Thursday, November 15, 2012

German Energy Expert Argues Against Subsidies for Solar Power

Spiegel Online has an interview with the head of the German Energy Agency Dena.  

German Energy Expert Argues Against Subsidies for Solar Power - SPIEGEL ONLINE:
ENTSO-E shows fossil fuel use growing as nuclear levels off
Kohler: According to the generally accepted opinion, the transition to renewable energy sources means that we will give up nuclear power and rely on wind and solar instead. The reality is that we'll need conventional power plants until at least 2050, even if we do create massive renewable energy sources. Many people dispute this. They say that we could replace power plants operated with fossil fuels by adding more renewable energy sources. My response to them is: It won't work.
SPIEGEL: What's the problem?
Kohler: When a new wind farm is opened and we're told how many thousands of households it can supply with electricity, that number applies to only a quarter of our demand. In Germany, 75 percent of electricity goes to industry, for which a secure supply -- that is, at every second, and with constant voltage -- is indispensable. Neither solar nor wind power are suitable for that purpose today. Both fluctuate and provide either no secure supply or only a small fraction of a secure supply. Solar energy has a load factor of about 1,000 hours a year. But there are 8,670 hours in a year."
Continue Reading at Spiegel Online:

I had previously commented on an article noting a study by Dena indicating Germany would continue to have a need for significant traditional (fossil fuel) capacity even in 2050.

On my original content blog I had written on the argument that nuclear is incompatible in an energy mix heavy on intermittent renewables:
“If someone declares publicly that nuclear power would be needed in the baseload because of fluctuating energy from wind or sun in the grid, he has either not understood how an electricity grid or a nuclear power plant operates, or he consciously lies to the public. Nuclear energy and renewable energies cannot be combined.”—Siegmar Gabriel, then-Federal Environment Minister of Germany
Siegmar Gabriel currently leads Germany's second-most popular political party, so it's important to note he is starting to look wrong about this ... or rather, he has failed to note that no other generation technologies combine well with renewables.  Germany's electricity exports have risen above pre-Fukushima levels, at very depressed prices; the search continues for how to ensure new generation facilities are built with as little subsidy as possible, the wealth is draining from it's existing utilities, and it looks very likely emissions will rise this year despite an economy likely to see GDP expand at under 1%.

1 comment:

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