31 May 2012

Big Green and the Coming Collapse of Europe

Taken from a previously published article on Al Fin Energy blog

Germany is proceeding along a path that puts it at greater and greater risk of potentially catastrophic power blackouts. Recent changes to German energy infrastructure introduce increasingly dangerous levels of instability which become more and more difficult for power grid managers to control. And the German grid is the power hub of Europe -- if it fails, Europe's grid fails.

Germany is phasing out its nuclear power plants and attempting to replace its infrastructure of baseload power generation with an infrastructure of intermittent unreliable energy sources -- big wind and big solar installations. Germany publicly hopes to provide as much as 50% of its electrical power from wind and solar within the next few decades.

Unfortunately, large power grids grow unstable when big wind and big solar -- intermittent unreliables -- attempt to provide more than 20% of overall power. Going far beyond that level of dependency on intermittent unreliables would place the German gird -- and thus the European grid -- in an untenable position.

More information on the danger of relying on intermittent energy sources
A look at Denmark's unfortunate experience with wind energy (PDF)

German Chancellor Angela Merkel is unrepentant -- and almost boastful -- over her energy plan which commits Germany to invest at least $25 billion to upgrade its power grid.

The high cost of upgrades to the power grid could not come at a worse time for Germany or Europe, already stressed by a banking crisis. But the $25 billion or $30 billion needed to improve the grid systems is only the barest down payment toward the ultimate costs of Merkel's suicidal energy decisions.

Spain was once caught up in the green fantasy of the intermittent unreliables, just like Merkel's Germany. But Spain was forced to admit that it could not afford the green fantasy any longer. Eventually, Germany will be forced to come to the same conclusion. The only question is the price that the German people will have to pay for the stubborn stupidity of its leaders.

Greens are reluctant to admit the problems which intermittent unreliables pose for grid stability, particularly the higher the levels of penetration of the intermittent unreliable sources. But the truth will come out in the most painful ways, and many people will remember who has led them to suffer unnecessarily.

Europe is undergoing a demographic implosion, which is putting increasing -- although still subtle -- pressures on the ability of European nations to maintain technological infrastructures and to pay back large debts. If Europe goes through with this suicidal abandonment of reliable power sources in favour of the intermittent unreliables -- and goes even more deeply in debt in the process -- future generations of Europeans will pay the the price.

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Blogger Hell_Is_Like_Newark said...

MIT released a rather comprehensive study on the impact of renewables on the electrical grid:


I haven't had enough time to go through it in detail. What I have gone through though is rather distressing.

If the off-shore wind project goes through in NJ, I might just invest in a non-synchronous natural gas generator. It might be worth it just to be off the grid.

Thursday, 31 May, 2012  
Blogger al fin said...

HILN: I agree, the MIT report makes a good starting point. Unfortunately, even MIT is forced to make obeisance to political correctness, so the report was not nearly so stark and uncompromising as it should have been.

Perhaps the most useful aspect of the MIT report was the examination of the expensive additional wear and tear on the gas and coal facilities, which are necessary for backing up the intermittent unreliable sources, wind and solar.

The total costs of national and international attempts to increase dependency on the intermittent unreliable energy sources is much higher than has yet been made public anywhere.

Thursday, 31 May, 2012  
Blogger Matt M said...

The coming trend - getting pushed off the grid in search of dependable energy.

Friday, 01 June, 2012  

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“During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act” _George Orwell

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