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Energiewende: Germany's Energy Transition

by gmoke Wed Apr 1st, 2015 at 11:17:52 PM EST

Tuesday, March 31 I saw Andreas Kraemer, International Institute for Advanced Sustainability in Pottsdam, founder of the Ecological Institute of Berlin, and currently associated with Duke University, speak at both Harvard and MIT.  His subject was the German Energiewende, energy turnaround, energy tack (as in sailing), or energy transition, and also the title of a book published in 1980 (Energiewende by Von F. Krause, H. Bossel and K. F. Müller-Reissmann) 1980 which described how to power Germany without fossil fuels or nuclear, partially a response to the oil shocks of the 1970s, and probably the beginning of the nuclear phase-out.  Chernobyl in 1986 gave another shove in that direction and continues to do so as Chernobyl is still happening in Germany with radioactive contamination of soils, plants, animals, and Baltic Sea fish.

In 1990 the feedin tariff began but it was not started for solar.  It was originally intended to give displaced hydroelectric capacity in conservative Bavaria a market and a bill was passed in Parliament very quickly, supported by the Conservatives (Blacks) in consensus with the Greens and Reds as they all agreed on incentizing renewable, local energy production through a feedin tariff on utility bills.  Cross party consensus on this issue remains today.  This is not a subsidy but an incentive with the costs paid by the customers. The feedin tariff has a period of 20 years and some have been retired.

Solar began with the 1000 roofs project in 1991-1994.   There are 1.7 million solar roofs now although, currently, Spain and Portugal have faster solar growth rates than Germany. Renewables provide 27% of electricity, have created  80,000-100,000 new jobs directly in the industry, up to 300,000 if indirect jobs are added, and is contributing 40 billion euros per year to the German economy.  By producing energy domestically Germany has built a local industry, increased tax revenue and Social Security payments, and maintained a better balance of trade through import substitution.  During the recession that began in 2008, Germany had more economic stability and was even able to expand the renewable sector because steel for wind turbine towers was available at lower prices and financing was forthcoming.

Electricity prices have risen but slower than gas and oil and coal.  Households pay 28-29 euro cents per kWh.  Industrial cost is 3.3-3.7 per kWh plus transmissions costs, about 6-8 euro cents per kWh.  

Germany plans to have 1 million electric vehicles by 2020.  Electric cars and trucks will have batteries that can act as electricity storage but there will also be a large proportion of electric bikes.  25% of energy from gas by 2020, some of which will be renewable biogas and increased use of combined heat and power and district heating.  The chemical industry is anxious to see over-capacity of renewables so that they can use some of the cheap electricity to make hydrogen, methane, and other hydrocarbon fuels.  The aluminum recycling industry is running their plants during low demand hours when electricity prices are low and driving their foreign competitors out of the market.  The grid even survived the recent solar eclipse quite well and is preparing for the next one in 2026.

Nuclear is down to 12% from 27% of electricity at its peak.  There were 19 nuclear power plants and are now only 11 operating.  The last will be closed by 2022 and there is enough nuclear fuel for that already in the country. Germany is not alone in phasing out nuclear as Switzerland and Belgium are doing the same.  Greece, constitutionally, and Austria, by policy, have outlawed nuclear power in their countries.  The continuing dangers from Chernobyl's releases and the example of Fukushima have reminded people that since 1952, a nuclear power plant core melts every 5-7 years or so.  France is discovering that it costs as much to take down a nuke as to build it, at least 25% more than they set aside for decommissioning.  Germany is estimating a billion per nuclear power plant to decommission but there is already more money set aside by the operators, just in case. The costs of decommissioning are expected to be so high that some operators may be allowed to go bankrupt.  

Germany has actually been a net exporter of electricity for the past 15 years.  Coal electricity in Germany is exported to France and the Netherlands when needed but the coal industry is not amortizing the costs of their plants.  If this continues, coal operators may go broke.  

Russian gas is 4% of electricity and 9% of the economy.  German industry says that Russian firms are more reliable partners than the USA in relation to gas supply, pipeline maintenance, and construction.  However, Germany and the EU are taking steps toward energy independence as they look at the situation in the Ukraine.

The Energiewende is built around security, reliability, affordability, and environmental safety. It started as energy policy but is now also climate policy and the 100% renewable, systems efficient, carbon-free future Germany is builidng for itself.

See http://kombikraftwerk.de for simulations of Germany powered by 100% renewables, using existing technologies and without demand response and advanced energy efficiency (exergy, exergy, exergy).

Kraemer thanked the US for inventing photovoltaics and starting the wind industry, both of which have been developed by, respectively, the Japanese and Chinese and the Danes from the 1980s on.  The US is ahead of Germany in smart grids and, even though Germany can now build house that produce more energy than they consume, they could learn from some of our energy efficiency techniques.

More energy transitions like Germany's?
. yes 50%
. no 25%
. not yes 0%
. not no 0%
. neither yes nor no 0%
. both yes and no 25%
. don't understand the question? 0%
. none of the above 0%

Votes: 4
Results | Other Polls
Halftime for the Energiewende - 100% renewable - Renewables International
35 years ago, the first book was published with the word "Energiewende" in its title. And 35 years from now, we will know whether Germany has reached its Energiewende targets for 2050. Tonight, the Öko-Institut, which published that book, is celebrating its role in the energy transition. And today, we have a little surprise for them.

Renewables International is an excellent source for analysis and commentary on energy questions in Germany.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Fri Apr 3rd, 2015 at 02:52:23 AM EST
35 years and the grid is still dominated by fossil fuels. This is not a success. This is failure. A failure with very high costs to the planet. And targets for 2050 is much too lacking in ambition.

At this point I'm mostly hoping for a small-fusion breakthrough and preparing attack letters to the editor to be sent when greenpeace inevitably comes out against it.

Uhm. Honestly, I need a baseline here, so a question:

General fusion. Canadian project to produce a small fusion device based on magnetic / mechanic compression of plasma inside a multi-tonne sphere of molten lead. Inherently well shielded, eminently suited for direct hooking up to the boilers of conventional power plants, waste profile is.. well, fusion inside a lead shield is going to mean polonium, so  "Poisonous as all hell, but halflife is under 3 years" which is kind of trivial to handle on the disposal front.

If it works, I am predicting resistance from, specifically, greenpeace, Lovin, and a bunch of fellow travelers who are more anti-nuke than they are pro-planet.

So: Questions and assumptions: Heat derived from a massproduced fusion device of this type costs less than coal that has to be transported any distance. Coal power plants near cheap deposits can remain in profitable operation if allowed to do so. Gas is dead.

1:Would you favor or oppose a crash program to swap in fusion devices of this specific type in all existing termal plant?

2: Given the existance of this specific fusion plant, would you be opposed or in favor of scrapping the entire renewable programme in place of building more fusion plants as quickly as possible until all fossil fuel is phased out?

by Thomas on Fri Apr 3rd, 2015 at 02:07:37 PM EST
[ Parent ]
At this point I'm mostly hoping for a small-fusion breakthrough

Magic pixie-land.

1:Would you favor or oppose a crash program to swap in fusion devices of this specific type in all existing termal plant?

If I can have a crash program, I'll choose more tested and already mass-produced technologies, like – renewables...

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Fri Apr 3rd, 2015 at 03:09:12 PM EST
[ Parent ]
In a little more detail.

The slowness of de-carbonisation is not primarily a technological but a political problem: the current political systems of major economies either preclude major intervention in the economy and/or preclude long-term climate mitigation as expedient policy goal in daily politics. The examples of throttling new solar and wind installations with support scheme revisions in several countries already show that expansion at a much higher rate would be possible, and it could go even faster with government-run "crash programs".

When you declare technologies churning out a hundred gigawatt of new capacity every year a failure and put your hope in one technology in basic research stage that won't install a kilowatt of commercial capacity for a decade even in the most optimistic scenario, that's looking for a magic bullet.

Of course, this doesn't mean that research into new technologies shouldn't be supported, quite the contrary: it's best to keep a de-carbonised energy supply as diverse as possible, too. I personally see potential in further research into stuff as diverse as non-silicon PV, pumped air storage, HDR geothermal (in tectonically inactive zones at least), and tokamak fusion (provided they look for practical short-half-life target materials). And magnetized target fusion, too, though the company you mention – General Fusion – has a fluffy homepage that doesn't give a too serious impression. When I read "Discover How Innovation Could Deliver Unlimited Clean Energy", a warning lamp lights up in my head and a voice shouts "Scam!". But if they ever finish building their prototype, I'll be curious about the test results.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Sat Apr 4th, 2015 at 05:08:05 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Diversity in energy supply is not inherently a good thing. In energy research, yes, because there is no way to predict in advance which lines of research will pay off, but frankly, when it comes to supplying so uniform a commodity as electricity, the sensible thing to do is to standardize on best available tech, respecting local conditions.
"Diversity" as a goal in itself leads to painfully suboptimal things like french coal plants, solar in Norway, and so on. Mono-cultures are bad in many contexts. Biology, culture, art, opinions. In these and in an multitude of other contexts, diversity is a virtue that gives strength.

But beware lest this lead you to reflexively approve of any idea that invokes diversity. Because this strength is not a natural law.

Responsible industrial production of commodities and networks in particular is one of these contexts. It does not create better railways for everyone to use their own gauges. That Japan uses two different frequencies in it's electric grid within the same nation is a fact that makes me despair of the sanity of humanity and politics.

For a given situation of physical geography and available technology, any nation is going to have one or a small set of optimal technologies for producing electricity. Straying from that set just means you incur extra costs, both economic and ecological, for no good reason. Standardizing on one choice is better.

by Thomas on Sat Apr 4th, 2015 at 03:21:47 PM EST
[ Parent ]
For a given situation of physical geography and available technology, any nation is going to have one or a small set of optimal technologies for producing electricity.

Claiming it doesn't actually prove it to be so.

Start with onshore wind in the US. We have abundant, high CF onshore wind resources in the Northern and Southern Great Plains.

All we really need to do back in the US is to fix the institutional limitations in which transmission is built according to state-level needs, and establish a system in which transmission can be established according to regional and national needs.

We can get to 20% electricity from wind alone by adding adequate transmission. However, the thing about the harvest of variable renewable energy is that its available when its available. So the average abundance of wind relative to load changes the net load of the US, and in particular makes solar PV more valuable, since a larger share of low wind generation hours tends to occur during daylight hours.

So add solar to wind, and we get an increase in the fit between the generation and the load, and a smaller swing between maximum yield and average yield, both of which allow for more penetration.

There is also an increase in value of wind that is not closely correlated with Great Plains winds, and since weather systems tend to move west to east, that means that an increase in Great Plains winds increases the value of wind resources laying to their east and west.

With onshore wind+solar, there is also an increase in the value of offshore wind.

This elaboration of an energy harvest ecology is a natural consequence of the economics of living off of renewable energy harvests, rather than plundering stockpiles of sequestered carbon that seemed to be available "for free", but turns out to be available for a quite high price indeed ... the cost of the collapse of an industrial civilization addicted to its exploitation if cannot learn how to kick the habit.

I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.

by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Fri Apr 24th, 2015 at 10:58:27 AM EST
[ Parent ]
New energy storage plant could 'revolutionise' renewable sector | Environment | The Guardian

The plant will use a motor-generated flywheel to harness kinetic energy from the grid at times of over-supply. This will then be released from submerged turbines at times of supply shortfalls.

The project in Rhode, County Offaly, is expected to launch commercially in 2017, with an operating capacity of 20MW.

...In flywheel plants, advanced carbon fibre tubes up to 3m high and 1m wide are floated on magnets inside a vacuum, and spun by electricity in a near frictionless environment, until power is needed back in the grid.

This will be the first European application of a technology already in commercial use in the USA.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Wed Apr 8th, 2015 at 11:10:31 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Then again, PV expansion was severely dented with the last revision of the support scheme. In February, new additions dropped below 100 MW, and last year's total of 1.9 GW was already well below the target of 2.5 GW. If the 12-month rolling sum falls further below 1.5 GW, at least the degression of the feed-in rate will end.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Apr 3rd, 2015 at 03:18:47 PM EST
[ Parent ]
A couple of things need pointing out all the same.Germany

European Tribune - Energiewende: Germany's Energy Transition

maintained a better balance of trade through import substitution

OK, but Germany's positive trade balance is due principally to the export gearing of the entire economy, brought about by depression of domestic demand and support for exporting industries. One of the ways this has to do with energy is the fact that the costs of the Energiewende policy are transferred to consumers, as you say,

European Tribune - Energiewende: Germany's Energy Transition

This is not a subsidy but an incentive with the costs paid by the customers

but households get that supplementary cost on their bills; industrial customers are exempted from paying the surcharge. This is in fact a disguised subsidy to German industry, enabling it to export at more competitive prices, while German households find that their electricity bills have greatly increased, which doesn't help to make the Energiewende popular.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Fri Apr 3rd, 2015 at 03:10:31 AM EST
I note that despite this and the best efforts of energy giant campaigners, the Energiewende is popular.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Apr 3rd, 2015 at 03:12:28 PM EST
[ Parent ]
German Carbon intensity per kwh electric: 2014: 495 grams.

As I keep pointing out, if you care about results, renewable focused policies have a long history of proven failure.

Geothermal and Conventional hydro work if you have the geology. I expect that solar will turn out to be a similar success for countries containing equatorial deserts in a reasonable time frame. For Germany? No. The reliable energy flow just isnt there to harvest.

by Thomas on Sat Apr 4th, 2015 at 04:21:16 AM EST
And I keep pointing out that you are wrong.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Sat Apr 4th, 2015 at 05:09:03 AM EST
[ Parent ]
... Is Germany's carbon emissions lower than I think they are?

Are they still burning brown coal despite having spent money like water and made future financial commitments that are quite ridiculously large?


Which part of all this is not a statement of true fact?

Then what part of my considering their renewable policy a fiasco is wrong?

Tbh, I fear it isn't even a fiasco, but just greenwashing that was never intended to work. The focus on solar, given the geographic location of Germany isn't what you would do if you were a government committed to pushing king coal onto the rubbishpile of history where he belongs.

by Thomas on Sat Apr 4th, 2015 at 07:31:00 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Are they still burning brown coal despite having spent money like water and made future financial commitments that are quite ridiculously large?


Which part of all this is not a statement of true fact?

The bit about the magnitude of investment.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Sat Apr 4th, 2015 at 10:47:52 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The reliable energy flow just isnt there to harvest.

It worked quite well even during a solar eclipse. And if going in about twenty years from 0.5% of electricity to 25% isn't an success, what is?

by IM on Mon Apr 6th, 2015 at 06:57:11 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It worked quite well even during a solar eclipse. And if going in about twenty years from 0.5% of electricity to 25% isn't an success, what is?

And that with huge pressure to negate, impede and obstruct its growth from BAU/Coal/Gas/Nuke lobbies.

It's the writing on the wall for them, what with subsidies, tax breaks, corruption (in Italy the mob are neck deep in renewables) and inertia/apathy/ignorance, some caused by decades of disinformation designed to make the greener industry blameworthy for increased electricity prices.)

<Apologies for even-more-mangled-than-usual syntax>

"A fool with a tool is still a fool." - Abraham Verghese

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Mon Apr 6th, 2015 at 07:19:58 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Baseline comparisons: The French and Swedish drives to stop burning oil for power. Complete de-carbonization in approximately 15 years.
That is the standard I compare policies of decarbonization to because they are the current best examples.

You could also if you are so inclined, compare results to historical promises.

If you step into your imaginary time machine, went back and asked the people who launched and lobbied for the energiewende at the time they were doing said launching and lobbying if they would consider the current status quo a success, they would call you a fossil fuel shill for predicting such abject failure.

I don't consider this a reasonable standard - The planning fallacy gets everyone, which is why I compare to best historical examples.  

by Thomas on Mon Apr 6th, 2015 at 08:50:46 AM EST
[ Parent ]
" they would call you a fossil fuel shill for predicting such abject failure."

uttermost nonsense. As the very first comment here shows, the results are exactly what the Ökoinstitut expected. The expectations of most others were overshot.

by IM on Mon Apr 6th, 2015 at 09:37:57 AM EST
[ Parent ]
As well as increasing the renewable proportion of electricity production, we need to be increasing the electricity proportion of total energy consumption if we are to reduce total carbon emissions and imports.  This means the cost of electricity needs to come down relative to other power sources - particularly for more marginal applications like electric cars which are still v. expensive to buy and maintain (replacement batteries are v. expensive).

Part of the solution may be further technological innovations - e.g. improved ultra-capacitor power storage as an alternative to conventional batteries - and economies of scale as production volumes are ramped up. The development of European super and Smart-grids will also reduce the need for carbon based back-up production when wind or sunshine is low in a particular parts of Europe.

At the moment electricity is too expensive to use for home/office heating in most applications, but a combination of improved insulation standards and reduced prices could result in a huge increase in electricity consumption for this purpose as the capital/maintenance cost of electrical heaters/heat pumps is generally lower than carbon based systems. Much of the heating can also be done at night when demand is otherwise low and the marginal cost of production from sustainable sources is v. low.

So the bigger political challenge is to promote not just greater sustainable production of electricity, but also lower consumer prices promoting greater usage and rendering some carbon based production units uneconomic and accelerating their decommissioning. Improved renewable technologies/economies of scale should enable renewable electricity production to continue to increase even in a declining price environment.

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sat Apr 4th, 2015 at 09:15:56 PM EST
The quantum leap for us to get our energy policies to the level of which you speak here is as great as that of bringing a solar panel to a poor peasant so he can light a lamp at night or charge his cell phone.

Both should beare priorities.

"A fool with a tool is still a fool." - Abraham Verghese

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Sun Apr 5th, 2015 at 04:46:37 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Thrive Solar of India is making solar rechargeable LED lights for as little as $2 a piece production costs.  Some of their lights have cell phone chargers as well.

The problem is not technology or cost but distribution and gearing up manufacturing.  Thrive has developed a turnkey factory system which is replicating their work in Africa and are actively looking for other partners.

Solar IS Civil Defense

by gmoke on Sun Apr 5th, 2015 at 04:49:24 PM EST
[ Parent ]
That's.. a non-solution. Better lighting is an important aspect of electrification - because it frees people from the dictates of the sun and allow activities in the evening that require you to see well, such as reading and craft. But it is still a minor aspect.

Electricity transforms economies and the social order because it allows the mechanization of domestic labor.

The hot plate and electric oven, the electric iron, refrigeration and the washing machine transforms the keeping of a house from a full time labor intensive drudgery to an activity that may be reconciled with education and employment. The grid is the left leg of female emancipation - without one, that process is hobbled, as is the economy as a whole.

Minor gadgets like this are a bandaid on a gaping wound.

by Thomas on Tue Apr 7th, 2015 at 02:32:35 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Brilliant comment. You only left out the sewing machine. A hundred years on, sewing machines still sell - ask Singer - in the third world. Your comment says you know why.

The liberation of women is most of the answer to our woes. Our real ones anyway.

by melvin on Tue Apr 7th, 2015 at 02:49:58 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Minor aspect?  The USA presently devotes over 21% of electricity generated nationally to lighting of all kinds.
It would e hiher except municipalities, counties in various states are letting many highway illuminating systems stay dark to avoid paying for them. Some surveys consider 21% figure as too low.
by Pete Rock on Tue Apr 7th, 2015 at 02:20:57 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Entry level energy - light, cell phone, radio, maybe a computer - is a significant rise in the standard of living for the 1.2-1.4 billion who don't have access to electricity.  It's most definitely part of the solution and working as such all around the world.

Yes, it's not the entirety of the solution and yes, sewing machines can be treadle powered to great effect.

Why would you think I'd want to stop at the entry level of electricity?  That's only the first step.  You build on from there and, I believe, in the developing world there's gonna be a lot of leap-frogging over the centralized grid we have in the EU and the USA.  They're gonna start from individual scale electricity and move to local microgrid.  Look at what Grameen Shakti is doing in Bangladesh.  After that, perhaps comes regional and national grid - if the powers that be  can make it happen.

Solar IS Civil Defense

by gmoke on Tue Apr 7th, 2015 at 08:38:25 PM EST
[ Parent ]
in the developing world there's gonna be a lot of leap-frogging over the centralized grid we have in the EU and the USA.  They're gonna start from individual scale electricity and move to local microgrid.

It's an interesting conundrum, one I've puzzled about during my stay and travels in southern Africa. My observations so far are that there is a lot of hope and attempts, but very little reproducible long-term results which either matches or forms a superior alternative to a centralized grid.

As far as I see it, a paradoxical problem of leaving the task of leap-frogging across a centralized grid and developing a fully decentralized electricity system (distributed generation) to governments of developing nations, is that this is a responsibility only the more developed nations (like South Africa, India or China) could potentially pull off - and they often have inherited and/or heavily invested in centralized electric distribution. Which in South Africa leads to the curious sights of flat screen TVs, stereos and electric stoves inside corrugated iron shacks built on mud. Or, for that matter, satellite dishes in straw huts (though the below picture was taken in Botswana):

Considering activities in the really poor nations, the challenge gets tougher still. Plus, many of the electrification developments are still in their infancy and only limited research has so far been done to indicate what long-term positive effects of small-scale electrification may lead to 1) reducing poverty or 2) a foundation for a system of distributed generation and microgrids which evolutionary forms a leap-frog forward compared to centralized electricity distribution.  Additionally, for local people, the first is of prime interest, the latter... not so much.

NGOs to the rescue? Strategies of western NGOs which aid in rolling out entry level electrification in really poor nations all too often follow well-paved paths, that is: throwing one-off stuff at the wall, hope something sticks and when it doesn't, who knows and western NGOs will be damned if they can actually provide stats to show the efficiency of their programmes because - hey look, there's new funding for a new project, let's go and show everyone how Good we are!

In summary, colour me sceptical about the spread or an actual breakthrough of microgrids/decentralized electricity in developing nations, even after entry level electricity has been provided.

by Bjinse (bjinsedankert at gmail dot com) on Wed Apr 8th, 2015 at 08:52:45 AM EST
[ Parent ]
What an unpowered small village might need (for example) : solar panels with a battery pack, which might provide lighting, device charging, and collective refrigeration, plus various other stuff according to capacity.

The villagers can't actually afford this, they haven't got the capital. So I suppose an ONG can give this to a village; and then what happens? Who owns it? Who manages it? Who repairs it, provides spare parts?

The national electric utility? Grid-oriented, as you note. Local government might be a good fit, if it is functional.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Wed Apr 8th, 2015 at 11:26:53 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Ask the villagers what sorts of collective property they know. I am sure in many places such concepts have survived.
by Katrin on Wed Apr 8th, 2015 at 02:36:13 PM EST
[ Parent ]
In Finland local electricity providers were common even in countryside during 1930s although their grid coverages were often limited. Most of them were co-opts but sometimes local enterprices like shops and sawmills started to produce electricity for sale in addition to their own use.
by Jute on Wed Apr 8th, 2015 at 02:55:49 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Here are my notes from a book describing what is happening in Bangladesh with Grameen Shakti:

Solar IS Civil Defense
by gmoke on Wed Apr 8th, 2015 at 03:34:05 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Excellent.  Especially  explaining the difference etween "project" nonprofit,NGO style and social business tha is self sustaining and grows organ ically as it wins customers who are also partners  in a genuine cooperative scheme tha serves their needs, not a need to ultimately  "cash out".

The dividend is well invested and rows in non cash ways, hard for the profit as cash return only (Western) fetish people to understand.

They should remove blinders and prejudices.

by Pete Rock on Sat Apr 11th, 2015 at 12:13:12 PM EST
[ Parent ]
"... but very little reproducible long-term results which either matches or forms a superior alternative to a centralized grid."

But that comparison is a moot point when rural electrification via extension of a centralized grid is beyond the institutional capacity of the country. In that case, the actual option of reliance on a centralized grid is simply no electricity provision.

I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.

by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Fri Apr 24th, 2015 at 12:29:48 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Siemens CEO badmouths Energiewende - 100% renewable - Renewables International

I was a bit surprised to read (in German) Siemens' CEO Joe Kaeser comments in Houston yesterday. After saying that his firm was "born in Germany, raised in Europe, and at home across the world" (note: my back translation from the German, not his original), he apparently added this:

"If you want to influence a country's energy policy, you just have to do the opposite of what's being done in Germany. Germany is subsidizing renewable energy to the tune of nearly 500 billion euros guaranteed. I hope that Germany at least manages to export wind turbines. But supporting photovoltaics in Germany makes about as much sense as planting pineapples in Alaska."

(Also note that this is a back translation from indirect speech, so his original wording - which I have not seen - may be somewhat different.)

Have I mentioned that Siemens has quite a small share of the German wind power market? Yes, I believe I did. Siemens did not even enter the wind sector until 2004, when it took over Bonus AS of Denmark. The firm apparently knows a lot about photovoltaics, for it focused on concentrated solar power more than PV, partly within the Desertec project, which did not pan out (note to Joe: the Sahara is probably too dry for pineapple plantations). The global PV market is set to skyrocket from now on, but Siemens has nothing to sell.

And let's not forget Siemens' recent sales brochure, which it tried to pass off as a serious recommendation for the Energiewende. Or the ridiculous claim that the 2011 nuclear phaseout would raise German power prices fivefold.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Apr 26th, 2015 at 12:13:30 PM EST

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