Dienstag, Januar 16, 2007
The Cold Equations
Today's FAZ has an editorial that ends beautifully.Here's my quick translation (link is behind the gotta pay wall):
The Finns will be warm and cozy when the lights go out in Germany. They use continuous electricity production from biomass and extremely efficient power-heat coupling. The basis demand is met by nuclear energy. That is a sensible energy mix. But the Finns also have the better education system.
Ouch. That's about as nasty a nastygram as the German press is capable of.
What's the story?
Very simple: Germn energy policy, as it currently exists, will lead to the collapse of the German energy system.
There are two reasons.
First, there's a lot of nonsense about global warming, the need to reduce CO2, etc. This is for the indoctrinated and the accompanying useful idiots.
Second, German energy policy is chained to ideological precepts that have nothing to do with reality.
Yes, my friends, stupidity and irresponsibility are alive and flourishing in Germany!
Here's the rest of the story:
In the 60s and 70s there was a very broad and general acceptance of nuclear energy in Germany, seen as a necessary part of the energy mix. In the 1980s, in yet another desperate attempt to save the party from irrelevance, the SPD, the German socialists, decided that this was something that they had never agreed with, oh no, not us. The Red-Green administration under Schroeder, behoven to an increasingly anti-science votership, forced German companies running nuclear power plants to enter an accelerated depreciation schedule on those plants, and switched all research into wind and solar energy generation. The goal is to generate 20% of all German energy use in 2020 by using wind and solar.
Think of that: 20%. Does anyone know what that means?
It means that the lunatics will have taken over the asylum.
The FAZ editorial puts it in proper perspective: no one knows who will be the administration in Germany in 2020. But whoever they are, they will curse the policy decisions made at the turn of the millenium. They will curse when the first ship in the North Sea rams a wind generating pylon and brings the whole net to collapse; when the nets across Europe start to overload and the fail because of swings in German electricity supplies that will ripple through the electrical infrastructure; and when the critics point out that while Germany may have the highest level of renewable energy, it has a bad record of controlling emissions and that the money has been wasted; consumers will gripe about the very high electricity costs, and the environmentalists will bemoan the millions of dead birds and the herds of whales in the North Sea that will beach themselves because they've lost the ability to navigate inside a matric of 40 meter concrete sockets set into the ocean floor.
The problem is one of a simple technical nature, one that the irresponsible idiots - sorry, the duly elected officials - have deliberately ignored and rejected as being important. The problem is that the vector of growth of renewable energy supplies is slower than the vector of the basis demand.
That means nothing less than the growth of renewable energy is not going to be able to replace the energy sources that today make up the basis supply that ensures that the electrical infrastructure works the way it is supposed to.
Now, the only way that energy demand increases can be met when nuclear power is phased out is to build new plants. Since these can't be nuclear, they will have to be either oil, gas or coal. Hence: in their idiotic pursuit of the demonization of nuclear energy, the policies of the so-called environmentalists will actually increase those emissions that they will have literally spent billions on reducing.
In other words, the equations of the irresponsible, political idiots pushing these policies don't work: to repeat, there is no way that renewable energy production can replace German nuclear power generation in the German energy mix in the year 2020 (or even beyond that). There is no way: the equations do not work.
But the German environmental minister Gabriel has now promised, in Nairobi, that the Germans will generate 40% less CO2 by 2020, as long as the Europeans promise to generate 30% less. Completely and fully absurd, it's a promise not worth the paper it's written on.
What are Germans actually planning to do in order to replace nuclear energy in the German energy mix?
No less than 38 gas and coal generating plants with a total production of 24 000 MW and an annual CO2 production of ... 120 mn tons. This represents not an expansion of German energy production, but ONLY the replacement of nuclear energy. This means that the Germans willl reach the originally set goals that they were to have reached in 2005 in the year 2020.
But Gabriel has eaten the mushrooms. He claims that Germany's nuclear plants can be replaced with renewable electrical energy generation.
And the useful idiots - those who call themselves "critical thinkers" - don't even bother to check the numbers. They've all drinken the Kool-Aide, after all: we don't need to check numbers.
Too bad that the German taxpayers also don't do the numbers: on-shore wind power connection to the net is something that the owners pay for. Off-shore? The consumers of electrical energy generation will have to pay for it. We're literally talking about billions being put into the ground that consumers will have to pay for. You see, if the owners of the off-shore windmills had to pay for it, then they would literally never turn a profit, since the sunk costs - pun intended - would deter any rational investor.
This is what happens when anti-science people - the Greens in Germany are notoriously anti-science unless, of course, it's a pet environmental project - can successfully demonize energy production: you get a situation where the energy mix of the country is going to be so screwed up that it's almost going to make sense to start anew.
And the stupidity is reflected in the ironic final sentence: no wonder that the Germans are so screwed up. They've been indoctrinated for decades now that nuclear energy and a sensible energy mix is the work of the devil.
The current crop of German politicians is appalling at best and downright dangerous at worst.