Library filed under Energy Policy from Germany

Leader at E.ON urges Germany to keep nuclear plants

But Bernotat, who represents a part of the German energy sector that strongly defends the continuation of nuclear energy, said Merkel's government, particularly her Social Democratic partners could not have it both ways by wanting to reduce CO2 gases while ending the use of nuclear plants. Nuclear energy makes up 12 percent of Germany's primary supply and over a quarter of electricity generation. The International Energy Agency in Paris, in a recent report on Germany, also questioned the cost to Germany's energy security, energy efficiency and environmental sustainability if the nuclear plants are closed. Bernotat said the Social Democrats "will have to decide what they really want," as the attitudes of governments in Asia and Europe were shifting in favor of using more nuclear power.
10 Jul 2008

New offshore wind farms on the way

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.
6 Jul 2008

German industry finds offshore wind energy targets unrealistic

German utilities and wind turbine manufacturers have expressed concerns over the government's offshore wind energy target capacity of 15,000MW by 2020, deeming it technologically and economically unrealistic. The German government's target corresponds to the installation of around 3,000 large offshore wind turbines. Industry sources have voiced their concern by saying that the necessary infrastructure and servicing firms needed for the installation of these offshore wind turbines are scarce.
16 Apr 2008

German utilities, wind power industry dismiss govt's 2020 wind power target

German utilities and wind turbine makers have dismissed the government's goal of boosting off-shore wind power capacity to 15,000 megawatts by 2020, citing a lack of resources and transmission lines, Financial Times Deutschland said. The goal, which is equivalent to 3,000 high-capacity wind turbines, is 'not viable, neither from an economic nor a technological point of view,' the paper quoted a spokesman from German utility E.ON AG (NYSE:EONGY) as saying. ...The legal reimbursement of 14 euro cents per kilowatt hour of off-shore wind power is sufficient but building transmission lines from the wind parks to consumers on the continent is not profitable enough to encourage investments, BWE managing director Ralf Bischof said.
15 Apr 2008

German politicians still clash over power-supply future: reports

Economy minister Glos over the weekend accused the SPD's environment minister Sigmar Gabriel of looking at energy supply through "ideological goggles." Glos warned of a supply shortage by 2012 and rejected a thesis paper from the environment ministry which stated that supply in Germany was secure. Glos told weekly business magazine Wirtschaftswoche that "one could rather trust a hungry dog [guarding] sausage stocks" than trust the environment ministry with watching over the safety of power supply. It was therefore good, said Glos, that the security of energy supply is under the responsibility of the economy ministry. Gabriel, meanwhile, said lobbying against new coal units was putting secure supply in danger and that blocking new coal units may actually support longer lives for nuclear units.
14 Apr 2008

Germany is running out of energy, says expert

Germany could face a serious energy shortage over the next decade if it doesn't start building new power plants, said the German Energy Agency. As a result, energy prices are likely to rise dramatically. By 2020, Germany could face an energy shortage that is equivalent to the output of 15 power plants, according to a study by the German Energy Agency (Dena), which could mean higher prices for consumers. ...Last week, the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung opined that, in light of possible energy shortages, it was "ironic" that environment groups and residents protest replacing old power plants, as the newer models are actually less polluting.
24 Mar 2008

Germany could suffer blackouts, energy boss warns

A German energy boss has warned the country could experience long blackouts this summer due to a lack of power stations. Some government officials and renewable energy experts say he's needlessly spreading panic. ...In Germany, though, people expect that when they flip a switch or plug in an appliance, power will be in ready supply. This notion was put in doubt on Thursday, Feb. 28, when Juergen Grossmann, the head of German power giant RWE, warned that Germany and the rest of Europe could experience power outages lasting several days this summer due to a lack of power stations. "Power is growing short all over Europe because there are not enough power stations,"
28 Feb 2008

Weighing the Risks

DER SPIEGEL spoke to German Environment Minister Sigmar Gabriel and to Utz Claassen, the CEO of Germany's third largest energy provider, EnBW, about whether nuclear energy can provide a way out of the climate crisis.......Claassen: It may be true that we would have made more progress in the area of renewable energy sources. But most renewable energy sources do not have the capacity to provide the base load. SPIEGEL: "Base load" is the term for the output constantly required by the electricity grid. Claassen: Without nuclear energy, we would have to cover the base load almost exclusively by means of fossil fuels, namely black coal and brown coal, meaning that we would have emitted more CO2 today, not less, even if it had proven possible to develop renewable energy source technologies more quickly. A study by the German Energy Agency (DENA) -- not a study by the energy industry, that is, but one by the center of competence for energy efficiency in Germany -- came to the following conclusion: When 37,000 megawatts of wind power capacity have been installed, that will make 6 percent of those fossil fuel or nuclear plant capacities that can provide the base load obsolete. So 2,300 conventional megawatt blocks of coal or nuclear energy could then be abandoned.
23 Jul 2007

Windfarm warning

Why is Germany considering the building of up to 26 coal-fired power stations when they already have 17,000 wind turbines whirring away to the delight of the European green lobby? Why? Because German E.ON who are doing a roaring trade building windfarms in Scotland and Wales have admitted in their own reports that however many wind turbines they build or sell, without the right back-up they will not provide grid security and herald power cuts across Europe. E.ON UK must be aware of this shortcoming of their parent company's technology. Surely, it is only fair for them to warn their collaborators in Britain like Greenpeace, and FOE, to name but a few, before it is too late.
3 Jul 2007

Germany Wind Power Investing, Tiliting At Windmills

But the fact is that most alternative power technologies aren't a true solution to the globe's energy problems. The best illustration of this is the long-time poster child of the alternative energy movement, wind power. Apart from hydropower, wind is the most economically viable, developed and feasible alternative energy source. But wind's contribution to the global electric grid is all too often overstated.............At first blush, these facts suggest that the nation's energy policy and wind power industry are a smashing success. But that brings us to the clever marketing trick used by many alternative energy firms; there's a major difference between the terms capacity and generation. Namely, just because a utility may own a plant with 1,000 megawatts of capacity doesn't mean that plant is operating at that capacity at all times. In fact, that's highly unlikely to be the case, particularly for wind power. That's because the speed of wind in an area at a particular point in time is unpredictable. Moreover, even relatively small variations in wind speed can mean large changes in power output from wind turbines. The rated capacity of a wind farm is far less important than how much those wind farms actually contribute to the grid in the form of generated electricity. If we look at Germany in that light, we get a far less impressive picture. Only 5 percent of Germany's electricity generation in 2006 came from wind. Bottom line: As impressive as offshore wind farms may be to behold, those strings of thousands of windmills located on the Baltic just aren't a particularly important source of power for Germany.
30 Jun 2007

‘German feed-in system no model for Europe’

The German feed-in system, called the Erneuerbare Energieen Gesetz (Renewable Energy Law or EEG) guarantees producers of sustainable power a fixed price per kWh fed into the grid. Since the introduction of the EEG in April 2000, the amount of renewable energy in Germany has more than tripled. Last year saw the production of 20,000 GWh of wind power and 18,000 GWh from other renewable sources. The share of renewables in the electricity mix has increased from 3.01% in 2000 to 10.53% in 2006. The target for 2012 is 20%. At the same time, the increasing share of renewables confronts the power sector with growing pains. They are facing an increasing input from highly variable sources. For instance, in 2004 the grid feed-in from renewable sources has varied between 1.8 and 14 GW.
25 Apr 2007

Germany's wind farms challenged

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. "We face many hours a year with more or less no wind," says Martin Fuchs, chief executive of one of Germany's biggest electricity grid operators, E.On Netz. "We can save only a very small number of conventional power stations." Surges of wind-generated electricity risk overloading the grid, he adds, causing power blackouts. These are charges the wind power industry robustly rejects. Christian Kjaer, of the European Wind Energy Association, says all electricity grids are designed to cope with power fluctuations. "Fossil fuel or nuclear power stations are truly intermittent," he argues. "You never see 1000 megawatts of wind energy shutting down in a second, yet that's what conventional power stations do." For now, few in Germany are questioning the country's wind energy programme. The savings in terms of greenhouse gas emissions are politically popular. Yet there is a lingering question-mark over the cost of all this, and whether building so many wind turbines truly makes economic sense. Editor's Note: Originally published 5/28/06
8 Mar 2007

German Environment Minister wants to triple “renewables”

German Environment Minister Sigmar Gabriel said renewable energies could meet around 16 percent of total energy supply by 2020 — triple the current amount. At a presentation of a study on expanding renewable energies in Berlin on Tuesday, German Environment Minister Sigmar Gabriel said such an expansion of renewable energy sources would not be difficult and has “great potential” for providing jobs. Gabriel said the alternative energies would be a “major success story. He added that the production of electricity, heat and fuels from renewable sources such as wind, biomass and solar power increased 12.8 percent in 2006 and that renewable sources now make up 5.3 percent of the energy supply. Electricity from renewable sources has a 11.8 percent share. Such expansion would gradually allow Germany to replace nuclear energy with renewables, Gabriel said. Rapid growth has also led to 50,000 new jobs in the sector since 2004 — with a current total of 214,000 in the branch. The German Space Center conducted the study for the German Environment Ministry.
27 Feb 2007

Blown over

High wind-power production in Germany one Saturday night helped extend a blackout across Europe. Last month, the Conservative government joined the long line of governments around the world subsidizing the production of wind power. Meanwhile, new information about wind power from Europe raises the spectre of unexpected blackout risks, high costs, unreliable production and even questionable environmental benefits. Concerns over wind power used to focus on whether enough wind would blow to keep wind generators busy and electric power grids supplied. Now, after a major power blackout in Europe in November that left 15 million households in the dark, concerns over wind power come from an entirely opposite direction – fear that wind power can unpredictably produce more power than a system can handle.
22 Feb 2007

Governments struggle to find policies that will spur renewable-energy industries — without coddling them

Since the oil shocks of the 1970s, governments around the world have paid plenty of lip service to renewable energies such as wind and solar power. But only a few governments have been able to engineer policies that have begun to bring alternative energies into wider use. Renewable fuels provided 18% of the world’s total electricity supply in 2004, according to figures from the International Energy Agency, a Paris-based intergovernmental organization. Almost all of that, though, came from hydropower, a source with limited growth potential because of geographic constraints. The use of wind and solar power is growing, but they still generated only 1% of global electricity production in 2004, the latest year for which figures are available.
12 Feb 2007

The Wind Power Debate Continues to Produce Crosswinds of Controversy

From Barton, Vermont, to the German border with Denmark and from the shores of Lake Huron, to the Romney Marches of southern England, wind power advocates are fighting crosswinds from local residents. In Barton in mid-January, a referendum overwhelmingly rejected the wind power turbines that were planned near this upper Vermont community. ...In Germany, where one-third of the world's current wind power is generated, doubters have provoked a loud debate. The company that owns the grid that includes nearly half the wind-farms in Germany reported its wind farms generated only 11 percent of their capacity. The company said the winds vary so much the wind farm had to be backed 80 percent by the conventional power grid.
27 Jan 2007

Going deep to renew energy

Deep-water wind farms will top the agenda when U.S. Rep. William Delahunt, D-Mass., leads a congressional delegation to Germany this spring. The trip will involve discussions of a variety of energy issues, said Delahunt, chairman of the bipartisan study group that includes current and former members of Congress. But of particular interest to Delahunt, who represents Cape Cod and the Islands, are German renewable energy companies - including one involved in building a test deep-water wind farm off the German coast in the North Sea. Some of the companies in this project ‘’are beginning to talk about a need for American subsidiaries,'’ Delahunt said. ‘’What better place than Massachusetts for this kind of foreign investment? Wind is to the Northeast, what oil is to Saudi Arabia,'’ he said.
17 Jan 2007

Less For More: The Rube Goldberg Nature of Industrial Wind Development

Less_for_more_thumb 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.
20 Dec 2006

https://www.windaction.org/posts?location=Germany&p=11&topic=Energy+Policy
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