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Germany’s solar disaster January 20, 2012

Posted by Tantumblogo in Basics, disaster, foolishness, General Catholic, sadness, scandals, silliness, Society.

Germany is a country in northern Europe.  Northern Europe is known for its frequently cloudy, dark, cold weather.  What better place to invest massively in solar energy as the government-dictated, environmental nut approved, wave of the future!

As is so often the case in winter, all solar panels more or less stopped generating electricity at the same time. To avert power shortages, Germany currently has to import large amounts of electricity generated at nuclear power plants in France and the Czech Republic. To offset the temporary loss of solar power, grid operator Tennet resorted to an emergency backup plan, powering up an old oil-fired plant in the Austrian city of Graz.

Solar energy has gone from being the great white hope, to an impediment, to a reliable energy supply. Solar farm operators and homeowners with solar panels on their roofs collected more than €8 billion ($10.2 billion) in subsidies in 2011, but the electricity they generated made up only about 3 percent of the total power supply, and that at unpredictable times.

The distribution networks are not designed to allow tens of thousands of solar panel owners to switch at will between drawing electricity from the grid and feeding power into it. Because there are almost no storage options, the excess energy has to be destroyed at substantial cost. German consumers already complain about having to pay the second-highest electricity prices in Europe.

……Until now, Merkel had consistently touted the environmental sector’s “opportunities for exports, development, technology and jobs.” But now even members of her own staff are calling it a massive money pit……..

……Solar energy has the potential to become the most expensive mistake in German environmental policy……..[Just as wind energy, which is down 85% of the time and produces peak power when demand is at its lowest, will go down as the greatest mistake in American energy policy]

……..In fact, all German solar energy systems combined produce less electricity than two nuclear power plants. And even that number is sugarcoated, because solar energy in a relatively cloudy country like Germany has to be backed up with reserve power plants. [No, they have to be backed up by reserve power plants anywhere, because one can never be certain the sun will shine on any given day] This leads to a costly, and basically unnecessary, dual structure. Figures indicating the peak performance of solar energy systems are easily misunderstood, a report by the German Physical Society says. “Essentially,” the report concludes, “solar energy cannot replace any additional power plants.”

…… “From the standpoint of the climate, every solar system is a bad investment,” says Joachim Weimann, an environmental economist in the eastern German city of Magdeburg. Hans-Werner Sinn of the Munich-based Ifo Institute for Economic Research calls solar energy a “waste of money at the expense of climate protection.”

This is what comes of formulating public policy on the basis of a narrow, extreme interest.  I am a huge skeptic of so-called “green energy.”  When the federal subsidies expire, how “green” will all those thousands of abandoned windmills, be?  How long will they blight the landscape? 

The world is upside down.

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