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  1. to say that the german industry was part of the negotiations is only partially true. In germany there exists a fixt prices system on Renewables, and are prioritised, so whenever you produce electricity it has to be bought at a fix price by the utilitys, needed or not. in case this is not possible the producer neds to be compensated. so the somtimes the renewablys are being paid for elektricity that newer gets into the grid, just because it could…
    The elektricity is being traded at the market, and in case the price at the market is to low to pay the fixed prices (when theres a lot of wind and sun the prices even reach a negative, so you get paid for using/disposing the exes electricity) there is a special fee called the EEG Umlage added to the price of each kW of electricity. Everyboty has to pay that fee, exept for “internationaly competing mayor electricity users”, which apparently includes besides the industry even Golf parks… many of those buy treir electricity directly from the market, benefitting from low prices.
    Still, the biggest Industry lobbygroups like BDI or DIW are pleading time after time for substantial reforms on the Energiewende, or even abolishing it as a whole. sadly today the ministry of industry has les to say about energy than the ministry of enviroment. The ministry of enviroment is beyond incompetent… their predictions about the costs of the energiewende and the EEG Umlage especially are always underestimated, still the same pesonell that was wrong on the costs in their last studies is in charge of making the follow up study… thats basically deliberatelly fabricating and spreading false information to the industry and citiziens, based on which the wrong decissions are being made.

    1. Kroll
      biggest Industry lobby groups … are pleading … for substantial reforms on the Energiewende, or even abolishing it as a whole. sadly today the ministry of industry has les to say about energy
      When you are democratic you should state: Luckily ministry of industry has less to say about energy“.
      As the polls show ~85% support the Energiewende.

      And you cannot say the German public is ignorant.
      E.g. In Berlin 200,000 people out of 3.5million souls (~1.2million voters), signed a petition for a referendum about removing the local utility and grid operator: Swedish nuclear and fossil fuel giant Vattenfall. Not because Vattenfall did a bad job, but because they want to take matters in their own hands and think Vattenfall does not enough regarding renewable!

      The referendum proposal is to start a municipal utility and grid operator, owned by Berlin, just as in hundreds of other German towns and villages:
      http://energytransition.de/2013/11/berliners-for-the-climate/

      Where outside Germany do you find such involvement in electricity issues?

      Btw.
      The ‘greens’ lost this battle and declared they would go on and win in the end.

  2. In a few months the new German motto for nuclear after they choke to death :

    Nuclear : Slam Dunke.

    You never know.

    1. No, I don’t believe that unfortunately. It obvious there’s some big change coming when you see the kind of critical articles @nuklearia locates in the German press about energiewende, but unfortunately they are so much psychologically invested in the nuclear phase-out that they will not revert it. They will accept being half-wrong, but not being totally wrong (sunk cost fallacy and the like).

      What I expect it that the German will soon claim that they’ve done enough for renewable energy, that anyway the real heavyweight on carbon is China and they have no reason to sacrifice themselves when other countries anyway are responsible for most of the world’s emissions.

      So they will say that wind and solar should now be mature enough to stand on their own two feet, and that they will stop the current subsidizing, just letting new capacity being installed based on their inherent merit, with probably some tax incentives left, but no more guaranteed price. Given that the cost of solar is below the end user power price, this won’t stop solar deployment. For wind, there probably will be a yearly envelope of new project capacity that still receive a guaranteed price, attributed according to a call for tender of who accepts the lowest price (wind does not weight so much on the EEG, they can afford keeping some).

      But then I expect no turn around about nuclear, quite the opposite, the closure of 8 units after Fukushima being put forward as one of the biggest positive achievement of energiewende.

      However a slow down in the closure of the remaining units is quite possible.
      Reducing the speed of deployment of renewable energy and going on closing nuclear just as fast as planned would so obviously favor coal that’s it’s hard to believe they would just do that. This makes it possible that the remaining closure will become slightly conditional, with the possibility of an extra closure delay if the renewable penetration doesn’t reach some given threshold in time.

      1. And by the way, the similarity with the sunk cost fallacy is extremely important. Outrageously important.

        You make a bad decision. And you spend a lot of money in that bad decision, you basically have wasted all of your money doing that.

        The trouble is that psychologically people get the feeling they are idiots, and they have being duped, certainly not at the moment they have spent that money, but only at the moment they are forced to admit it was an error.

        So you will find them fighting with 100% of their strength against acknowledging it’s was an error, because admitting it would mean admitting they are fools, and nobody wants to be a fool and an idiot.
        That’s how you will find them fighting together with the person who has fooled them, against the one who tries to warn them they have been fooled. Even though it’s pretty obvious he’s fooling them.

        In addition to that, there’s also the run-of-the-mill sunk cost, point of no return fallacy, you’ve already spent so much into the error, that you just can’t accept to “let it go to waste”, and you will spend even more in the hope of recovering your losses

        1. People who win big at 7-card draw poker understand that psychology perfectly, losers never get a clue…

      2. The cost-price for PV-panels is now ~€10/MWh in Germany.
        About ~5% less for big projects, ~25% more for small rooftop (consumer & small business).
        Next year consumers and small business will pay ~€28/MWh for electricity from the utility.

        So they make ~100% profit by installing PV-panels if all production is consumed by themselves.
        If 50% of production is consumed by the owner and the other 50% sold against regular wholesale price of €40/MWh, then the owner still makes a nice profit.

        And installing PV-panels continues to become cheaper…

        So, jmdesp I think that you are right!
        FiT’s for solar may fade away (now FiT’s range from €98/MWh for big installation towards €147/MWh for consumer rooftop).
        And solar expansion will continue.

        1. @Bas, I know even you aren’t that ignorant. But just in case you are let me make it simple for you.

          To make the math easy lets say a typical household uses 10 MWh per year. So with your numbers that would be ~€280 with no PV-panels.

          Now lets assume PV-panels with 20% efficiency. That means installing ~50 MWh of panels at a cost of ~€500.

          Looks like a lose of ~€220. Of course he still has the panels next year at no addition cost but reduced efficiency. So it would take 4 years (with no lose of efficiency which is not realistic) to reach ~100% profit and ignoring the time value of money (since the original cost was all paid upfront).

          Also how can the wholesale price of electricty by €40/MWh while the consumer pays ~€28/MWh? Are you claiming that the utility company loses ~€12/MWh?

          1. @Brian,
            The investment for 10MWh will be not €500 but ~€1,500 (Germany).
            So the household has its money back in ~5years, and will have a profit of >€280/a (as the rates go up!) during next 20years and more.
            Btw. Efficiency reduction is <1%/a.
            Sunpower guarantees <0.25%/a and 25yrs fail-safe operation!

            If you apply a solid business model (interest 6%, depreciation 20yr (10yr for converter), unforeseen 4%), then your solar electricity cost ~130MWh. If you deliver all to the net (FiT now 143MWh), your profit is ~10%. If you use 50% and the rest to the grid then your profit is ~60%.

            Only ignorance, uncertainty and/or expectations that situation will even improve, stop people from investing now in rooftop solar.
            I wait until panels with ~25% yield are available as my roof can only be filled once! And 25% in stead of 20% deliver substantial more profit during next 25years.

            wholesale price of €40/MWh, while consumer pays €280/MWh
            Here in NL we pay €220/MWh, while we have a small grid (dense populated small country).
            Main reason is the general Energy tax, which is ~€100/MWh and may be in Germany more. That tax gives Government money to pay universities, etc. and stimulate energy (electricity) savings by the citizens. It may be substantial higher in Germany (business pay less).
            The surcharge due to the FiT’s seem to become ~€60/MWh next year in Germany (NL doesn’t have that).

            The whole sale price is a per hour changing market price and has little connection with the consumer price. That price is also different per place, depending on long distance power line available capacities / costs, etc.
            So the Amsterdam exchange may have much higher prices than the Leipzig (Germany) exchange.
            It is just like the stock market with futures (selling/buying electricity to be delivered e.g. July next year) etc.

        2. Oh, and I forgot to point out that the ‘profit’ you mention is actually a regressive tax on the poor.

          If you don’t own a home or don’t have the upfront money to pay to have PV-panels installed then you can’t participate in the wealth redistribution scheme. So the poor get poorer ro subsidize the wealthy.

          And the whole scheme only works as long as there are more people who can’t participate and just pay into the system than there are people participating and taking out of the system.

          1. @ddpalmer
            you don’t own a home
            Then you agree with the house owner about a scheme, e.g. you invest the money; if you leave after x year then the owner pays (15-x)/15 part of the investment. Both profit. Also the owner the panels raise the value of the house / raise the rent for the next renter as his electricity bill will be lower.

            you don’t have the upfront ~€4000,= or so
            Banks have special loans for that situation.

            scheme only works as long as there are more people who can’t participate
            At the moment ~2% of the German roofs covered, and that bring a capacity of ~25GW. With the advancement of yield (more electricity per m2), the situation that 30% of the roofs are covered will bring a capacity of ~500GW. German consumption is ~50GW.
            So the scheme will stop then somehow, due to overproduction bringing near zero or negative wholesale prices during almost all days (may be not yet in dark winter days).
            Long before non-participating people become a minority.

            1. @Bas

              Let me make it more clear – many of the people who are hurt the most by your schemes neither OWN a house nor LIVE in a house. They have no access to “special loans” because they have little or no credit.

              It is not a matter of the non-participating people becoming a minority; it is already an unfair matter of the less income endowed majority supporting the roof decorations of the higher income minority that own large homes, have large roofs, and can obtain credit for loans for subsidized energy production systems that add invisible costs to the grid used by everyone else.

          2. Rod
            In UK all the money flows to the big utilities, while in Germany the (also lower) middle class has a fair chance to get a share of that, and be proud of their own electricity production.

            So you could say that the Energiewende ‘democratizes’ electricity (and money) in some way (a target of the greens).
            Hence big enterprises do everything to stop the Energiewende.

            Regarding cost levels. The poor in UK will end up paying more than those in Germany, if UK government continues with deals such as Hinckley Point C.

        3. @Bas

          Why did you misquote my comment?

          Your quote was: “wholesale price of €40/MWh, while consumer pays €280/MWh
          Here in NL we pay €220/MWh, while we have a small grid (dense populated small country).”

          While what I wrote was : “wholesale price of electricty by €40/MWh while the consumer pays ~€28/MWh?”

          How did my “~€28/MWh” become “€280/MWh” in your quote? What is with changing my words?

          Did you make a mistake in your original post and are now trying to cover it up? No that can’t be it because Bas is omnipotent and never says anything that isn’t 100% absolutely true.

          “The investment for 10MWh will be not €500 but ~€1,500”

          Now the first things is that I said: “That means installing ~50 MWh of panels at a cost of ~€500.” So just where did you pull this 10 MWh from?

          Second ting is how do you arrive at ~€1,500? Considering YOU stated that “The cost-price for PV-panels is now ~€10/MWh in Germany”. So wouldn’t 10 MHr of panels be ~€100? And if 10MWh is ~€1,500 as you now claim then the 50 MWh it would take to generate an average of 10 MWh would cost ~€7,500 and at ~€280/a it would take 26 years to recover the cost. Hmmm 26 years on panels that last 25 years. Sounds like a loss to me.

          So lets see; you misquote what other write and you use new numbers that contradict your original claims. And yet you exepct people to pay attention to what you say. Now that is either supremely humorous of sadly pathetic.

          1. @ddpalmer

            How did my “~€28/MWh” become “€280/MWh” in your quote?
            Sorry, I thought it was a typo as the 28 is ~10times off reality, and that you would be glad with the correction.

            50MWh is not a capacity measure, it is an amount of energy that can be excited by an installation of only 1 panel of 300W (takes of course several years).

            50MW is a capacity measure. It implies production of 50MW during a certain time e.g. 1 second. Then the amount of energy generated is 50MWs = (50/3600)MWh. It the time is 24hrs than the energy generated is 1200MWh.

            So I assumed that you meant a capacity of 50MW in order to produce an energy volume 10MWh in a year. As you stated that as the consumption of a household (second sentence in your post October 24, 2013 at 6:55 AM)
            So I took that 10MWh/a as the starting point.

            My cost price statement of ~€10/MWh in Germany, is a mistake. Sorry.
            Please read ~€100/MWh.
            Thanks for showing that typo.

            Bas …never says anything that isn’t 100% absolutely true.
            If you check my posts then you can see that I excused myself several times for mistakes (as above), etc.

          2. @Bas

            “‘How did my “~€28/MWh” become “€280/MWh” in your quote?
            Sorry, I thought it was a typo as the 28 is ~10times off reality, and that you would be glad with the correction.”

            But YOU are the fool who posted the original claim of ~€28/MWh. What I would have been glad of would have you admitting that, as it now appears, most of YOUR numbers in your original post were WRONG.

            “My cost price statement of ~€10/MWh in Germany, is a mistake. Sorry.
            Please read ~€100/MWh.
            Thanks for showing that typo.”

            “The investment for 10MWh will be not €500 but ~€1,500 (Germany).”

            So which is it? Is it ~€100/MWh or is it ~€150/MWh? I mean a 50% difference is pretty significant.

            Here is a suggestion. Why don’t you crawl back under your bridge and not come out until you can get your numbers right?

    2. Daniel,

      When they look into the financial picture of Hinckley Point C, the Germans will praise themselves!

      That new NPP will generate electricity against a higher price than then Wind turbines at sea, the most expensive renewable method of electricity generation for now!

      – Guaranteed FiT of €108/MWh, inflation corrected during 35/45years! Starting at 2023 (expected start of the plant).
      – Investment loan guarantees for ~€12billion. A subsidy of ~€300million/a.
      – Liability subsidies (low liability regarding accidents and waste)

      Present wholes sale prices: Germany ~€40/MWh, NL ~€70/MWh, UK ~€50/MWh.

      1. Wind turbines at sea in England have obtained this summer a strike price of £155, this is for projects that are approved now, so will start to produce electricity at least 4 to 5 years from now. The price is planned to gown down just to £135 for the 2018/2019 period, so projects that will mostly start producing after Hinkley.

        The cost of the German offshore program have only been swelling and swelling, and the published agreed price does not include grid connexion, which makes it look artificially low, even more since the grid connexion is ending up being the hardest part of the program.

        1. Jmdesp
          So those offshore wind strike prices have a ~3%/year decrease.
          And according to the experts that decrease will be another 30% (as ‘smarter’, ‘bigger’ and ‘mass-production’ lowers cost-prices).
          Whereas the NPP strike price increases with ~2% (inflation correction).

          Assuming the inflation correction starts now*), the NPP strike price is higher after ~11years, at 2024 (wind ~€129; NPP €134). Add to that the further rising of NPP strike price with inflation during 44years (ends at €260).
          Even without further decrease of offshore wind strike price, electricity from the NPP will cost at least twice as much in 2058.

          At least as after 15years the offshore wind turbine has no guaranteed strike price, so it starts selling at wholesale prices (now €50/MWh)…

          Then we did not take into account the other subsidies to the NPP.

          So, UK government delivered the greens in Germany a really convincing argument to people that are somewhat careful with money!!

          *)
          If NPP inflation correction starts at 2024, the difference will be somewhat less only. Then strike price of wind will become lower at ~2028. So after 5 years of NPP operation. During the other 40 years the strike price of the NPP rises further, while the offshore wind turbine sells at whole sale market price after 15years…

          **)
          Note that electricity from solar and wind onshore is even substantial cheaper than offshore…

          1. The inflation also applies for wind power, so you incorrectly used a 5% discount, instead of the correct 3%. £92.5 is only for the first unit at Hinkley if further units are done, it will retroactively become £89.5.

            If the generation cost increases faster than inflation, the subsidy for Hinkley will reduce, and over as long a period as 35 years, the cost may become higher than the CFD and Hinkley an asset that contributes to reducing price instead.

            Let’s take the most negative case where they never go over £50 (inflation included, in other word, the numbers below should all be seen as expressed in pounds of 2013, even far in future).

            Hinkley will become operational at about the same time that future wind power commissioned in 2019 at £135.
            Over their 15 year CFD, they would generate a £1275 of overcost per MWh.
            Hinkley on it’s part will generate a £1487 overcost, over 35 years and £1382 if further units are built. But those offshore turbine are planned to last only 25 years, and will need to be replaced in 2048, when they will still need a subsidy at around £65 (assuming they’re really able to reduce cost each year at 3% during the next 30 years). This adds £225 of cost which makes that solution still more expensive than Hinkley in total.

            So even in that very negative case where prices don’t rise with regard to inflation, and offshore is really able to reduce cost by 3% a year forever, Hinkley is a cheaper than offshore solution that has the advantage of being simple and quickly decided, not requiring to locate enough sites to install more than 11 GW of offshore wind, requiring less spending in the initial 15 years period to generate an equivalent amount of power, and not requiring to solve hard problem of electric grid integration, and probably energy storage.

            The only case where it’s be a bad idea is if England doesn’t actually need to reduce it’s CO2 emission, and then it’d be better to continue with coal and gas. But then it’d even less need the offshore turbines.

          2. BTW what if we use instead what I’d call a moderate electric cost inflation ?
            At year 0, where Hinkley and the 2019 committed offshore start generating, the market price for electricity is £50, but 15 years later it’s £60, and 35 years later it’s £73 ?
            ( a £0.66 per year increase over inflation, which mean than when the wind turbine need replacement, they might not need a subsidy anymore, being competitive on the market)

            Then the overcost of the first generation of wind turbines reduces to £1200/MWh, but the one of Hinkley goes down to £1085, so it’s still a win.

          3. jmdesp
            Small chance that UK wholesale electricity prices go up, bigger chance that they will go down in UK too.

            The new Hinckley Point NPP starts in 2023. So it will have to operate in an competitive environment that is on average 30years from now.
            At that time solar will produce for ~€10-20/MWh. I know, unbelievable low for now.
            But there is no real problem to reach those levels: thin sheets with yields >40%, just as the solar car race in Australia which drive with >60mile/hr on average.

            Bloomberg etal delivered a report about (future) prices & developments: http://reneweconomy.com.au/2013/grid-parity-will-push-global-renewables-capacity-to-34-by-2030-2030

            Research from University of Delaware (UD) and Delaware Technical College (DTCC) produced a report about the possible electricity situation in 2030:
            http://cleantechnica.com/2012/12/11/wind-solar-storage-could-power-full-electric-grid-cost-effectively-99-9-of-the-time-by-2030-report/

  3. I don’t think “irrational” is the correct term. Not quite. The first one that came to mind was “malignant”, although “hopelessly short sighted” would seem to fit rather nicely.

    1. @Gareth,
      The Germans don’t want any Chernobyl/Fukushima risk in their country. Their scientists showed the devastating effects of that radiation. Informal contacts with people in Belarus/Ukraine contributed too.
      Exclusion zones such as Chernobyl, Mayak/Kyshtym and Fukushima would cripple the country.

      Only for another method to generate electricity…
      So they made a logical choice.

      1. @ Bas.

        That they don’t recognize Nuclear as hyper low carbon electrical generation shows their thinking is askew. They’re riding a political agenda that defies logical thinking, but has desired financial results for the powers that be. Clearly. They use flawed thinking, pushing irrational fear to advance their agenda.

        Consider the poor in Germany that has their power costs double what it could be without them pressing their evil agenda.

        1. John,
          …the poor in Germany that has their power costs double what it could be…
          For sure not with the British plan regarding the new NPP at Hinckley Point C.
          That will rise their costs even substantially more!

  4. The nexr hurdle for Hinckley is to pass the EU rules for subsidies. Wind and Solar have no constrains here despite the fact that Germany transgressed the rules and will be fined.

    But Britain, being the banker of Europe, played it smart. They went for a CFD approach and the Government is in a profit and risk taking scheme.

    And the ‘ronds de cuir’ in Brussels are better start paying attention.16 EU countries have expressed their affinities with nuclear and they had it having the few (Germany, Italy) dictate the rules.

    And the EU’s top priorities is climate change and green house gas. Well, wake up guys and stop stopping nuclear.

    1. Daniel
      October 22, 2013 at 8:11 AM
      And the EU’s top priorities is climate change and green house gas.

      How convenient that politicians and media have sudden amnesia about that since Fukushima.

    2. @Daniel
      The EU rules may become a difficult hurdle.
      May be even impossible to take.

      Under the rules those subsidies (FiT, loan guarantees) are only allowed for immature technologies, which does not apply for fission.
      Or in urgent situations, which does not apply either as the NPP opens after 10years.
      Plenty of time for alternatives.

      http://www.energypost.eu/state-aid-for-nuclear-are-you-kidding/

      France had to retract their general subsidy (FiT’s) for renewable after the European Court for Justice judged that those were not specific to stimulate infant technologies. That may also be the reason Germany applies detailed FiT’s all the time…

      A minor problem is the issue that cost calculations are not fully transparent, which is a condition for any subsidy.

      So the EU commission has to propose a rule change, in order to facilitate nuclear. That will become difficult as Merkel expressed her opinion already (Nein; last sentence of linked article) and the commission wants to propose a phase out of (renewable) subsidies because those are becoming mature…

      So it is not strange that the responsible EU commissioner (a German guy) retracted an amendment regarding state aid for nuclear (first minute of this video):
      http://www.energypost.eu/video-brussels-briefing-on-energy-state-aid-unbundling-distribution-energy-efficiency-directive-infrastructure-projects/
      But let us see next year.

  5. I must admit that I am very very surprised that Germany’s Energiewende intelligiencia has not yet spoken against the UK deal.

    Peter Bradford from the Vermont School of Whatever already has.

    1. As it may put them in a position to defend their opinions I doubt we will see much.

      On the other, surprisingly who has come out somewhat critical of the project and opened full fire? Our old friend George Monbiot. It seems he doesn’t want to settle for boring and expensive nuclear technology (that is proven to work well mind you) when there are newer, more exciting and better nuclear solutions around.

      Fiscal Meltdown ( http://www.monbiot.com/2013/10/21/fiscal-meltdown/ )

      I was more critical of him when I first read it. But now im not so sure. Although any new nuclear is probably better than none to me, he is technically right and I wonder if also the way he is pushing the envelope will lead to a better public grasp of newer nuclear technologies.

      Remember the controversy around Fukushima brought a whole new wave of nuclear advocacy. Even myself. I would have been one of the last to predict that would have been a possible outcome a few years ago.

      1. I’m a bit annoyed that Monbiot says the only reason not to push for offshore wind is that they won’t be enough of it, and makes no mention of the fact it’s currently around 70% more expensive than the new nuclear he criticizes for being too expensive.

        1. Did it change jm? I read it again and it seems a bit more practical and less tilted into wind. Perhaps its just me.

          It really seems like a different article today. But anyway fretting over cost overruns and cost overruns themselves will occur with any and all tech. He needs to acknowledge that. Wind certainly has proven its ability to do so. Particularly offshore wind. Besides, as he notes, wind isn’t going to get the energy job done anyway.

          1. Let me quote him :
            “we should make as much use as we can of renewables. But the biggest onshore wind schemes could supply only a fraction …”
            “Offshore wind has greater potential, but using it … is a tough call … you would explore the limits of feasibility. If every square metre of roof and suitable wall in the UK were covered with solar panels, they would produce …”
            “The harsh reality is that less nuclear means more gas and coal …”

            This text very clearly implies that the only problem with wind and solar, including offshore wind, is the constraint of available space. Not one word about their cost.

            I understand this can become a slippery slope argument. Probably most people will say they’re willing to pay more renewable. But since the core of the text is that Hinkley is too expensive, it’s not a balanced presentation to not even mention that the CFD for those alternatives are more, or sometime much more expensive, than nuclear.

            I wonder if Monbiot realizes how expensive the current AGR reactors in UK have been to build. In France, the PWR produce cheap electricity today, but a significant number of them have been over budget and delay, and the latest generation the N4 were uglily over budget and delay, even more than the EPR today.

            1. @jmdesp

              In France, the PWR produce cheap electricity today, but a significant number of them have been over budget and delay, and the latest generation the N4 were uglily over budget and delay, even more than the EPR today.

              The N4 reactor cost experience was a combination of being new designs and being LOAK (Last of a Kind) projects. Rationally enough, workers who are gainfully employed on large construction projects with no prospects of similar projects in the future, work to ensure that their employment lasts as long as possible. They work to rule, point out minor flaws that need rework, and sometimes even engage in a little creative sabotage. Capitalists express disbelief and frustration that workers act in their own self interest.

          2. Rod,
            Agree with that.

            I saw similar delay happening at the shipyard in Malta (that tiny island state in the Mediterranean). The workers succeeded in delaying progress a factor three!
            So the normal one year for building that ship, became three years!

            Almost impossible to speed up a lot. Unless replacing most by foreign workers on temporary contracts with a bonus scheme. But that would have resulted in a blockade of the shipyard by the workers…

          3. Frankly, Monbiot lost all credibility with me to talk about anything fiscal at the top of the article where he demonstrates that he cannot distinguish between production costs and levelized costs. He might have spent a considerable amount of effort collecting “all the available cost estimates for nuclear power,” but it will do him no good, because he doesn’t have the first clue about what they mean.

            Sadly, I doubt his regular audience does either.

          4. Rod, an important point of my argumentation that maybe I should have made clearer was that today everyone both in France and UK is happy to have those reactors.

            The AGR were extremely expensive to build, but everyone is happy to have them today, and actually they are currently a massive source of profit for EDF. The same goes for the N4, people have completely forgotten how expensive they have been, and certainly 99% of French people, probably even many nuclear industry insiders would be flabbergasted to learn that some of the existing reactor, now understood to be all generating electricity at a cheap price, have been even more expensive to build than the EPR at Flamanville.

            As the saying goes in France : “le prix s’oublie, la qualité reste” (“The price is something you forget, the quality is what stays”)

        2. jmdesp
          annoyed that Monbiot says the only reason not to push for offshore wind is that they won’t be enough … it’s currently around 70% more expensive than the new nuclear

          New NPP starts in 2023 and operates 35year with the guaranteed strike prices. Wind operates only 15years with a guaranteed strike price, which go down for new wind.
          So that 70% does not match. Normal expectations deliver that offshore wind will be cheaper. So Monbiot did not mention it.

          Monbiot’s assumption that wind could not deliver enough is a full mistake as studies in less windy Germany showed! Those studies showed that even onshore alone could deliver all without putting the whole country full with wind turbines.
          Especially not if >8MW turbines are used (catch more wind higher up in the air).

      2. John
        I think Monbiot realizes that the financial picture of the new NPP at Hinckley Point will sell bad for nuclear. Being even more expensive than offshore wind, while costs and time overruns still have to come.

        So it is a “flight ahead” as the Dutch say.

  6. I’d seen reports from Germany about how the wind turbines, many located within residential areas, were driving some people crazy, and had destroyed house prices as nobody will buy them. Now the situation is at least being acknowledged in the US, but will anything be done to fix the problem?

    ‘Wind Turbine Syndrome’ Blamed for Mysterious Symptoms in Cape Cod Town
    http://abcnews.go.com/Health/wind-turbine-syndrome-blamed-mysterious-symptoms-cape-cod/story?id=20591168

    And perhaps a good plug for nuclear power? Lowering global CO2 levels.

    Zero emission synfuel from seawater

    “The work was done by the US Navy, and by the Palo Alto Research Center (PARC), who each developed membrane processes to extract CO2 from seawater. The Navy’s interest is military – shipboard production of synthetic jet fuel far from supply lines – but I figure we can beat this sword into a ploughshare.

    As a purely speculative exercise, what would it take to draw atmospheric carbon down to 350 ppm with just this technology? If we follow the American Physical Society in their technical assessment of direct air capture and set a target of reducing atmospheric CO2 to 350 ppm by capturing 400 Gt over a hundred years, we would need to collect 4 Gt/yr, from the perspective of an already decarbonised society. We would require the power of about 700 AP-1000 nuclear reactors. At the Chinese cost of $1.3b apiece and an 80 year lifetime this would cost a bit over $1 trillion dollars. That sounds like a lot of money. But its only about the cost of America’s 2003 Iraq War spread over the century, so I guess it’s a question of priorities.”

    1. “As a purely speculative exercise, what would it take to draw atmospheric carbon down to 350 ppm with just this technology?”

      As others have pointed out, if we implement this CO2 capture technology large scale, the best use for it is to replace fossil hydrocarbons in the transportation industry with synthesized hydrocarbons from captured CO2 and cracked H20. That saves us a very expensive shift in transportation infrastructure, and makes transportation a carbon neutral activity.

      1. As a purely speculative exercise, what would it take to draw atmospheric carbon down to 350 ppm with just this technology?

        Staggering amounts of energy.  In the Navy tests, the energy required to liberate a mole of CO2 is about as much as required to electrolyze a mole of H2.  We are much more likely to make a dent by harvesting all the spare biomass we can find (like crop straw, tree trimmings, grass clippings, fallen leaves, etc.), converting most of the carbon to relatively stable forms, and burying it.  The annual swing in the Keeling curve is from biological carbon cycling, and if we can pull a fair amount of that carbon out with each cycle we may be able to halt the trend or send it downward.

        That saves us a very expensive shift in transportation infrastructure

        The lifetime of a typical light-duty vehicle is around 20 years, with half the lifetime mileage covered in the first 6 years.  This is very rapid depreciation, so investing in massive carbon-neutral fuels plants makes far less sense than just putting batteries into vehicles and running them on electricity.

        That is also the only energy-sane route.  Audi quotes their e-methane plant as consuming 6 MW, and producing enough carbon-neutral CNG to power 1500 vehicles 15000 km/yr each.  When I work this out (assuming 100% duty cycle on the methane plant) I get about 2.3 kWh/km driven.  A typical PHEV uses around 120-150 Wh/km; the Tesla, under 240.  In short, for the energy required to drive around in an Audi CNG car on their E-gas, you could drive 10 Tesla Model S’s.

        Electricity-to-fuel is a toy of the very rich.  It should be denounced as such.

        1. I made an error above.  The energy required to liberate a molel of CO2 in the Navy tests was about a megajoule.  This is, IIRC, enough to electrolyze several moles of water to H2, not just one.

        2. @-Poet
          “so investing in massive carbon-neutral fuels plants makes far less sense than just putting batteries into vehicles and running them on electricity.”

          I heard on a radio show the other night about how tough it was to buy a Tesla S in Texas. The guy being interviewed said it was because electric cars had so few parts that needed replacing, and that car dealerships now make much more money from servicing than selling regular cars. I also have to wonder about the oil comapanies influence, Texas being the oil Capital, but the actual loss of sales volume is muniscule, unless everyone in Texas went electric.

          Tesla Underground: Texas Franchise Rules Make Model S Owners Skirt The Law
          http://www.greencarreports.com/news/1087815_tesla-underground-texas-franchise-rules-make-model-s-owners-skirt-the-law

          1. “The guy being interviewed said it was because electric cars had so few parts that needed replacing”

            Until the battery bank goes bust and you get a $10,000-$20,000 bill to replace it.

            EVs are interesting but I don’t think they’re close to ready for primetime yet, especially when you can buy a lifetime supply of gasoline for less than a 200 mile range battery bank, this is completely discounting the rubbish energy density of batteries.

          2. EV battery packs are already below $400/kWh according to folks writing about the Nissan Leaf.  If batteries remain that expensive, PHEV technology is still the way to go for longer-range vehicles; that cuts the cost radically.

            As for “lifetime supply of fuel”, the typical LDV can be expected to be retired at 150,000 to 200,000 miles.  A 30 MPG vehicle would burn 5,000 to 6,700 gallons; at $4/gallon prices which are not atypical today, even the lower figure is $20,000 for a lifetime supply of fuel.  Fuel prices can be expected to climb a lot faster than the price of electricity.

            Cold weather is cutting into my all-electric range already, but my average fuel economy in my PHEV is still pushing back toward 125 MPG.  That is one battery that is going to save its cost in fuel several times over, because its full capacity can get used more than once per day.

            1. @Engineer-Poet

              What is an LDV? Just curious, not critical, but have electric vehicle battery designers figured out how to increase the number of full recharge/discharge cycles that define typical battery life?

              Most of the Li-ion batteries that power my devices come with consumer warnings about the way that frequent cycling reduces lifetime.

          3. LDV = Light Duty Vehicle.  This means passenger cars and pickup trucks below 8500 lb GVW, IIUC.

            PHEVs are generally not using the LiCoO2 chemistry common in electronics.  I believe most of them are using LiFePO4, with Ford sourcing from LG Chem.  This has very different high-current and cycling performance.  Tesla is using laptop cells, and can get away with it because of the huge battery.

          4. @EP

            You need a ~70KWh battery bank to get 200 miles of range (the model S has a 85 KWh bank) to make an EV truly practical, thats also the range you need to make the battery bank roughly last the lifetime of the car. Cars with smaller battery banks will need replacing. A 70 KWh battery bank at $400 per KWh will cost $28,000… like I said more than a lifetime supply of gasoline. The battery bank will also weigh over 1000 lbs, so there will be even more indirect costs and weight on the chassis, suspension, etc. The model s gets about 3 miles per kwh so a lifetime supply of electricity at $0.12 per kwh will be ~$8000. a car that lasts 200,000 miles and gets 40 mpg will use 5000 gallons over it’s life. At $3.39 per gallon that’s $17000 for a lifetime supply. So right now it’s over twice as expensive for an EV than an ICE car. in Germany and Denmark where residential electricity is 35-40 cents EVs are a non-starter.

            If gas prices rise to $4 and battery banks fall in price by over half (with no increase in electricity prices)
            then EVs might be comparable. But that’s a lot of Ifs, and it will take ten years of consecutive 8% price decreases for battery prices to halve.

          5. Zachf – You’ve missed the point.

            Battery bank … $28,000

            Electricity … $8,000

            Showing off how hip you are to your Green eco-friends … priceless

            1. @Brian Mays

              Though I have been an EV skeptic for many years, I am starting to recognize the engineering advantages of Tesla-like offerings. Tesla has introduced a battery design that takes advantage of mass production and innovation occurring in laptop style batteries. Encouraging electric vehicles with that kind of innovative battery could provide a hedge against unpredictable fuel price increases, can show the way to emission free vehicles if the right sources are chosen for the grid, and will add electricity demand at a time when there is such a slack rate of growth that utilities have no real interest in building any modern new nuclear plants.

              On another note, I think it is time to change the train conversation away from “high speed” rail. There is no real value in a desperate attempt to compete with air travel. Instead, we should electrify existing rail lines and expand their use so that we can reduce diesel fuel demand, provide the option of reducing emissions, and add to the flexibility of the rail system as a replacement for trucking and automobile travel.

          6. You need a ~70KWh battery bank to get 200 miles of range (the model S has a 85 KWh bank) to make an EV truly practical,

            Truly practical, for what?  A second car used for commuting may be fine with 50 miles of range.  A PHEV can be fine with 30 miles of range and still be an only car.  (Over at GCC there’s a discussion about solid-state cells packing 800 Wh/kg; that should allow stuffing 15 kWh under the front seats of almost everything.  At that point there is no cargo-space penalty for PHEV and it becomes almost a no-brainer.  At $400/kWh, a 15 kWh pack would likely pay off in 4-5 years.)

            thats also the range you need to make the battery bank roughly last the lifetime of the car.

            You’re assuming cycle lives typical of LiCoO2 (laptop) cells.  Not all chemistries die so rapidly as they do.

          7. On another note, I think it is time to change the train conversation away from “high speed” rail. There is no real value in a desperate attempt to compete with air travel. Instead, we should electrify existing rail lines and expand their use so that we can reduce diesel fuel demand, provide the option of reducing emissions, and add to the flexibility of the rail system as a replacement for trucking and automobile travel.

            If the USA had ever been serious about reducing CO2 emissions, instead of all the cruff that gets proposed with CO2 as the senseless justification, the above would have been part of the program.

            Back around 2000, in any analyses of CO2 emissions, one should immediately recognize that transportation energy is a very separate sector from electrical energy and should be treated mostly independently.

            Then examining electricity generation, the sensible approach was to immediately embark on a program of building new nuclear reactors, in a serial fashion, with work crews which specialize in each of the necessary processes and move from reactor to reactor as their portion is done.

            In the transportation sector, lacking practical electric vehicles (nothing was available in 2000) the sensible approach to the transportation sector was to emphasize rail transportation for goods, de-emphasize trucking, and also start electrifying rail lines.

            So, for example, instead of spending 2 trillion in Iraq, we might have embarked on a program of rail infrastructure expansion, making all new rail lines electric capable. Also, phase in increasing taxes on interstate and intercity trucking. Almost all goods should move between cities on rail, not on truck. The trucking industry receives a huge subsidy in the form of the interstate highway system, and without that, rail would probably be the more affordable choice for transportation of goods. So, increase the cost of trucking to eliminate the subsidy advantage.

            With expansion of nuclear electricity generation, and migration of goods transportation from trucks to electric rail, the USA would have been doing all that was technologically feasible and economically sensible in 2000. Then we could have focused on research into the difficult problem of fueling the personal transportation industry with something other than fossil fuels.

            Even with better batteries, there are a lot of challenges to electric vehicles — charge rate being a biggy. It’s really hard to beat the energy flux of a stream of hydrocarbons flowing through a 1″ pipe.

          8. Jeff, another advantage to shifting intercity transport to rail would be less truck traffic on the roads, especially interstates. Less traffic would mean less money needed for repair and expansion.

          9. The problem with rail freight is the overhead of putting things onto freight cars, waiting for the train to pass the destination (or re-shuffle the train to go in multiple directions), and then un-loading again.

            Much of the energy savings and most of the other benefits of rail can be obtained using the Bladerunner dual-mode truck concept.  Giving the heavy vehicles their own lane with automatic guidance should be a huge win, especially if power is by overhead wire.

            1. @Engineer-Poet

              Many of the challenges associated with rail freight loading and unloading have been addressed with multi-modal containerization.

          10. @Jeff
            There is no real value in a desperate attempt to compete with air travel.
            That is because plane fuel is not even taxed (should be).

            emphasize rail transportation for goods,
            increasing taxes on interstate and intercity trucking.
            migration of goods transportation from trucks to electric rail

            All that is done in Germany.
            Including new rails for good transportation only (electrified). E.g. the one from Rotterdam into the German industrial areas.
            A ban for trucks on the highway’s in the weekends, etc.

            But the flexibility and speed of trucking is almost unbeatable.

            Switzerland simply obliges big trucks (north-south, which is almost all long distance) to drive on a special train, and transport the truck by train. So no time consuming (un)loading. And the driver can sleep in his own cabin during the train travel.

          11. Many of the challenges associated with rail freight loading and unloading have been addressed with multi-modal containerization.

            The freight networks themselves have been turned into single-tracked loops, where yards are hundreds of miles apart and going “upstream” means taking the long way around on whatever schedule the operator chooses.  The railway that passes through my hometown was stripped to single-track decades ago, the rails and even the ties pulled up and disposed of.  Many of the old rights-of-way have reverted and been converted to trails or just built over.

            Dock-to-dock service on a single vehicle and firm schedule is now the norm and the expectation; waiting to transfer containers doesn’t fit this.  But electrify a roadway (either using Bladerunner or the Siemens two-wire overhead catenary) and you can eliminate the fuel burn and still keep the benefits of a truck.

  7. …help me to find another word that describes a decision to close ultra low emission nuclear, build massive quantities of unreliables, and keep burning fossil fuels when the publicized energy supply system goal was supposedly to slow and eventually halt CO2 emissions…
    First goal was closing down all NPP’s.
    Second goal was energy independence
    Third goal less CO2.
    When you keep this priority in mind, the German decisions are quite rational.

    So their target is 80% renewable (=independence) in 2050, and not 80% less CO2 in 2050.
    I do not see how that target fits with conspiracy / cartel ideas of the coal & gas industry.

    1. They are not making all much progress on any of them recently. That is when they are going forward.

      Of course they also have some of the most expensive electricity in Europe.

      Their wood pellet import/consumption, along with Europe’s is likely becoming a environmental disaster.

      1. Of Note:

        Germany overtakes Britain as Europe’s biggest gas user ( http://www.gazpromexport.com/en/presscenter/news/1093/ )

        Merkel’s Green Shift Backfires as German Pollution Jumps
        Germany’s air pollution is set to worsen for a second year, the first back-to-back increase since at least the 1980s, after Chancellor Angela Merkel’s decision to shut nuclear plants led utilities to burn more coal.
        ( http://www.businessweek.com/news/2013-07-28/merkel-s-green-shift-backfires-as-german-pollution-jumps-energy )

        Its hard to say where coal imports will end up for the year. Germany is Europe’s largest user of coal by far and still will be. The wood pellet craze thing will displace some imports I imagine.

        Anyway, Wow. So green it hurts.

        1. And the damnest thing about this issue is that all this pollution and environmental rape is totally unnecessary, done just to assuage the $$$ price of groundless fear!

        2. Need to check the numbers, but I think it actually means that the UK gas consumption is falling much faster than the one of Germany.
          In both countries, gas is mostly replace by coal.

          1. It’s not surprising gas consumption is falling in Britain considering North Sea production is declining rapidly… It could decline another 20% this year

          2. Two countries in Europe were large gas producer, relying on it for electricity production, UK and Netherlands. They’re both currently busy making their neighbors very happy selling by providing them very good opportunities for selling their excess electricity at a high price.

            PS: The current situation demonstrates the market price cost is not necessarily the single determining factor for the consumers prices, Germany and Denmark have consumer electricity at a higher price than UK and Netherlands, but a much lower market price.

      2. @John T
        You are right. The target this year is to install ~5GW wind+solar (will probably become 5.5GW), while in 2011 and 2012 they installed twice as much each year.

        They had to restrict installation speed this year as adaptation of the grid (new North-South high capacity power lines, etc.) could not keep up. So they got some problems with the Czech (and Poles) as their power lines were used for German transport. Rod mentioned that.

        This summer a new law was installed that should allow to speed up adaptation of the grid. Despite the new law, not sure how fast that adaptation will go.
        Being slightly pessimistic, it may take 4years (so until 2018) before the grid can handle the old grow rate of 10GW/a new wind+solar capacity.

        1. @Bas : The major problem is economic, not the grid. The target is between 2,5 and 3,5 GW of solar, and they will lower prices every month as long as the year to year volume is higher than that.

          They will never go back to 10GW/y new wind+solar, actually I’m ready to take another bet :
          Their regulation currently allows up to 52 GW of subsidized solar, my bet is this level will never be reached.

          1. Considering how windmills seem to last only 15 years instead of the 25 claimed by the industry, pretty soon Germany will need 2-4 GW per year just to replace the old windmills that are dying out. I live next to a small wind installation (24mw) finished around 2008 and talking to a worker a few years ago they’ve already had to replace multiple gearboxes! I have a feeling that once the ten year PTC expires these things are just going to be abandoned.

            Germany is only installing half the solar this year as last, I bet next year and the year after will be declines as well. Wind capacity growth has been slowing for years and as the old capacity needs replacing that will likely level off as well.

          2. jmdesp & Zachf
            As I stated earlier, Windmills are still in their infancy. About the phase cars were in 1920.

            Zachf you demonstrated that by showing the gearbox problems.
            Ever had a gearbox problem with your car lately?
            Those happened until ~eighties.

            It are relative simple machines (no combustion and such wearing things), so I think they will become virtual maintenance free.

          3. Windmills in their infancy ?

            They have been around since the middle ages. Somehow, some smart dude thinks that the laws of physics have changed.

            Are you one of them silly person Bas?

          4. Bas, windmills have been around since forever, and so have the type of gearboxes in windmills. The problem with wind gearboxes is a fundamental one of engineering that gets worse as windmills grow larger. There is a lot of torque on those bearings and it gets worse in both relative and absolute terms as they grow larger. Leaving them still for even a little while can bend the shaft a create imbalances that will lead to failure. When I was talking to this worker about gearbox failures the wind farm wasn’t even two years old and they had already replaced multiple gearboxes.

            It was really this wind farm (in goshen NH) that really soured me on renewable energy. I used to drink the koolaid on RE, and I was there for it’s opening ceremony as was our governor and senator. We were driving to the facility and there are about four half inch wide wires connected by a diamond shaped connector. I thought this was maybe power brought in to construct them, so I asked… No, that was for the the electricity they produce! And a lightbulb went off in my head. I’m looking at twelve of these massive propellers contrasted against four of the wimpiest wires I’ve ever seen.

            This sent me off to correct my ignorance on energy
            matters. I compared the Lempster wind farm to the Seabrook plant on the coast. 24 MW vs….. 1200 MW and that’s when the wind blows! So we’d need over 600 of those massive monstrosities to equal one seabrook when the wind blows and four times that on average. My opinion soured further talking to a friend who worked for this outfit ( iberdrola) they weren’t paid well by any stretch, the windmills constantly broke down. they had to wear beepers that go off in the middle of the night. I remember one time he got his paycheck late because (seriously, he said this) “we haven’t got our government money yet” . He quit after a year.

            I grew up in a solar powered house. I know it’s limitations. It has it’s uses but wind power is a completely useless energy source. And the only thing worse than wind power is offshore wind power.

          5. @Bas
            “As I stated earlier, Windmills are still in their infancy. About the phase cars were in 1920.”

            I would like to recommend the following book for you:
            The Medieval Machine
            The industrial revolution of the middle ages
            By Jean Gimpel

            If you read that book you might notice that the energy plan you desire (wind, solar, water and biofuels) is one of the first applied by man in large scale. The only thing that have changed is that man now knows how to transform these energy sources to electricity.

            I think that the chapter about Environment and pollution during the middle ages might be interesting for you. It describes deforestation, dammed rivers and the problem that was created from the energy sources you claim is green.

          6. jmdesp
            Their regulation currently allows up to 52 GW of subsidized solar, my bet is this level will never be reached.
            Jan. 2014 solar capacity will be ~36GW.
            With the target installation rate of ~3GW/a, it will take ~5years before that 52GW is reached (2018).

            By then a household that installs 5KW solar on its roof will have to invest <5K. That panel installation produces then ~5400KWh/a.
            Even if the household consumes only half and throws the rest away, it saves 2700*0.28 = €750/a. Which delivers a net yield of ~15% on investment after depreciation and 4% unforeseen (banks pay only 3%)!

            So I think that even if FiT's are stopped at that time, solar expansion will go on until almost all suitable roofs are covered. Simply because it is profitable for the house occupants. Apartment buildings with tenants will also get installations (they will form a cooperation together with the owner of the building).
            So this will end somewhere in the range of 300GW installed solar capacity for Germany.

            Hence the efforts to improve and upscale electricity to synthetic natural gas, and electricity to car fuel conversion processes. As with that solar capacity, wholesale electricity price will be less than 2cent/KWh during most days.

          1. So they’re going to have to turn basically the whole of the alps with all their beauty into a giant industrial pumped storage facility if they want to get anywhere near the RE energy goals they’ve set… This is after covering tens of thousands of square miles of beautiful countryside with ugly propeller blades..

          2. The surprising part is that about all of the pumped storage projects are currently canceled because it’s too hard to make them profitable or even recover the cost, the existing pumped storage don’t make enough money just for refurbishing (not a high enough number of cycles per year), as already .

            At 600 million €, they plan to spend quite a bit of money already, and 3 million m3 make it 1/4 of the largest pumped storage in Germany, Goldisthal, so not big enough to weight that much.

          3. A quarter century ago the big green button was the acid rain destruction of the Black Forest. I guess when so much money is involved we might as well turn the whole forest into stove pellets, and see how much money we can suck from the poor with our fake Whirligig and sun-shiny green dream.

            No more Cuckoo clocks for our friend Bas.

          4. @jmdesp

            I wouldn’t be surprised if ironies of ironies all the FIT subsidies pushing down/ manipulating the wholesale cost of German electricity (…while the retail cost skyrockets) is what is making the pumped storage so uneconomical…

          5. @ZachF: I forgot to write that yes, it’s definitively *because* of the renewable energy that they have this problem. It even hits Switzerland :
            http://www.germanenergyblog.de/?p=13626 “German, Austrian And Swiss Energy Associations Demand Improved Conditions for Pumped Storage Power Plants”

            http://www.spiegel.de/international/germany/high-costs-and-errors-of-german-transition-to-renewable-energy-a-920288-2.html
            “In 2009, for example, the turbines in Niederwartha were in operation for 2,784 hours. Last year, Vattenfall ran the facility for only 277 hours.”
            “Price peaks that last only a few hours aren’t enough to utilize the plant to full capacity,”

          6. One of the grid adaptation plans are the new high capacity lines to Norway that has plenty of (potential) pumped storage, and like to earn money with it.

            Check the site of Statkraft: http://www.statkraft.com/‎

            They also have an interesting prototype power plant that runs on osmotic power.

          7. @Bas
            So you think that a country that today produces around 14000-20000 MWe per hour should balance a country that in 2012 needed 590 TWh? That means that during 2012 Germany consumed on average 67 000 MWe every hour. Probably far more during the winter months.

            Maybe Norway can increase their export up to 6000 MWe per hour with these new lines. Mayby even 12000 MWe. It still wont be enough.

            Germany need to be able to have an back up close to at least 60 000 MWe if your dream should work.

          8. @robjoh
            May by even 12000 Mwe” (= capacity of the line to Norway)
            The capacity of the 9 NPP’s in Germany together is the same!

            With that connection, they can close all NPP’s according to their scenario, assuming wind+solar installation goes on as scheduled, without installing more spare-capacity or storage.

            Their other (storage, conversion into gas) plans are then not needed before 2023.

        2. Bas a new grid isnt going to make the sun shine at night or the wind blow when its still. All that tells me is that some of the electricity they said they were making all this time probably wasn’t used.

          1. John,
            Agree.

            While it is important, the other planned actions are important too:
            – high capacity lines to Norway that has huge pumped storage potential

            Btw. In order to make pumped storage a profitable business, German utilities first have to end the present overcapacity. That will happen as they cannot carry the losses very long.
            The widely published call to Brussels by their CEO’s sounds rather desperate, since they used the reliability of supply argument for which they are not responsible.

            – Conversion of electricity into synthetic natural gas & hydrogen, so overproduction can be used useful later on.
            – installing more wind & solar. So that also during winter days solar produces enough. And a wind of only 2 Bft during night is enough.
            – other forms of storage (compressed air, batteries, etc.)

  8. I missed this a few weeks ago, Its strange completely fabricated rumors can instill more fear than reality:

    German village evacuated after gas explosion Saturday, Sep 28 2013

    An entire village in central Germany had to be evacuated early Saturday after a major gas explosion injured 16 firefighters, shattered windows and caused a blast so forceful it could be heard up to 30 kilometers (about 20 miles) away. ( http://www.salon.com/2013/09/28/german_village_evacuated_after_gas_explosion/singleton/ )

    Also gas related; The 14th of October marked the hundred year anniversary of one of Britain’s worst mining disasters:

    Senghenydd pit explosion 1913: Britain’s worst mining disaster ( http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/0/24465242 )

    1. I dont know why this isnt on the front page of every paper but another fossil fuel/ petrochem train derailment occurred a few days ago in Canada along with an explosion.

      Albertans remain out of homes in wake of CN derailment

      Saturday’s mishap occurred just two days after residents in the Alberta community of Sexsmith were forced from their homes when four CN rail cars carrying anhydrous ammonia left the rails.

      That followed the derailment of 17 CN rail cars, some carrying petroleum, ethanol and chemicals, in western Saskatchewan on Sept. 25. ( http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/edmonton/albertans-remain-out-of-homes-in-wake-of-cn-derailment-1.2127244?cmp=rss )

      All this is after that utterly horrific Lac-Mégantic derailment back in July that five people are still missing from.

      Of course the press pretty much ignores it and yet hops on every vague and kookey Fuckishima “report” it can gets its hands on.

      1. If the derailment had involved a single undented spent fuel cask you would have heard about it from Anchorage to Zanzibar.

      2. @John
        I dont know why this isnt on the front page of every paper
        I do.
        Because it is sure that it has only local implications.

        While nuclear incidents may affect many millions of people, even while they are far away.
        It is not sure but it may have serious consequences ~2000mile away as Chernobyl showed… That started also with messages that there was a little issue…

        1. “While nuclear incidents may affect many millions of people, even while they are far away.”

          No it wont, stop spreading bullshit

          1. Robjoh, as you may have realised, Bas Gresnigt is an inexhaustible source of bullshit. He is active on many different websites, often with hit-and-run comments designed to maximise FUD and minimise truth. That’s how I first ran in to him years ago. I spent quite some time in personal correspondence with him before it became clear that his aim in life is to kill nuclear power by any means, which – in the case of nuclear power – means using lies.

            Concerning reactor accident consequences, I have repeatedly told Bas to consider the follow study and accept the results:

            http://www.nrc.gov/about-nrc/regulatory/research/soar.html

            But he won’t do that. That is because Bas Gresnigt believes that the NRC is nothing more than a front for the nuclear industry. He considers the SOARCA research as fraudulent and stupid. He told me this on facebook.

            I guess I really need to harden-up, because I notice that it still gets me to see how easy it is for contemptible and habitual liars like Bas Gresnigt to pollute the internet with their sickening bullshit freely. In my opinion, freedom of speech is not freedom to deceive. Yet deception is Bas Gresnigts primary tool. I hope he – lie all people – gets what he deserves.

          2. Robjoh,
            Even now, 27years after Chernobyl there are restrictions regarding eating reindeer in the north of Sweden / Finland (~1500mile away).
            And people there lived on that.

            Similar regarding some areas in Scotland and UK:
            “In parts of Scotland land was so badly contaminated after the original blast that restrictions on sheep grazing were only lifted a few years ago.”
            So it had serious consequences for the farmers there.
            (refer to this and many others).

            While the serious heredity effects, as showed in a post of mine down here, are even not yet considered.

  9. Hi,

    Is the December 2013 target date for the first phase of Taishan NPP still on target ? I mean the first reactor is to come online, right ?

  10. ‘Is the December 2013 target date for the first phase of Taishan NPP still on target ? ‘
    Late 2014 for Unit 1 and late 2015 for Unit 2 now, I think.

    1. So the first AP1000 and EPR will be online by end of 2014. In China.

      After that with the learning curve mastered, you can expect a Big Bang for these 2 models.

      Hitachi and the others will kow what it means not to be first to market.

  11. I was wondering how this was going to go forward. Should have guessed this possibility:

    Japan Mulls Plan for One Operator to Run All Reactors: Energy

    “The plan is based on Tepco’s profits covering Fukushima costs without taxpayers’ money and to increase the government’s role in the nuclear industry,” said 61-year-old Yamamoto. ( http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-10-22/japan-mulls-plan-for-one-operator-to-run-all-reactors-energy.html )

    “Everyone wins” – TEPCOs former top CEO was promoted and the former prime minister is a celebrity at anti nuclear gatherings. The two most arguably responsible for this mess.

    Meanwhile all nuclear and safety tech at many different instillations is lumped together and collectively held back and blamed.

    1. Japan’s PM is at least keeping his focus on re opening the idle reactors. The entire country should stay focus on re opening the reactors as the country’s wealth is fowing out.

      http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2013/10/25/national/abe-shrugs-off-koizumis-zero-nuclear-exhortations/#.UmpgQ2TwJ74

      Too bad te NRA is sleeping on the job. How hard can it be to OK the Oi reactors after they have been operating for the last year and a half ?

      The NRA is turning into a NRC. No sudden movement ….

      1. Im not convinced hes really that into it Daniel. Fossil fuel interests, clean up/pay out consortiums and new energy are a significant corrupting influences now.

        1. @ John,

          Prime Minister Abe was always pro nuclear. Before, during and after the last election which he won hands down.

          He is not a fake. He setup the NRA to get tration back on nuclear.

          1. Daniel there are reactors there that could and should have been restarted months ago. Hes a politician. What they say and what they do sometimes are not the same, as incredible as that may sound. I need proof.

            The same thing, that its here to benefit nuclear; to make nuclear safe and get it on track, could be said about our perpetually sabotaged NRC.

          2. @John,

            I am as disappointed as you regarding the celerity of the entire process. I think japanese culture is slowing down everything (management by consensus).

            I do not think however that it is a farce. The NRA should indeed give a few green lights.

            But Cameco in its last 2 quaterly reports as insisted that 6 to 12 reactors would be back on line before year end. Let’s see what they say again. There ain’t too many shopping days til Xmas !

            Cameco has got to have an ‘inside ear’ somewhere.

          3. I was ecstatic when Abe won. Now, not so much. Im watching it too. I have a feeling only around half or less of the Japan’s nuclear capacity will be restarted at any one time in the near future (next decade).

            But like in so many cynical opinions I hope to be proved incredibly wrong again.

            All civilian NPPs being in effect nationalized will unfortunately likely provide another stalling point on restarts.

          4. I do believe that Abe wants to restart the reactor, but he almost has the whole country against him, firmly locked into strong delusions about how feasible it is to shut down all the reactors and replace them with something else.
            The Japanese authorities wanted the new NRA to be demanding and exigent enough to restore it’s credibility with regard to the nuclear operators, but they now have an organization that will issue non-sense requirements (like about active fault line, many major Japanese towns are on top of active fault lines, the real matter is how strong the worst earthquake can be, and if the plant will resist), have no dialog with the industry about what will be efficient to enhance security or not, and weighting for nothing at all delaying the restarts by many months. And it’s impossible for Abe to disavow the organization, or he would look not just pro-nuclear, but actually trying to reinstate the old failed system, even his own party would not support him then.

          5. jmdesp,
            non-sense requirements (like about active fault line, many major Japanese towns are on top of active fault lines, the real matter is how strong the worst earthquake can be, and if the plant will resist)
            You can easily check the history regarding the worst earthquakes. Then compare with earthquake resistance of NPP’s as calculated and as (more important) showed.

            Then you will find out that the calculated resistance is not enough! And worse. It showed that NPP’s were more sensitive to earthquakes than calculated!

            strong delusions about how feasible it is to shut down all the reactors
            Well, they did shut down all reactors during ~2.5years now (except a few during some months). No big electricity outages.

            Now the roll-out of alternatives, especially solar, is getting steam. So lots of new capacity. Hence chance for big outages is become smaller now…

            So I do not see your ‘delusions…’?

  12. M 7.3, Off the east coast of Honshu, Japan Friday, October 25, 2013 17:10:16 UTC – Thats got to spook people. Thats a very significant EQ.

  13. Rod Adams wrote: “As you point out, the Energiewende is all about producing economic growth and rewards for all of the people invited to the table for the strategy sessions. The problem is that the invitation list was restricted and most of us were left off of the list.”

    @Rod.

    Your critique overlooks one major feature of Energiewende … it’s as much a shift in energy production as it is a shift in ownership. Municipal utilities are doing quite well, and ownership of distributed energy resources are broadly spread among individual consumers, famers, project planners, and individuals and small businesses investing in clean energy projects and development funds. The big four (EnBW, Eon, RWE, and Vattenfall) are sitting on large piles of debt, and new entrants (filling in the gap from absent nuclear) stand to benefit from shorter investment time frames and a quicker return on capital (and positive consumer sentiment in the process). As you say, construction is booming and there are lots of opportunities for skilled engineers and craftsman, regulators and insurers, equipment suppliers and operators, software developers, new research and development opportunities (also a significant part of Energiewende). Who’s not at the table?

    And also, the latest public polling from the election was very good. Across the board support for expanded renewable energy goals, profit sharing for individual consumers and small businesses, and better cost sharing between industry and consumers. The Greens lost out in coalition talks, and a more moderate line is being struck with SPD. We are likely to see many reforms in the near term: some motivated by industry, others by broad public support for Energiewende. And many contributing to expanded markets for renewables, stability of pricing, reliability of supplies and capacity reserves, modernization of T&D, cost-effectiveness of end user efficiency, and back-loading of carbon markets (which are currently broken and contributing to very low prices for coal).

    The energy landscape in Germany isn’t controlled by one vested interest group or development approach, but many. And disruptive challenges are common to many sectors (not just a single industry). If you think the same isn’t happening here in the US … it might be worth taking a closer look. Some people appear to be no longer content to be advocating for their interests “merely as consumers.” Technology innovation, trends in demand growth, and falling costs for distributed energy resources are promising to magnify these trends, not entirely reverse them.

    1. Not really – it’s mostly smoke and mirrors. PV produces maybe a bit more than 1% of Germany’s final energy use. That tells you something about the significance of the wonders of “distributed ownership of energy” in Germany.

      If Germany is to press ahead with renewables, off shore wind is really the only option for the heavy lifting. On-Shore wind has a miserable capacity factor as does PV. Off shore wind at the scale needed won’t be built by small co-ops in twee villages.

      Like so many of the claims about renewables in Germany, distributed ownership is intrinsically self limiting.

    2. @EL

      You wrote:

      Who’s not at the table?

      Customers.

      Who is going to pay for all of those “piles of debt” held by the big four utilities? Who is going to pay to keep operating the plants that are currently supplying all of the reliable power that enables the unreliable boutique energy sources to function whenever they feel like it?

      Who is thinking about the impact on future generations as the debt-funded party continues and all of that valuable human capital that you described is being spent in the low return task of attempting to produce vast quantities of reliable power from diffuse, weather-dependent sources like biomass, water, wind and sun?

      Sure, Energiewende is popular in Germany — now. Fortunately, history indicates that some activities that polled well in Germany have not been widely adopted and were not retained in the country that developed them.

      1. I wonder if the big rises in energy bills here in the UK are an attempt by the utilities (some of which are German owned) to recover their Energiewende losses?

        1. There’s a causal relationship clearly, this does not necessarily means a deliberate, chosen strategy. RWE, E.On, Iberdrola are losing so much money outside of UK that they certainly will not bring any real pressure into lowering prices in UK. EDF might be in a better shape, but has a large debt, threats on it’s nuclear business in France (which will soon require expensive refurbishment anyway), as well as on it’s hydro units (they ought to have to bid against competitors to be able to continue operating them sometime in future).

      2. from “Who Burned the Witches?”
        http://www.crisismagazine.com/2012/who-burned-the-witches-2

        The regional tolls demonstrated the patchwork pattern of witch-hunting. The town of Baden, Germany, for example, burned 200 witches from 1627 to 1630, more than all the convicted witches who perished in Sweden. The tiny town of Ellwangen, Germany, burned 393 witches from 1611 to 1618, more than Spain and Portugal combined ever executed. The Catholic prince-bishop of Wurzburg, Germany, burned 600 witches from 1628 to 1631, more witches than ever died in Protestant Sweden, Norway, Finland, and Iceland combined.

        The most-dreaded lay witch-hunter was Nicholas Remy, attorney general of Lorraine, who boasted of sending 900 persons to the stake in a single decade (1581-1591). But the all-time grand champion exterminator of witches was Ferdinand von Wittelsbach, Catholic prince-archbishop of Cologne, Germany, who burned 2,000 members of his flock during the 1630s.

        Let no one argue that witch-hunting was a predominantly Protestant activity. Both Catholic and Protestant lands saw light and heavy hunts. Demonologists and critics alike came from both religious camps.

        1. @Paul
          This all is closely connected with the devastating Thirty Years’ War.
          Just check the coincidence with the events and interest!

          For those that don’t know that war (1618-1648):
          The war involved many states (incl. e.g. Sweden) and almost all fighting was on German soil. Big competing armies robbing the country side, etc.

          The war reduced the population in the German states at about 25% to 40%.
          So compared to that war, the second world war was nothing…

      3. Rod,
        Customers / the public occupy most of the table in Germany!
        The Energiewende was decided in 2000 after a debate that took more than a decade, involving everybody in Germany.
        At that time (year 2000) some smart utilities CEO’s already said that the Energiewende agreement (which they signed) would deliver them a difficult (no profits) future…
        But they had to sign due to the results of the debate results after Chernobyl (that delivered Germany severe heredity effects, thousands of extra deaths, etc), etc.

        activities that polled well in Germany have not been widely adopted
        That concerned incidental polls.
        Check the history of the polls regarding the Energiewende since 1993.
        With some fluctuations there is a steady rise in the support for the Energiewende!
        So little chance that the present all time high will fade away soon.
        Now you commit already political suicide if you only propose to slow the Energiewende a little (FDP suggested that: She lost 67% of her voters).

        Especially not since the price rise of electricity for consumers will stop within a few years as renewable (especially solar & onshore wind) become cheaper and cheaper.

        1. “But they had to sign due to the results of the debate results after Chernobyl (that delivered Germany severe heredity effects, thousands of extra deaths, etc), etc.”

          Absolute bullshit.

          http://www.world-nuclear.org/info/Safety-and-Security/Safety-of-Plants/Appendices/Chernobyl-Accident—Appendix-2–Health-Impacts/#.UnOIQVBLOlc

          “The LNT assumption is in direct contradiction to a vast sea of data on the beneficial effects of low doses of radiation. When in 1980, as a chairman of the United Nations Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation (UNSCEAR), I tried to convince its members that we should not ignore but rather peruse and assess these data, published in the scientific literature since the end of 19th century, everybody in the Committee was against it. In each of the next seven years I repeated the proposal, to no avail. Finally, the accident at Chernobyl appeared to be an eye opener: two years after the accident, in 1988, the Committee saw the light and decided to study radiation hormesis, i.e. the adaptive and beneficial effects of low levels of radiation. Six years of the Committee’s work and hot discussions later, Annex B “Adaptive responses to radiation in cells and organisms” appeared in the UNSCEAR 1994 Report, fourteen years after my original proposal. The Annex started a virtual revolution in research related to radiation protection but, because of many vested interests and conservatism to change the international and national regulations, there is still a long way to go.

          Yes, there is still a long way to go. People like you, Bas Gresnigt, need to start respecting science. And you need to stop spreading your stupid lies. I hope the time comes soon when anti-science liars like yourself are seen by the public for what you are, and you are swiftly tarred and feathered. That time will come. The internet will be ready to supply the evidence against you, Bas Gresnigt. 🙂

          1. People like you, Bas Gresnigt, need to start respecting science.

            Joris – Bas, and people like him, will never respect science, because they don’t understand it. Just look at all of the scientific information and evidence that I’ve thrown his way. Rather than trying to understand any of it, he looks for the bits and pieces that reinforce his world view — any tidbit that he can get to support the tiny handful of so-called “rock-solid” papers that he has collected by canvassing the anti-nuclear websites. It doesn’t help that he’s also a consummate conspiracy theorist with a paranoia that seems to focus on distrusting the United Nations.

            These people are a lost cause. We need to focus our efforts on people who are willing to listen, learn, and understand. There are plenty of them out there, but they do not include Bas Gresnigt.

            Let’s spray over the graffiti and move on.

          2. Joris,
            12 years after your UNSCEAR 1994 report, the BEIR VII report appeared.

            Produced by the “Committee to Assess Health Risks from Exposure to Low Levels of Ionizing Radiation” from the US “National Research Council of the National Academies”.

            That authoritative 2006 report spends an appendix to hormesis, referring many studies incl. those of Calabrese, Lorenz, Pollycove and Feinendegen, etc. As well as the UNSCEAR 1994 and the older BEIR V report. It concludes:

            the assumption that any stimulatory hormetic effects from low doses of ionizing radiation will have a significant health benefit to humans that exceeds potential detrimental effects from the radiation exposure is unwarranted

            The official German institute published several studies regarding the heredity effects of real low level (<0.5mSv/a) Chernobyl radiation. The most solid one shows that those low levels already create a lot of extra stillbirth (~30% more per mSv/a), Down, etc (>100% more per mSv/a).
            These results are in line with study results in Sweden (less intelligence), Finland, etc.

            Btw.
            Of course IAEA/WHO excluded all W-European studies (even Turkish studies, etc.) as that would have forced them to conclude more realistic about the harm of Chernobyl.
            They included only Russian, Belarus & Ukraine studies knowing most of those were minor and biased as government policy was ‘no harm’ and people loose their job or worse if they deviate from that in those countries.

            ____
            *) That German study is so solid as:
            – it took the whole population in 20 districts in Bavaria (~20million people). So no selection fallacy, such as possible with cohort studies.
            – all abnormalities (stillbirth, Down, etc) were recorded in detail from 1980 onwards by the population offices. Chernobyl came in 1986. Period studied 1980 – ~1992.
            – five districts that got fall-out (~0.5mSv/a) were compared with 5 similar districts that had no fall-out.
            – Study shows significant (p<0.001) jumps upwards after Chernobyl, but only in the districts that got fall-out!

            Note that these unique circumstances make repeating elsewhere almost impossible. But these results are in line with other (also medical) studies.

          3. Bas, you write: “The official German institute published several studies regarding the heredity effects of real low level (100% more per mSv/a).
            These results are in line with study results in Sweden (less intelligence), Finland, etc.”

            Nonsense. The authors themselves concede that they did NOT find a casual relationship between the (tiny) increase in radiation due to Chernobyl and the (tiny!) increase in stillbirths they found in some (!) of the contaminated regions. The authors concede that any number of other – confounding – factors could be in play.

            And they most likely are, because the calculated RR of 1,33 for 1 mSv/a of radiation is blatantly ridiculous on the face of it! If the RR was really that high, stillbirths in Denver would be FAR HIGHER than the rest of the United states for example! Except that they aren’t. So the RR of 1,33 per 1 mSv/a is clearly a result of simple confounding. The authors should have investigated the RR of stillbirth comparing regions with different background radiation levels. They did not, which is how they fooled you into thinking they were onto something. And you fell for it.

            So I hope I never see you drag this data-dredged FUD article out ever again.

          4. Joris,
            So you could not find a flaw in the study (method) either!

            the (tiny!) increase in stillbirths ” etc.
            Increases of ~30% per mSv/a for stillbirth and ~100% per mSv/a for Down and other serious defects are not tiny. Apparently you never had such tragedy in your circle of friends. A friend said he would have given his life if that could have prevented it.

            From chapter 4 of the study report:
            the combined data of Bavaria, GDR, West Berlin, Denmark, Hungary, Iceland, Latvia, Norway, Poland, and Sweden … The relative increase measures … 8.8% (p= 0.00000033) of the expected annual stillbirth proportions … from 1987 to 1992”.
            This relates to ~100million people. So many extra tragedies due to Chernobyl, while all these countries are far away from Chernobyl!
            And this does not end after 1992 as the main cause, Cesium-137, has a half live of ~30years!
            As there are many other countries that also got significant fall-out, such as Turkey, Poland, Hungary, etc. the total affected population is >200million.

            That delivers a calculated estimation of >30,000 extra stillbirth and >100,000 extra Down syndrome and other serious defects in the countries outside the three most affected countries (Russia, Belarus, Ukraine).

            authors themselves concede that they did NOT find a casual relationship
            No such study can do that. A causal relationship implies that you can show the process through which the harm occurs. That nobody knows. We need at least 100times more computer power and storage capacity (and research) for that.

            The BEIR VII report recommends a.o. more research regarding maternal exposures that may affect the fetus, such as the effects of radionuclide’s that cross the placenta.

            The authors concede that any number of other – confounding – factors could be in play
            Of course everything is always possible with any study. But here that is highly unlikely (no flaw)!

            Btw. Can you indicate where the authors stated that? As for now I have to conclude that you misread the study.
            Especially since the authors conclude in the last sentences of their article:

            “Our results, which are based on very large numbers of cases, indicate that Chernobyl fall-out had a detrimental effect on reproductive health in central,
            eastern, and northern parts of Europe, but causal inference is of course difficult. However, opponents of our methods and findings should bear in mind that the mere possibility of confounding is not a proof of confounding and, even more so, it is not a proof of no effect.” !

    3. ” An overwhelming majority – some 84 percent – of those interviewed said they expect the new government to push for a quick switch to an energy system powered 100 percent by renewable sources of energy.

      In addition, 83 percent said they want the profits and costs of the energy turnaround to be distributed fairly among citizens and energy companies.”

      Did most also express pleasure when finding lost money or believe we should be kind to small animals ? What an informative poll.

      1. Huh? So nobody here believes in the modern science of public interest polling (and the measure of elections) when it comes to energy choices? China is the model we should be seeking to emulate?

        If consumers are the one paying the price for energy, why shouldn’t their preferences and values in energy production be an important part of the picture (and negotiations among policy makers, as Rod suggests). How else do we suggest citizen preferences and values be incorporated into collective decisions (other than through representative and accountable government, elections, public hearings on new development projects, citizen lobbying, expert guidance on budgeting, private industry support, and public policy goals, etc.). Again … with recent polls reaching“93% percent” support for expansion of renewables and Energiewende, who’s voice isn’t getting heard? It’s certainly not those of everyday consumers (unless it’s only 7% of those sampled who are purchasing energy products from the grid)?

        Who’s not at the table?

        Customers.

        @Rod.

        Your response to these issues is very confusing? Where you among the small minority of ideologues who thought Romney had a lead going into 2012 election. Unsurprisingly, the consensus among the polls was pretty spot on. And with numerous polls in Germany all showing the same (and Merkel winning an unprecedented share of the vote) … I’m unclear how we can say consumer voices aren’t being heard in the country? You’re not going to spend billions of taxpayer dollars on energy developments and infrastructure (nuclear or otherwise) without it!

        1. Even a unanimous popular vote can’t overturn the laws of physics.

          Given the opportunity, I’m sure that the majority of the public would vote in favor of the existence of unicorns or free leprechaun gold for everyone, but the universe doesn’t work that way. What feels good often doesn’t reflect reality, nor is it always in one’s best interest.

          Your example about the “small minority … who thought” is apropos. When people are fed a bunch of rubbish that happens to support their world view or cater to their deepest desires — even though there is ample evidence to the contrary — they tend to accept the rubbish uncritically and jump on the bandwagon. It’s only when they wake up the next morning with a hangover consisting of rising energy prices and brand-new coal plants coming online that they realize that they might have made a mistake. Even then, there will be a stubborn, hard minority who will refuse to admit it in order to save face.

          1. Given the opportunity, I’m sure that the majority of the public would vote in favor of the existence of unicorns or free leprechaun gold for everyone, but the universe doesn’t work that way. What feels good often doesn’t reflect reality, nor is it always in one’s best interest.

            I see … so at 93% consumer voices ARE getting heard (they are just wrong, and no better than witch hunters and conservative minded conspiracy theorists griping and “feeling good” over death panels and long form birth certificates). Which begs the question … if accountable government and public policy making fails and results in meeting no citizen preferences or collective values, whose job is it to tell consumers and developers what they really should be doing (despite all statements and public processes to the contrary)?

            We’re back to recommending central planning and unaccountable government (rule making by rational and technical norms) as a more sensible approach. Who do you suggest we appoint to these important administrative and decision making roles: the engineers!

          2. It’s time to force the unrealistic side to accept a bet and pay the other side if they lose.  The people who force decisions down others’ throats must be accountable for the results.

          3. Which begs the question …

            To the educated, “begging the question” refers to circular reasoning, which often describes your comments to a tee, EL.

            … whose job is it to tell consumers and developers what they really should be doing (despite all statements and public processes to the contrary)?

            It’s nobody’s job. This is what closet socialists like you fail to understand. That’s what markets are for. The developers offer up what they’ve got, and if the consumers want it, they buy it. If not, then the developer either changes what he offers or he goes out of business to be replaced with something that consumers want for the price that they are willing to pay.

            Nobody has to tell these two parties what they are supposed to do.

            We’re back to recommending central planning …

            Energiewende is central planning! It doesn’t matter whether its popular or not. As Rod alludes, National Socialism also was once popular in Germany. That was yet another example of popular central planning that didn’t go so well in the long run.

            Naturally, something as important to a nation’s economy as energy is going to involve a substantial amount of government influence — in the form of regulation, at the very least, although it rarely stops there. Such government decisions, however, should be the result of cool, rational deliberation, not the whims of a fickle populace that is ill-equipped to understand the important details. Otherwise, you end up with a bunch of nitwits voting for unicorns and rainbows (a.k.a., wind and solar).

          4. Brian
            You adopted the attitude of the communist elite of the USSR in last century:
            “we know what if good for the public, so the publics opinion is irrelevant”.
            We have seen that that attitude did not work well.

            Switzerland shows that the public has far more wisdom than politicians & scientists in these matters.

            In Switzerland Government has to ask voters’ support for all important decisions.
            And people can start a referendum quite easy, while results of a referendum are binding.
            So the Swiss vote about a number of proposals every ~3months…
            That system brings not only unprecedented support for government, but also stability and prosperity.

            Despite being a country with four quite different population groups, each having his own language, it became the richest country in Europe (not due to their banking as that is a minor part of their economy). A country where life expectancy is higher than any other country except Japan.

            A country that decided not to join the EU as public voted against, also because they consider the EU as non-democratic, and saw it’s national income growing faster than EU countries.
            A country that decided that its big banks should have an own capital ratio of >18% after the Lehman brothers. The CEO’s of those banks objected as they thought they could not compete which such high own capital rate. But the financial community found that so safe, that everybody wanted to put his money on those banks. So the banks got money while paying near zero interest and even negative interest!
            A country that had such a defense at the second world war that Hitler’s generals estimated it would take them >a year to conquer it. So Hitler decided not to try, as he felt he would loose face.

          5. Bas – Since you have brought up the name “Hitler,” I don’t feel bad in pointing out that National Socialism was once wildly popular in Germany. Being popular didn’t make it right.

          6. Brian
            Hitler never gained more than ~33% in elections.
            He made a coup d’etat, ignoring the will of the German public.
            Cheating them; Telling he wanted peace, while preparing war.

            So the German politicians learned from that, and now listen to the opinion of their voters.

            1. @Bas

              Cheating them; Telling he wanted peace, while preparing war.

              Sounds kind of familiar – telling them they are getting “renewable” when they are actually getting more coal and natural gas. Why are Germans so gullible when it comes to promises from their leaders?

          7. Brian
            developers offer up what they’ve got, and if the consumers want it, they buy it …
            Nobody has to tell these two parties what they are supposed to do.

            That apples only if there are no consequences for other people.
            But with energy there are lots (Fukushima, CO2, horizon pollution, etc).

            So then it becomes a political decision. Politics, representing the opinion of the public in a sound democracy, should establish the conditions; so waste payments, insurance, etc.
            These political decisions of the past, make nuclear generated electricity one of the most subsidized methods!

          8. Hitler never gained more than ~33% in elections. He made a coup d’etat, ignoring the will of the German public.

            Bas – You’re quite the apologist. The next thing I know, you’ll be telling me that the Holocaust never happened!

            Those who are familiar with history know that Hitler’s attempted coup d’etat was unsuccessful, but it provided him with some quiet time in prison in which to write Mein Kampf.

            After Hitler was appointed Chancellor in 1933, the German people had a dozen years to get rid of him, but (aside from a couple of assassination attempts) they chose not to.

          9. Brian,

            Yes. Hitler’s first attempted coup d’etat was unsuccessful.
            He learned from it.

            So after the election in which he won one third of the votes, he did a better job!

          10. Bas – Hitler attempted only one coup d’etat.

            Being appointed by von Hindenburg might have been a back-door way to the Chancellorship, but it was not a coup. His elevation to Führer happened as a result of von Hindenburg’s death, not from an overthrow of the government.

          11. No elections after that….
            While he got absolute power.

            It’s just what you consider to be a coup d’état.
            It was a soft one. But just as effective (may even more).

          12. No Bas, it is what the definition of coup d’état is not what you consider it to be.

            We all realize you like to define words in starnge and wonderous ways so as to support yourself and your delusions, witness the twisting of the term science, but the world doesn’t work that way. Words have defined meanings.

          13. Brian,
            Energiewende is central planning!
            Yes.
            Central planning got a bad connotation due to the USSR communist detailed central planning (5 year plans). But if you want to implement major new things (projects), you need planning. Otherwise it will end in chaos.

            So the Germans have a ‘coordinating’ central planning, that sets conditions (e.g. FiT’s) and stimulates (e.g. funds for electricity to natural gas conversion research). They allow the market to go forward within rather wide boundaries. So they allowed the big wrong over-investments of the incumbent utilities after the closure of the 8 NPP’s in 2011 (the many new power plants).

            But even the US has similar central planning. E.g. the Fed creating money (nicely called ‘quantitative ease’), setting interest rates….
            Aviation industry, etc. etc.
            Same for NL, and all other countries.

            Governments set the conditions through which society & economy can develop (or decline as in Zimbabwe a decade ago) into desired directions.
            So discourage smoking, etc.
            Most in line with the wishes of the people.
            So Bhutan government’s prime target is to advance happiness levels, and it sets stimulating conditions for that.

            Hence this planning has nothing to do with national socialism.

  14. The German government has failed consistently to inform its people on matter relevant to energy. The private sector investment angle, basically selling these people energy lemons in investment schemes no different than any other available in current markets worldwide, under the guise of democratizing it.

    Your link on “distributed energy resources” ( via centrally controlled smart, super grid !! ) notes significant hardships.

    1. That was in response to EL. So is this:

      Push poll ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Push_poll )

      …In a push poll, large numbers of respondents are contacted, and little or no effort is made to collect and analyze response data. Instead, the push poll is a form of telemarketing-based propaganda and rumor mongering, masquerading as a poll. Push polls may rely on innuendo or knowledge gleaned from opposition research on an opponent. They are generally viewed as a form of negative campaigning. This tactic is commonly considered to undermine the democratic process as false or misleading information is provided about candidates….

      ….The term is also commonly used in a broader sense to refer to legitimate polls that aim to test political messages, some of which may be negative. Future usage of the term will determine whether the strict or broad definition becomes the most favored definition. However, in all such polls, the pollster asks leading questions or suggestive questions that “push” the interviewee towards adopting an unfavourable response towards the political candidate…

      There is also kind of a funny article on fish I think can be applied here:

      Democracy May Depend on the Ignorant ( http://www.livescience.com/17498-democracy-decisions-ignorance.html )

      Of course the researchers dont consider the real consequences of failure. I wonder if its politically incorrect to discus lemmings these days. Remember those? Is it wrong to criticize them or the spectacle of their mass popular “expressions of cultural identity”?

      Anyway later investigations found their mass suicides for film were actually staged and even Disney threw them off the cliff. So we are left with Lemming stereotypes, even if in mass migrations the odd few will drown occasionally.

      Energiewende is beginning to seem more and more like a swindle. Does it make it any better, perhaps from even more than one perspective, its a good intentioned one?

      1. @John Tucker

        If this is a push poll … they’re not swinging any election or popular opinion with a sample size of 1,003. Push polls are a type of advertising (not a poll) where they raise questions about a campaign or product through negative attacks: “Is George Bush the worst president in American history, or just the worst President in the last 20 years.” They target key districts, and attempt to call everyone in that district who meets certain criteria. They don’t publish their results as a poll that presumes to objectivity or can be scrutinized according to methodology and assumptions. I am pretty confident a federal agency of the German Government is likely not engaged in push polling. And if they are … they don’t appear to be particularly good at it with a sample size of a mere 1,000 respondents.

        1. I dont know EL, when only one side of a argument is pushed or even presented, and it isn’t the scientific consensus side or seem to be the economic truth for that matter, I get a little suspicious.

          1. John,
            German public had a decades long intense debate about the pro’s and con’s of different methods of electricity generation (1970 – 2000).
            All parties using research study reports, etc. Intensity such that millions were involved in demonstrations. This debate flawed in the nineties when parties agreed to scenario studies, spending ~€200mlin.

            Still, methods of electricity generation, grid stability, grid adaptation, etc. evoke public debate. So the average German is far more informed about pro’s and con’s than any other citizen…

            As a German put it to me this spring:
            “Why should I take any risk that I have to leave my house and harm my (future grand) children, just because of a method of electricity generation? While there are other sustainable methods available that do not cost much more. I don’t want that risk just to save a hundred bucks a year.”

  15. European Economic Stability Threatened By Renewable Energy Subsidies

    Under these subsidy programs, wind and solar power producers get priority access to the grid and are guaranteed high prices. In France, nuclear power wholesales for about €40/MWhr ($54/MWhr), but electricity generated from wind turbines is guaranteed at €83/MWhr ($112/MWhr), regardless of demand. Customers have to pick up the difference.

    The subsidies enticed enough investors into wind and solar that Germany now has almost 60,000 MWs of wind and solar capacity, or about 25% of that nation’s total capacity.( http://www.forbes.com/sites/jamesconca/2013/10/20/european-economic-stability-threatened-by-renewable-energy-subsidies/?ss=business:energy )

    Quite a price difference.

    1. John,
      This is the typical FUD raising article that tells nothing:

      stability of Europe’s electricity generation is at risk
      Happily things move forward as time moves on.
      So generation is moving from the incumbent utilities towards citizens, farmers, small cooperations, villages (~50% of all renewable is generated by citizens).
      Just as intended by the Energiewende!

      Btw. wind+solar is now ~70GW (not 60GW).

      economic stability threatened by renewable energy subsidies
      Germany delivers by far the most of those subsidies. Yet Germany is the most stable and most progressing (no recession!) country in the EU, and does better than USA.
      German institutions explain that the extra labor, etc. of the Energiewende contributed greatly to this excellent economic performance.

      Quite a price difference
      During the last 10 years polls show an increasing support from the German public for the Energiewende (now at ~85% level).

      These wholesale price differences are a minor compared to the (long term) economic benefits as well as the bigger independence from the huge utilities/corporations (taking matters in your own hands!), that the Energiewende brings.

  16. quokka wrote: “Like so many of the claims about renewables in Germany, distributed ownership is intrinsically self limiting.”

    Regarding disruptive challenges of distributed ownership in Germany, RWE appears the first to cave.

    RWE sheds old business model, embraces transition.”

    There’s no gain going back they claim: it’s either move forward or be gone. Company seeks to transition to prosumer retail business focused on enabling technologies and distributed energy financing and markets … “leadership and efficiency will be key differentiators in competition.” They describe this as “‘the only growth segment in the European power generation market for the foreseeable future.” Their “cost of capital will not be competitive against funding from private and institution equity investors.” They wish to no longer be “tolerated” (as they put it) but to be trusted partners in the “transition of the European energy landscape.” To do so requires a “capital light” approach, as they describe, and positioning themselves as “a project enabler, operator and system integrator of renewables.”

    Lots of other claims, speculation on evolving markets, and details for those who are interested. Reuters reports on the same.

    1. El,
      This policy change brings RWE in line with EU policy. Which is a good starting point to lobby at Brussels. Important, as Brussels is preparing new rules this autumn.

      Remember that at 14 October, RWE (with the CEO’s of major utilities), warned that EU energy policy may lead to major blackouts. Thus creating Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt (while they are not responsible for supply reliability: Grid management is, and those have no fear).

      So RWE now pursue rule changes that make them responsible for executing the EU policy, with more strict regulations (that RWE stated to be necessary)!

      This may lead to EU rules, such as the new rules in Spain!
      Those are such that only wind & solar installed and operated by the utility (RWE) is profitable!

      In Spain now all electricity produced by any PV installation is taxed with 8ct/KWh, even if not delivered to the grid! And the Feed-in-Tariff is free, so utilities can offer only a few cent/kWh in area’s where they have a monopoly (most of Spain).
      So the utilities regain 100% control over the electricity market, as no consumer will install PV, etc.

    2. El,
      This policy change brings RWE in line with EU policy. Which is a good starting point to lobby at Brussels. Important, as Brussels is preparing new rules this autumn.
      Remember that at 14 October, RWE (with 7 other incumbent major utilities), warned that EU energy policy may lead to major blackouts. Thus creating FUD (while they are not responsible for supply reliability: Grid management is).
      So incumbent RWE now pursue rule changes that make them responsible for executing the EU policy, with more strict regulations (that RWE stated to be necessary)!
      The Cap Gemini report is created to support those wishes.
      This may lead to EU rules, such as the new rules in Spain!
      Those are such that only wind & solar installed and operated by the utility (RWE) is profitable!
      In Spain now electricity produced by solar-panels is taxed with 8ct/KWh, even if not delivered to the grid! And the Feed-in-Tariff is free, so utilities can offer only a few cent/kWh in area’s where they have a monopoly (most of Spain).
      So the utilities regain 100% control over the electricity market, as no consumer will install PV, etc.

      1. “Remember that at 14 October, RWE (with 7 other incumbent major utilities), warned that EU energy policy may lead to major blackouts. Thus creating FUD (while they are not responsible for supply reliability: Grid management is).”

        What are you raving about now, Bas? Even Angela Merkel has admitted that PV and wind owners will need to pay more to support the Energiewende in Germany.

        http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-06-12/merkel-targets-renewables-to-support-more-grid-costs.html

        The time of free-loading on subsidies and sticking the costs to consumers and utilities is almost over in Germany. Germans are not stupid. Your kind is going to be forced to pay for your idiocy. That is what the new policies in Germany will seek to achieve and what the utilities – including RWE – are after. Not in order to save themselves, but in order to save Germany for the nonsense ‘Energiewende’. You don’t seem to understand the first thing about the situation, yet – as I see all the time here – this never stops you from providing your obtuse commentary.

        1. Joris
          Article date: June 12.
          Seen anything of this rhetoric after the elections in September?

          Onshore wind has FiT’s of ~8cent/KWh, Solar between 9.9 – 14.3cent/Kwh.
          Consumers pay 26cent/KWh.
          So the major renewable contribute already greatly to the cost of the gird, etc.
          And that will increase further as these FiT’s are expected to go down substantially next years as the costs of these renewable go down.

          So Angela was right, renewable are going to pay more for the grid, etc. as they can do that without affecting their implementation rate of ~5GW/year.
          That rate delivers ~1.5% more renewable in electricity generation per year which is enough to reach their prime targets:

          1. All nuclear out at 2023. So 12GW/(load factor) = ~50GW = ~5G/a new renewable has to be implemented.
          2. Democratize energy. Now ~50% of all renewable in the hands of citizens(groups). That won’t change much unless incumbent utilities as RWE, realize their dream.
          3. Renewable >80% at 2050 (>35% at 2020). For this target about the same implementation rate is necessary.
          The Kyoto protocol 20% CO2 reduction target by 2020, is already reached by Germany (NL won’t reach that target).

          1. If you think you can make an impression on me with Germany’s rigged Kyoto target, you are very wrong Bas.

            The Germans reached their Kyoto target because they (very intelligently) demanded that the target be set based on the co2 emissions including the original co2 emissions of the DDR (which had some of the worst performing coal plants imaginable, and which were all swiftly closed), prior to unification.

            Smart move on their part. The fact that you don’t know about this proves (once again) how much of a naive fool you are. And forgetful to boot, because I told you about Germany’ fake Kyoto target years ago already.

            Besides, stopping climate disruption has nothing to do with reaching Kyoto targets. It has to do with reducing emissions as fast as possible. The German’s are not doing that! On the contrary.

            To pretend that the Germans are doing well at reducing co2 emissions is the dumbest thing I have seen you write yet.

          2. Hmmm.

            26cent/kWh * 1000kWh/MWh=2600cent/MWh which = 26euro/MWh

            Yet about a week ago you claimed it was something like 280euro/MWh. Well actually you originally claimed something like 28euro/MWh then changed that to something like 280euro/MWh.

            Could you please decide on a number and stick with it? I mean, despite your apperent belief otherwise, most of us here are smart enough to do simple unit conversions and spot you using different numbers for the same thing.

          3. “The Germans reached their Kyoto target because they (very intelligently) demanded that the target be set based on the co2 emissions including the original co2 emissions of the DDR (which had some of the worst performing coal plants imaginable, and which were all swiftly closed), prior to unification.”

            Germany also has a shrinking population too. It’s much easier to cut to 1990 levels if your population is the same size or smaller… The US population has gone from ~260m in 1990 to about 315m now… a 21% increase.

            In 2050 Germany will likely be down to about 72m from 80m in 1990 (and 82m now). The US will likely be around the 400m mark by 2050.

          4. Joris
            With a scenario that delivers 35% renewable in 2020, 50% in 2030, 65% in 2040 and 80% in 2050 they are many miles ahead of us (NL)! That growing percentage of renewable will deliver a shrinking CO2 output. Especially after 2022.

            We even won’t reach the Kyoto target in 2020.
            And we even have no plan for after 2024.
            Still you require from our neighbors, the Germans, to do more.

            It makes no sense for one country to do more, unless the others do that also.
            So where are the international agreed targets after Kyoto?

            Btw.
            I vaguely remember US didn’t even sign the Kyoto targets.

            ZachF,
            Yes, the shrinking population is becoming quite an issue in Germany.
            General ideas are to import more people and stimulate getting children.

            ddpalmer,
            The present consumer price is ~€260/MWh, the price for next year is ~€280/MWh. I will try to use the price for next year all the time if possible. Sorry for the confusion.

  17. How to lose half a trillion euros

    That is, generating companies were having to pay the managers of the grid to take their electricity. It was a bright, breezy Sunday. Demand was low. Between 2pm and 3pm, solar and wind generators produced 28.9 gigawatts (GW) of power, more than half the total. The grid at that time could not cope with more than 45GW without becoming unstable. At the peak, total generation was over 51GW; so prices went negative to encourage cutbacks and protect the grid from overloading.

    Renewable energy has grabbed a growing share of the market, pushed wholesale prices down and succeeded in its goal of driving down the price of new technologies. But the subsidy cost also has been large, the environmental gains non-existent so far and the damage done to today’s utilities much greater than expected. ( http://www.economist.com/news/briefing/21587782-europes-electricity-providers-face-existential-threat-how-lose-half-trillion-euros )

    That article is a bit rosy on the general intermittent nature of solar and wind and really doesn’t mention operational reserves and parasitic loads. It mentions waste but Id like to see a real number on the amount of renewable generation wasted.

    It also neglects to mention price pressures on ordinary people.

    1. John,
      Your linked economist article is not really bad. It is only wrong at some important points.
      I have seen far worse (Bloomberg, Der Spiegel).

      Such as about many inevitable outages that would come in Germany, which generated the impression the Germans went mad. While German electricity even became more reliable than that in any other country.

      The writer still does not grasp the paradigm change that the Energiewende implies.
      >80% renewable (rooftop solar, etc) and democratizing electricity imply that the incumbent utilities will loose ~50% of their market to producing citizens, farmers, small cooperations, etc. So these giant utilities should prepare for shrink, and/or seek other markets & activities.

      Note that the incumbent utilities did sign for the Energiewende in 2000! A factor may have been their disbelief that it would become reality. Another factor that at that time, 2050 was half a century away.

      Further the author does not understand that (EU rules) utilities have no role regarding grid adaptation hence supply reliability. As the grid is a monopoly (only one grid in an area), while electricity delivery and generation can be done by competing utilities and other companies.

      So you find in NL one grid operator (Dutch state owned Tennant) and ~10 utilities that deliver electricity to customers. Only ~50% of these utilities own generating capacities.
      Especially those that deliver 100% renewable generated electricity, buy their electricity (most from Norway), as that electricity is far more bought by the public than we in NL generate. Some utilities generate only (deliver to the whole sale market).

      Situation in Germany is similar; 4 licensed grid operators that operate under close supervision of the state authority with grid service targets (hence adaptation), etc.

      How to lose a trillion euro
      This study, especially section 3.1, shows that the real situation is quite different. Over the long run (2005-2055) German consumers have much cheaper electricity than those in UK (if UK continues with new nuclear), despite the UK substantial governmental liability and loan guarantee subsidies for nuclear.

      The study include also diagrams, etc. regarding the (costs of) intermittent nature of solar (solar production is predicted rather accurate with weather predictions), etc.

      1. Bas are discussing the same Germany here? Solar and wind are intermittent.

        half the 2012 rise in renewable generation came from less glamorous and sustainable sources—hydro, biomass, and trash incinerators, which together contributed 9.9 percent of Germany’s electricity.

        the nameplate capacity trumpeted in the media is a drastically misleading measure of the electricity added to the grid. While wind and solar nameplate capacity represented 84 percent of Germany’s average electric power generation of 70.4 GW, it ultimately generated only 11.9 percent of total electricity (up from 11.2 percent in 2011). ( http://thebreakthrough.org/index.php/programs/energy-and-climate/germanys-green-energy-bust/ )

        They are already cooking the books using wood as a “renewable” Bas. Generating more power from these when they already have to export excess to a wind and solar overloaded European grid will just make matters worse.

        There is no way this story gets better. There is no happy ending.

    2. In addition to Mr. Tucker’s points, consider what happens as unreliables supply a percentage of total energy demand equal to or greater than their capacity factor.

      First, consider what the power output of unreliables looks like vs. time. It’s a messy graph of swoops and climbs. Sometimes producing nothing. Other times, peaking up to its nameplate capacity. Unreliables which supply 10% of the energy needed in a locale do not do so with a flat line even with the 10% mark vs. time. That 10% is an average of production lower than 10% of power demand and brief periods higher than 10% power demand.

      Today, if an unreliable is managing a 20% capacity factor, then all of that curve of power vs. time is being integrated to accumulate that 20%.

      But what happens when unreliables penetration exceeds capacity factor? Let’s say there’s enough unreliables to supply 25% of yearly energy demand, but capacity factor is still 20%. That means that the name-plate capacity of the unreliables is now 125% of demand (simplifying, by assuming average demand). Most of the time it isn’t generating, but some of the time, unreliable generation can now exceed demand. That means that some of the peaks of the curve of power vs. time must be shaved off and discarded. Those peaks no longer contribute to the annual energy generated by those unreliables.

      Shaving off some of the peaks, during which unreliables are producing, means that the total energy contributed to the grid is now lower. The capacity factor for those generators has dropped by however much those peaks of their production curve contributed.

      As more unreliables are added, more and more peaks must be shaved off. All new unreliable capacity added will have lower and lower capacity factors, as more and more of the peaks, and lower peaks, must be shaved off to avoid exceeding power demand.

      The more unreliables you build, the more expensive they get, for the amount of useful energy unreliables can actually contribute to the grid.

      1. Jeff,
        Nice thinking!
        That overproduction generates negative prices on the wholesale market. At one time this summer even minus €100/MWh at the Leipzig Exchange! It is one of the reasons the incumbent utilities (NPP owners) are somewhat desperate!

        This issue was discussed in Germany in the nineties.
        So extra storage capacities are in development: pumped storage, electricity to gas/fuel conversion (now reaching pilot production phase), etc.

        It also implies that base load power plants will become a relic of the past.

        1. Once again, Bas, you demonstrate that you are either a shill or an idiot.

          You completely miss the implications of the phenomenon described. Expensive and unreliable energy are the end result.

          1. Jeff,
            Expensive and unreliable energy are the end result.
            Unreliable:
            While the share of renewable grew in Germany in the last decade (now 23%) the reliability of electricity supply improved. Total outage time for av. customer went down from ~30 to ~15minutes per year.
            Nuclear countries such as France and UK are at least a factor 4 worse.

            Expensive:
            Yes. As renewable generation and storage is new and still not mature.
            But prices (especially solar) go down all the time with growing economy-of-scale and fast improving production facilities (higher yield solar panels, bigger wind turbines, more advanced storage).
            So in ~10 years cost prices (especial solar) will become competitive with those of coal and gas.

            Compared to nuclear cost prices are now already lower than that of new nuclear. Depending on the allowed unsafe levels of old nuclear, it may take 10 – 30 years before renewable will be cheaper than that.

            So I do not see a good base for your conclusion, especially when I look into the future?

        2. @Bas

          So extra storage capacities are in development: pumped storage, electricity to gas/fuel conversion (now reaching pilot production phase), etc.

          Even the Energiewende cheerleaders have recognized that their transition is going to have unintended consequences that make success difficult. For example, pumped storage facilities are becoming less economical to operate, even as they become more important in terms of providing reliable power.

          http://energytransition.de/2013/05/the-flattening-of-peak-and-base-prices/

          Since no owner — even the small, distributed, communities and individuals that you favor — can afford to provide expensive services for less than they cost for very long, pumped storage facilities are being shut down. It makes little sense to believe that there will be anyone willing to build new ones when even those that have been in place long enough to pay off most of the capital costs cannot make any money.

          If pumped storage is a losing proposition, I am pretty certain that all other forms of electricity storage face the same challenge.

          1. @Rod
            Indeed. Seemingly ridiculous!

            I agree with your linked article conclusion:
            ”by the end of this decade, pumped-storage plants in Germany will have reversed operation in the summer to store power from the day for the night. But first, we have to get through this interim period.” (I think that reverse will happen sooner)

            For storage to become profitable, utilities first have to close all unprofitable ‘old’ plants which they will do if the upcoming EU rules do not give them relief. Note that in next years more ‘old’ plants will become unprofitable due to the increase of solar and wind capacity.

            Looking at:
            – start-up times in diagram 4 in this insight document .
            – the consequence of Insight 4 in that document: “Grids are cheaper than storage facilities”.
            – Furthermore to diagram 10.4 at page 36 of this Fraunhofer publication.

            storage will generate revenue’s only during short periods which will become more rare in the coming years.
            My conclusion: Continuing with the same market design will deliver high price spikes at the whole sale market. As storage facilities can deliver during only a hundred hours/a (or much less) in the future, they need those high prices.
            As those spikes have only small effect on the average price, I am not sure whether those are bad.

            But, as Germans always prefer more reliability, I think they will install capacity payments for storage facilities. Probably already next year, as they have revision discussions this autumn (sorry, don’t know good English article).
            Those may help (pumped) storage and prevent price peaks.
            They did that already in 2011 after closing 8 NPP’s (3 spare plants; only one needed a short time). The authors of the insight document (link above) propose that too (page 21 etc. Especially page 24).
            Their only miss concerns the effects of the many power-to-fuel conversion upscaling projects to which the above linked article in Zeit-online refers in its last paragraph.

            Btw.
            The insight document states -40% CO2 in 2020 (page 1; Kyoto: -20%).
            Not sure whether they reach that target as closing NPP’s has more priority (while surpassing the 2020 >35% renewable target). For that CO2 target, major Grid upgrades should be ready in 2017, so they can go back to the installation rate of wind+solar of 10GW/a (which they had 2011/2012).

            The 14 Oct. call of the incumbent utilities to the EU, also targets capacity payments for their ‘old’ power plants, so those become profitable again.
            I think German government will not support that, as that implies worse future for non CO2 producing (storage) facilities as well as an unnecessary rise of the costs of the Energiewende.

            The Swiss prices in your linked article amazed me; didn’t know they have so much solar.

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