So which is true?
Ever since Chancellor Angela Merkel announced a phase-out of nuclear energy over the next decade and pledged to generate as much as 80% of the country’s electricity from renewables by 2050, big question marks have been hanging over the future of coal and gas-fired plants in Germany.
Merkel, seeking a third term in general elections on September 22, is a staunch supporter of this hugely popular policy move.
But the turnaround is depriving utilities, including market leaders RWE and E.ON, of massive profits from their atomic plants and turning their gas and coal-fired stations into loss-makers as they are sidelined by rival renewable sources of energy.
I don’t expect there are copious tears shed for the utilities with their decaying dirty power around here and surely not in this corner.
But what of this from a now decaying, unloved posting:
The German Association of Energy Consumers estimates that up to 800,000 Germans have had their power cut off because they couldn’t pay the country’s rising electricity bills…
For many weeks in December and January, Germany’s 1.1 million solar power systems generated almost no electricity. During much of those overcast winter months, solar panels more or less stopped generating electricity. To prevent blackouts, grid operators had to import nuclear energy from France and the Czech Republic and power up an old oil-fired power plant in Austria.
Without being on the ground with access to all the available data, it is impossible to ascertain the truth of matters. My bias is that both are true. A mobile blind man might feel two different aspects of the elephant but still would not know much about the beast.
What we do know is that intermittent power is – umm – intermittent and must be supplemented by baseload power. Baseload renewable power is far cheaper and more available than all other energy sources.
Ancient inhabitants of North America some 12,000 years ago are known to have cooked with geothermal energy and millenia later, the ancient Romans used the same source of heat for their baths. Of course fire was discovered much earlier and perhaps utilized by ancestors of humans. Biomass is a new word for the most ancient of all technologies. There was then no need to freeze in the dark when the distant sun was neglecting earth.
So why do we concentrate on poisonous and haphazard sources of supply of energy?
Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I’m not sure about the former. – Albert Einstein
Albert forgot human greed but no one knows everything.