Germany Ignores Allies and Deals with Putin As Energiewende Fails

naturalgasnowTom Shepstone
Shepstone Management Company, Inc.

Germany has pursued a politically correct Energiewende that has led the nation to develop and use more coal while making it more dependent on Russian gas.

Two articles that were brought to my attention this week demonstrate the utter nonsense that has been the German Energiewende. And, Germany is the example American fractivists and their smug elitist funders would love us to emulate. Germany’s green energy “leadership,” in fact, has led it to develop and use more coal, fail in its stated bid to reduce emissions and made it dependent on natural gas supplied by Vladimir Putin.


German lignite mine. Lignite is dirty brown coal and Germany is using more of it.

The first article is authored by Oddvar Lundseng, a senior engineer with 43 years of experience in the energy business, and two associates, Hans Konrad Johnsen and Stein Storlie Bergsmark, with extensive experience in physics and renewables. Entitled “Germany’s Green Transition Has Hit a Brick Wall,” this piece has been published in numerous places and was also submitted to NaturalGasNOW for publication. Here are the key excerpts:

Despite huge investments in wind, solar and biofuel energy production capacity, Germany has not reduced CO2 emissions over the last ten years. However, during the same period, its electricity prices have risen dramatically, significantly impacting factories, employment and poor families.

Germany has installed solar and wind power to such an extent that it should theoretically be able to satisfy the power requirement on any day that provides sufficient sunshine and wind. However, since sun and wind are often lacking – in Germany even more so than in other countries like Italy or Greece – the country only manages to produce around 27% of its annual power needs from these sources.

Equally problematical, when solar and wind production are at their maximum, the wind turbines and solar panels often overproduce – that is, they generate more electricity than Germany needs at that time – creating major problems in equalizing production and consumption…

Production is often too high to keep the network frequency stable without disconnecting some solar and wind facilities. This leads to major energy losses and forced power exports to neighboring countries (“load shedding”) at negative electricity prices, below the cost of generating the power.

In 2017 about half of Germany’s wind-based electricity production was exported. Neighboring countries typically do not want this often unexpected power, and the German power companies must, therefore, pay them to get rid of the excess. German customers have to pick up the bill…

When wind and solar generation declines, and there is insufficient electricity for everyone who needs it, Germany’s utility companies also have to disconnect large power consumers – who then want to be compensated for having to shut down operations…

Power production from the sun and wind is often quite low and sometimes totally absent. This might take place over periods from one day to ten days, especially during the winter months. Conventional power plants (coal, natural gas and nuclear) must then step in and deliver according to customer needs. Hydroelectric and biofuel power can also help, but they are only able to deliver about 10% of the often very high demand, especially if it is really cold…

In practice, this means Germany can never shut down the conventional power plants, as planned. These power plants must be ready and able to meet the total power requirements at any time; without them, a stable network frequency is unobtainable…

The dream of supplying Germany with mainly green energy from sunshine and wind turns out to be nothing but a fading illusion. Solar and wind power today covers only 27% of electricity consumption and only 5% of Germany’s total energy needs, while impairing reliability and raising electricity prices to among the highest in the world…

To fulfill the German target of getting 60% of their total energy consumption from renewables by 2050, they must multiply the current power production from solar and wind by a factor of 15. They must also expand their output from conventional power plants by an equal amount, to balance and backup the intermittent renewable energy…

Perhaps more important, the amount of land, concrete, steel, copper, rare earth metals, lithium, cadmium, hydrocarbon-based composites and other raw materials required to do this is astronomical. None of those materials is renewable, and none can be extracted, processed and manufactured into wind, solar or fossil power plants without fossil fuels…

Multiplying today’s wind power capacity by a factor 10 or 15 means a 200 meter high (650 foot tall) turbine must be installed every 1.5 km (every mile) across the entire country, within cities, on land, on mountains and in water.

In reality, it is virtually impossible to increase production by a factor of 15, as promised by the plans.

The cost of Germany’s “Energiewende” (energy transition) is enormous: some 200 billion euros by 2015 – and yet with minimal reduction in CO2 emission. In fact, coal consumption and CO2 emissions have been stable or risen slightly the last seven to ten years…

The prospects for reductions in CO2 emissions are thus nearly non-existent! Indeed, the backup coal or gas plants must operate so inefficiently in this up-and-down mode that they often consume more fuel and emit more (plant-fertilizing) carbon dioxide than if they were simply operating at full power all the time, and there were no wind or solar installations.

Meanwhile, as Stephen Blank, a senior fellow at the American Foreign Policy Council, opined in the New York Post:

European energy security isn’t a pressing concern for most Americans — but it should be. If Europe, the West’s frontline against Russian aggression, falls under de facto Kremlin control through energy domination, America will be left vulnerable.

For the past seven years, Vladimir Putin has been working to achieve just that, through a pipeline known as Nord Stream 2. And his efforts are coming close to fruition — with not a little assistance from the Germans, who are putting their own energy needs before Western security.

A joint project of the Putin-linked Russian energy giant Gazprom and several European firms, Nord Stream 2 would allow Russia to pump 55 billion cubic meters of gas to Germany annually. And because it runs on the Baltic seabed, Nord Stream 2 would bypass traditional land routes across Ukraine and Poland…

Which is why a political backlash is beginning to build. This month, the US Congress passed a resolution opposing Nord Stream 2. Successive administrations of both parties have also warned Germany about the perils of expanding Russian energy influence in Europe.

Likewise, the European Parliament passed a resolution this month calling for the project to be canceled. That followed a 2016 letter from eight European governments to European Commission boss Jean-Claude Juncker, detailing the “potentially destabilizing geopolitical consequences” of the new gas line.

Berlin won’t pay heed…

And it’s not as if Russia is Europe’s only energy source. Far from it. Germany itself has vast reserves of shale gas — 2.3 trillion cubic meters, by some estimates, enough to meet domestic need for a century.

Instead of banning fracking over unproved environmental fears, Germany and France, among others, could lead an energy revolution much like the fracking renaissance that has turned the US into a global energy powerhouse. Combined with fracking, nuclear power, US natural gas and renewables, Europe could be totally energy independent within a few years.

What is most fascinating about this article is the news that Germany, the heart and soul of the European Union, has chosen to ignore the EU. It’s like the commercial where the CEO of a company talks about how it good it feels to be sticking it to the man, when, of course, he is the man. It’s all happening because Germany chose to pursue a politically correct Energiewende instead of shale gas. It is so committed to this nonsense, in fact, it has chosen to flirt with a murderous Vladimir Putin rather than admit the Energiewende is a failure.

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5 thoughts on “Germany Ignores Allies and Deals with Putin As Energiewende Fails

  1. Tom, thank you for this. I’ve been looking for a very distinct clear explanation of how, despite their best efforts, governments cannot justify the use of unreliable and intermittent energy from wind and solar. This is as close as I’ve seen. There are so many uninformed “activists” screaming that we Must move to “Green Energy”. Lignite? Why not just burn cow dung? Thanks again and keep this kind of analysis coming. It’s very educational and helpful. And Merry Christmas! (Thanks to the warmth provided by natural gas). I mean that seriously. If you’ve ever had an electrical heat pump, you know that when you need real heat, you have to crank up the resistance heat and watch your electric meter go crazy!

  2. Real Collusion? Russia plans Rosatom to be full Closed Cycle by 2100 and 80 % egen from Nuclear. At the present time, ROSATOM builds 8 new power units in Russia. ROSATOM holds first place for the largest portfolio of foreign construction projects (34 NPPs in 12 countries). They have plenty of CH4 for export.

  3. Pingback: German Energy System A Disaster. New Climate Plan Will Make It Worse.Natural Gas Now

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