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Published on September 21st, 2012 | by Zachary Shahan


German Green on Wind Energy Benefits & Nuclear Phaseout

September 21st, 2012 by  

Here’s a nice bit of a Guardian interview with Cem Özdemir, Chair of the German Green party, that was just published yesterday:

Cem Özdemir by boellstiftung

by Philip Oltermann

How would you sell the benefits of wind energy to the Brits?

That’s easy. It’s not about ecology: there are pragmatic economic reasons for taking wind energy seriously. Onshore wind energy is cheaper and faster; offshore is more expensive and takes longer to build. It’s that simple. For those who think it spoils their view of the landscape: would you rather have a nuclear power station plonked in the middle of the countryside? I find that logic strange. And of course no one in the Green party thinks you should just put windfarms anywhere – there are parts of the countryside that should be off limits.

In the past, the energy market in Germany used to be run by four big players. Since the shift to renewables that we helped to bring about, regional authorities and cities council have become empowered to act as players in their own right, buying back the networks that they sold to private companies in the past. In Germany, a large number of windfarms are regionally owned: that helps to decentralise power and encourages competition.

What do you say to critics of Germany’s nuclear phaseout, who argue that it will merely end up having to import more dirty coal energy from abroad?

We are looking at a third industrial revolution, and just as there were once those who opposed the invention of the steam engine, there are now those who hark back to nuclear energy. In Germany we now have just over 20% of our energy coming from renewable sources. All predictions from the past have turned out not to be true: when I went to school, my teachers used to say that maybe, just maybe we might have 3% of renewable energy one day. Angela Merkel says we’ll have 35% by 2020; we at the Green party say it’ll be 45%. My guess is: we’ll both be wrong, because it’ll be even more than that.

And at any rate, don’t listen to what Cem Özdemir has to say on this, don’t listen to what the Greens have to say, listen to what Siemens is doing. Siemens are not switching from nuclear to clean energy because they want to lose money: they want to make profit. And I’d warn anyone who questions whether they’ll manage: industrial policy, that’s one thing the Germans know how to get right. If the Brits would rather hand the first mover advantage down to us, then so be it – as a German, I thank them for it. We already cater for many of the markets for renewable energy around the globe, and our future competitors are more likely to come from China than from the other side of the Channel.

In Germany, industry is now starting to thank us for pestering in the past, because it forced them to go through the kind of innovations that the rest of the world is now catching up with. The Brits are still discussing whether they should insulate their houses better in the future, and we insulate them.

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About the Author

Zach is tryin' to help society help itself (and other species) with the power of the word. He spends most of his time here on CleanTechnica as its director and chief editor, but he's also the president of Important Media and the director/founder of EV Obsession and Solar Love. Zach is recognized globally as a solar energy, electric car, and energy storage expert. He has presented about cleantech at conferences in India, the UAE, Ukraine, Poland, Germany, the Netherlands, the USA, and Canada. Zach has long-term investments in TSLA, FSLR, SPWR, SEDG, & ABB — after years of covering solar and EVs, he simply has a lot of faith in these particular companies and feels like they are good cleantech companies to invest in. But he offers no professional investment advice and would rather not be responsible for you losing money, so don't jump to conclusions.

  • O.K.Frax

    & the spent nuke fuel? Really in your backyard? Japan lost land to the meltdown & you’ll hear about the expose to radiation to wildlife & humans long term.

  • For reality check just Google in Spiegel Online (in English).

    • Ross

      I used google like you suggested and found this great snippet in Spiegel. Translation courtesy of google.


      “By 2020, the proportion of wind power will increase to 20 percent. The share of renewables in total from 17 to 35 percent. First, many of the old systems will be replaced by more powerful. “Repowering” is the name: larger machines, longer blades, higher masts. The new wind turbines will provide 5.5 megawatts on average only 1.3 instead. The Fraunhofer Institute for Wind Energy and Energy System Technology has found that two percent of the Republic used as locations for wind turbines in question. On these areas, 62,839 wind turbines could be.”

      • Bob_Wallace

        This is what is happening at Altamont Pass, the US’s first (one of the first) wind farms.

        The 30 year old turbines are being taken down and replaced with taller, longer blade, more efficient turbines.

        Capacity will likely jump from ~30% to ~50%. The overall number of turbines will drop while overall output increases.

        • Ross

          i look forward to using that one in future on-line debates.

          • Bob_Wallace

            In your debate include the fact that these old-fashioned turbines kicked out the watt-hours for 30 years. Only then did maintenance costs suggest that is was time for a replacement.

            When we calculate LCOE for various generation technologies we generally use a 20 year payoff time line. That means that these turbines gave their owners another 10 or so years of almost free electricity to sell. No fuel required.

            The weak point of wind turbines is their gear train. Over the many years you know we’ve both improved design to make gear trains last longer and we’ve started building direct-drive turbines (no gear trains included). That suggests that modern turbines should last far more than 30 years and give us 20 years of cheap electricity followed by a lot of years of cheap-cheap electricity.

            Those decades of near-free electricity from wind and solar is what is going to make our future utility bills shrink like a naked guy’s bits hit with a bucket of ice water….

          • Ross

            The wind farms in Germany being upgraded this decade will presumably be ones that have been there for 10 – 15 years. Unless they can infill larger higher masts with the existing shorter masts that suggests that the payback for the bigger mast will also be paying off the final part of the capital investment on the initial mast.

          • Bob_Wallace

            Well, knowing nothing about the farms that are being “remodeled” I can’t give any reasons or facts. But I can sweep up some speculation….

            If new technology would produce a lot more profit, more marketable electricity from the given real estate, then tossing the old gear early might make sense. They could run the old gear into the ground but they might be giving up a larger profit by upgrading early. Airlines commonly retire planes long before they’ve reached their useful limit. Ability to carry more passengers for significantly less fuel causes switch-overs.
            Just guessing….

      • and add onto that the fact that renewable growth expectations were consistently lower than reality.

  • willsarah5639

    1) “Would you rather have a nuclear power station plonked in the middle of the countryside”

    Cem please you know that we know better.

    One nuclear plant has an energy density equal to more than 10,000 windmills. So yes, I would much rather have one plant in a single location than 10,000 windmills spread over a massive area.

    2) In Germany we now have just over 20% of our energy coming from renewable sources.

    Leading experts including Siemens will tell you that any national grid cannot function with greater than 20% renewables, because due to the intermittent nature of the power source it cannot be used for baseload and can only be used for peaking. So yes you are going to trade nuclear baseload for coal baesold. That is brilliant Cem!

    • Glad to see you learned nothing from Fukushima.

      • willsarah5639

        I learned plenty. Such as 1950’s plants built on the coastline don’t cope well with tsunami’s.

        Also the middle of the countryside is not the coast line.

        • Bavaria is tsunami prone. It could be easily proved by another Merkel Ethics Commission, or the same that decided about engineering problems of power generation. Or put the question on referendum. And you’ll discover that all German nukes seat on tops of active volcanos.

          • Ross

            The cost of nuclear is now the main reason to get rid of it. Not having the long tail risks is a spin-off benefit.

          • Yes, I see. In US old, amortized nukes produce juice for 1.73 ct/kWh, but in Germany they were so uneconomical that their owners closed them down. To dismay of all those people on the streets.

          • Ross

            As the 2009 MIT report on the future of nuclear power (http://web.mit.edu/nuclearpower/pdf/nuclearpower-update2009.pdf) makes clear that source of power is sinking into irrelevancy. Without government guarantees for the high upfront costs they’re a bet that industry doesn’t want to take.

          • The MIT + USA are sinking into irrelevancy. In 2020 China will surpass USA in GNP, in 2030 it will be about 2x as strong. About 10y since China is to become first nuclear power with more than 100 GW, and in 2030 it will rise to 200 GW, in 2050 to 500 GW. Add India, Russia, Brazil, Iran, Turkey, Vietnam etc. That rimes with irrelevant.
            These are conservative projections, without taking into account probable dramatic breaktroughts in nuclear technology (Focus Fussion, Pollywell, General Fusion, liquid and gass core reactors, LENR).
            The funny side is that US and Germany gave China their nuc technology virtually for free, just to get bogged in disastrous windmills’ myth, promoted by fossil lobbies just to sell gas, for only gas-fired plants could be reasonably paired with wind farms. Take a map: where a pipeline pass, the antinuc sentiment grows.

          • Bob_Wallace

            “These are conservative projections”

            No, those are nuclear dreams. If you followed the industry you would see that many places have “plans” to build nuclear but when they get closer to the time to commit they do the math and back away.

            Let’s take into account “probable dramatic breaktroughts in nuclear technology”. First, “probable” isn’t the correct word. “Possible” would be correct.

            Then let’s look at competitive technology that has move past possible to probable. Large scale battery storage – sodium-ion, air-zinc, and liquid metal. All three are performing quite well in prototype form and one of the three is heading into production with manufacturing to start in then next couple of months.

            Storage is the last piece of the renewable energy solution. Having a good storage solution will bring the price of a 100% renewable grid well under 10 cents/kWh. New nuclear can’t even start to compete at that price level.

            If the probable becomes the actual in the next couple of years then nuclear will be done.

          • Anne

            “ou would see that many places have ‘plans’ to build nuclear but when
            they get closer to the time to commit they do the math and back away.”

            We recently ended such an episode in The Netherlands. The liberal government was eager to build a new nuclear power plant but as soon as they made clear they would not offer any guarantees and that it should be funded completely by the free market, the plug was pulled. Go figure.

            Nuclear power is simple not an attractive option. Takes at least 10 years to build a nuke. Who knows how the market looks 10 years from now? Maybe a breakthrough in solar PV technology renders your half-built nuke obsolete. Even a continuing decline in price as we have seen over the past years might kill any hopes of profitability. Profit, that’s what the free market likes and nukes just offer no guarantee of that.

          • Bob_Wallace

            We don’t need a breakthrough in solar to make nuclear financially impossible. Solar is already being sold wholesale for $0.104/kWh and the price continues to drop.

            We have a mix of <$0.10/kWh supplies – wind, geothermal, hydro and (likely) tidal.

            The lowest price estimate I've seen for new nuclear is $0.15/kWh and Turkey could find no one who would guarantee new reactor prices at $0.20/kWh.
            The only breakthrough we need, and it's not really a breakthrough but final proof, is grid storage at an acceptable rate. We have three emerging battery technologies (sodium-ion, zinc-air, and liquid metal) which are all performing at an adequate level in prototype and promise to be inexpensive.

            Affordable storage will permanently kill new nuclear. We'll keep on using most of the older reactors unless/until another one melts down and causes people to declare "That's enough. Shut them all down!".

            Germany, Japan, Belgium and Switzerland have reached the 'enough' level. Melt another in Europe or in the US and you'll see large movement away.

          • willsarah5639

            Colorado reached 50% renewable electricity generation on April 15, 2012 but the annual average is nowhere near that.

            Based on the information provided here the overwhelming number of
            renewable boomers on this post have 7 years to replace all of Germany’s
            nuclear capacity while decreasing Germany’s coal use and not utilizing
            France’s nuclear capacity.

            I’m saying that that isn’t going to happen and almost everyone else on this forum is advocating the opposite.

            Time will tell….

          • In China it’s level playing field, with no mobs dictating modes of “politically correct” power generation, and with no fossil lobbies to bribe politicians and fund green Luddites. On top of that, the sample is large enough to make the analysis meaningfull.
            Facts and figures (not name calling):
            Nukes — $1500-1900/kW (rated power)
            Windmills — $1000/kW (rated power)
            When you divide that with load factor (90% vs. 20-30%), you have:
            Nukes — $1670-2100/kW (average power)
            Windmills — $3300-5000/kW (average power)
            Add to this very expensive grid, high losses in transport, intermittancy and the fact that useful life of windmills is 20y and of nukes 60-80y, with refurbishments more than century.
            In Japan, wind power costs about 10x more than nuclear, Fuku costs included.
            If figures in USA differ, then something’s wrong with USA, not with nuclear power.

          • dude, get off the completely outdated 20-30% efficiency. the median efficiency is now more like 50%. furthermore, ever seen a nuclear project that came in close to budget?

            and do you really think the Chinese aren’t influence by nuclear lobbyists (surely called something else)?

          • it’s ironic — pro-nuke folks are convinced it’s government that has killed nukes, but it’s the reverse — govt (not acting very logically) is the only thing keeping nukes alive. as you said, private investors won’t touch it with a 10-ft pole.

          • Ross

            Those are ambitious projections for power source with such a risk of catastrophic failure and given how the cost of renewable technology keeps coming down. Over the next 30 years their will be thousands of chances to pick the clean, green, safe power source over the expensive, dirty and dangerous on. I remember hearing similar talk in the 80s and early 90s about how Japan were going to dominate. In remains to be seen how far China will go up in the pecking order as they’ve got their own demographic time bomb. I wouldn’t count out the USA yet once the Americans decide to get behind the transition to renewable energy sources.

          • Bob_Wallace

            China’s economic growth is slowing and they are facing a rapidly aging population.

            China’s ‘One Child’ policy was introduced in 1978 and applied to first-born children from 1979. Starting 30 years ago China drastically cut the number of “replacement workers” they were producing. The last of the multi-sibling workers are now in their mid-30s and older workers are leaving the force in much higher numbers than young workers are entering.
            China will turn itself into a developed country and will be an important one because of its location and size, but it’s not likely to become a super-force.

          • Ross

            Yes that’s my best guess reading of the data. Japan with a larger population. We seem to be past the era of the “super-force” nation as peaceful cooperation between nations is the new order.

          • i’d agree.

          • Google in cliche.

          • Ross

            Apparently you can spot a cliche but not a trend towards sustainability.

          • Yes, I see the trend. But only reailly sustainable source is nuclear. That’s that you apparently fail to see. Green technology, so disastrous for environment, is sustainable only in eye of believer. Hallelujah.

          • Bob_Wallace

            predrag – You’ve moved pretty quickly from being a novelty to being a bore.
            Please quit wasting my time by posting stupid stuff.

            Have a nice day.

          • MIT sinking into irrelevancy. 😀 lol.

            conspiracy theories: not promoted here.

          • which is why they aren’t going into development anyplace without government’s huge sponsorship.

          • Anne

            ” In US old, amortized nukes produce juice for 1.73 ct/kWh”

            Don’t get too hung up on ‘old amortize nukes’. They were built with massive government subsidies and are a bad indicator of what new nuclear electricity would cost.

            “To dismay of all those people on the streets.’

            Quite the contrary, it was under popular pressure that those nukes were closed. The German people is firmly behind the ‘Ausstieg’.

          • Google in sarcasm. Google in IQ.

      • Fukushima bottom line:
        Killed by quake cum tcunami: 20 000
        Killed by radiation: 0
        Killed by fear mongers, provoking
        unecessary evacuations 600-900
        You can make a nuke to reasonably withstand a quake worst in Japan history, but when it comes to United Colors of Ignorance…

        • Bob_Wallace

          Sure. You could make an earthquake/tsunami “proof” reactor. The people who approved the reactors could have made the ones at Fukushima tsunami proof. They knew that the area had been hit by large tsunamis before but chose to not spend the extra money to protect the site or to locate the reactors on higher ground.

          But here’s the bottom line. Electricity from a new nuclear reactor would be far too expensive to be competitive in the free market. Making reactors safer would cost more money, make reactors even more expensive to build and make the price of their electricity even more expensive than they already are.

          You are a huge supporter of nuclear energy but I don’t think you’re being honest with yourself about their cost. Many people look at what it costs to make electricity in a decades old, paid off reactor and they see cheap. They’re right. Those old dogs are kicking out cheap power. But we have no way to build a reactor at those prices and to build them without borrowing money. New prices and financing costs would make the wholesale price of their power significantly higher than the average retail power and multiple times the price of wind or natural gas.

          Oh, and you forgot one important statistic…

          Cost for the Fukushima nuclear reactor melt-downs: $250 billion and counting.

          • If dudes haven’t changed the project, putting the generators on wrong place, nothing would happen. But putting them behind the turbine halls instead in front of them would obviously cost billions and make nukes prohibitively expensive.
            The only real damage of Fuku was some 80 000 people mostly only temporarily displaced. $250B divided by 80 000 makes about $3M per capita. Yes, I believe in witches too.

          • Bob_Wallace

            Makes sense to me.

            Someone who believes that the meltdown of Fukushima was only a minor problem for a handful of people, that $250 billion is chump change, and that Fukushima siting was the only time “Homer” has screwed up nuclear construction/maintenance decisions also believes in witches.

            Obviously someone who must be only loosely acquainted with reality.

          • I got it. You got your degree in nuc engineering by watching Simpsons, as ultimate reality.

          • would have been more realistic than what the nuke industry promoted/promotes.

          • srsly, i appreciate your other comments on the site, predrag, but i think you’ve drunk far too much of the nuke juice.

    • Bob_Wallace

      1) Energy density is not the appropriate statistic. Cost per kWh produced is what makes the large difference. Expensive generation is less likely to be built on an accelerated schedule and we need to cut CO2 emissions quickly.

      2) Plot that 20% over time and enjoy the acceleration portrayed. That is the picture of an emerging and displacing technology.

      Moving past a certain percentage of wind on any grid will require more storage, dispatchable generation and load shifting. Germany is a grown up country, it can deal with these issues. Germany, right now, is working on adding more pump-up hydro storage to its system and HVDC lines in the planning will allow Germany to share wind with high hydro European countries which will turn some hydro into dispatchable fill-in.

      Unfortunately for you willsarah, the rest of your fellow German citizens see no reason to continue to subject themselves and the generations that follow to the danger of nuclear generation. If you make your living working for the nuclear industry you might want to start reconsidering your career path.

      • willsarah5639

        No I don’t work in the nuclear arena. Nice try though.

        Pumped storage is not efficient given the loss ratio for pumping and the loss for evaporation.

        Also “working on” and proven are entirely different. In the meantime Germany is burning and will continue to burn lots of coal to compensate for lost nuclear baseload.

        • Bob_Wallace

          Not a try, just a friendly-offered caution.

          Pump-up is roughly 85% efficient. It is what it is.

          Add the cost of wind generated electricity to the cost of pump-up storage (take out the 15% loss). Now create an average of wind-direct + wind-stored. You’ll find that it is considerably lower than the low end estimates for new nuclear electricity of 15 cents per kWh.

          We’re unlikely to use pump-up as our main storage technology. We seem to have excellent battery technology emerging. Batteries will offer lower storage prices, be quicker to bring on line, be easier to site and have higher round trip efficiency.

          • willsarah5639

            “Will offer” and “will be”. In the meantime your burning lots of coal.

          • Bob_Wallace

            What does that mean?

            Germany is moving toward a net decrease in coal use. The fact that German citizens put a higher value in getting the danger of a nuclear melt-down out of their back yards than cutting their CO2 outputs faster was their decision. Given that they live with Soviet-era reactors I can see their point. (Chernobyl – hear about that one? How about radioactive wild boars?)

            Building new nuclear, in addition to being very expensive, is grindingly slow. Just look to your northeast and see how things are going in Finland. Thirteen years and counting. Being built by Europe’s most experienced nuclear construction company.

            Wind farms are generally built in two years. Some decent sized ones have been built in less than one year. Cheaper, faster, and safer. What’s not to love?

          • willsarah5639

            “Germany is moving towards a net decrease in coal use.”

            That is not true.


          • Bob_Wallace

            By 2020 18.5 gigawatts of coal power capacity will be decommissioned, whereas only 11.3 gigawatts will be newly installed.
            * http://www.renewableenergyworld.com/rea/blog/post/2012/09/the-truth-about-germanys-coal * *

          • willsarah5639

            Projections like this are worthless, but I will play along.

            From YOUR article: “Most of the new capacity is
            expected to come from gas turbines, assuming they find somebody to build them.”

            So in the end they are going to replace nuclear baseload and addtional required baseload with coal and gas because renewables are intermittent.

          • Bob_Wallace

            Well, I suppose you’re right.

            As long as you ignore wind, solar, geothermal and storage. And ignore that the gross amount of coal generation will be considerably lower….

          • willsarah5639


            You are replacing a zero carbon technology with a carbon technology.

            There is no proven storage technology and without storage intermittent renawables can’t provide much more than 20% of the grid.

            Are you trying to argue that there is a proven storage technology?

            And again they are just projecting that coal cill be lower.

            Projecting and doing are two different things.

            Right now they are doing a lot more coal.

            Seriously after all of this I can’t believe that you are arguing that Germany’s nuclear capacity is going to be replaced by renewables.

            You know that their nuclear capacity is going to be replaced primarily by gas and coal, and yet you are still arguing that that is a great idea.

            I assumed that you were an environmentalist but obviously I am wrong about that.

          • Bob_Wallace

            Well, there is pump-up hydro storage. The US has over 20GW and there’s more spread around the world.

            There’s CAES. The US has one facility and Germany has one.

            There’s lithium-ion battery storage. It’s installed at US wind farms and Japan is putting some on their grid.

            So – three up and running storage technologies. Given that we’ve been using pump-up and CAES for decades I think we’ve proved that storage does exist.

            Germany and coal. It is my understanding that the coal plants that are now coming on line in Germany were begun several years ago. Coal plants take many years to build. Those plants pre-date Germany’s decision to close down nuclear. Those coal plants were under construction when Fukushima melted down.

            The plan was, I believe, to bring cleaner coal on line and as it started contributing to close down old, less efficient and dirtier coal plants. Germany’s decision to shut down nuclear may cause some of those older plants to stay on line a bit longer as more wind, solar and inter-country transmission is installed.

            The end result may be that Germany emits some additional CO2 over the next decade or so, but the total amount of CO2 per year is capped and will not rise.

            If you believe that a wiser route would have been to take longer, spend more money and build a new nuclear fleet your fellow citizens did not agree with you.

          • Ross

            That article also says that Germany is going to increase the share of renewables to at least 35% by 2020. It notes that the carbon emissions permits are going to be reduced.

          • Mike

            They are dreaming about 35%. The storage isn’t economicallyviable.

          • Bob_Wallace

            Right. Storage is not economically viable. That’s why we built over 20GW of pump-up hydro in the US back when we were building reactors.

            BTW, 35% wind and solar is what the US Western grid was capable of accepting back a couple years ago.

            ” A new (2010) study shows that it would be possible for the Western power grid to draw 35% of its electricity from wind and solar energy sources by 2017.

            Though wind and solar output vary over time, the study shows that it is operationally possible to accommodate 30% wind and 5% solar energy penetration to the grid. To accomplish such an increase, utilities will have to schedule their generation deliveries, or sales, on a more frequent basis. Currently, generators provide a schedule for a specific amount of power they will provide in the next hour, a process called “hour ahead” scheduling. More frequent scheduling would allow generators to adjust that amount of power based on changes in system conditions, such as increases or decreases in wind or solar generation.

            The study also finds that if utilities were to generate as much as 27% of their electricity from wind and solar energy across the Western Interconnection grid, it would lower carbon emissions by 25 to 45%, while decreasing fuel and emissions costs by some 40%, depending on the future price of natural gas.”


            In plain talk. Sell power to the grid in 15 minute blocks rather than 60 minute blocks. Piece of cake in these days of computers.

            Wind farms are installing (economically viable) battery storage to allow them to guarantee delivery of the 15 minute blocks they sell.

            IIRC the Eastern grid can accept 25% wind and solar, the Hawaiian grid 40%. All of these numbers will rise as we install more natural gas generation as a replacement for coal. All of these numbers will rise as we bring EVs and PHEVs on line (they can be used to suck up supply peaks).

          • Ross

            On the contrary that is the lower estimate.

          • Again: This has been claimed every step of the way for renewables. Even some ill-informed pro-renewable folks thought renewables couldn’t get close to the % they are at today. The bottom line is that’s largely anti-renewable propaganda.

          • MattyBumpo

            I can back up what you’re saying on pumped storage, Bob. The combination of wind+pumped storage is lower in cost than the default approach of wind (for renewable energy) and gas (for firm capacity). PROVIDED that you have either a low cost pumped storage site OR high gas price OR high enviro credit to wind, or the right combination thereof.

          • willsarah5639

            Or a large water resource that can be pumped and stored on a massive scale.

            Based on the information provided here the overwhelming number of renewable boomers on this post have 7 years to replace all of Germany’s nuclear capacity while decreasing Germany’s coal use and not utilizing France’s nuclear capacity.

            I’m saying that that isn’t going to happen and almost everyone else on this forum is advocating the opposite.

            Time will tell….

        • Anne

          Pumped hydro has been used for more than a century. Your argument that it is ‘not efficient’ is apparently not shared by the energy companies. 85% as Bob mentioned is quite good actually.

          Most pumped hydro has a cycle time of 24 hrs (pump at night, generate during the day). Evaporation is not an issue on such a small timescale.

          • willsarah5639

            Based on the information provided here the overwhelming number of
            renewable boomers on this post have 7 years to replace all of Germany’s
            nuclear capacity while decreasing Germany’s coal use and not utilizing
            France’s nuclear capacity.

            I’m saying that that isn’t going to happen and almost everyone else on this forum is advocating the opposite.

            Time will tell….

    • anderlan

      How much does a nuke output? 1-5GW? How much does a wind turbine put out? 1-5MW? Your math is off by at least an order of magnitude!

      • willsarah5639

        Whoops. Your almost entirely right. However a wind turbine only produces at best 30% of the time. A nuclear plant produces steady baseload. So it is more like 1,550 turbines to one nuclear plant. But the impact area is still 160 square miles vs 1 square mile.

        • Bob_Wallace

          30% is old skool. More recent turbine design and better siting have raised output to around 50% of nameplate capacity.

          How about doing some real math? Take the area of a nuclear plant, include stuff like parking lots, etc. and be sure to use area used for uranium mining. Give us that and we’ll convert that to wind turbine footprints.

          • willsarah5639


            Are you going to make sure the wind blows 50% of the time?

            Have you looked at a wind map of Germany?

          • Ross

            When you’re looking at those wind maps imagine they’re spreading radioactive fallout from a reactor meltdown. How many acres it that?

          • Meltdown does not equal fallout. Fallout does not equal deaths. The last meltdown in regular operation was TMI, almost 1/2 century ago. No falout, exactly nothing. Cherno was, strictly speaking, military installation (producing bomb grade Pu). In West, zero deaths. In the world, about 1 life lost per year. Ridding bicycle is about 1000000x as risky as living next to nuke. Only voodoo could save us from nuclear energy.

          • Bob_Wallace

            TMI + Chernobyl + Fukushima = People do not want nuclear reactors in their neighborhood.

            Spin it any way you wish. But in the end you have to deal with reality.
            Well, rational people have to deal with reality. It’s your option….

          • Big Gas do not want reactors anywhere. After Fuku-hysteria settled a little, people increasingly want nukes. Men (as generally more technically oriented) substatially more than women. Educated substantially more than uneducated. Almost 100% among people with PhD in science. Almost 0% among housewives. You could divide people into antinukes and informed.

          • you really have to furnish links when you’re making huge claims. i don’t buy it, and have never seen such evidence.

            of course Big Gas doesn’t want reactors, but that’s not the point — most people don’t want reactors. it’s an outdated option that never lived up to its supposed promise.

          • Ross

            Yes I know. I was also assuming a containment vessel breach. I used to make similar arguments to you on this until I came round to renewable as the superior technology. I’d much rather have Homer Simpson putting up wind turbines and mounting solar panels than monitoring a reactor cooling system.

          • Breaking his silly neck falling from the roof, or putting his home afire. Just Google in Australia, solar, homes, fires, something like that. Several hundred homes burned to the ground, 4 killed in fires. Decentralised Chernobyls. Do it yourself dissasters.

          • seriously, just because a direct link can be made doesn’t mean no deaths occurred. it’s like saying no one died from cancer 10,000 years ago simply because the term wasn’t around and science wasn’t advanced enough to call it that.

          • Bob_Wallace

            Tiny. Got it.

            “The Jackpile-Paguate Uranium Mine site is located on Laguna Pueblo about 40 miles west of Albuquerque in Paguate, Cibola County, New Mexico. The facility is located in an area of canyons and arroyos to the east of the village of Paguate. The property on which the former uranium mine is located is approximately 7,868 acres in size. Approximately 2,656 acres of this property were disturbed and contained three open pits, 32 waste dumps and 33 proto-ore stockpiles.”


            Tiny, tiny, tiny….

          • willsarah5639

            Good work Bob.

            You have found an example of 1960’s and 70’s era mining technology to compare to 2012.

        • Anne

          See my calculation above, it is more like 80 hectares, not 160 square miles. And ‘impact area’ is such a subjective criterion, that it is useless. The land between turbines is usable.

    • Ross

      That 20% is an average. Germany regularly peaks over 40% renewable. So we know as a matter of fact that more renewables can be successfully integrated into the grid.
      Stop fighting the inevitable.

    • Anne

      “One nuclear plant has an energy density equal to more than 10,000 windmills.”

      No. A 1.4 GW nuclear plant produces per year about the same energy as 6 GW of wind turbines. Of the modern 3 MW types, that is 2000 turbines. A reasonable estimate is that such a wind turbine occupies a piece of land of maybe 20 x 20 m = 400 m2 (the other land between the turbines is mainly used for farming). That makes 800,000 m2. Divide by 10,000 and you are saying you could fit a 1.4 GW nuclear plant in 80 m2? I don’t think that is possible.

      And don’t forget the uranium mines, fuel processing facilities, waste storage. A nuclear plant is more than just the reactor.

      And we are moving to offshore wind power ever more, so that weakens with the ‘occupies’ more land argument even more.

      But the main thing to remember is that cost has killed nuclear. No
      investor wants to touch it even with a 10 foot pole. Unless the
      government or ratepayers are on the hook for billions in cost overruns,
      which are not a risk but a guarantee.

      “any national grid cannot function with greater than 20% renewables”

      Link please? I like proof of bold claims.

      Denmark now functions with nearly 30% renewables. Germany with 20%, and still growing. To me it seems your ‘theory’ is already disproven.

      • willsarah5639

        Based on the information provided here the overwhelming number of
        renewable boomers on this post have 7 years to replace all of Germany’s
        nuclear capacity while decreasing Germany’s coal use and not utilizing
        France’s nuclear capacity.

        I’m saying that that isn’t going to happen and almost everyone else on this forum is advocating the opposite.

        Time will tell….

    • 1) right, happy to have nuclear as long as it’s not in your backyard. nice.
      2) This has been claimed every step of the way for renewables. Even some ill-informed pro-renewable folks thought renewables couldn’t get close to the % they are at today. The bottom line is that’s largely anti-renewable propaganda.

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