Al Gore says Germany will be ‘left behind’ if it doesn’t stick to climate policies that are wrecking energy prices

By Tim Pearce

International climate activist Al Gore says Germany must further push its domestic energy markets to embrace green energy or risk getting “left behind,” Politico reports.

Within the last decade, Germany has pursued an aggressive strategy to transition its energy grid away from fossil fuels and toward renewable sources such as solar and wind. German politicians have used subsidies to encourage new investment and regulations to cut down on emissions, Fortune Magazine reports.

“Germany was a model for the rest of the world and a narrative took hold here in Germany that might be summarized as ‘Germany leads and everyone follows,’” former-Vice President Gore told Politco in an interview. “But that narrative is now out of date.”

The German people have funded the green revolution through taxes and a surcharge on energy bills that caused the average German’s energy costs to skyrocket more than 50 percent from 2006 to 2016.

“For us it’s a very good business, but for the German people it’s very bad,” German farmer and entrepreneur Dieter Dürrmeier told Fortune for a March 2017 article. Dürrmeier is enrolled in a government program that pays his family about $42,000 annually to produce solar energy from panels attached to the roof of his barns and house.

The aggressive national policy is pricing natural gas and nuclear energy plants out of markets. Plants are shuttering in towns where energy production is a major segment of the economy, Fortune reports.

German politicians are also phasing out nuclear energy because of fears of another Fukushima disaster. In 2011, a tsunami hit the Fukushima nuclear plant in Japan, causing a nuclear meltdown in three reactor cores. Fears spread that nuclear fallout and radiation could kill thousands, though no cases of sickness or death related to radiation have been recorded.

Pushing out carbon-neutral nuclear plants have put more reliance on German coal plants to burn increasing amounts of cheap lignite coal, which is plentiful in Germany. Germany produced 40 percent of its energy from coal in 2016, Fortune reports.

“Germany is in danger of being left behind as more aggressive EU governments seize the lead,” Gore told Politico. “The competitive advantages and job creation advantages of the sustainability revolution put Germany at risk of being left behind. Of course, the subsidies for coal in Germany are enormous.”

Germany’s renewable energy campaign has taken root in other countries in Europe and in China. German investment and production of green energy technology has lowered the costs for other countries looking to cut back on carbon emissions and take up more renewable sources into their energy grids.

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Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons/Erik Charlton

7 thoughts on “Al Gore says Germany will be ‘left behind’ if it doesn’t stick to climate policies that are wrecking energy prices

  1. Gore is a liar. should be in jail for fraud with a loud wind turbine outside his cell to provide some intermittent, unreliable trickle of power.
    A new German paper assesses wind energy in Europe . The results are devastating. It concludes that wind energy requires almost 100% backup and that the more capacity that gets installed, the greater the volatility.

  2. Mediocre Wind and Solar Conditions in New England

    Here is a summary of wind and solar conditions in New England, which apply to most of northern Europe as well.

    Wind and Solar Conditions in New England:

    New England has highly variable weather and low-medium quality wind and solar conditions. See NREL wind map and NREL solar map.

    – Wind electricity is zero about 30% of the hours of the year (it takes a wind speed of about 7 mph to start the rotors)
    – It is minimal most early mornings and most late afternoons/early evenings (peak demand hours), especially during summer
    – About 60% is generated at night, when demand is much less than during the late afternoons/early evenings
    – About 60% is generated in winter.
    – During winter, the best wind month is up to 2.5 times the worst summer month
    – New England has the lowest capacity factor (about 0.262) of any US region, except the US South. See URL.

    – Solar electricity is strictly a midday affair.
    – It is zero about 65% of the hours of the year, mostly at night.
    – It is minimal early mornings and late afternoons/early evenings
    – It is minimal much of the winter months
    – It is minimal for several days with snow and ice on most of the panels.
    – It varies with variable cloudiness, which would excessively disturb distribution grids with many solar systems, as happens in southern California and southern Germany on a daily basis.
    – During summer, the best solar month is up to 4 times the worst winter month; that ratio is 6 in Germany.
    – New England has the lowest capacity factor (about 0.145, under ideal conditions) of any region in the US, except some parts of the US Northwest.

    Wind Plus Solar:
    – Wind plus solar production could be near zero, if a multi-day wind lull were to occur, with snow and ice on most of the panels, as frequently happens during December, January and February.

    If we were to rely on wind and solar for most of our electricity, massive energy storage systems (GWh-scale in case of Vermont, TWh-scale in case of New England) would be required to cover multi-day wind lulls, multi-day overcast/snowy periods, and seasonal variations.

  3. Shortcomings of Wind And Solar

    Variable and intermittent wind and solar electricity cannot exist on any electric grid without the traditional, dispatchable generators performing the peaking, filling-in and balancing. Battery systems could be used, but the cost would be well in excess of $400 per kilowatt-hour delivered as AC to the high voltage grid. See Note.

    NOTE: Wind and solar (before and after the meter) were 2.7 and 1.97 percent of all electricity on the NE grid in 2017, per ISO-NE. Total RE electricity was 10.17 percent (including before and after the meter solar), after about 20 years of subsidies. It should be obvious, past RE development was very slow, and future development likely will be just as slow. See URL.

    Wind and Solar as Dominant Electricity Sources Would be Too Expensive

    New Englanders will need traditional generators for at least several decades while RE would become the major energy source of the NE grid.

    Renewable energy proponents want to close down existing coal, gas, oil and nuclear plants, all produce electricity at less than 5 cent per kilowatt-hour, and obstruct increased, domestic, low-cost natural gas supply via pipelines.

    The prices of wind and solar paid by NE utilities to producers are much higher than in the rest of the US, because of New England’s mediocre wind and solar conditions.

    Onshore/ridge line wind about 9.5 cent per kilowatt-hour
    Offshore wind at least 18 cent
    Large-scale, field-mounted, competitively auctioned solar about 13 cent
    Residential, rooftop solar about 15.1 cent

    The above prices would be about 30 to 50% higher without the subsidies, and even higher without cost shifting to ratepayers and taxpayers, such as for:

    1) The filling-in, peaking and balancing, due to wind and solar variability/intermittency;
    2) Grid-related, such as grid extensions and augmentations to connect and deal with wind and solar;
    3) Utility-scale energy storage, which is presently provided by the world’s fuel supply system.

  4. Al “Climate Saviour” Gore did he walk to Germany or fly over in his gas-guzzling Jet?
    Big Al what a “BS” Artist.

    The Sky is Falling, The Sky is Falling!

  5. This from the same guy who said NYC would be under water by now? And bought a multimillion dollar estate on the coast that should be under water to and uses over 40 Times more energy then the average home?

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