#RET

Lessons from Deutschland on why renewables are a bad idea – period

 New wind park projects face a significant amount of red tape. And then there...

The normally left of centre leaning Der Spiegel has put together two decent hit job articles on the failure of the energy transition in Germany. This is what happens when misguided altruism turns on itself and ends up costing a bomb for little result. Australia, are you listening? Germany has already done beta testing on renewables and as a culture is not renowned for doing half-baked jobs. Yet Merkel can add this to the list of failures.

Part 1 – Germany Failure on the Road to a Renewable Future

“But the sweeping idea has become bogged down in the details of German reality. The so-called Energiewende, the shift away from nuclear in favour of renewables, the greatest political project undertaken here since Germany’s reunification, is facing failure. In the eight years since Fukushima, none of Germany’s leaders in Berlin have fully thrown themselves into the project, not least the chancellor. Lawmakers have introduced laws, decrees and guidelines, but there is nobody to coordinate the Energiewende, much less speed it up. And all of them are terrified of resistance from the voters, whenever a wind turbine needs to be erected or a new high-voltage transmission line needs to be laid out.”

Germany’s Federal Court of Auditors is even more forthright about the failures. The shift to renewables, the federal auditors say, has cost at least 160 billion euros in the last five years. Meanwhile, the expenditures “are in extreme disproportion to the results,” Federal Court of Auditors President Kay Scheller said last fall, although his assessment went largely unheard in the political arena. Scheller is even concerned that voters could soon lose all faith in the government because of this massive failure.

There is also such an irony when these mad green schemes encounter scourge from animal rights groups. Former Green’s leader Bob Brown knows the feeling,

“The bird of prey [red kite], with its elegantly forked tail, enjoys strict protection in Germany…Red kites are migratory, returning from the south in the spring, but they don’t return reliably every year. The mayor would have been happy if the bird had shown up quickly so its flight patterns could be analyzed and plans for the wind park adjusted accordingly. It would have been expensive, but at least construction of the project could finally get underway.

But if the bird doesn’t return, the project must be suspended. Spies has to wait a minimum of five years to see if the creature has plans for the nest after all. Which means the wind park could finally be built in 2024, fully 12 years after the project got underway.”

Part 2 – German Failure on the Road to a Renewable Future

An additional factor exacerbating the renewables crisis is the fact that two decades after the enactment of the Renewable Energy Sources Act (EEG), 20-year guaranteed feed-in tariffs will begin expiring next year for the first wind, solar and biomass facilities. Some of those who installed solar panels back then — often farmers and homeowners — are still receiving 50 cents for every kilowatt-hour they feed into the grid. Today, larger facilities receive just 5 cents per kilowatt-hour.

The state has redistributed gigantic sums of money, with the EEG directing more than 25 billion euros each year to the operators of renewable energy facilities. But without the subsidies, operating wind turbines and solar parks will hardly be worth it anymore. As is so often the case with such subsidies: They trigger an artificial boom that burns fast and leaves nothing but scorched earth in their wake.

As Australia continues to expand the renewables portion of our power grid, the lessons from the Germans couldn’t be clearer – market distortions and misguided investments only lead to marginal results on the back of massive investment to stop something that can’t be controlled. German taxpayers have been swindled and Aussies are sleepwalking down the same path.

Bluescope to expand US plant thanks to cheap energy

Bluescope Steel Logo

Thanks to Australia’s ridiculous energy prices, Aussie company Bluescope confirmed the expansion of capacity in Ohio. In Feb 2019, the company CEO said, “much cheaper energy in the United States is a major driver of the company’s preparedness to invest in a $1 billion expansion in Ohio.”

Meanwhile, our lawmakers continue to behave as if they’re in control of power generation, pandering to pathetic ideologies instead of realities.

In 2017, Tomago Aluminium reported, “We have to grow to be competitive and to be ahead of the curve, but when the spot price went to $14,000 [per megawatt hour] we had to take that load off. It’s just not sustainable. You can’t smelt at that price. We have had to curtail or modulate the load [on occasions] or we get hammered by the price…We cannot continue to keep paying those prices. We have to find a solution. The prices are crippling”

Well done Australia. Home to the cheapest and best quality energy-producing assets around but saddled with the world’s highest prices. Beholden to being guilt-tripped into reducing CO2 levels that even if we cut to zero would have absolutely no impact on limiting global temperatures.

We only need look to Germany to see how well their renewables plan is working for them. What have the Germans done recently? Favour more electricity production from lignite (brown coal) and biomass which are the two highest emitting power generation bases. Furthermore,

“After the German government decided to reduce subsidies to the solar industry in 2012, the industry nose-dived. By this year, virtually every major German solar producer had gone under as new capacity declined by 90 per cent and new investment by 92 per cent. Some 80,000 workers — 70 per cent of the solar workforce — lost their jobs. Solar power’s market share is shrinking and solar panels, having outlived their usefulness, are being retired without being replaced.

Wind power faces a similar fate. Germany has some 29,000 wind turbines, almost all of which have been benefitting from a 20-year subsidy program that began in 2000. Starting in 2020, when subsidies run out for some 5,700 wind turbines, thousands of them each year will lose government support, making the continued operation of most of them uneconomic based on current market prices. To make matters worse, with many of the turbines failing and becoming uneconomic to maintain, they represent an environmental liability and pose the possibility of abandonment. No funds have been set aside to dispose of the blades, which are unrecyclable, or to remove the turbines’ 3,000-tonne reinforced concrete bases, which reach depths of 20 metres, making them a hazard to the aquifers they pierce.”

Canberra, please note that if you pursue common sense, voters will celebrate a reduction in power prices that current experience proves are NOT going to come through ludicrous renewable energy targets.