Friday 4 December 2020

Germany: another burst of suicidal energy policy

As the whole world knows (but Greens prefer to ignore) Germany's Energiewende policy has been monstrously expensive but of very poor efficacy as regards its ostensible aim (CO2 reduction) - as few bangs for the buck as it's possible to imagine.  By any ranking, the top two countries in Europe on CO2** are the UK and Denmark.  Most commentators have said: the Germans will think twice before their next round of energy policy-making.

But no.  They've just conducted an auction for subsidies to decommission, prematurely, 5 GW of coal-burning power stations in 2021 - and in a second round, a further 10 GW to close in 2022.  They are claiming it as a great success, naturlich - but it's actually a madhouse: the "winning" first-round bids have been from relatively modern & efficient black coal plants (the newest being of 2015 vintage), leaving open the stinking abominations that are their lignite plants.

Additionally, Germany has no Capacity Market, meaning no explicit price signals for the looming, everybody-knows-this German electricity capacity crunch.

In the round, the "design" of their system is utter nonsense.  I have long said the Germans don't understand markets; and they ain't doing anything to contradict that.  



** I well realise some of you say this is a competition you'd rather not enter


Anonymous said...

Why are we bothered? We're not part of the solution or the problem.

CityUnslicker said...

because we love capitalism anon and many people don't so much these days. Especially in Germany where we are supposed to be in constant awe of their rigorous and sensible approach. Here it is the opposite.

Plus we will be the solution at this rate, they can buy our wind through the interconnetor or even our gas fired leccy when they get desperate enough.

Don Cox said...

Building plenty of nuclear and exporting the electricity to Germany would be worth while.

Don Cox

dearieme said...

No doubt they'll blame Brexit.

Nick Drew said...

Brexit & energy supply? The Irish will be panicking if the French pull the plug (so to speak): Ireland leans heavily on GB for elec (import/export/balancing)and almost totally for gas (import)

Increasingly, France also for periodic elec import/balancing

E-K said...

The Great Reset.

It's the only logical explanation. BBC at it again. Nothing but street interviews in which people supported it all - the only dissenting voice saying that it wasn't going fast enough !

jim said...

Mmmm, well the Germans do not appear dead or anatomically stupid, so what is their plan? Sitting on all the gas pipelines and having good engineering expertise but maybe not with 'sophisticated financing'. Perhaps this last is an expertise that creates as many problems as it solves.

Capitalism is useful but self-interested, those interests not necessarily aligned with governmental or public interests. Just because they had an auction does not mean the high bidders must get the job, German politics is as mucky as any and it looks fairly sane to chop the lignite. This problem has been on the stocks for a good while now. I expect some sort of compromise. The Russian Bear, a separate problem.

Even if this migration were a bit premature it seems something they could build their way out of. Just hike the price of S-class Mercs perhaps or take their foot off the loud pedal. Thankfully the little drop of leccy the Brits buy from France would not make much difference or we could be feeling the draught. Anyway I doubt the 'send' sides of our interconnectors still work. As I said, they don't look anatomically stupid, expect a compromise. Nearer to home though.....

Nick Drew said...

Gnomic, Jim. Some more one-liners for you.

sanity and hypocrisy are indeed close companions

capitalism has no self-interest: but capitalists most certainly do (because they are, errr, human beings)

the (good) engineers advise the (non-stupid) government that nobody can come up with "green" hydrogen as much and as soon as they've mandated, even at Energiewende prices

oh, and ...

the 'send' side of our interconnectors work happily, on demand, several times a year: the French make sure of that

jim said...

Ahh hydrogen, the fix it all solution to looking Green. As you say, not easy to separate it from all those things it loves to bind to.

Pulling it out of natural gas is easy, all that remains is to shove the CO2 underground like an really really overgrown fizzy pop bottle. What could go wrong. Or extract the O2 and make our own coal heaps, easy if you know how - but we don't. Or we dip metal plates in seawater, pass the leccy and voila. Any school kid knows that's easy, and every chemical engineer knows its not.

Passing gently over the fact that it is vile stuff to handle and store. Creeps through tiny holes even between apparently solid molecules to say nothing of ancient gas meters, burns with an invisible flame in the cupboard under the stairs and goes boom at the drop of a hat. No trouble there then.

Energy wise we are in a bind and probably always will be. The darker thought is that perhaps Covid points the way forward, just needs making a little stronger. Don't tell anyone, keep it between you and I, I'm sure no-one else has thought of it.

Don Cox said...

I think if the "Hydrogen economy" does arrive, the death rate will be high.

But the death rate doesn't seem to discourage people from driving cars.

Don Cox

Mark Wadsworth said...

I suspected as much, but it's nice to hear an expert say it.

Agreed, it is a competition I'd rather not enter.

For want of anything better to do during lockdown, I have been reading up on this stuff (IPCC, Science of Doom, Skeptical Science etc) and all their claims and explanations are full of holes. They start with the answer they want and then work backwards to the evidence and logic they need.

iOpener said...

Germans have a history of adopting odd ideas with great religious fervor and following those ideas with great enthusiasm and vigor, no matter how often they fail, in efforts to prove their efficacy, in a firm and unshakeable belief that sooner or later they will succeed.

They will follow those ideas into death if necessary, their own, or anyone opposing them or the target of the idea they have fixed on.

I'm first generation Canadian of German parents, fluent in German and visit the cousins, fairly regularly, less now I'm older and most of the aunts and uncles are dead.

They're all bonkers.

E-K said...

How I'd wished I'd heeded my words on this blog ten years ago.

2010 was the year the Tories should have thrown the election.

Nick Drew said...

Sorry Kev, but throwing elections is like "let's allow the All Blacks to go ten points up, then they'll get complacent and we'll whup 'em"

AndrewZ said...

It's not so much the "energiewiende" as the "energie ende". But it should matter to us that one of our near neighbours is committing economic suicide, not least because it's a demonstration of what the insane green policies of our own decadent rulers will mean for us.

Anonymous said...

@ it should matter to us that one of our near neighbours is committing economic suicide,

You do realise the whole of EU says that about UK??!

Elby the Beserk said...

Should you wish to follow the gory history of the destruction of Germany's energy network, hit thee to (German born) Paul Gosselin's No Trick's Zone, which has any number of articles on this insanity.

Most recent

E-K said...

Nick @ 8.07

But I have hindsight now.

10 years of Tory Leftism and now Ultra Leftism (at least economically) I admit to being confused about Priti Patel.

E-K said...

@ Elby's notrickzone

How about this ?

Elby the Beserk said...

@E-K 9:50pm - thanks, always a groove being rick rolled :-)