Or, in this case, nobody is allowed to talk about it because the world’s largest publicly funded (force-funded) news broadcasters are run by the German government.

Addiction can be successfully combated, however. Or so I’ve been told. Although in this particular case it would take a whole lot more than twelve steps to get through.

Already Europe’s biggest gas user, Germany gets about 40 percent of what it consumes from Russia, the world’s largest exporter. That dependence is only going to increase by 2025 to more than 50 percent, especially with output from the Netherlands, Germany’s western neighbor, set to drop in coming years.

Deutschland und die EU streiten darüber, wer mit Russland über den Bau der Pipeline Nord Stream 2 verhandelt. Viele Länder setzen auf die Kommission – auch in der Hoffnung, das Vorhaben so zu beerdigen.

 

Germany’s Green Planners Confident That Growing Wind And Solar Power Will Lead To Even Higher Power Costs

But who cares, right? There’ still Luft nach oben (room for improvement). Germans are only number two when it comes to paying the highest electricity bills in Europe (only the Danes pay more).

Strom

Germans already footing the second-highest electricity bills in Europe may face even higher costs from the country’s decision to exit nuclear power early next decade. While there’s no risk of blackouts, costs could rise if transmission gaps emerge, according to Germany’s Bnetza regulator. Europe’s biggest power market is closing its last atomic plants in 2022 and is counting on a mix of mothballed lignite plants, wind and solar power expansion and grid stability measures to keep outages down…

Consumers this year may pay about 24 billion euros ($26.4 billion) in compulsory clean-energy-support fees, levies that are added directly to power bills.

“The lights will stay on. Yet there are two risks in bridging power gaps, namely redispatch and intervention in the market to drive generation up or down that may be cost factors.”

The German Renewable Energy Revolution Is Not Only Expensive

It. like, doesn’t “work.”

Money isn’t everything when it comes to renewable energy here. It has to effectively cut greenhouse gas emissions, too.

Energy

Or it ought to. That is, maybe it could at one point but isn’t doing so quite yet. It will one day, though. Honest. We hope.

Germany’s carbon dioxide emissions rose by 4m tonnes to 906m tonnes, an increase of 0.7 per cent, according to a study by Arepo Consult carried out for the opposition Green party.

The Greens said the figures meant it would become “even harder” for Germany to attain its declared goal of reducing greenhouse gas by 40 per cent by 2020 compared with 1990 levels

You Say You Want A Revolution?

An energy revolution? Then pay up front, Germany. It’s going to cost you a zillion dollars and you may not be able to come up with the cash for it later.

Germany

Germany spent 25 billion euros ($26 billion) on renewable energy in 2016, most of which—23 billion euros—consumers paid through a surcharge on their electricity bills. The rise in that surcharge is the single biggest reason that the amount the average German household spent on electricity rose to 1,060 euros in 2016, up 50% from 2007.

Renewable Energy Keeps Renewing Its Price

Ever upward, of course.

Renewable

But Germans don’t mind paying this. That’s just the price they have to pay for, uh, the price they have to pay.

Germany’s green energy levy for 2017, the surcharge in consumers bills that supports renewable energy generators, will increase by 8.3% year-on-year to EUR 0.0688 (USD 0.076) per kWh.

Verbraucher müssen zur Förderung von Strom aus Windkraft und Sonne wohl auch im nächsten Jahr tiefer in die Tasche greifen. Die sogenannte Ökostrom-Umlage wird von derzeit 6,35 Cent auf 6,88 Cent pro Kilowattstunde angehoben.

We Did Nothing Wrong

“We paid our taxes, we paid our wages, we have done what every other company does with its investments.” Then what are you whining about, you fools? That just makes it all the more obvious that you must be punished.

Atom

Power firms brought a legal challenge on Tuesday against a German government decision to shut down the country’s nuclear plants by 2022, a lawsuit that could allow them to claim 19 billion euros ($21 billion) in damages.

The decision deprived the utilities of one of their main sources of profit and pitched them into crisis as the focus moved to renewables and electricity prices tumbled.

“Wir sind als Bundesregierung sehr zuversichtlich, dass unsere Rechtsauffassung obsiegen wird… Die Kernkraft war von Anfang an hoch umstritten. Es musste jederzeit mit der Möglichkeit einer Neubewertung gerechnet werden.”