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Power Science Technology

Germany Sets New National Record With 85 Percent of Its Electricity Sourced From Renewables (digitaltrends.com) 404

Germany was able to set a new national record for the last weekend of April with 85 percent of all electricity consumed in the country being produced from renewables -- wind, solar, biomass, and hydroelectric power. Digital Trends reports: Aided by a seasonal combination of windy but sunny weather, during that weekend the majority of Germany's coal-fired power stations weren't even operating, while nuclear power stations (which the country plans to phase out by the year 2022) were massively reduced in output. To be clear, this is impressive even by Germany's progressive standards. By comparison, in March just over 40 percent of all electricity consumed in the country came from renewable sources. However, while the end-of-April weekend was an aberration, the hope is that it won't be for too much longer. According to Patrick Graichen of the country's sustainability-focused Agora Energiewende Initiative, German renewable energy percentages in the mid-80s should be "completely normal" by the year 2030.
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Germany Sets New National Record With 85 Percent of Its Electricity Sourced From Renewables

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  • Not bad (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Lennie ( 16154 ) on Friday May 12, 2017 @03:08AM (#54404177)

    10 or maybe even more years ago, Germany government was funding renewable energy production to get it to a mass production level, since a couple of years they are funding energy storage.

    Anyone want to complain how it's not working ?

    • by Lennie ( 16154 )

      Interesting, it took 5 minutes for this comment to even show up ?

    • Re:Not bad (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 12, 2017 @03:43AM (#54404263)

      10 or maybe even more years ago, Germany government was funding renewable energy production to get it to a mass production level, since a couple of years they are funding energy storage.

      Anyone want to complain how it's not working ?

      You can't have what Germany has without the heavy hand of government.
      Something that is anathema to you american rednecks and hillbillies.
      Especially to those in both chambers of Congress.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Opportunist ( 166417 )

        ...and me without modpoints...

        Terse and to the point. This, and a million times this.

    • Re:Not bad (Score:5, Informative)

      by ShanghaiBill ( 739463 ) on Friday May 12, 2017 @04:26AM (#54404367)

      Anyone want to complain how it's not working ?

      Sure, I will. Electric power in Germany is more than twice as expensive as it is in America. That is because the costs of all the subsidies are pushed onto the consumer in what is effectively a regressive tax. Maybe what they are doing has some long term benefits, but considering that more than half of every electric bill goes to subsidise the renewables and the politically driven nuke closures, by many criteria it is "not working".

      So what are they getting at such an enormous cost? This "85%" figure is a statistical fluke. Most days Germany gets 45% of their electric generation from coal, and 26% from lignite or "brown coal", the world's filthiest fuel. Overall, Germany's electricity generation produces nearly as much CO2 per kw-hr as America. There was no good reason to shut down their nukes, as they were already running and already fueled. Nearly all the cost of a nuke is in the construction, and while building new nukes is economically questionable, it is silly to shut down a stable running plant. If those plants are kept in operation, they could offset nearly all the lignite. Instead they are installing solar panels in the world's second cloudiest location (the Bering Sea is first).

      • Re:Not bad (Score:5, Insightful)

        by thegarbz ( 1787294 ) on Friday May 12, 2017 @04:50AM (#54404427)

        Electric power in Germany is more than twice as expensive as it is in America.

        Electric power in the entire world is twice as expensive as it is in America. Petrol and diesel even more so. Don't mistake what makes Germany unique for what actually makes America unique.

        • by vyvepe ( 809573 )
          Most of the world does not pay 0.0688 EUR/kWh as green energy subsidy: https://www.cleanenergywire.or... [cleanenergywire.org]
          • Re:Not bad (Score:4, Insightful)

            by thegarbz ( 1787294 ) on Friday May 12, 2017 @05:39AM (#54404523)

            My point exactly. But if you want to compare the situation in Germany to the USA, they also on average use less than half the electricity per person, so that "high" cost of green energy isn't anywhere near as bad as Americans may think.

            • Re:Not bad (Score:4, Interesting)

              by Ol Olsoc ( 1175323 ) on Friday May 12, 2017 @09:44AM (#54405303)

              My point exactly. But if you want to compare the situation in Germany to the USA, they also on average use less than half the electricity per person, so that "high" cost of green energy isn't anywhere near as bad as Americans may think.

              They seem to be on to something, this country that is the size of a state, and yet is the 4th largest economy in the world. Most interesting when viewed per capita.

              And we all can cut our electrical consumption a lot without affecting our quality of life.

          • by necro81 ( 917438 )

            Most of the world does not pay 0.0688 EUR/kWh as green energy subsidy

            And yet it doesn't seem to be hurting their standard of living, or their economy as a whole.

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by Mashiki ( 184564 )

          You know, electricity was cheap in Canada until they started pushing "green energy" too. Then it started going through the roof because everyone get's screwed over paying FiT's and rebates for the programs. Oh yes, just love the $0.188kWh, when it was 0.08kWh at peak. And now with the lying Liberal government here in Ontario, and their attempt to buy people off by taking a massive loan to give a short-term paydown, well electricity rates are going to go through the roof. [brantfordexpositor.ca] Watch for the absolute shit-show

          • Re:Not bad (Score:5, Interesting)

            by thegarbz ( 1787294 ) on Friday May 12, 2017 @06:42AM (#54404679)

            You know, electricity was cheap in Canada until they started pushing "green energy" too.

            Electricity was cheap in Australia too before they started pushing green energy. Except green energy had nothing to do with the price. Along with green energy came major infrastructure investments and the decree that we should never again have power outages. The gold plating began.

            Causation vs correlation. A lot has happened in the power generation and transmission business in the past 15 years all over the world.

            What do people think is going to happen when prices go up 40% when all this is figured in and wages continue to remain stagnant.

            They stop running the AC and Heater at the same time? Many other countries have coped just fine, except that where I live prices didn't go up 40% they went up 350%. We are also coping just fine and then were one of the few to avoid a major recession during the crisis. The Canadians are worse than the Americans when it comes to average electricity consumption. Fortunately you're marginally better in actual emissions but you have still a way to go before you start getting an emissions footprint as good as China.

            Maybe it's time prices reflected what you do to the world and then you can start looking for alternatives.

            • There was an excellent radio documentary I caught from the Australian Broadcasting Corporation by the program Background Briefing concerning the price of electricity. A lot of it had to do with the fact that the companies doing the distribution were being paid cost plus a fixed rate of profit and had little oversight on what they were doing. So lines were going in at the wrong places and the wrong sizes. After all if you massively overbuild a line or put a line in that isn't needed they were still getting

            • by Mashiki ( 184564 )

              Electricity was cheap in Australia too before they started pushing green energy. Except green energy had nothing to do with the price. Along with green energy came major infrastructure investments and the decree that we should never again have power outages. The gold plating began.

              You click on those links? No? Go read them. Green energy is the exact cause of it being so expensive here in Ontario. $0.50kWh+ is what solar and wind are being paid, some are still being paid at $0.80kWh. If you're running solar/wind on a reserve? They pay you at $1.356kWh. So tell me again how that's not costing everyone money when nuclear is running $0.06kWh, and hydro-electric is running at $0.04kWh on the market. That's also not counting that you're paying the subsidies to install those with ever

              • You know that Americans are definitely the greatest at one thing: Making excuses.

                You should try paying the same as everyone else for electricity and petrol and we'll see if you sit around and make excuses or actually solve the underlying engineering problem of poorly insulated, poorly constructed housing, and cars that use more fuel just to start their engine than many overseas cars use to commute to work.

                For the greatest country on earth you certainly seem to have a lot of unsolvable problems that the rest

          • by ls671 ( 1122017 )

            Quebec is still pretty cheap and beats Germany at electricity from renewables: 97%

            http://www.hydroquebec.com/res... [hydroquebec.com]

            https://www.mern.gouv.qc.ca/en... [gouv.qc.ca]

            • by Mashiki ( 184564 )

              Quebec if you might have noticed from those links gets the majority of it's energy production from dun, dun, dun....hydro-electric. Because it's incredibly lucky to have the terrain to support it. Hydro-electric is also cheap in Ontario, solar, wind? Not. Especially not at 0.80kWh. But hydro-electric is also only renewable when you've got an upstream water source right.

          • You know, electricity was cheap in Canada until they started pushing "green energy" too.

            Electricity's also gotten more expensive in places where they're not "pushing "green energy"".

            Are you sure the price of electricity hasn't gone up due to Canadian hockey teams getting worse?

      • by bsolar ( 1176767 )

        Countries investing in renewables know perfectly well the strategy means higher prices in the short term, so prices being higher today is actually part of the strategy and by no means evidence it's "not working": it's actually working as planned... I actually think the US should have higher electricity costs to finance a long term energy strategy too, whatever it will be (not necessarily renewables).

        It's my understanding in the US the focus is much more on the short term advantages, but countries investing

        • Re:Not bad (Score:5, Interesting)

          by Mashiki ( 184564 ) <<moc.liamg> <ta> <ikihsam>> on Friday May 12, 2017 @06:04AM (#54404581) Homepage

          Define "short term" because here in Ontario, we're at ~16 years and the costs just keep going up. [financialpost.com] It's completely screwed up the electricity system of Ontario as well. [financialpost.com] So much so that even the government that parroted it for over a decade is say well, we screwed up. [globalnews.ca] You know why they're saying that? Because they're about to go from a majority to a non-party and are trying to salvage themselves. [680news.com]

          Now the kicker is people use less electricity and the prices keep going up, just like how they claimed that "ToD" meters would make electricity cheap. And the costs of it kept going up. This whole idea of paying via FiT and green energy rebates doesn't work and only makes people poorer. Hell it drives businesses out, which means governments need to find new tax bases. So who are the first taxed? Shouldn't be hard for anyone to figure out, but if you need a hint, it's not businesses. And the Federal Liberal Party is pushing for this exact same garbage on Canada.

          • Re:Not bad (Score:5, Insightful)

            by AmiMoJo ( 196126 ) <mojo@@@world3...net> on Friday May 12, 2017 @07:42AM (#54404799) Homepage Journal

            The Green Energy Act came in 2009, 8 years ago. According to Wikipedia, it likely only have a very minimal effect on prices: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/... [wikipedia.org]

            In fact, all available evidence suggests that only around 3% of the cost increase was due to "green" subsidies and FiT, the majority being other incidental costs and guaranteed payments to nuclear generators.

            If you really care about getting energy costs down, you should demand nuclear plants have their guaranteed payment agreements cancelled (likely impossible) and support expansion of renewable energy as quickly as possible.

            • Agreed. And add to this the problem with the aging infrastructure that needed renewal. This is a major factor in the price of electricity in Ontario and was a problem that should have been taken care of when the conservatives were still in power.
          • by bsolar ( 1176767 )
            Ontario's energy problems are not due to the overall idea of renewables being a mistake [theglobeandmail.com], they actually pre-date it...

            But, wary of the previous cost overruns at Ontario Hydro, the government decided to outsource the work of building and running the new power plants to the private sector. The private sector would be responsible for cost overruns and other construction problems in exchange for 20-year contracts from the province. The contracts essentially guaranteed that the companies would receive a certain amount of revenue – no matter how much electricity their plants produced (though they would be paid more if the province used their electricity).

            The first major wave of private power plants was fuelled with natural gas. Later plants were tied to the Green Energy Act, which provided lucrative terms for wind and solar plants in a bid to build a renewable-power industry in the province.

            Ultimately, the province built more plants than it actually needed. In 2014, according to the Auditor-General, Ontario had the capacity to produce 30,203 megawatts of power – but only needed 15,959 on an average day. (Even on the busiest day of the year, the province only required 22,774 megawatts.)

            So the province has a massive surplus of generating capacity, but because much of it is tied up in private, 20-year contracts, Ontarians have to pay for all that electricity – whether they need it or not.

            And Ontarians are still paying for the nuclear plants Ontario Hydro built in the eighties and nineties. When Ontario Hydro was broken up, its debt was hived off into an item called the “stranded debt,” which is being paid down by electricity users.

      • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

        People will always complain about taxes. The reality is, the overall cost of living/quality of life in Germany is pretty good. Better than the UK which is building new nuclear and isn't all that committed to renewables (our last PM referred to them as "green crap").

      • Sure, I will. Electric power in Germany is more than twice as expensive as it is in America. That is because the costs of all the subsidies are pushed onto the consumer in what is effectively a regressive tax.

        The former is the case in many countries regardless of subsidies, because of taxes and increased input costs. When will Americans realize that we don't have your cheap-ass natural gas?

        There was no good reason to shut down their nukes

        That is the one thing we can agree on.

        Instead they are installing solar panels in the world's second cloudiest location (the Bering Sea is first).

        The economic propriety of this is a function of costs as well. At close to $1/Wp in utility installations, even the world's second cloudiest location can claim a case for solar. So can the slightly more expensive residential installations when the alternative is the retail price of electri

      • by ImdatS ( 958642 )

        Sure, I will. Electric power in Germany is more than twice as expensive as it is in America.

        The thing is that we consume a lot less electricity in Germany. You know, houses are built such that you don't need much heating in winter (though, where I live it can get -20 Celsius in winter) and we don't use air conditioning (at least not in our homes). I have yet to find a single home in Germany that has air conditioning.

        When I lived in NYC, the apartment needed constant air conditioning in summer. Since everybody is using air conditioning, the city heats up and you need even more air conditioning. It

    • Re:Not bad (Score:5, Informative)

      by LynnwoodRooster ( 966895 ) on Friday May 12, 2017 @06:25AM (#54404641) Journal
      They need to do a better job, then? Because once you adjust for purchasing power of different currencies, Germany has about the most expensive electricity in the world [ovoenergy.com] (save for a few small island nations). Yes, it's renewable - it also is twice that of their nuclear powered neighbor [wikipedia.org], France. So kudos, Germany - you've proved that you can occasionally spike high in "renewables" generation for only twice the price of a sane, nuclear power approach!
      • Re:Not bad (Score:5, Insightful)

        by bsolar ( 1176767 ) on Friday May 12, 2017 @08:21AM (#54404921)
        From the link you provided:

        Électricité de France (EDF) – the country's main electricity generation and distribution company – manages the country's nuclear power plants. EDF is substantially owned by the French government, with around 85% of EDF shares in government hands.

        78.9% of Areva shares are owned by the French public sector company CEA and are therefore in public ownership.

        EDF remains heavily in debt. Its profitability suffered during the recession which began in 2008. It made €3.9 billion in 2009, which fell to €1.02 billion in 2010, with provisions set aside amounting to €2.9 billion.

        The Nuclear industry has been accused of significant cost overruns and failing to cover the total costs of operation, including waste management and decommissioning.

        In 2016, the European Commission assessed that France's nuclear decommissioning liabilities were seriously underfunded, with only 23 billion euros of earmarked assets to cover 74.1 billion euros of expected decommissioning costs.

    • So in the weekend on the perfect day when solar and wind are at max we are covering 85% of residential consumption.
      In the European Union household electric energy consumption is about 30% rest being the industry and services. Considering Germany industrial sector it will be safe to say the domestic energy consumption will be around 20% of total electric energy consumption.

      So in a perfect weekend Germany was able to provide less than one fifth of electricity consumption during the week.

      To cover the industry

  • 10 or probably even more years ago the German government started funding renewable energy production to get it to mass production level, these days they are funding energy storage.

    Anyone want to discuss how their plans are not working ?

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by AHuxley ( 892839 )
      Germany imports its power. Germany likes to tell the world it does not import other nations "nuclear" power.
      Lots of energy imports but not from other nations nuclear producers. Other nations nuclear power is consumed as produced in their own nations.
      A lot of energy is also passed around the EU too. So that all changes depending on the count and destination nation and how the media presents the energy use.
      Germany also needs to ensure its PV capacity keeps growing. When the sun is out and the wind is
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Germany indeed imports power. But it also exports power. A lot. Actually a lot more than it imports. In 2016 it exporte 55,5 TWh more than it imported.

        Source: https://de.statista.com/statistik/daten/studie/153533/umfrage/stromimportsaldo-von-deutschland-seit-1990/

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

        Germany is not nearly finished with its transition. It is expected to be nuclear free by around 2023. This news is just showing that they are well on their way to that goal, with another 5 years to go before we can really judge the outcome.

        If you go back 5 or 10 years on Slashdot you can see hoards of idiots claiming that Germany can't do this and will become a third world country with intermittent power and will massively increase coal dependence and is headed for the stone age. Some predicted that only th

        • If you go back 5 or 10 years on Slashdot you can see hoards of idiots claiming that Germany can't do this and will become a third world country with intermittent power and will massively increase coal dependence and is headed for the stone age....

          Whoever said that does not know Germans very well. Outlandish as that statement is, after watching what has unfolded in the US over the last year, I can actually believe that a large number of Foghorn Leghorns with a paid up membership of the Republican party went on the record and said something to that effect.

        • Re:Not bad (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Kiuas ( 1084567 ) on Friday May 12, 2017 @05:20AM (#54404483)

          It is expected to be nuclear free by around 2023

          I personally think this is their main problem. Right now the focus of all industrialized nations should be on ditching the use of fossil fuels as rapidly as possible. Nuclear power is an effective way of producing energy to cover up for what cannot be produced by renewables. Right now as they're adamant on ditching nuclear as well, their CO2 emissions are rising [cleanenergywire.org] and they're unlikely to meet their emission goals, because increased demand has to be met with increased used of natural gas, which, while better than coal for sure, is not as good emissions wise as nuclear. [wikipedia.org]

          Now don't get me wrong, I think nuclear is not a permanent solution so the idea of going fully renewable is good. I just think their implementation and schedule is slightly foolish. If they kept some of the nuclear and used that to provide the rest of what they need, they wouldn't have to use natural gas, or import as much energy from abroad.

          The main reason I stopped voting for the Green party here in Finland was their illogical opposition to the use of nuclear energy as part of a strategy to cut down on emissions. Because the 'green' crowd has absurd fears of nuclear due to radiation they end up favoring policies which in the short-to-mid term drive emissions up, all in the name of protecting the environment.

          The challenges with storing nuclear waste are much easier to solve than the challenges we're going to amass by continuing to release CO2 in current amounts, which is why I don't favor adopting the German approach even though we do have the same goal in mind.

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

            This is an example of the mistake I was trying to warn against making. Yes, in the short term their CO2 emissions are rising, but they are getting where they need to go very rapidly. It's a short term small rise for a long term huge gain.

            As for nuclear, it's mostly about the cost. Rather than throwing more money at nuclear energy (it needs investment to keep going, with new plants and work to extend the life of old ones) they chose to invest that money in renewable generation and storage.

            Rather than saying

            • Re:Not bad (Score:4, Insightful)

              by Bongo ( 13261 ) on Friday May 12, 2017 @06:17AM (#54404617)

              I don't understand. What country like Germany can come to run on 90% renewables all year round?

              I think there are desirable principles and beliefs, and there are practical outcomes, and I do not see how we are any closer to that goal.

              I could get on a cycle generator and pedal away for 24 hours and cover 90% of my home energy use that day...and that proves nothing, as it is just a fluke.

              And people talk about storage. Where is all this storage? Are we really better off investing in developing theoretical storage technologies rather than more up-to-date nuclear technologies?

              I don't understand why people are so enamoured of wind and solar. They still ruin the landscape views.

              And I say this as someone who would quite like it if all the city and street and home lights were turned off at night, and we could once again enjoy good starry skies and get some natural sleep in darkness.

              You can make anything work for a short time. "Green" and "renewables" and "clean" are often just adjectives used to make the thing sound pretty. Where is the truly sustainable technology??

              I cannot see how CO2 is the near-civilisation-ending threat but we continue having coal stations in order to try to have time to make renewables and storage work -- that is not someone who has any sense of urgency. Nuclear is the only option. Unfortunately, it just is.

              • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

                You know that wind blows at night, right? And Germany has quite a lot of wind. And batteries.

              • Nuclear is the only option. Unfortunately, it just is.

                Curtailing unnecessary economic activity designed to make the rich richer is the only option. It just is.

          • It is expected to be nuclear free by around 2023

            I personally think this is their main problem. Right now the focus of all industrialized nations should be on ditching the use of fossil fuels as rapidly as possible. Nuclear power is an effective way of producing energy to cover up for what cannot be produced by renewables. Right now as they're adamant on ditching nuclear as well, their CO2 emissions are rising [cleanenergywire.org] and they're unlikely to meet their emission goals, because increased demand has to be met with increased used of natural gas, which, while better than coal for sure, is not as good emissions wise as nuclear. [wikipedia.org]

            Now don't get me wrong, I think nuclear is not a permanent solution so the idea of going fully renewable is good. I just think their implementation and schedule is slightly foolish. If they kept some of the nuclear and used that to provide the rest of what they need, they wouldn't have to use natural gas, or import as much energy from abroad.

            The main reason I stopped voting for the Green party here in Finland was their illogical opposition to the use of nuclear energy as part of a strategy to cut down on emissions. Because the 'green' crowd has absurd fears of nuclear due to radiation they end up favoring policies which in the short-to-mid term drive emissions up, all in the name of protecting the environment.

            The challenges with storing nuclear waste are much easier to solve than the challenges we're going to amass by continuing to release CO2 in current amounts, which is why I don't favor adopting the German approach even though we do have the same goal in mind.

            The problem with Nuclear in Germany is and always will be the same.... PR, politics and the spotty history of nuclear power. The industry keeps claiming nuclear is the safest best and most environmentally friendly option out there and yet all the public sees is that we keep getting incidents like Three Mile Island, perpetual SNAFUS like Sellafield, and downright disasters like Chernobyl and Fukushima due to a combination of greedy executives and widespread industry incompetence. Fukushima was actually one o

            • by Viol8 ( 599362 )

              A typical hysterical reaction against nuclear. Anyone would think coal power stations don't emit radioactive particles. Also didn't anyone tell you that France next door has been producing almost half of its electricity through nuclear power for 50 years?

        • Re:Not bad (Score:4, Insightful)

          by ledow ( 319597 ) on Friday May 12, 2017 @06:35AM (#54404661) Homepage

          You can achieve almost anything if you're willing to throw enough money and people at it.

          From the Great Pyramids to putting a man on the moon.

          The question to ask is not "Did these people want something and do it?" but "Was what they wanted practical and sensible?"

          They are entirely different questions.

          I could run a country from AA batteries, if I'm allowed to tax everyone and use government money to do it, and people get behind the idea. Whether that's sensible or sustainable is another matter entirely.

          • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

            by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

            The comparison with going to the moon is an interesting one. Lots of useful technologies came out of that effort, and it helped the US be leaders in things like semiconductors and material science. So although it cost a lot, it also provided a lot of economic benefits that are often hard to measure.

            Germany's transition needs to be seen in that light. It's not just about doing the right thing, it's about reducing longer term costs (replacing/extending the current nuclear plants would be incredibly expensive)

            • by ledow ( 319597 )

              Agreed. I am trying to play devil's advocate too.

              However, if we were to have taken the $110 billion (adjusted for today's money) that Apollo cost, and just put it into semiconductors and materials, would the US have gotten more out of it even if it couldn't have put a man up there. The fact we haven't been back for 50 years does tell you something about the practicality of doing that very thing that we knew even back then.

              Similarly, if we took the money that's going into solar, put it into nuclear, and su

        • Germany is not nearly finished with its transition. It is expected to be nuclear free by around 2023. This news is just showing that they are well on their way to that goal, with another 5 years to go before we can really judge the outcome.

          Actually, Germany is significantly slowing down expansion of solar and wind. At this point there are sill days when solar and wind struggle to provide 5% of demand. So they have a long way to go. The costs of adding new capacity are going up because of the major transmission infrastructure adjustments that will be required to achieve a higher capacity penetration from intermittent renewables. Prices will continue to rise. With nuclear shutdowns, CO2 emissions will rise as well for quite some time. Its a big

      • Germany is a net exporter and exports about 1/3rd of its energy production.
        At night we don't need solar energy.
        Germany is to big, to have 'no wind'.

        Any more questions?

        • Germany is a net exporter and exports about 1/3rd of its energy production. [...] Germany is to big, to have 'no wind'.

          Why is this discussion about imports and exports? Germany is in the EU common market. We might as well have discussed if Saarland is big enought to have wind.

      • Re:Not bad (Score:4, Insightful)

        by ShanghaiBill ( 739463 ) on Friday May 12, 2017 @04:39AM (#54404403)

        Germany imports its power.

        Yes and no. Germany exports peak power to other countries during the day. At night, Germany imports base load power from French nukes. The price is higher during the day, so even if Germany imports and exports the same amount of kw-hrs, they still make money.

  • by harvey the nerd ( 582806 ) on Friday May 12, 2017 @03:22AM (#54404213)
    Germany is so sustainable, that they may turn you into fertilizer when you freeze to death with some of the most expensive electric bills in the industrialized world (about 35 cents/kWh, Denmark costs even more).
    • by Sique ( 173459 ) on Friday May 12, 2017 @03:32AM (#54404239) Homepage
      Austria, whose electric energy generation is 70% based on renewables, has energy prices of about 20 ct/kWh. It's not the way Germany generates energy, it's about how Germany taxes energy.
      • by Opportunist ( 166417 ) on Friday May 12, 2017 @04:43AM (#54404409)

        You might want to add that Austria is pretty rich in hydroelectricity due to its rather mountainous landscape with lots of rivers that allow building hydro plants, along with a long standing tradition of using wood as a primary source for heating due to having extensive forests.

        Austria and Iceland, and maybe Sweden, are countries that you should not use to compare energy generation and consumption. It's not that easy for everyone.

      • Austria generates around 2/3rds of its electricity with hydro, by far the easiest and cheapest form of large-scale renewable power. Hydro power generation doesn't vary between day and night; daily weather conditions do not affect it (their plants do produce less in winter though). Also, at the moment, hydro is pretty much the only solution we have to the big problem that plagues any large deployment of other renewable power sources: energy storage. That means having a lot of hydro facilities affects the
        • by Sique ( 173459 )
          Austria only generates 40% of its energy with hydro, another 30% are other renewables like biomass or wind.
      • It's also about how the numbers are reported. I don't know anyone who's paying more than 30c (US) / kWh. Most pay closer to 25c/kWh.

    • by dunkelfalke ( 91624 ) on Friday May 12, 2017 @04:40AM (#54404407)

      Whence did you get the strange idea that electrical heating is widely used over here? Moreover, Germany is not a very cold country and many houses are insulated quite well because upgrading insulation was sponsored by the government a while ago. The typical heating bill for a rented apartment (that's how the majority of Germans live) is about 700 EUR a year and quite a bit less than that if the house is insulated and it is paid as a part of the rent anyway.

      Oh, by the way, just to rub it in your face: in the USA, the land of the free, where electricity is dirt cheap, on average 1500 people freeze to death every bloody year. In Germany 100 hypothermia deaths would be considered serious.

      • Whence did you get the strange idea that electrical heating is widely used over here? Moreover, Germany is not a very cold country and many houses are insulated quite well because upgrading insulation was sponsored by the government a while ago. The typical heating bill for a rented apartment (that's how the majority of Germans live) is about 700 EUR a year and quite a bit less than that if the house is insulated and it is paid as a part of the rent anyway.

        Oh, by the way, just to rub it in your face: in the USA, the land of the free, where electricity is dirt cheap, on average 1500 people freeze to death every bloody year. In Germany 100 hypothermia deaths would be considered serious.

        Actually, the north of Germany can be pretty bloody cold in the winter. It used to be that large parts of the Baltic froze over, the Firth of Kiel for example used to freeze over pretty regularly and did so as recently as the winter of 1995/6.

        • I am originally from Rostock ;-)
          Can't really call it cold, though. Lived in Finland for a year, now that was cold.

      • in the USA, the land of the free, where electricity is dirt cheap, on average 1500 people freeze to death every bloody year

        And I'm sure this has everything to do with electricity costs and not that the US doesn't institutionalize its homeless population anymore, right?

    • by thegarbz ( 1787294 ) on Friday May 12, 2017 @05:01AM (#54404439)

      Germany is so sustainable that they don't do stupid things like try and inefficiently heat houses with electricity. No one freezes to death, actually the houses are quite warm, well insulated and have very low running costs. While the cost of power is high the average consumption of a German house is half that of the USA.

      By the way I am paying 0.24EUR / kWh which converts to 26c/kWh not the 35c/kWh you quote.

      Congratulations, you're paying more for electricity than we are. Are you freezing to death?

  • hydro-electric (Score:4, Interesting)

    by phantomfive ( 622387 ) on Friday May 12, 2017 @03:26AM (#54404219) Journal
    Hydroelectric isn't renewable. Sediment fills up the dams over time, and they are done. See for example [glencanyon.org]:

    The 200-foot high Matilija Dam (left, photo courtesy of Matilija Coalition), has completely filled in with sediment in only thirty years. It has been decommissioned and the process of removing the dam and restoring the river has begun.

    • Hydroelectric isn't renewable. Sediment fills up the dams over time, and they are done.

      That sounds to me like a problem that can be solved with good engineering and proper design, just like many of the other environmental problems. I have spent something like a minute thinking about it, and here is what I came up with: sediments settle in slow moving water, so perhaps if the dam had a few outlets near the bottom, it would create a fast moving bottom layer without compromising the overall power generation? And if I, with no expert knowledge, can think of what may well be a plausible way to add

      • Re:hydro-electric (Score:5, Insightful)

        by phantomfive ( 622387 ) on Friday May 12, 2017 @05:01AM (#54404441) Journal

        That sounds to me like a problem that can be solved with good engineering and proper design, just like many of the other environmental problems. I have spent something like a minute thinking about it.......

        Engineers have been thinking about the problem for decades and haven't solved it. What are the chances you solved it with little thought?

        And if I, with no expert knowledge, can think of what may well be a plausible way to address the issue, how much more could a proper team of engineers come up with, if they tried?

        See this [xkcd.com] and this [xkcd.com].

        • That sounds to me like a problem that can be solved with good engineering and proper design, just like many of the other environmental problems. I have spent something like a minute thinking about it.......

          Engineers have been thinking about the problem for decades and haven't solved it. What are the chances you solved it with little thought?

          And if I, with no expert knowledge, can think of what may well be a plausible way to address the issue, how much more could a proper team of engineers come up width, if they tried?

          See this [xkcd.com] and this [xkcd.com].

          XKCD spot on as usual.

        • That sounds to me like a problem that can be solved with good engineering and proper design, just like many of the other environmental problems. I have spent something like a minute thinking about it.......

          Engineers have been thinking about the problem for decades and haven't solved it. What are the chances you solved it with little thought?

          Try closer to a millenium... and they have solved it, in more or less exactly the way jandersen suggested.

          Engineers have been aware of the [silting] problem for centuries. A dam built in Spain in 1394 is still operating because it was built with a gate at its base so sediment can be flushed out. Some modern dams, including the giant Three Gorges Dam in China, incorporate similar systems. But American engineers, while ingenious at storing and moving water, essentially ignored sediment.

          Source: http://www.hcn. [hcn.org]

      • by ls671 ( 1122017 )

        Just install a giant agitator the size of the reservoir over it, powered by the dam. That's what I do with sugar in my coffee.

        Problem solved!

    • Re:hydro-electric (Score:5, Interesting)

      by ISayWeOnlyToBePolite ( 721679 ) on Friday May 12, 2017 @04:04AM (#54404319)

      Hydroelectric isn't renewable. Sediment fills up the dams over time, and they are done. See for example [glencanyon.org]:

      The 200-foot high Matilija Dam (left, photo courtesy of Matilija Coalition), has completely filled in with sediment in only thirty years. It has been decommissioned and the process of removing the dam and restoring the river has begun.

      RTFA!

      Scientific studies predict that without the reservoir, sediment deposits in the main channel upstream of the dam could be flushed out in as little as five years (CEA). The actual time is dependent on the future hydrologic events occurring in the Colorado River Basin.

      But still it ,might not have been a good place for a dam, but you can't generalize this to all dams. The Lake Homs Dam was opened in 284 AD and is still running "Remarkably, the reservoir has suffered very little silting since" https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/... [wikipedia.org] so when they eventually have to remove it to flush out the silt, I'm pretty sure it has paid for that and the reconstruction. What the average lifespan for a dam is, i have no idea.

    • by MrKaos ( 858439 )

      I think the video of the Condit Dam [youtube.com] drain down before demolition is great to watch. A concrete dam that was silted up, they set charges at the bottom, inside the dam to blow a hole through it. Apparently the silt is great for marine estuary health.

      Also, how operators almost lost Glen Canyon dam from some bad policy decisions [youtube.com] is pretty interesting due to the insights into spillway cavitation and what you can glean from what is going on over at Orville dam.

    • 30 years is a long time for a power plant. I'd be very surprised if any of the solar or wind farms were still operational after three decades.

      And there are hydro plants in operation that have been built nearly a century ago.

  • Impressive... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jez9999 ( 618189 ) on Friday May 12, 2017 @04:44AM (#54404415) Homepage Journal

    "To be clear, this is impressive even by Germany's progressive standards."

    No it isn't. It just shows their ongoing idiocy re: nuclear power. They could've reduced carbon (and other) emissions to zero by now if they'd increased nuclear output.

    • Re:Impressive... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by GuB-42 ( 2483988 ) on Friday May 12, 2017 @05:57AM (#54404563)

      Yeah, I wouldn't call a country shutting down nuclear power plants and building new coal plants "progressive".

      If you look here : https://www.electricitymap.org... [electricitymap.org] you'll see that most of the times, Germany is not that good. Right now it is at 414 gCO2/kWh, which is worse than the US (388) and 6 times worse than France (66). Ontario, Sweden and Norway are even better but they have the advantage of a high hydro capacity.
      What all the good players have in common : nuclear power of course.

      • Yeah, I wouldn't call a country shutting down nuclear power plants and building new coal plants "progressive".

        If you look here : https://www.electricitymap.org... [electricitymap.org] you'll see that most of the times, Germany is not that good. Right now it is at 414 gCO2/kWh, which is worse than the US (388) and 6 times worse than France (66). Ontario, Sweden and Norway are even better but they have the advantage of a high hydro capacity. What all the good players have in common : nuclear power of course.

        And those numbers don't even take into account another element of Germany's anti-nuke idiocy: the focus on renewables has created very high electricity prices in Germany, which has contributed greatly to Germany lagging behind the rest of the rich world in adopting electric vehicles. Meanwhile, nuclear-powered France (with electricity prices half of Germany's) is the hottest market in Europe for EVs. EVs are sold in small enough numbers everywhere that they don't yet make a significant difference in carbon

  • ... and this proves it too.

    Fission is not cost effective and only works with massive amounts of taxpayers money. And the only real effect it has is putting power in to the hands of few to the disadvantage of many.

    The world as such should decommision Fission ASAP, just like Germany is doing. The next Tchernobyl/Fukushima Fuckup is bound to happen, so we might aswell slim down our chances of that happening ASAP.

    My 2 eurocents.

    • by Trailer Trash ( 60756 ) on Friday May 12, 2017 @10:09AM (#54405403) Homepage

      ... and this proves it too.

      Fission is not cost effective and only works with massive amounts of taxpayers money.

      Yeah, unlike solar and wind <eyeroll>

      In case you missed it, Germans pay the highest amount for electricity in the world due to their solar/wind investments, which provide less than 10% of their power. They make up for it by burning the world's dirtiest coal. I know, doesn't fit the narrative...

  • by zerofoo ( 262795 ) on Friday May 12, 2017 @08:43AM (#54405031)

    Turns out Germany uses a shit-ton of carbon based energy sources:

    https://www.carbonbrief.org/ho... [carbonbrief.org]

    Call me when renewables make a dent in their existing carbon based energy sources.

    Before anyone accuses me of working for the carbon-based energy folks - I have a Model 3 on order - but I have no illusions as to what will be generating the electricity that I will use to charge it. In my area it's mostly Nuclear and Coal.

    I expect more critical thought from Slashdot readers.

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