CleanTechnica is the #1 cleantech-focused
website
 in the world. Subscribe today!


Clean Power China To Implement Carbon Tax

Published on March 22nd, 2012 | by Zachary Shahan

42

German Solar: Mission Too Well Accomplished, from Perspective of Fossil/Nuclear Lobby (Reader Comment)

Share on Google+Share on RedditShare on StumbleUponTweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedInShare on FacebookPin on PinterestDigg thisShare on TumblrBuffer this pageEmail this to someone

March 22nd, 2012 by Zachary Shahan 

 
From this:

germany coal power companies

To this:

germany solar feed-in tariff

There were a number of good comments on John’s “German Policy Could Make Solar in America ‘Wunderbar’” post this week, but one comment stood out to me as a great comment for a reader guest post. So, I’m posting that below (with some minor edits). Note that the first quoted phrase (“Mission too well accomplished”) is piggy-backing on the last line of the article above, where John declared Germany’s solar feed-in tariff policy “mission accomplished”:

by Thomas Gerke

“Mission too well accomplished” from the perspective of the Fossil/Nuclear Lobby and their political puppets… which is, unfortunately, the current government.

During the entire last week, hard coal power stations ran at only 20-40% of their installed capacity during peak-load hours…. Gas power stations operated at about 7-18% of their installed capacity… remaining almost totally flat all day.

This is seriously killing the profitability of those huge investments and could very well turn them into a loss for the energy corporations that built them. Because, not only can’t they “sell” coal & gas in the form of electricity, but those power stations require a certain amount of load-hours per year to turn a profit.

Since those coal, gas, oil and uranium trading corporations (E.On, RWE, BASF, Vattenfall, RAG…) are quite influential and powerful, they are working very hard to kill solar now, before it kills them….

On this sunny day in Germany [Tuesday, March 20], PV solar will once again provide about 8% of the total German electricity demand of the day. As I write this, PV solar generates about 16 GW of electricity, approximately 25% of the entire German electricity demand at noon. Hard coal & gas generate less than 10 GW combined….

Interesting times, but the EEG (Renewable Energy Act) works as it was planned. It’s the implementation of the “Solar-Strategy” put forward by Hermann Scheer back in 1993… and while misinformation is being spread to discredit renewables all the time, it’s indeed “Wunderbar”.

Images: Germany coal power plant & Germany solar roof courtesy shutterstock

Keep up to date with all the hottest cleantech news by subscribing to our (free) cleantech newsletter, or keep an eye on sector-specific news by getting our (also free) solar energy newsletter, electric vehicle newsletter, or wind energy newsletter.



Share on Google+Share on RedditShare on StumbleUponTweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedInShare on FacebookPin on PinterestDigg thisShare on TumblrBuffer this pageEmail this to someone

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,


About the Author

spends most of his time here on CleanTechnica as the director/chief editor. Otherwise, he's probably enthusiastically fulfilling his duties as the director/editor of Solar Love, EV Obsession, Planetsave, or Bikocity. Zach is recognized globally as a solar energy, electric car, and wind energy expert. If you would like him to speak at a related conference or event, connect with him via social media. You can connect with Zach on any popular social networking site you like. Links to all of his main social media profiles are on ZacharyShahan.com.



  • Gold_Coast_Energy

    A world powered by solar power is a dream that we are close to
    fulfilling. As oil, fuel, and other forms lose supporters and supply,
    prices start going up. The non-renewable energy price continues to hike,
    while prices of solar power continue to go down. If this trend
    continues, then we will see a sudden shift towards the renewable energy
    which is what we are all hoping for. As time continues to fly, solar
    power is becoming more and more affordable making it a better source of
    energy compared to the non renewable sources. It is also becoming more
    practical to use solar because the price is reaching a more affordable
    line, which is the one that limits us before. A few years ago, solar was
    really expensive and only the rich could afford them, but now it is
    slowly reaching the working class of the society, and soon, it will
    cover the whole world.
    Considering what solar energy can give us,
    it is a wise idea to shift there. Solar energy will save the planet we
    live in and bring hope and beauty back to our planet. Its
    eco-friendliness is at a peak, and when compared to fossil fuels, fossil
    fuels contribute to almost all of our ecological issues. Solar is the
    way to go!

    • Bob_Wallace

      I’d suggest that you first sentence –

      ” A world powered by solar power is a dream that we are close to fulfilling. ”

      Would be better as –

      ” A world powered by renewable power is a dream that we are close to fulfilling.

      Solar is day-limited. That means that even if solar becomes cheaper than wind it has to be priced for the non-solar hours as solar+storage. It’s likely to be cheaper to use wind extensively for the non-solar hours in order to avoid building the larger amounts of storage an all solar grid would demand.

      Aside from that, yes, the price of renewable energy harvesting is dropping. Incredibly so for solar. The price of fossil fuel and nuclear energy production is rising. Basic economics will force us to drop fossil and nuclear over time.

      It’s impossible to compete against electricity generation that has low capex and no fuel cost with generation that has high capex and fuel costs.

      Now how do we push the transition away from fossil fuels faster? How do we cut our CO2 output before it is too late?

  • shader mohamad Shamim

    A world powered by solar power is a dream that we are close to
    fulfilling. As oil, fuel, and other forms lose supporters and supply,
    prices start going up. The non-renewable energy price continues to hike,
    while prices of solar power continue to go down. If this trend
    continues, then we will see a sudden shift towards the renewable energy
    which is what we are all hoping for. As time continues to fly, solar
    power is becoming more and more affordable making it a better source of
    energy compared to the non renewable sources. It is also becoming more
    practical to use solar because the price is reaching a more affordable
    line, which is the one that limits us before. A few years ago, solar was
    really expensive and only the rich could afford them, but now it is
    slowly reaching the working class of the society, and soon, it will
    cover the whole world.
    Considering what solar energy can give us,
    it is a wise idea to shift there. Solar energy will save the planet we
    live in and bring hope and beauty back to our planet. Its Eco-friendliness is at a peak, and when compared to fossil fuels, fossil
    fuels contribute to almost all of our ecological issues. Solar is the
    way to go!

    (Mod: The site will be glad to sell you some ad space. )

  • CaptD

    Imagine a new “future” Multi-Functional Wind Turbine (MFWT™) that could “shift” from producing electricity to making water as the grid load or water “need” changes!

    This concept would provide a single solution to two of the major problems facing all developing Nations, a reliable source of Energy and a reliable source of Clean Water…

    Maybe I’ll get the first Solar O’Neill (SON) award for the idea!

  • CaptD

    Something new that hopefully is not OT

    A turbine that makes water from the desert air:
    http://www.smartplanet.com/blog/intelligent-energy/a-turbine-that-makes-water-from-the-desert-air/14701?tag=nl.e660

  • Bob_Wallace

    Restarting the thread Rob…

    2010 all US refineries ~5.1% of energy input from purchased electricity. The 15% number may come from electricity generated within the refinery system. About 65% of the energy used to refine oil comes from the oil input itself. About 25% from natural gas.

    If the goal is to quit using fossil fuels then we don’t return much to the grid by taking refineries out of the system. We could reperpose the natural gas to help take more coal off the grid and that would be some help, but it would be best to think of it as a temporary step.

    Most recent study out of NREL is that we could charge 72% or about 180,000,000 EVs from spare capacity and with existing transmission.

    Do you have a link for “40% of EV buyers thus far have also installed solar panels on their roof “? That would be very handy to have.

    Coal fell to 39% of grid supply in 2011. We might see a bit of an upturn this year if demand rises, depending on how fast other capacity comes on line.

    Overall I think the place most of our EV charging electricity will come from wind. Putting EVs on the grid creates demand for late night power when wholesale prices are being pushed very low. Selling for a moderate price to EVs would be a good deal for EVs and a great way to increase wind farm profits. More profits will attract more investment, get more turbines installed, and create more wind-energy for the daytime market.

    EVs can suck up supply peaks and, overall, skip charging days when supply is low. They can even be used to shift supply from supply peak to demand.

    • RobS

      I’m not suggesting as Elon Musk did that we could charge all the EVs on electricity from idled refineries. I’m more advocating an obamaesque “all of the above” approach. 70-80% of the required powers comes from overnight surplus, ~5-10% from refineries unused electricity, ~10% from natural gas no longer used in refineries, ~10% from home solar arrays installed by EV buyers. The net result is that the increase in generating capacity that EV opponents get in a flap about is likely to be 80-110% less than feared.

      The 40% number is not very scientific and comes from an owners survey on
      Mynissanleaf.com but whether or not the number is accurate I think it displays a growing awareness and action on the significant benefits of the EV/PV combination. Solar grid parity nationwide is between -1 and 10 years away depending on location, but if that solar is offsetting gas then parity was reached about 5 years ago.
      With coal falling 6% last year and total grid demand falling 0.5% I struggle to see coal rising, worst case scenario is a smaller fall or no fall.

      Your point about EVs being load levellers is the key. Cars spend~90% of their lives parked, if 30% of the us vehicle fleet were electric and plugged into a level 2 charger then they’re capacity to supply the grid is equal to the entire US generating capacity. The simplest strategy is smart charging though. Picture this; you simply say that you need your car to have at least x miles of range by time y, you don’t care when or what charges it as long as you have that capacity at that time, therefore the grid can then charge your car when there is low demand and high supply and stop charging when supply is low and demand is high. This will save money for car owners as you would offer them a discount for playing such a useful grid management role ( and you can choose not to participate and simply pay a penalty rate to have power whenever you want it) and save gargantuan amounts of money for grid operators and generators who no longer need to install large numbers of new peaking capacity plants which only get used a few hours a year.

  • CaptD

    Off-Line or soon to be melted down, who cares?
    Nuclear has the PROVEN RISK of causing a Trillion Dollar Eco-Disaster. just ask The Japanese!

    Were the USA to suffer a meltdown all your math mumbo jumbo would then be meaningless…

    Solar (of all flavors) is ready for prime time and once installed they would have ZERO risk of causing a meltdown or radioactive pollution because of man, Nature or whatever; unlike nuclear which is NOT RISK FREE because Nature can destroy any land based nuclear reactor, any place anytime 24/7/365!

    The nuclear Industry and those that get paid by them are desperate to deny the truth about nuclear because in the long run nuclear’s time is past; the Planet cannot afford any more Fukushima’s…

    • Bob_Wallace

      Another meltdown in either the US or western Europe could be the death knell of the nuclear industry.

      At the moment it would be extremely hard to build a new reactor in non-deep-red states and pressure has grown to close some existing plants.

      If you’re private money there’s no way you want to take that risk.

      • CaptD

        I agree…
        Too bad the “Deep-Red” state can put the entire economy of the USA at risk, just so their local Politicians can receive big donations from Big Nuclear!

        I say let the States that want Nuclear Fully INSURE THEM; then all this Nuclear Baloney (NB) would stop ASAP…

        Hope to see some of your comments on Huffington Post’s nuclear threads…

        • Bob_Wallace

          Were we to enact legislation based on right wing philosophy and use ‘states rights’ thinking to limit liability to the state that allows a reactor to be built and forbid the movement of radioactive waste across state lines I suspect that would be the end of the nuclear agency.

          Nuclear is being built only in states that practice socialized energy, that force citizens to buy from a single provider rather than allow free market systems to operate. And in welfare states, states which receive more in federal benefits than they pay in federal tax. Sticking the rest of us with their melt-down liability is yet another example of red state welfare.

          • CaptD

            Well Put!
            Now how can we make this a Presidential Debate issue?

          • Bob_Wallace

            That’s not the forum.

            Just take what facts exist and keep inserting them into nuclear discussions.

            Personally I think both coal and nuclear have reached the end of their tracks. A few more reactors will be built simply because some people will only be convinced by one more US attempt to produce electricity at a competitive price.

            We’re so ethnocentric that we can’t learn by watching the most experienced nuclear construction company in the world fail to bring a new plant on line on time and at budget.

            It’s going to be so interesting watching Southern Company build their new reactors in Georgia. By the time they get these puppies on line solar will almost certainly be much cheaper. We are very likely to have well-priced grid storage. We should be able to make all the electricity we want with a combination of wind/solar/hydro/geothermal and storage for under $0.10/kWh.

            The folks who will be forced to pay for power from those new nuclear plants may well be paying over $0.15/kWh for their power.

          • CaptD

            To Bob_Wallace
            You are right and I also agree that by the time the nuclear reactor is built the cost will be such that industry will consider relocating because of the high cost that they will charge; yet another reason that folks will relocate to the sunbelt, every cheaper energy costs as more and more Solar (of all flavors) comes on line…
            Hope to read more from you here and also on Huffington Post, just search for nuclear and or Japan…
            Thanks…

          • http://twitter.com/aligatorhardt aligatorhardt

            Support Green Party candidates in Congress and get the votes to support Obama’s green initiatives.

          • http://twitter.com/aligatorhardt aligatorhardt

            The citizens that have to live with energy choices have the greatest right to approve power plants in their area. It is unjust to impose nuclear power on those who do not want it, and when the plant is old and damaged, it is completely unacceptable to force people to endure that risk, simply for the profits of a few. Vermont has the burden of proving that point. Let’s support their efforts to govern their own fate.

        • http://twitter.com/aligatorhardt aligatorhardt

          HP deletes entire pages of comments from articles on nuclear power and deletes many of the bookmarks I list if they concern harm from nuclear power. It is a waste of time to write and have it thrown out.

          • CaptD

            Agreed, it is most disappointing!
            Suggest that you also post your comment to twitter and or FB as many read those and then spread the news like this:
            Posted by WeMustDoBetter09

            An imperfect storm swept into Southern California on, perhaps appropriately enough, April Fools weekend creating the conditions that tested EnviroReporter.com’s scientific hypothesis that radioactive “buckyballs” and other fission radionuclides from the triple Fukushima Japan meltdowns are already impacting the region. Sure enough, a rain composed primarily of sea mist formed over a choppy ocean with high winds tested higher than any other Los Angeles Basin rain since Radiation Station Santa Monica began fallout radiation tests March 15, 2011, four days after the unabated meltdowns began.

  • Bill_Woods

    As I said, the last time a US reactor was declared shut down was in 1998. Crystal River, Davis-Besse and North Anna are all operational, though Crystal River 3 has been off-line since 2009. Heck, Fukushima Dai-ichi 5 and 6 are still listed as ‘operational'; they just haven’t generated much power in the last year, for some reason.

    “Wouldn’t it be interesting to see some numbers for power produced/all reactors put on line – working or not….”

    The [IAEA] Database on Nuclear Power Reactors
    USA: http://pris.iaea.org/Public/CountryStatistics/CountryDetails.aspx?current=US
    Japan: http://pris.iaea.org/Public/CountryStatistics/CountryDetails.aspx?current=JP

    http://www.eia.gov/nuclear/reactors/stats_table1.html

    • Bob_Wallace

      OK, so realized capacity does include reactors which are off line for years.

      (I suspect you realize that my “Crystal River” reference was to the reactor which has been offline for a few years, not the entire facility and that Davis-Besse, while now operational, was offline for several years.)

  • Jeffhre

    Doetto, EV adoption will be a tiny fraction of electricity use, overall new demand will be much larger than demands from new EV’s add for the foreseeable future, and a large part of EV charging will be at night long after peak demand.

  • Capt D

    Great news for the Planet, Germany will lead the way toward a clean Safe Energy future without the RISK of a Trillion Dollar Eco-Disaster like Japan now has to deal with!

  • Doetto

    Were going to need all the electricity we can get for when electric cars start making a strong showing.

    • Capt D

      More need, install more Solar (of all flavors)…
      Simple, clean SAFE…

      • Jeffhre

        Simple? Cutting edge physics and collection technology combined with bleeding edge manufacturing engineering on a distributed network of collectors positioned 93 million miles from a nuclear powered reactor and and sending station. Simple, Ha!

        • Bob_Wallace

          Yep, pretty simple.

          Install about 2.5kW of panels on your roof and hook them to the grid. It’s the sort of stuff that roofers and electricians do day in and day out.

          Makes more sense, however to use a byproduct of that 93 million mile from us nuclear reactor and grab late night wind. Cheaper than solar and most of us would prefer to plug in while we sleep.

          Those 2.5kW of panels?

          Enough to drive 12,000 miles a year in a 0.35kWh/mile EV.

          Based on what Germans are paying for installed solar (without subsidies) that would cost you about $6,500 and furnish your ‘fuel’ for the next 20, 30, 40, ? years.

          (We don’t know how long solar panels last. Panels installed 30 years ago are still producing with little loss of output.)

          $6,500 for 20 years of charging? $27 a month.

          How much are you paying at the pump?

          • CaptD

            I think as time goes on Solar (of all flavors) will vie with each other to be the “best” form of Energy and together, they will truly help mankind both avoid future wars over regional resources and additional meltdowns like Fukushima, which would be a Win-Win-Win for the Planet and US!

    • Bob_Wallace

      We have enough late night capacity and transmission in the US to charge 180,000,000 EVs right now.

      • Rob

        Not to mention that petroleum refining is a gargantuan power consumer, between 5 and 10 kwh per gallon. The gallon of gasoline will take a “typical” car 30 miles, the 5-10 kwh will take a “typical” between 15 and 30 miles. The implication is that as vehicles shift to electric propulsion 50-100% of the power needed to run them will no longer be needed to refine fuel for their old vehicles.
        Also there is good evidence that a significant proportion of EV purchasers also buy solar panels to offset some or all of the EV charging requirements.

        • Bob_Wallace

          Rob, I haven’t been able to find that much power used in refining oil for gas. Take a look at this spreadsheet and see what you think.

          (The sheet is a bit messy, I’ll try to clean it up later today.)

          What I find is 3.1kW of energy. But that wouldn’t translate to 10+ miles of EV travel because the fossil fuel inputs can’t be changed into electricity at 100% efficiency.

          https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/ccc?key=0Akc8l3C_MXzwdFBBNlBnNTRHOWhUMkxMRlN4Z3p5TUE

          The energy used to extract, transport and distribute the petroleum is not included. There would be some avoided electricity which could be used for EVs. But I’d bet the majority of those energy inputs are fossil fuels, best left in the ground.

          • Rob

            Exact energy input varies with different refineries but the average is probably about 15% electricity, the vast majority of the remainder comes from natural gas. Natural gas that could be producing electricity directly for charging EV’s, and skip the inefficient step of using it first to refine gasoline.
            Many studies show we could charge between 60-80% of the US vehicle fleet with surplus overnight generating capacity without building any new generating capacity. Then consider that around 40% of EV buyers thus far have also installed solar panels on their roof to offset their vehicles power use.

            So now we see that we can already charge most of the vehicles overnight, the vehicles plugged in during the day in homes and at workplaces can charge with additional solar panel output, 10-15% can be offset by electricity use previously used in refineries and if there’s any remaining increase in demand after all those offsets then some of the natural gas that provides 85% of the energy input used to refine gasoline can be diverted to power generation.

            The NG could further decrease the grids reliance on coal which has already fallen from 58% 10 years ago to 42% last year, the natural gas used to refine gasoline could offset an additional 10-20% of coal generation

            Combine all these factors and the concerns about how we are going to charge EV’s start to seem unfounded.

  • Ross

    Nice to see the criticism of the legacy power sources for their poor utilisation of installed capacity as that argument is used against wind a lot. As the amount of RES on the grid grows it will only get worse for them if they don’t retire the old plants. I wonder what the utilisation figure for nuclear is.

    • Bob_Wallace

      In France it’s apparently dropped below 80% of nameplate. France is sort of overloaded with nuclear and when demand is down they have to close plants.

      As they bring more solar and wind on line they’re likely to see their realized capacity numbers fall even lower.

      France can buy electricity from Scandinavia that can be used to fill in around their wind/solar. They are already buying solar from Germany.

      All that should mean that more French reactors will get turned off for significant periods of time and utilization numbers will drop. (Spring and fall when demand is typically lower?)

      In the US I believe it’s around 90%.

      My guess would be that coal plants are the first forced off the grid by cheaper renewable energy. (Or second after natural gas.) Coal plants can be shut down and restarted on a daily basis, nuclear cannot. Long term that will make coal plants too expensive to operate.

      Right now utilization is kind of low in Japan. Two out of 52 reactors on line and those two likely to close?

      • http://cleantechnica.com/ Zachary Shahan

        Hmm, i feel like i saw figures lower than 90% for US nukes, but can’t remember where now.

        • Bob_Wallace

          I’m going from memory, so you’re amply warned….

          What I recall is that US plants were around 80% in their early years but rose to around 90% as bugs were worked out and the real stinker plants closed.

          I do have a question about how capacity is measured. When, for example, a plant goes down for a big repairs (Chrystal River, Davis-Bessie) are they removed from nameplate capacity in order to boost realized capacity?

          I’ll see what I can find.

        • Bob_Wallace

          OK, here’s what I found on Wiki…

          “The average capacity factor for all US reactors has improved from below 60% in the 1970s and 1980s, to 92% in 2007,[38]”

          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Fig_9-2_Nuclear_Power_Plant_Operations.jpg

          Now, what I haven’t found is how that 60%/92% is calculated.

          Crystal River has been offline since 2009. Davis-Besse went offline in 2002. Taking them out of the counting would increase realized capacity.

          • http://cleantechnica.com/ Zachary Shahan

            Thanks. :D

          • Bill_Woods

            Annual generation divided by maximum potential generation.

            Currently, 800 TW-h from 104 reactors with 101 GW. A reactor is counted until it’s shut down, not just off-line.
            http://www.eia.gov/totalenergy/data/annual/showtext.cfm?t=ptb0902

            The national capacity factor didn’t break 65% until the ’90s. It hasn’t been below 85% since the last time a reactor was shut down, in 1998. The big change was utilities selling their one nuclear reactor to companies that managed fleets of them.

          • Bob_Wallace

            Thanks.

            Now, are Crystal River and Davis-Besse being carried on the books as potential generation or shut down? I would imagine shut down.

            The North Anna reactors in Virginia that went off line last year for a number of months following the earthquake- any idea if they were counted as potential generation or put into the shut down category?

            If practice is to move reactors that fail to off-books then it seems like the realized capacity of “92%” is misleading. If a turbine fails I doubt the size of a wind farm is adjusted until repairs are made.

            Carrying this all the way out, one might say that Japan reactors are running at 100% capacity, all both of them. As long as we don’t pay attention to the 50 that have been shut down. That sort of accounting can lead to some fairly inaccurate understanding of what capacity numbers mean.
            Wouldn’t it be interesting to see some numbers for power produced/all reactors put on line – working or not….

          • Bill_Woods

            The indentation has gotten so deep that there’s no ‘Reply’, so I started a new thread.

    • http://cleantechnica.com/ Zachary Shahan

      Yeah, I was shocked to see those so low here. Great that Thomas shared that.
      And reminds me of that whole ‘Baseload Gets in the Way’ piece: http://cleantechnica.com/2012/01/03/baseload-power-gets-in-the-way/

Back to Top ↑