Library filed under Energy Policy from Germany
Power cuts have struck several countries in Western Europe, leaving millions of people without electricity. Power companies said the outage started in Germany with a surge in demand prompted by cold weather, and then spread to other parts of Europe. Some five million people in France lost power, mainly in the east of the country and including parts of Paris. "We weren't very far from a European blackout," a senior director with French power company RTE said.
Most shocking of all is new evidence that the need to switch on and off base load fossil fuel power plants, to provide back up for unreliable wind turbines, actually gives off more carbon emissions than keeping them running continuously, thus negating any carbon savings from wind. Alas, only when our governments have allowed thousands more turbines to disfigure Britain’s countryside, not least by their grotesque bending of the planning rules, will the futility of the ‘great Wind Scam’ finally be recognised.
However, some observers are now questioning whether all the investment in wind power makes economic sense....Alsleben's new wind farm is designed to supply electricity to 30,000 homes, but when the wind stops blowing, the blades stop turning and the power output falls to zero. Critics say this underlines one essential drawback: you can't depend on wind for energy. Even if you build wind farms you still need conventional power plants in case the wind fails.
But before anyone starts building windmills and sun collectors across the country, the coal mines should be given a second chance, while Germany's nuclear powers stations should run for as long as they're still safe. It's all a question of getting the balance right.
FRANKFURT - Germany has approved a second offshore wind energy project in the Baltic Sea with 330 megawatt (MW) capacity, the relevant authority BSH said on Wednesday.
International Experience With Implementing Wind Energy examines the relative costs, advantages and disadvantages of wind generation. In addition, the report explores infrastructure issues, public attitudes toward wind development, and the various policy instruments used to support the development of wind energy in countries that are leaders in implementing wind energy.
Dr Johannes Teyssen and Martin Fuchs, authors of a 2005 report into wind energy in Germany, also uncovered some disturbing truths. There are three points that resoundingly debunk the myth that wind energy is efficient and practical. First, the more wind farms Germany installs, the less effective it becomes in displacing other generators. Second, there are massive subsidy costs, extensive new power lines, back-up and cost requirements. Third, comments that 48,000 megawatts of wind energy will only effectively replace 2000 megawatts of conventional generators.
The subsidies for wind are a misuse of public money. The "benefits" from industrial wind are a fantasy and an escape from our energy problems. For me, believing that industrial wind will solve our energy problems is a little like believing the Tooth Fairy will pay my heating bills this winter.
"In order to guarantee reliable electricity supplies when wind farms produce little or no power,e.g. during periods of calm or storm-related shutdowns, traditional power station capacities must be available as a reserve. This means that wind farms can only replace traditional power station capacities to a limited degree."
Despite Germany's changing political landscape, interest remains strong in its government to support the country's renewable energy policies.
FRANKFURT, Nov 14 (Reuters ) - German wind power lobby BWE said on Monday support for renewable energy in the new coalition deal would unleash huge investments but conventional producers said they were disappointed the status quo was left unaltered.
According to the study, a further financial and technical strong-arm effort would be required in order to be able to even input the quantity of green electricity planned by the federal government into the German electricity network by the year 2015.
Concept for a step-by-step extension of the transmission grid in Germany for the connection and integration of wind turbines onshore and offshore taking into account the production and power station developments and the necessary regulating and reserve power. Introduction: A reasonably priced and reliable electricity supply is an important location factor for the development of an economy. Against this background, it is necessary to investigate the demands placed on the entire system for the generation and transmission of electrical energy, which in future must again be optimised for the integration of the inevitably increasing amount of electricity generated from wind energy. The economic effects resulting from this must also be determined. Maintaining the current level of reliability of supply must be included here as an important boundary condition....
If you really want to cut energy consumption, reduce pollution, improve public health and protect our environment, it’s time to contact your elected officials, educate them about the lessons of Denmark, Germany and elsewhere, and tell them you want tougher energy efficiency measures instead of wind power plants. Otherwise, in the next few years, you’ll be looking at wind turbines in some of your favorite places, with the knowledge that they’re doing little more than funneling your tax dollars to a few lucky corporations and landowners, and away from better solutions.
Lessons Learned: E.ON Netz GmbH, the largest grid operator in Germany, reports in its Wind Report 2005, that "Wind energy cannot replace conventional power stations to any significant extent...The more wind power capacity [on] the grid, the lower the percentage of traditional generation it can replace."
They introduced the world to "environmentally friendly" energy, but now some of Europe's "greenest" countries are under pressure to backtrack on wind farms as public anger grows over their impact on the countryside.
E.ON Netz manages the transmission grid in Schleswig-Holstein and Lower Saxony, about a third of Germany, hosting 6,250 MW of Germany's 14,250 MW installed wind-generating capacity at the end of 2003. This report focuses on the operational challenges and costs associated with the intensive use of wind power due to wind's variability and unpredictability.
High annual growth rates over the past years resulted in an installed wind power capacity of 12 000 MW in Germany by the end of 2002 which generated about 17.3 MWh electricity, that is about 3.7 % of the German electricity consumption. This development was made possible by laws introducing feed-in tariffs for wind power generation. Due to the fluctuating nature of wind power generation the feed-in of growing amounts into the grid causes considerable challenges and costs for affected transmission system operators, who have to ensure a save grid operation, though basically good working wind power prediction tools exist. The owner of wind turbines do not have to deal with these problems since the Renewable Energy Act (EEG) ensures that their generated power is compensated for by fixed feed-in tariffs. In the long run, this is not a sustainable approach: Wind power needs to compete sooner or later fully with other power generating technologies at the market and wind turbine owners need to be able to sell a tradable product. After successfully supporting the development of the wind power technology, an approach is needed for including the owners of wind turbines in the task of realizing other ways than simply providing growing amounts of balancing power for wind power feed-in and gradually face them with the energy economic reality of integrating large amounts of wind power into the grid.
In conclusion, this study has shown that in many countries deregulation is having the expected effect of increased competition leading to price reduction. However, it is evident that pricing in markets depends not just on the status of deregulation, but also on the broader aspects of competition. Key factors here include the balance of supply and demand, generation fuel costs, the learning process that new markets go through, competition within different market segments and the costs of access to transmission and distribution networks. Deregulation is a long-term process that requires sustained attention.
Wind energy, fed to the grid to save resources and reduce emissions, requires control power for balancing fluctuations; this causes fuel losses in thermal power stations and limits the degree of energy substitution. Facilities for energy storage are needed when greatly extending wind power use off-shore, at the same time generating secondary fuel for stationary and mobile applications.