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RegGuheert
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Germany's Energiewende: The Future? A Failure? Both?

Wed Mar 04, 2015 4:31 am

Germany is the second country in Europe to make a bold move toward renewables this century. Spain was the first, and the outcome was not a success by most accounts. If you are unfamiliar with that story, this article which features one of the key proponents of the Spanish efforts gives a detailed overview of what the dreams were and what the reality turned out to be. One of the key issues for Spain was that they were a bit early with their push into renewables. As this presentation from Standford University points out, the PV industry as a whole was a net energy consumer back in 2006 when Spain made its big push.

Now Germany is many years into its Energiewende (Energy U-turn), and proponents have deemed their efforts to be a huge success. Clearly Germany has achieved levels of renewable generation well beyond what others have achieved to date. The best place to find technical information about the status of the Germany Energiewende effort is from the Fraunhofer Institute. Here are a couple of recent publications:

Electricity production from solar and wind in Germany in 2014

Recent facts about German Photovoltaics

But there is significant controversy within Germany about whether it will succeed, or not. Yes, many of these complaints are from opponents of renewable energy in general, but more recently, the criticism has come from others. Here are some links to articles discussing various concerns about the Energiewende:

Forbes: “Energiewende Is The Worst Possible Example Of How To Implement An Energy Transition”

Top Renewable Energy Expert Warns Of Collapsing Euro Energy Supply…Germany’s Energy Policy “Suicidal”

“Energiewende” Takes A Massive Blow…Top Green Energy Proponent Concedes: “Blunder With Ugly Consequences”

German Federal Analysis Sees “Massive Threats To Security And Reliability Of Electric Power Supply System”

Germany’s Vice Chancellor Starts To Get It…Gravely Warns Germany, Europe “Threatened By High Energy Costs”

More Germans Getting Their Power Cut Off Because They Can’t Afford Paying Sky-High Green Electric Bills

German Mainstream Media Mocks, Fires Stinging Parody At Country’s Collapsing Renewable Energies Project

Renewable Energy Mega-Flop! Germany’s Largest Offshore Wind Park Hasn’t Delivered Any Power Since March

German Renewable Energy Keeps Blacking Out! Supply Often Less Than 2% Of Wintertime Demand

Habitual Offender…Germany’s Wind And Solar Power Go AWOL Third Time In Less Than 30 Days

Unintended cross-border electricity flows in Central Eastern Europe and their regulatory implications

Czech grid operators are taking steps to close their border to uncontrolled electricity flows from Germany

Agreement between Polish (PSE) and German (50Hertz) transmission system operators on phase shifting transformers marks important step towards completion of the European energy market

As you can see, the criticisms are wide-ranging. While cost is certainly a big issue, to me the elephant on the table is the lack of storage in the new system. It seems to me that Germany has raced ahead to put in place massive amounts of renewable generators, but they have not managed to balance that with sufficient storage. Unfortunately, it seems the storage side of the equation is much more expensive and technologically immature than the generators.

So, there are many questions about the future of the Energiewende:

- Will Germany and its neighbors be able to keep the lights on?
- Will Germany be able to continue to add renewable generators?
- How will Germany's grid hold up after all their neighbors close their borders to uncontrolled electricity flows?
- How much will the addition of storage to Germany's electricity grid cost?

Ultimately, the big question is this:

Is Germany, like Spain, still too early in their attempt to transition to renewables?

While it appears that renewable generators are quite mature at this point, the big question is with the storage. There is a reason that renewables did not take off until net metering eliminated storage from the equation.

While I think Germany is headed in the right direction, I also think they are moving too quickly. If they don't quickly catch up the storage part of the equation, they are going to have serious problems keeping the lights on.
RegGuheert
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AndyH
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Re: Germany's Energiewende: The Future? A Failure? Both?

Wed Mar 04, 2015 10:34 am

I've been writing on the overall plan in various thread on this forum. It's very clear that Germany and the rest of the EU recognize that the five pillars of their plan (storage being but one pillar) are out of sync. The number one reason for this? Because it was cheaper, easier, and faster to develop renewable generation than they planned when they started.

Germany has some storage on the grid already - CAES, pumped storage. Also on a grid-scale/grid-centric side they have smallish battery storage. They also have "wind to hydrogen" generation/storage under construction (the first facility went on-line in late 2014).

It's really important to understand that the EnergieWende (EnergyTransition) is only one part of their process, though. The EnergieWende started in the mid-1990s as a bottom-up push by the citizenry to move to renewables. It often required changing laws to allow roof-top generation to be fed into the grid (and when laws failed, some towns simply bought the local power grid from the utility and changed the rules as the new grid operator). Now there are complete towns that have their own large wind turbines, PV, solar-thermal, and biogas-powered hot water and electricity generation and are producing twice the energy they're using. The EnergieWende is about citizens fighting for the right to make their own energy and to control their own environment. In a big sense, it's pushing back against corporate control. One shouldn't be surprised that there are 'hurt feelings' from corporations or their mouthpieces at Forbes. ;)

In addition to the EnergieWende, is the transition of the country to a Third Industrial Revolution where all of the country's energy - that used for electricity, hot water, process/industrial heating, and transportation - is renewable. This is a top-down plan and it, too, is reshaping the energy playing field. The TIR has also been written into law and is mandatory for the entire EU. It's been adopted by the UN for developing nations. It's also in the early stages of implementation in China.

Specific to the pillars and that they got out of sync, we have this from the architect of the plan:

And lest we think this is a lot of academic patter, Germany, since the Chancellor's come in:

Pillar 1: they're at 25% green electricity already and they're heading to 35% by 2020.

Pillar 2: Germany's converted one million buildings in the last seven years - they're producing small amounts of [excess] green electricity and a third of a million net jobs. They've just begun. Denmark's doing just as well. So when people say: "It can't be done" it can be done. And when people say: "Well, show me!" let's take the number one economic power per capita in the world Germany and you'll see it being done right there - at near zero marginal cost for energy.

Pillar 3: Storage. The sun's not always shining...the wind blows at night and you've got to have the electricity during the day... The water tables can be down for hydroelectricity due to climate change drought... These are intermittent energies and we've got to store them. We at the EU level are in favor of ALL storage: batteries, flywheels, capacitors, air compression, water pumping, we like them all! But I must say we put most of our focus at the center of all these storage networks on hydrogen [using electrolysis and fuel cells]. Engineers, this is a tiny thermodynamic loss compared to bringing oil, coal, gas, and uranium every step of conversion and loss to the end user.

Pillar 4 - this is where the internet revolution combines with the new distributed renewable energies to create a nervous system for the new general purpose technology platform. We're using off the shelf internet technology and IT technology and we're transforming the power grid in Europe into an energy internet - a distributed smart grid. If you hear political and business leaders saying: "Oh, we like that smart grid" ask them what kind - centralized or distributed? Centralized means they put an advanced meter on your home and you get all the information only going to them at headquarters and it's all proprietary. That has nothing to do with this. This is an energy internet - a distributed smart grid. It'll connect everything to everything so that when millions of buildings are producing just small amounts of electricity and storing it as hydrogen... Then if you don't need some of that green electricity during the day or week or month, you can program your software right there with your own killer app from home and send that green electricity across an energy internet that in our case extends from the Irish Sea to the doorstep of Russia. Just like we create information, store it in digital, and share it on-line. Deutsche Telekom has tested successfully the smart grid across Germany. Storage is now in with E.ON and Hydrogenics as well - they're just putting it on-line.

Pillar 5 - logistics. Electric vehicles are here; fuel cell cars, trucks, and buses between 2015 and 2017 by the six major auto companies - this is a done deal - these are fuel cell vehicles. We'll be able to plug-in our vehicles anywhere, wherever we park across the country there'll will be a parking [spot] plug right there...plug it back into the main grid which is distributed and get green electricity. Let's say you're at work - keep that computer on. So if that electricity price goes up on the grid the computer will tell your car to send your electricity back to the grid. We're already beginning to do that in Europe [on a small scale].

These five pillars are nothing - they're components. It's only when we connect them that we have what we call the general purpose technology platform. It's an infrastructure technology platform. Do not make the mistake that President Obama made...he got bad advice. He wanted a green economy, he still wants a green economy, he spent billions and billions of dollars of tax money for a green economy - it isn't here. Because he spent it on isolated, siloed, pilot projects. So they'd invest in a solar factory in one state, an electric car factory in another state - unconnected! This is an infrastructure revolution.

We understood this in Europe. We had the five pillars, but we moved pillar 1 quickly, and not the other four. So we put in a huge amount of green electricity because we have feed-in tariffs. That is, you're paid premium for sending your green electricity back to the grid beyond what the price of the market is to encourage early adoption. So we have millions of people putting in a little green electricity. Pillar 1! We didn't move pillar 4 quick enough - the energy internet. So we got millions of little players trying to get green electricity into a grid that's 60 years old, servo-mechanical, centralized, leaks 20% of its electricity and it's overwhelmed by all these little players - it can't handle it. Then Pillar 1 has been so successful we have so much green electricity because of the feed-in tariffs - we didn't move Pillar 3 storage fast enough. We've got regions that are 30, 40, 50, and 60% green electricity and we are losing 3 out of 4 kiloWatts because we're not storing the energy. So the electricity is at night because of the wind - we don't need it at night! Sometimes at high-noon there's so much solar going into the grid that we have negative price - meaning the utility pays you to not put the energy on. Then at midnight it goes back up again because we haven't put in Pillar 3 storage. And now our car companies are petrified because they spent billions on electric and fuel cell vehicles, they're sending them to market but if they don't have an infrastructure to plug them into, it's all lost. So we've got to build this out as an infrastructure revolution. And when we do, this third industrial revolution, this is power to the people - I mean this literally and figuratively.



http://www.mynissanleaf.com/viewtopic.php?p=333790#p333790
http://www.mynissanleaf.com/viewtopic.php?f=12&t=14559

They're not going to have any problem keeping the lights on, and the use of renewables is not causing higher energy prices. There's more than ample evidence that in Europe, more wind and solar equals higher grid reliability and a reduction in the rate of price increases. In Germany, while fossil fuel prices continue to increase, power from renewables continues to drop in price.
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RegGuheert
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Re: Germany's Energiewende: The Future? A Failure? Both?

Sun May 10, 2015 6:24 pm

Shambles…Energy Professor Declares Germany Energiewende “A Failure”, …”Population Left Disillusioned”

The subtitle reads:
Dr. Kurt Gehlert is certain that the Energiewende has already failed. Or we will drown and cover ourselves in wind turbines.”
An interesting calculation:
Gehlert also scoffs at the idea of using wind-power-to-gas as a method for storing energy, which would be used to fire gas turbines to produce electricity in times of low-winds. And expanding the calculation to 50% constant electrical power from wind energy would require about 470,000 German wind turbines (Currently there are about 25,000). Gehlert elaborates:

The figure is difficult to fathom. Germany has an area of approximately 360,000 square kilometers. That means each of the 470,000 wind turbines would have 0.76 sq km.. The city of Iserlohn alone has an area of 125.5 square kilometers and so would have 165 wind turbines.”
Imagine a world with a wind turbine in every square kilometer. Not very attractive!
RegGuheert
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AndyH
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Re: Germany's Energiewende: The Future? A Failure? Both?

Sun May 10, 2015 6:33 pm

RegGuheert wrote:[url=http://notrickszone<snip>[/url]

Seriously Reg? Presenting this 'source' is just as tacky and dishonest as calling out the Texas guard to watch over a US military exercise. God help us.

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RegGuheert
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Re: Germany's Energiewende: The Future? A Failure? Both?

Mon May 11, 2015 10:28 pm

AndyH wrote:
RegGuheert wrote:[url=http://notrickszone<snip>[/url]

Seriously Reg? Presenting this 'source' is just as tacky and dishonest as calling out the Texas guard to watch over a US military exercise. God help us.
AndyH continues to commit the ad hominem logical fallacy...
RegGuheert
2011 Leaf SL Demo vehicle
10K miles: Apr 14, 2013, 20K miles (55.7Ah): Aug 7, 2014, 30K miles (52.0Ah): Dec 30, 2015, 40K miles (49.8Ah): Feb 8, 2017, 50K miles (47.2Ah): Dec 7, 2017.
Enphase Inverter Measured MTBF: M190, M215, M250, S280

AndyH
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Re: Germany's Energiewende: The Future? A Failure? Both?

Mon May 11, 2015 11:08 pm

RegGuheert wrote:
AndyH wrote:
RegGuheert wrote:[url=http://notrickszone<snip>[/url]

Seriously Reg? Presenting this 'source' is just as tacky and dishonest as calling out the Texas guard to watch over a US military exercise. God help us.
AndyH continues to commit the ad hominem logical fallacy...

You might want to review the bounds of the application of ad hominem. Calling something erroneous when it clearly is is not an ad hominem. That the information is the rambling of a 75 year old expert in mining as published in a rag known to be a pro-corporate mouthpiece or that's linked here via a climate denial propaganda blog doesn't change that fact.

Enjoy your hit posts, Reg. And when you're done, please move these chairs over to the other side? They keep sliding into the cello and making a frightful noise.

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RegGuheert
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Re: Germany's Energiewende: The Future? A Failure? Both?

Tue May 12, 2015 3:18 am

Ad hominems stacked upon ad hominems. That's all you are capable of when faced with technical calculations which show the extreme absurdity of the Energiewende at this point in time. Unfortunately, many Germans are suffering at this East German approach to managing energy.

The good news of Engiewende is that energy-intensive German businesses are moving out of the country to places with affordable energy, including the United States.
RegGuheert
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Enphase Inverter Measured MTBF: M190, M215, M250, S280

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RegGuheert
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Re: Germany's Energiewende: The Future? A Failure? Both?

Wed Jun 17, 2015 5:26 pm

With only a small percentage of what will be required built, here are some scenes of the effects of the Energiewende on the German countryside:

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image
RegGuheert
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10K miles: Apr 14, 2013, 20K miles (55.7Ah): Aug 7, 2014, 30K miles (52.0Ah): Dec 30, 2015, 40K miles (49.8Ah): Feb 8, 2017, 50K miles (47.2Ah): Dec 7, 2017.
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User avatar
RegGuheert
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Re: Germany's Energiewende: The Future? A Failure? Both?

Wed Jun 17, 2015 5:29 pm

With only a small percentage of what will be required built, here are more scenes of the effects of the Energiewende on the German countryside:

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image
RegGuheert
2011 Leaf SL Demo vehicle
10K miles: Apr 14, 2013, 20K miles (55.7Ah): Aug 7, 2014, 30K miles (52.0Ah): Dec 30, 2015, 40K miles (49.8Ah): Feb 8, 2017, 50K miles (47.2Ah): Dec 7, 2017.
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NeilBlanchard
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Re: Germany's Energiewende: The Future? A Failure? Both?

Thu Jun 18, 2015 9:29 am

I wish we had that many wind turbines! That is awesome - thanks for posting.

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