The Future Looks C-C-Cold

In Germany. In the winter.

Cold

Thousands of people marched Saturday in Berlin to demand that Germany speed up its exit from coal-fired power plants, a day before the opening of a U.N. climate summit in neighboring Poland.

“Stop Coal!” is the rallying call today. “Stop nuclear power!” was yesterday. The Germans have already shut down their nuclear power industry due to an earthquake in Japan. Don’t ask.

Some of these demonstrators have clearly thought all of this through, however. That’s why they’re wearing those polar bear suits. “Somebody turn on the freakin’ heat already!” Will by the rallying cry of the future.

“The future is coal-free.”

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German Of The Day: Preiserhöhung

That means price rise. For German electricity bills, in this case. Another big one on the way. Wonder why?

Energy

Keen to drastically reduce greenhouse gas emissions and transform its energy sector, German leaders adopted a vast program called Energiewende eight years ago and the country prides itself on setting the pace for change in the European Union…

But earlier this year, officials admitted the country will not hit the 2020 goal, saying it would reach 32 percent at best (40 percent was the goal).

Greenhouse gas emissions in Germany have not decreased for the last nine years and emissions from the transportation sector have not fallen since 1990. In fact, the United States has reduced carbon emissions more than Germany, in both real and nominal terms…

The growing pains have led to higher prices, largely shouldered by residential power customers.

Between 2015 and 2017, Germany inched ahead of Denmark for the highest electricity prices for household customers (35 cents per kilowatt-hour, in U.S. currency), according to the statistical office of the European Union.

Viele deutsche Haushalte müssen im kommenden Jahr deutlich mehr für Strom bezahlen. Berechnungen von Online-Vergleichsportalen zeigen, dass die Preise in der Grundversorgung um durchschnittlich vier bis fünf Prozent steigen werden.

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,”

Reality Can Be Like That

Germany’s green dreams run into climate change reality – Berlin’s commitment to stay nuclear free complicates Europe’s push to lower emissions.

Green

The contradictions in Germany’s energy policy are coming home to roost.

It’s struggling to balance efforts to combat climate change while at the same time shutting down its nuclear power plants.

Don’t sweat it, Germany. If you need any advice on how to improve things in the CO2 department just contact the folks in Washington.

“The rushed and improvised exit from nuclear power that some support is not our policy. Recent events prove that pretending otherwise is a pure illusion.”

More Government In Action

Here’s how this one works.

Tax

Step 1: The German government invents a new tax back in 2011 (before Fukushima even) making German energy utilities pay the government for using the nuclear fuel rods they already use.

Step 2: The utilities raise the price of energy they produce directly after that so the German consumer covers this arbitrary government interference.

Step 3: The German supreme court now rules that this tax is unconstitutional (you can’t just make up taxes that don’t have a constitutional basis, not even in Germany) and that the German government must now pay back the six billion euros (with interest) it took from these utilities.

Step 4 (still to come): The utilities will not compensate the German consumer nor reduce the price increases it passed on to them for having had to pay for this illegal German government tax.

Step 5 (still to come): The German government has already spent the six billion euros, of course, so it will need to round up that money from somewhere else.

Step 6 (just a question): Who do you think the German government is going to get this money from?

The system is rund (round), as the German say. And it works perfectly, as usual.

Der Gesetzgeber, so die Begründung, kann nicht irgendwelche Steuern erfinden, sondern nur solche einführen, die im Grundgesetz vorgesehen sind.

Wind Energy Still Safer Than Nuclear Energy

Unless you’re a bird, of course. Or you’re a truck driver transporting turbine blades on a German autobahn.

Wind

The giant turbine blade fell when the transporter which was transporting it was involved in an accident on the A33 autobahn near Bielefeld. The blade was knocked across the entire width of the autobahn when another lorry ran into the back of one of the transporter’s escort vehicles.

Auf der A33 ist am Dienstagmorgen ein Lastwagen mit einem Schwertransport kollidiert, der den Flügel eines Windrades transportiert hatte. Der Lastwagen ist laut Polizei zunächst in das hintere Begleitfahrzeug des Schwertransportes gefahren. Wie das passieren konnte, ist noch unklar.

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.

What Does Reality Have To Do With Anything?

We Germans don’t care that “Germany isn’t an ideal place for solar and wind power.” We’re green. And we’re going to stay green and pay green (one of the highest electricity rates in the developed world) until we’re green in the face.

Green

Once, German utilities like E.on and RWE had a sound business model that produced cheap energy from nuclear factories. That’s how the two companies could be kind to investors, workers, and taxpayers…

Then the green revolution caught up with the utility sector, as German government decided to abandon nuclear for green energy. “In the aftermath of the Fukushima catastrophe, the German government (Angela Merkel) has resorted to an overhasted exit from nuclear energy until 2022,” explains investment analyst Martin Burdenski. “This decision was in stark contrast to a lifetime extension of existing nuclear plants in 2010…”

“The companies will now receive compensation for investments made between the lifetime extension in fall 2010 and the abandonment of nuclear energy in 2011.”

German Of The Day: Angemessen

That means appropriate or suitable.

Angemessen

You know, like the appropriate or suitable compensation that the German government will now how to  pay to  the power companies it expropriated after the infamous (and ongoing) Fukushima Panic Attack of 2011?

Of course what this appropriate or suitable compensation will actually end up being once the non-atomic dust settles is quite another matter. Something tells me it’s going to be a whole lot. Hey, nichts ist umsonst. There is no such thing as a free lunch.

SPD-Vize Stegner gibt Merkel Schuld für Milliardenentschädigung.

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.”