Canadian Energy Issues looks at why Germany has some of the dirtiest and most expensive electricity in the European Union when it has the most wind and solar power.
How is that possible, you ask, given that Germany also has the most wind turbines and solar panels in the EU? It is possible because wind turbines and solar panels cannot run an electricity system. They are mostly for show. Their sheer inefficiency and unreliability makes them by necessity very visible all over the country: to get even minuscule amounts of electricity from wind and sun, you have to overbuild wind turbines and solar panels. Lots of people see them.
German electricity became dirtier in 2013, even more so than in 2012. That is because more nuclear power plants were taken offline. Look at the chart “Germany power generation and CO2 emissions” again. See how CO2 trended up when nuclear started trending down after 2010? Well, nuclear trended down further in 2013. According to the Iron Rule of Power Generation, when a 24/7 source of electricity comes out of a grid, another 24/7 source will take its place. Wind and solar are obviously not 24/7 sources. But coal is. That is what has taken nuclear’s place in Germany.
But German households are still paying top dollar for all those wind turbines and solar panels. People in Germany pay about twice as much for electricity as people in France (France gets about 80% of their electricity from nuclear power. This must be galling, especially in light of the fact that, in December, the coldest and darkest month of the year, German wind turbines stood still essentially for days, according to this Die Welt article.
The solar energy produce minimal amounts only for two or three hours at noon. Conventional power plants, in the graph below, the large gray base, had to carry the load on the power supply alone almost the whole week. Typical winter anticyclones can last up to two weeks. The contribution of biomass and geothermal plants is so low that it can not be shown in this graphic scale. The currently available pumped storage could supply Germany four or five hours with power, but not a whole week.
In the spring the energy revolution fans trumpeted "Germany Wind and solar power production as high as ever ', proudly announced the" International Economic Forum on Renewable Energies "(IWR) on 19 April. Green power with 35 gigawatts in the network ", this value corresponds to the output of 26 nuclear power plants". However, it only hit those levels briefly.
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