Green Energy: Popular Delusion, Deadly Diversion from Reality
Solar farm operators and homeowners with solar panels on their roofs collected more than €8 billion ($10.2 billion) in subsidies in 2011, but the electricity they generated made up only about 3 percent of the total power supply, and that at unpredictable times.
The distribution networks are not designed to allow tens of thousands of solar panel owners to switch at will between drawing electricity from the grid and feeding power into it. Because there are almost no storage options, the excess energy has to be destroyed at substantial cost. German consumers already complain about having to pay the second-highest electricity prices in Europe. _DerSpiegel
There is a strong sentimental appeal to getting one's electrical power from the wind and the sun. All natural, free for the taking! What could be better?
"The demand for subsidies is growing and growing," says RWI expert Manuel Frondel. If all commitments to pay subsidies so far are added together, Frondel adds, "we have already exceeded the €100 billion level."But no! Wind energy is destined to occupy that position, Mein Herr!
The RWI also expects the green energy surcharge on electricity bills to go up again soon. It is currently 3.59 cents per kilowatt hour of electricity, a number the German government had actually pledged to cap at 3.5 cents. But because of the most recent developments, RWI expert Frondel predicts that the surcharge will soon increase to 4.7 cents per kilowatt hour. For the average family, this would amount to an additional charge of about €200 a year, in addition to the actual cost of electricity. Solar energy has the potential to become the most expensive mistake in German environmental policy. _DerSpiegel
In fact, all German solar energy systems combined produce less electricity than two nuclear power plants. And even that number is sugarcoated, because solar energy in a relatively cloudy country like Germany has to be backed up with reserve power plants. This leads to a costly, and basically unnecessary, dual structure. Figures indicating the peak performance of solar energy systems are easily misunderstood, a report by the German Physical Society says. "Essentially," the report concludes, "solar energy cannot replace any additional power plants."Spain, of course, receives far more solar illumination than Germany, yet Spain has been forced to slash solar subisdies due to their ruinous drain on the treasury. And yet, we continue to read this kind of rah! rah! drivel about the golden prospects for the solar power industry.
In Germany, solar is by far the most inefficient technology among renewable energy sources, and yet it receives the most subsidies. Some 56 percent of all green energy subsidies go to solar systems, which produce only 21 percent of subsidized energy. _DerSpiegel
Populations of the modern west are divided between the fashionable urbanistas who buy into "carbon hysteria" and damn all hydrocarbons and nuclear power -- and the more practical people who must actually do the work and get vital things done.
The deeper a society dives into the green energy dream and delusion, the more devastating the cost when reality finally sets in.
China has invested deeply in wind and solar energy production facilities. But that was mainly to meet demand that China saw arising in the west. For its own needs, China is building up its coal, nuclear, and unconventional gas infrastructures as quickly as it can.
In China's eyes, it is fine to let western nations bankrupt themselves with big wind and big solar. And if they buy the suicidal infrastructure of decline from China, all the better. China does not want to remain an exporting nation for the duration. China's leaders see a far greater destiny for the celestial kingdom.
So if Mr. Obama wants to prohibit Canadian oil sands, offshore oil, arctic oil, coal, nuclear power, oil shales, etc., and divert diminishing resources to his political backers who have invested in big wind and big solar -- who is to complain? Certainly not the US media, who have been "all in" for Obama from the early 2008 primaries.
Americans, Europeans, Japanese, Australians: If you want the energy that will allow you and your progeny to have a future, you must do something about the energy starvationists who have worked their way to the top of your society's decision structure. This deadly diversion from reality can have only one end, if allowed to proceed.