Europe and Germany
Germany must shield its consumers from paying too much of the cost of its ambitious switch from nuclear power and fossil fuels towards renewable energy, the International Energy Agency said on Friday.
The IEA also said that Germany, with Europe's biggest economy, should make greater use of natural gas to smoothe the transition.
The success of the turnaround is not only to be evaluated after the volume of the installed solar and wind capacity but also if the energy supply remains safe and affordable, he added.
That the German government is facing a massive budget shortfall for projects aimed at transforming the country into a model of alternative energy and environmental friendliness is hardly new. The European cap-and-trade system has for months been sliding into inconsequence as prices for CO2 emissions have stubbornly remained below €5 ($6.47) per ton.
Germany is dumping electricity on its unwilling neighbors and by wintertime the feud should come to a head.
Central and Eastern European countries are moving to disconnect their power lines from Germany's during the windiest days. That's when they get flooded with energy, echoing struggles seen from China to Texas over accommodating the world's 200,000 windmills.
Previous studies have already highlighted that more than 200,000 bats are killed each year by German wind turbines. Researchers are convinced that such high mortality rates may not be sustainable ...Voigt calls for stronger legislative agreements. The large-scale development of wind farms throughout Germany may have negative consequences for even remote ecosystems in northeastern Europe.
There is no sign yet of the green economic miracle that the federal government promised would accompany Germany's new energy strategy. On the contrary, many manufacturers of wind turbines and solar panels complain that business is bad and are cutting jobs. Some solar companies have already gone out of business. The environmental sector faces a number of problems, especially -- and ironically -- those stemming from high energy prices.
"In terms of the good, the bad and the ugly wind projects from a moneymaking point of view, many in Germany and Italy have been bad.
"There has been persistent overestimation of wind speeds in Germany and Italy. Developers and turbine manufacturers want to record high wind speeds to get projects off the ground. But now investors are wising up."
The Netherlands and Germany are embroiled in a dispute over the placing of wind turbines at sea off the coast of the Dutch island of Schiermonnikoog, the Telegraaf reports on Thursday.
E.ON AG and Vattenfall Europe AG are among utilities leading a worldwide push to develop offshore wind power, overcoming a lack of work ships, stormy seas and higher costs to make almost twice the profit they would on land. ...While the benefits of stronger, more frequent breezes offshore are evident to some investors, the risks imply the need for caution, said the EBRD's Zielinski.
"Offshore wind is not for the faint-hearted," he said. "And you need deep pockets."
Massive wind turbines seem to be killing more and more migratory bats, prompting research into these neglected creatures and efforts to minimize the toll. ...The deaths have led to a flurry of research on migratory bats and their behavior. "The problem with bats and wind energy has pushed a lot of work that wouldn't have occurred otherwise," says Edward Arnett of the Austin, Texas-based nonprofit Bat Conservation International. Indeed, at a January conference in Berlin on migratory bats, wind farms were a dominant theme. Scientists are racing to figure out what brings the bats in contact with wind turbines, and what can be done to save them.
The six offshore wind turbines that REpower Systems began erecting near Germany's coast in 2004 make their older cousins look like pinwheels. Each one has three 61.5-meter blades, which in a good breeze make one revolution every 5 seconds, producing 5 megawatts of electric power. Inspired by Germany's bold vision for capturing offshore wind energy, these majestic machines are designed to withstand anything the famously unforgiving North Sea can dish out.
And yet, these turbines have never felt the spray of salt water.
Fresh concerns have emerged over the future of BP's alternative energy business after a fire broke out at one of the company's largest solar power installations in Germany.
The incident on June 21 destroyed nearly 200 sq m of one of the world's largest roof-mounted solar panel arrays on a warehouse complex in Bürstadt, near Mannheim.
Offshore wind-energy installations in Northern Europe have lost appeal among financiers because of increased costs and difficulties in building and running equipment miles at sea, a German banker said.
Many lenders have stopped providing credit for installations that are anchored to the ocean floor, said Thiess Harder-Heun, a director at Deutsche Kreditbank AG, which has financed construction of about 700 wind turbines over the past decade.
The German government and energy companies have made a big fanfare about their plans to build offshore wind parks in the North Sea. However the financial crisis is forcing several projects to be put on hold, with smaller companies in particular feeling the pinch. ...While the big energy firms have deep pockets for the development of renewal energy, the smaller companies are feeling the pinch.
The idea was that, in the intervening years, electricity produced with renewable energy technologies would grow to the point that the shift away from nuclear would hardly be noticed.
That, though, is looking increasingly unlikely. Despite a decade of massive investment and generous programs established to promote wind, solar and biomass power generation, green energy sources make up just 14 percent of the country's energy supply. Even if that were to double in the near future, the lion's share of Germany's energy consumption would have to come from elsewhere. Without nuclear power, "elsewhere" in Germany necessarily means coal-fired power plants.
The German government wants to build up to 30 offshore wind farms in a bid to meet its renewable energy targets, Environment Minister Wolfgang Tiefensee said in an interview published Sunday.
Tiefensee told the Welt am Sonntag newspaper that the wind farms would be
built in the Baltic and North seas and said some 2,000 windmills should soon be producing 11,000 megawatts of electricity.
The government is aiming to obtain "25,000 megawatts of energy from wind farms by 2030", Tiefensee said. ...European Commission head Jose Manuel Barroso weighed into the debate in an interview with the Bild am Sonntag newspaper, urging Germany to rethink its decision to phase out nuclear energy.
Conglomerate Siemens AG, wracked by a wide-ranging corruption scandal, will cut up to 4 percent of its work force worldwide, or about 17,200 jobs, a pair of newspapers reported Saturday.
The Sueddeutsche Zeitung reported that the Munich-based company was set to shed the jobs -- mostly white-collar and administrative -- without citing any sources. ...The warning was a surprise for the conglomerate, whose diverse products include trams, turbines and telecommunications equipment, given that it had said in January that sales were expected to double the pace of the global economy.
Europe's wind power market will more than double by 2015 as Spain remains the biggest producer, a study said.
Europe's installed generating capacity for electricity produced by wind turbines will expand an average nine gigawatts a year to 130.8 gigawatts in 2015, from 48.5 gigawatts at the end of 2006, according to the study by Emerging Energy Research, based in Cambridge, Mass.
Spain and Germany will account for more than half of the expansion over the next eight years, though east European markets will grow rapidly as 2015 approaches, it said.
Utilities in northern Europe are likely to dominate the growing market for offshore wind power.
The world's first floating wind turbine could be generating electricity in the North Sea in 2009 under a research pact between Norwegian energy group Norsk Hydro and German engineering firm Siemens.
Floating wind turbines would represent a technological breakthrough for offshore power generation, which has had to rely on shallow sites for turbines installed on the seabed.
German renewable energy group WPD's said Wednesday it was planning erecting a 500-600-megawatt offshore wind power park off Korsnäs on Finland's Gulf of Bothnia coast.
If built, the generators would quintuple Finland's wind power generating capacity.