Renewable power fails in Germany

By Mark Landsbaum

No one can tax and regulate you enough to come close to making it feasible for solar and wind power to replace fossil fuels — but count on them to continue taxing and regulating you until you scream “Enough!” And then probably continuing to tax and regulate long after that too.

Germany is even farther down the alternative energy road to oblivion than the U.S., and the Germans are running up against multiple insurmountable roadblocks.

Exorbitant tax subsidies haven’t helped, except to drain taxpayers’ pocketbooks and enrich industries that otherwise wouldn’t be profitable enough to exist. With hubris typical of tax-and-spend fanatics, Germans decided last year to shut down their entirely reliable, less-costly-to-operate 84 coal-ower plants in addition to closing all their nuclear-power plants.

Now the Germans are discovering what should have been obvious before they shot themselves in the foot: the alternatives of wind and solar power tremendously costly and will remain completely unreliable to provide energy 24/7 365 days a year at any price.

Despite states like California and New York declaring they too will follow this dead-end path, the idea that solar and wind power will replace fossil fuels is a myth.

“The inherent high cost and unreliability of wind and solar energy mean that they are highly unlikely ever to be more than niche players in the overall energy picture,” writes Francis Menton, a board member of the American affiliate to the UK’s Global Warming Policy Foundation.

Menton hammers nails in the solar-wind coffin:

  • No one yet has figured out how wind turbines and solar panels can run a fully functioning electrical grid without fossil fuel backup. (That means the fossil fuel plants being shut down are necessary for when the wind doesn’t blow and the sun doesn’t shine. Or else the lights go out.) 
  • Meanwhile, Bloomberg reports that “Germany’s Green Power Finance Is Becoming Unaffordable.” Unaffordable plus inadequate is a formula for disaster. 
  • Government-guaranteed payments to power producers already cost about $100 per month for every German household — on top of “electricity prices that were already about triple the U.S. average.” 
  • Germany is discovering the yin and yang of solar and wind: When the wind blows on a sunny day, more electrical power is generated than the country can use, resulting in it given away to Poland (or even to pay the Poles to take it). But on a calm night, no matter how much wind and solar is built, it produces nothing. 
  • There is no practical storage to save power to use later, and without fossil-fuel backups there will be nothing to fill the gap when electricity is not generated. 
  • Cambridge Professor Michael Kelly states the obvious: if wind and solar energy are ever going to surpass niche status, there is a gigantic engineering problem to solve.  But to date nobody has engineered an electrical system based on the intermittent energy from solar and wind that works 24/7/365.  
  • Nevertheless, these true believers have plunged ahead phasing out what works to replace it with what doesn’t, driving up costs and taxes in the process.

Menton sums up by saying “…almost everything you read about supposed solutions to climate change is completely delusional.”

I highly recommend Menton’s own blog post on this subject, which is replete with fine points, details, and technical information that bolster the case. It would behoove German change agents to read it if they are lost in the politically correct mumble jumble and need a wakeup call before it’s too late. New Yorkers and Californians as well.

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