Documents filed under Energy Policy from Germany
This important paper prepared for the benefit of the Edison Electric Institute (EEI) and Finadvice’s European clients examine the risks and failures of Germany's national plan to rely on renewable energy. Portions of the executive summary and conclusions are provided below. The full paper can be accessed by clicking the links on this page.
Rube Goldberg would admire the utter purity of the pretensions of wind technology in pursuit of a safer modern world, claiming to be saving the environment while wreaking havoc upon it. But even he might be astonished by the spin of wind industry spokesmen. Consider the comments made by the American Wind Industry Association.s Christina Real de Azua in the wake of the virtual nonperformance of California.s more than 13,000 wind turbines in mitigating the electricity crisis precipitated by last July.s .heat storm.. .You really don.t count on wind energy as capacity,. she said. .It is different from other technologies because it can.t be dispatched.. (84) The press reported her comments solemnly without question, without even a risible chortle. Because they perceive time to be running out on fossil fuels, and the lure of non-polluting wind power is so seductive, otherwise sensible people are promoting it at any cost, without investigating potential negative consequences-- and with no apparent knowledge of even recent environmental history or grid operations. Eventually, the pedal of wishful thinking and political demagoguery will meet the renitent metal of reality in the form of the Second Law of Thermodynamics (85) and public resistance, as it has in Denmark and Germany. Ironically, support for industrial wind energy because of a desire for reductions in fossil-fueled power and their polluting emissions leads ineluctably to nuclear power, particularly under pressure of relentlessly increasing demand for reliable electricity. Environmentalists who demand dependable power generation at minimum environmental risk should take care about what they wish for, more aware that, with Rube Goldberg machines, the desired outcome is unlikely to be achieved. Subsidies given to industrial wind technology divert resources that could otherwise support effective measures, while uninformed rhetoric on its behalf distracts from the discourse.and political action-- necessary for achieving more enlightened policy.
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.
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.
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....
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."
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.
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.
Wind turbines convert the kinetic energy in moving air into rotational energy, which in turn is converted to electricity. Since wind speeds vary from month to month and second to second, the amount of electricity wind can make varies constantly. Sometimes a wind turbine will make no power at all. This variability does affect the value of the wind power……Editor’s Note: This ‘fact sheet’ is, on the whole, a comparatively fair report. The definitions provided for capacity factor, efficiency, reliability, dispatchability, and availability are useful. Its discussion of back-up generation, marginal emissions and Germany & Denmark, however, is disingenuous as is, to a lesser degree, its discussion of capacity factor and availability. IWA's comments (updated October '06) on these issues follow selected extracts from the 'fact sheet' below.