Welcome to the new version of European Tribune. It's just a new layout, so everything should work as before - please report bugs here.

Germany pushing forward smart energy policy

by Jerome a Paris Mon Jun 6th, 2011 at 09:51:59 AM EST

Following the recent announcement by the German government of the forthcoming closure of all nuclear plants by 2022 (see Merkel's nuclear exit), a new step has been taken today with the announcement of a specific financing programme for the offshore wind industry (see here, in German only for now) via public development bank KfW.

This programme does two very smart things:

  • it provides scale.
    Depending on the options selected, KfW can provide up to 700 million in funding (and half of that in risk participation) per project. Given that one of the big difficulties in today's banking markets is the lack of underwriting capacity (ie the inability by individual banks to commit large volumes to a transaction when it's signed, which they syndicate to other banks at a later stage), large projects require large numbers of banks to find the require level of funding. With a limited number of banks having experience in offshore wind so far, this makes these deals, which are structurally large (a 400MW wind farm, the typical size in Germany, costs something in the 1-1.5 billion range to get built), almost impossible to finance today. Having an institution able to provide close to half of the funds required makes the task suddenly more manageable, and will make a real difference in the next 1-3 years, before the market becomes mature enough and large enough for deals to happen without them;
  • it provides cheap funding.
    KfW, being a public entity, benefits from the very low cost of borrowing of the German government, and the programme specifically makes it possible for it to fund projects passing through its low rate of funding. It may even provide funding to commercial banks (which bear the risk via contractual guarantees towards KfW) in addition to its own tranche, further reducing the overall cost of debt for the project. I've written enough on ET about the fundamental importance of the cost of money for the determination of the final cost of power for offshore wind not to underline how important news this is. In this case, it won't change the cost of offshore wind electricity for consumers (set by law at 15c/kWh for 12 years, under the existing feed-in regime), but it will make that feed-in tariff, which is relatively low (as it is not inflated over time) profitable for a larger number of projects and thus ensure that the expected volumes do get built.
Of course, KfW will require commercial banks to be involved alongside itself to ensure that transactions are done on "realistic" commercial terms, so the programme will officially not distort markets, but that cheap funding is a very real political choice nevertheless. This is a very clear case of a country "walking the walk" in its policy choices, and it makes the goal of building 25 GW by 2020 all the more realistic.


Display:
This goes into my Wind power series.

The usual disclosure is more important than ever in this case:  I advise wind developers on their financing needs, in particular for offshore wind projects, so this particular item will have a large impact on my work (though I'd note that, by making deals easier, it could arguably be said that it makes my job of putting financings in place somewhat less valuable...)

Wind power

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Mon Jun 6th, 2011 at 09:55:05 AM EST
See http://www.pfie.com/sponsors-push-german-wind/638075.article for a good description of current activity in the German offshore wind finance sector (it's subscription only, but you can register for a free trial).


Two differing structures have been put forward to fund the latest round of German wind farm projects - one more bank-friendly and one more sponsor-friendly.

As the accessible intro suggests, it's good advertising for someone!

Wind power

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Mon Jun 6th, 2011 at 10:21:11 AM EST
[ Parent ]
like a broken record: you seem even less likely to ever be a prophet in your own country. :-(

What with all the negative comments in our usual "Serious" circles: Merkel is capitulating to tree-huggers, NIMBY Germans will simply buy French nuclear electricity (what are they complaining about, then?), hasty spur-of-the-moment decision etc...

Meanwhile, Germany is doing, err German stuff: stop complaining, roll up their sleeves and get to work to build durable stuff. You wish they were that pragmatic regarding money policies...

by Bernard on Mon Jun 6th, 2011 at 04:27:01 PM EST
[ Parent ]
You don't see the 3000 MW tender scheduled for July as a good sign?
by jam on Tue Jun 7th, 2011 at 10:17:23 AM EST
[ Parent ]
3 GW, with a first decision point ("initial inquiry") in July, with construction to be completed in 2015 at best, if everything goes according to plan...

Yep, we might consider this as a good sign, if we put the bar quite low. By such a date, Germany will probably have then times as much...

The basic facts on the ground haven't changed much in France: Nuclear, its technocrats, its scientists and engineers and its powerful companies like Areva and EDF still command the investment money and the narrative. And in that narrative, wind and solar are fundamentally Un-SeriousTM, that will only be gap fillers, relegated to supplemental status. To wit, the reactions by the French nuclear establishment following Merkel's announcement.

My fellow citizen are so brainwashed that few people would believe that Germany already produces 35% of its electricity out of renewables and that it has actually exported electricity to France over the past couple of years.

So I'm not particularly optimistic in the short or medium term: the nuclear lobby is very strong in France and it's not going to loosen its grip without duress.

by Bernard on Tue Jun 7th, 2011 at 03:43:43 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It's unfortunately likely the French nuclear establishment will keep information out of sight, and above all because the heightened perception of nuclear risk after Fukushima will increase costs. I excerpted a Paul Gipe piece from Grist in this morning's Salon that underlines this and refers to a California Energy Commission report:

Nuclear power is expensive and uninsurable | Grist

The detailed study considered three forms of ownership: merchant plant, investor-owned utility, and publicly owned utility. Merchant plants are built to serve deregulated markets and assume a high degree of market risk. They may not be able to sell all their electricity at any one time if their price is too high. Investor-owned utilities are the traditional private companies serving a regulated market. In California, Pacific Gas & Electric and Southern California Edison are investor-owned. Publicly owned utilities are municipal utilities, like SMUD. Publicly owned utilities pay fewer taxes and have access to lower cost financing than either investor-owned utilities or merchant plants.

The CEC's 186-page report, "Comparative Costs of California Central Station Electricity Generation" [PDF], found that a 1,000-megawatt pressurized water reactor would generate electricity in 2018 from as little as $0.17 per kilowatt-hour to as much as $0.34 per kilowatt-hour. These results are startling: Most renewable technologies today, even solar photovoltaics (PV), generate electricity for less than that. Only a municipal utility could generate nuclear electricity for less than the cost of solar PV.

Currently, Germany pays between $0.31 and $0.41 per kilowatt-hour for electricity from solar PV, which means that the cost of solar-generated electricity today is equivalent to the cost estimated by the CEC for a nuclear plant beginning operation in 2018. And all observers, even critics, expect the cost of solar PV to continue declining during the next decade.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Tue Jun 7th, 2011 at 04:07:21 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It's not only the nuclear lobby: the whole French energy establishment is leading the charge to minimize the importance and prospects of renewable energies as definitely Not Serious. Exhibit A: Gérard Mestralet, CEO of Gaz de France, the largest - and up to a few years ago, state owned - gas distribution utility, railing against wind farms using dubious math. Jerome is not impressed; full debunking here.
by Bernard on Wed Jun 8th, 2011 at 04:22:16 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Germany's nuclear plants have provided roughly 150 TWh per year lately.

25 GW of offshore wind will provide close to 100 TWh per year of electricity, so enough electricity to replace the closing plants, and on time.


Wind power

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Mon Jun 6th, 2011 at 10:07:20 AM EST
I'm wondering about specifics for onshore wind. There are apparently measures to facilitate repowering, but is there anything else?


It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
by eurogreen on Mon Jun 6th, 2011 at 11:19:18 AM EST
Still only in German: http://www.bundesregierung.de/Content/DE/Artikel/2011/06/2011-06-06-energiewende-kabinett-weitere-in formationen.html

For renewable,s the info is here


Wind an Land

  • Im Grundsatz Fortführung der Vergütungsstruktur gemäß EEG 2009.
  • Erhöhung der Degression von 1 auf 1,5 % (Druck auf Kostensenkungen).
  • Systemdienstleistungs-Bonus für Neuanlagen (bisher befristet bis 31.12.2013) wird bereits zum 01.01.2012 gestrichen, da ohnehin alle Neuanlagen die technischen Voraussetzungen erfüllen. Der SDL-Bonus für Bestandsanlagen wird dagegen bis 31.12.2015 verlängert.
  • Repowering-Bonus wird begrenzt auf alte, netztechnisch problematische Anlagen, die bis 2001 in Betrieb genommen wurden (ansonsten Mitnahmeeffekte).

And for offshore they also have the extension of the early development schemes, and the "compression model" (ie a tariff of 19c for 8 years instead of 15c for 12 years)


Wind auf See

  • Integration der Sprinterprämie (2 ct/kWh) in die Anfangsvergütung, so dass diese von 13 auf 15 ct/kWh steigt.
  • Verschiebung des Degressionsbeginns von 2015 auf 2018, da der Offshore-Ausbau sich verzögert hat. Im Gegenzug danach Erhöhung der Degression von 5 auf 7 %.
  • Einführung eines optionalen Stauchungsmodells: Anfangsvergütung steigt auf 19 ct/kWh, wird aber nur für 8 statt 12 Jahre gewährt. Im Anschluss daran gilt für die von der Wassertiefe und Küstenentfernung abhängige Verlängerungsphase die normale Anfangsvergütung (15 ct/kWh) und anschließend die Grundvergütung (wie bisher) 3,5 ct/kWh. Es ist davon auszugehen, dass die Grundvergütung nicht in Anspruch genommen und der Strom stattdessen direkt vermarktet wird.
  • 5 Mrd.-Programm der KfW, um für rund 10 Windparks die Finanzierung zu sichern, Erfahrungen zu sammeln und damit spätere Projektfinanzierungen zu erleichtern.
  • Streichung der Befristung der Netzanbindungspflicht der Übertragungsnetzbetreiber im EnWG bzw. NABEG.
  • Erarbeitung eines Masterplans Offshore-Netzanbindung, vorzugsweise durch das Bundesamt für Seeschifffahrt und Hydrographie.


Wind power
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Mon Jun 6th, 2011 at 11:34:02 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Lots of good, sensible stuff...

Biogas for peak load :

A "flexibility payment" specifically promote investment in the capacity for market-based electricity generation from biogas plants.  This premium allows greater investment in gas storage and generators, so that a shift allows the generation of electricity by about 12 hours.

For onshore wind, the repowering subsidies and nothing much else, except to ask the Länder to identify suitable sites and repeal restrictive regulations, in order to counteract the diminution of new installations.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Mon Jun 6th, 2011 at 12:16:37 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The changes for land-based wind are all negative, though not too dangerous. Paraphrasing the points:

  • the basic feed-in law system will remain
  • the annual degression (reduction of the feed-in rate for newly installed turbines) will increase from 1% to 1.5%, ostensibly to boost development
  • the bonus for turbines that can help in short-term grid balancing (phase shift etc.) is eliminated a year earlier than earlier scheduled, with the argument that this is now standard in all turbines on sale (but this is a de-facto support cut)
  • the bonus for re-powering will be constrained to the replacement of  pre-2001 units without grid balancing capacity

One accusation on the initial government plan was that it is too much focused on of-shore wind (which can be built by the energy giants) while cuts and constraints were planned by the coalition for all other renewables. Last Friday, Merkel met the PMs of the 16 states of Germany, and on-shore wind was brought up – and this was one of the two key points where the government backtracked, promising to better balance off-shore and on-shore wind (without specifics though).

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Mon Jun 6th, 2011 at 01:06:20 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Paraphrasing the offshore stuff:

  • the premium intended for the first off-shore farms was merged into the base feed-in rate (and thus made permanent)
  • the start of degression (that is the reduction of the feed-in rate offered for newly installed capacity) for the off-shore feed-in rate was delayed (again) by three years to 2018, however, the degression rate will be higher: 7% rather than 5% annual reduction
  • there will be a new option to sell at an even higher feed-in rate for the first 8 years, then the normal rate for a few more years, then a very low base rate that should compel owners to choose selling on the open market instead.
  • the KfW programme, with different details here: a total sum of €5 billion available to the first 10 farms.
  • the time limit on the obligation of grid operators to give grid access will be eliminated.
  • there will be a master plan for off-shore grid connection.


*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Mon Jun 6th, 2011 at 01:22:44 PM EST
[ Parent ]

Germany Moves Forward on Nuclear Exit

BERLIN--Germany's cabinet Monday approved a series of laws to make possible an exit from atomic energy by the end of 2022, including measures for a massive increase of onshore and offshore wind power, the accelerated expansion of the electricity grid, and more gas-fired generation capacity.

(...)

Wind is a key part of the equation as Germany targets to boost the share of its electricity consumption met by renewable power from 17% to 35% by 2020, 50% by 2030, and 80% by 2050.

To kick-start the construction of more offshore wind farms, Germany's KfW development bank will finance 10 wind farms with a combined €5 billion. The government also has decided to delay the start of an annual lowering of subsidies for offshore wind power to 2018 from 2015.

The government plans to facilitate the upgrading--or repowering as it is known--of existing wind farms with more potent and efficient turbines, Mr. Ramsauer said.

Another law seeks to accelerate the construction of more transmission lines to bring electricity from onshore and offshore wind farms in northern Germany to industrial centers in the south.

The government amended the planned annual rate of decrease in the size of subsidies for onshore wind power to 1.5% instead of 2%.

But Mr. Roettgen insisted that subsidies must be phased out eventually. "We want and will introduce renewable energy to the market," he said.

The government also decided to scrap further cuts in solar-energy subsidies that it had considered. Instead, it will maintain a system of reducing solar subsidies by a base rate of 9% each year, to be complemented by a variable percentage rate, depending on how much new generation capacity is installed each year.



Wind power
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Mon Jun 6th, 2011 at 11:54:41 AM EST
Some critical counter-points are in place: that 35% target for 2020 is unchanged from before the nuclear turnaround of the government.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Mon Jun 6th, 2011 at 12:57:28 PM EST
[ Parent ]
are just switching the move away from nukes and the move away from coal plants?

Wind power
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Mon Jun 6th, 2011 at 01:03:40 PM EST
[ Parent ]
No. As I wrote in Merkel's nuclear exit, they want 10 GW (and possibly another 10 GW) new coal and gas; and there wasn't a move away from coal before the phaseout already.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Mon Jun 6th, 2011 at 01:12:53 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Jerome a Paris:

The government amended the planned annual rate of decrease in the size of subsidies for onshore wind power to 1.5% instead of 2%.

... The government also decided to scrap further cuts in solar-energy subsidies that it had considered. Instead, it will maintain a system of reducing solar subsidies by a base rate of 9% each year, to be complemented by a variable percentage rate, depending on how much new generation capacity is installed each year.

Good. For those interested, I detailed the solar degression issue here. The on-shore degression rate of 1.5% is less than originally planned, but still 50% more than in the current law (1%). Now if only the 35% renewables target would be increased and the coal plans would be abandoned.

But Mr. Roettgen insisted that subsidies must be phased out eventually. "We want and will introduce renewable energy to the market," he said.

This is starry-eyed free-market-faithful BS, of-course, though shared widely (even among the Greens).

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Mon Jun 6th, 2011 at 01:31:37 PM EST
[ Parent ]
DoDo:
This is starry-eyed free-market-faithful BS, of-course, though shared widely (even among the Greens).

Think it through, Dodo... once renewable energy defines baseload, it defines prices too. In 2025, what energy source is going to undercut wind and solar? Some as-yet undiscovered one, perhaps?

Yours, Starry-eyed.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Tue Jun 7th, 2011 at 02:02:51 AM EST
[ Parent ]
There are several problems with that view.
  1. As Jérôme doesn't tire to point out, market prices aren't determined by baseload plants, but peaker plants (marginal pricing).
  2. Much of actual non-renewable electricity is not sold on a free market: there are long-term contracts.
  3. Costs for wind and solar are almost entirely front-up. Hence, the price at which they can sell electricity in a market environment is determined by the expectation of how much of produced electricity can be sold over how long a period. You remove supports and/or guarantees, you remove price stability and open the gates for short-termism.
  4. I also suspect that a total free-market system would bring production instability: while intermittency is managed with weather prediction that allows most of the balancing need to be scheduled ahead, on a free market, you'd also have to predict how much wind and solar producers could sell on the market and when they would be forced to cut out from the wind for lack of buyers.


*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Tue Jun 7th, 2011 at 10:21:02 AM EST
[ Parent ]
A feed in tariff is NOT a subsidy. Are we talking about the same thing here?

A FIT, as I'm sure everyone here knows, is a fixed price for energy delivery. A subsidy is a fixed adder to whatever price the plant gets on the market - either short term market price or long term power purchase agreement. It is possible, even probable, that there will be times the FIT is less than the marginal pricing. How is that a subsidy?

Removing the FIT would still allow a wind plant to sign a long term PPA which would provide the price stability you refer to, wouldn't it?

by jam on Tue Jun 7th, 2011 at 10:38:40 AM EST
[ Parent ]
A feed-in tariff can be a subsidy if the price is higher than the long term price you can get on the market at that time.

Longterm PPAs will typically be at much lower prices than current market prices, because buyers of long term power (i) cannot hedge that contract on the market if they don't need the power and (ii) when they need such power, they typically have a need for non-intermittent supply rather than wind. PPAs for wind happen when regulators impose them, basically.

Wind power

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Tue Jun 7th, 2011 at 11:31:54 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, I live in Massachusetts. What can I say? ;)
by jam on Tue Jun 7th, 2011 at 12:19:15 PM EST
[ Parent ]
A feed in tariff is NOT a subsidy.

Didn't say it is, though with "supports and/or guarantees" I purposefully used a more general language that includes all kinds of feed-in tariffs and also other forms of stable renewables-boosting schemes.

I note that some countries have (or have had) feed-in tariffs that are direct subsidies: those that pay a surcharge over the average market price (as in Spain); and those that don't force utilities to pay and thus transfer the costs to consumers, but pay from government tax income instead. The last is pretty stupid of course.

Since you may not be familiar with my writing on the matter, I note that my scepticism doesn't concern renewables and feed-in laws (I quote strongly favour both, and especially the German version of the last), but energy market deregulation, and the connected beliefs in (1) the technological neutrality, (2) efficiency, (3) stability of free markets (doesn't want Enrons and engineered blackouts in Europe).

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Tue Jun 7th, 2011 at 02:46:39 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Energy market de-regulation is a misnomer, of course ~ changing the government regulations that create the market is not the same as eliminating them, and deciding to set prices based on a marginal price bid/offer market is a government decision on how to set prices just as much as an average cost plus price board system.

I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.
by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Thu Jun 9th, 2011 at 12:05:31 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I tend to say "differently regulated".

There is, of course, no such thing as a technology neutral energy policy. Any regulation is going to naturally favor one technology over another.

by jam on Thu Jun 9th, 2011 at 06:17:31 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The original article quoted used the word "subsidy".

I am very familiar with your writing - I've been around ET for quite some time (UID 270) but have been mainly a lurker.

I fully agree with (1) - there is no such thing.

by (2) I'm assuming you mean "market efficiency" and not "energy efficiency"...

by jam on Thu Jun 9th, 2011 at 06:24:21 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm not arguing for a "free" electricity market. Just pointing out that, at a certain point, renewables define the market, instead of being marginal price-takers.

Wind, as baseload, will, I imagine, be sold on long-term contracts, making the spot price irrelevant (small producers may choose to play the spot market, at their own risk, I suppose). All of this needs to be regulated, in the interest of network stability and long-term capacity planning; but I don't see why it necessarily has to be subsidised, as I'm having trouble seeing where the price competition is going to come from, in the long run. If it's from resurgent coal or gas, then carbon pricing will take care of it.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Tue Jun 7th, 2011 at 10:40:18 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Either

  1. you have a power market (which will structurally be a spot market), in which case wind is at a disadvantage, as its marginal cost is zero (so if there's a lot of wind, prices will be very low) and it has to deal with balancing costs, which, in a market framework, penalise wind (it's not financeable, it's more easily manageable on a system level than a project level), or

  2. you don't have a power market (ie you have a monopolistic supplier), in which case supply is managed differently.

But if you have a power market, prices are driven by gas prices, and investors prefer gas power as it is less risky in that market context.

Wind power
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Tue Jun 7th, 2011 at 11:35:50 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Spot prices aren't irrelevant to long-term contracts, it's just that the spot price at the time of the making of the contract (and the expectations into the future at the same date) counts. I won't repeat Jérôme's point on marginal pricing and the favouring of the short term, but will echo jam: a feed-in law is not (or does not have to be) a subsidy.

As for candidates for price drivers in a future all-renewables market: again look at candidates for peak power, that is biogas, pumped storage and geothermal.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Tue Jun 7th, 2011 at 02:58:16 PM EST
[ Parent ]
DoDo:

As for candidates for price drivers in a future all-renewables market: again look at candidates for peak power, that is biogas, pumped storage and geothermal.

And hydro, though that is a kind of natural pumped storage.

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se

by A swedish kind of death on Tue Jun 7th, 2011 at 03:20:08 PM EST
[ Parent ]
And the cost of pumped storage is floored by source power cost plus storage costs, with a user cost of using up the stored power when there are higher prices in the offing.

Biocoal is a schedulable recharge power source for pumped storage, if volatile power sources in excess of demand are not predicted to suffice over the day ahead.

I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.

by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Thu Jun 9th, 2011 at 12:09:27 PM EST
[ Parent ]
FITs can not be simply evaluated by price or economic conditions alone. Nor judged. They are put in place, in their various formats, to develop and mature a technology. (Aimed under conventional wisdom "to prepare for market entry.")

Successful FIT implementation, z.b. Germany, produces economic value beyond simple cost/benefit analysis. When it gives certainty that the terms will not be changed in hindsight, while allowing for tweaking based upon performance, technological/industrial aims can be reached even when Price aims are a bit off.

Conventional wisdom will not allow that economic conditions in even ten years might not be what's envisioned, even when such vast changes are highly likely. so today's negative judgement on "market readiness" might well be tomorrow's folly.

When trying to evaluate FITs it's important not to forget that 30 years on, there remains NO mechanism to include full externalities in the energy industry. (In fact in most industries.)

The policy decision to make a FIT "competitive" may well be undertaken because we have as yet no mechanism to account for externalities, much less to agree on what they are. But they have already begun to achieve their goals globally where implemented. While postponing the debate about societal cost of externalities.

The accelerated growth of PV in "Schland" is an example of where FITs can successfully be tuned over time. And while the debate on externals remains stuck in a corner, with some pig lipstick, the underlying industrial potential is already solidly built.

The same is happening in offshore wind, where even some waffling politicians are willing to hang onto the professed potential. But offshore wind gives us the picture of the real battle taking place. the same firms with the most to lose in the move from coal and nuclear have already hedged their past with a positive future. (Which is not the same as being committed to offshore wind.)

One can argue about the details of FITs and spot markets, but not if you ignore that the real battle is about control of how energy flows through society... and who pays.

DoDo's points are correct... me wanted only to change the frame of the discussion.

"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage." - Anas Nin

by Crazy Horse on Tue Jun 7th, 2011 at 04:02:08 PM EST
[ Parent ]
That's the other biggie : they will be putting money into the the electricity transport network, especially reinforcing north-south links (offshore generation in the north, consumption in the south)

I hope this goes for land-based wind too, because lack of transmission capacity currently forces wind operators to have a high proportion of downtime.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Tue Jun 7th, 2011 at 02:05:51 AM EST
[ Parent ]
because of the insane amount of water they're dumping through all their dams right now, to make way for the anticipated huge spring melt of all those storms running clear into june. they shut down all the wind in the area because the grid couldn't handle it.

if we had decent transmission networks on the west coast, we could make a lot of this stuff work.

by wu ming on Tue Jun 7th, 2011 at 03:57:38 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Not exactly. Wind was curtailed once and only partially, to my knowledge:

High water and hydroelectric output combined with low nighttime energy demand led BPA to temporarily limit other types of generation beginning at 12 a.m. Wednesday. BPA first limited all coal, natural gas and other thermal generation to minimum levels required for grid stability and safety. As a last resort, BPA then limited approximately 200 to 350 megawatts of wind power generation until 5 a.m. Wednesday totaling approximately 1,400 megawatt hours. There are currently more than 3,500 megawatts of wind energy connected to the BPA system.[+]

For near-real-time data on BPA generation, see here.

by jam on Tue Jun 7th, 2011 at 10:04:33 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Note that there is almost no thermal to speak of and that the hydro line is a good 6000 MW+ over the load line meaning that BPA is exporting as much as 10,000 MW (cf noon on 02 June where it appears there is 13,000 MW of hydro, 3,000 MW of wind, and only 6,000 MW of load).

So while they may not have enough transmission, they certainly have quite a bit.

by jam on Tue Jun 7th, 2011 at 10:09:51 AM EST
[ Parent ]
still, if there were more transmission capacity, letting the windmills generate more power could have put even more thermal energy offline in the western grid, and that's less carbon permanently put into the atmosphere.
by wu ming on Tue Jun 7th, 2011 at 04:46:25 PM EST
[ Parent ]
... windmill provide direct mechanical power.

I reckon its because of the windmills vs wind turbine thing that the US industry relies so much on 'windpower'.

I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.

by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Thu Jun 9th, 2011 at 12:47:35 PM EST
[ Parent ]
????

it's the mechanical energy taken from the kinetic energy of the wind which drives the generator, or grinds the grain, so?

"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage." - Anas Nin

by Crazy Horse on Fri Jun 10th, 2011 at 04:17:34 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes, with a windmill, the wind drives a mill, in the 17th century sense of the term, direct mechanical power coming out of the windmill.

I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.
by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Fri Jun 10th, 2011 at 08:36:40 PM EST
[ Parent ]
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Mon Jun 6th, 2011 at 12:43:44 PM EST
and of course the defenders of the conventional wisdom show up to stoutly defend the conventional wisdom.

To get anything along the line of the development bank going in the US would need some form of state-level system, so a group of states could do it in the face of the roadblocks thrown up by states that are in the pockets of big oil and big coal.

I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.

by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Mon Jun 6th, 2011 at 07:24:35 PM EST
[ Parent ]
defenders of nuclear power, and I tend to agree with them when they say that nuclear is less dangerous than coal.

Wind power
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Tue Jun 7th, 2011 at 04:25:14 AM EST
[ Parent ]
... but that is all I got show up to argue 'anti-train' on this week's Sunday Train. Some real doozies, like half the pop of Cali could be given Chevy Volt's for cost of HSR (I guess he is assuming a 95% discount on volume orders) and US gets vast majority of its oil from Canada and Mexico.

the biggest problem with the guy (is he pro-nuke?) who I was chatting with at the dkos of this diary is since he is clearly rehashing old arguments, it all jumbles together, so w/broken keyboard hard to disentangle.

I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.

by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Tue Jun 7th, 2011 at 11:10:07 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I thought the "we whipped yer' asses!" guy was hilarious, he even capped and bolded it on second time.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Tue Jun 7th, 2011 at 10:24:13 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I missed that.

I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.
by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Tue Jun 7th, 2011 at 11:03:05 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Looks like the US is not happy with this decision.

United in Mutual Annoyance: What's Gone Wrong with German-US Relations? - SPIEGEL ONLINE - News - International

Obama and Merkel have not established a close personal bond, but that's not the only problem. When it comes to important issues, Germany and the United States have never stood farther apart during Merkel's two terms as chancellor as they are at the moment. Merkel's reputation in Washington has been hurt by Germany's decision to phase out nuclear power by 2022, Berlin's abstention in a United Nations Security Council vote on imposing a "no-fly" zone in Libya and the country's economic and financial policies.

...

This was already apparent during the climate summit held in Copenhagen in December 2009. While Merkel argued for strict, binding emissions-reduction goals, Obama made backroom deals with the Chinese and the Indians. What's more, Obama has recently also announced plans for more oil and gas drilling. Likewise, he has held out the prospect of billions in government support to expand American's nuclear energy infrastructure, which the Germans view as an irresponsible course of action.

The Americans, on the other hand, have a hard time understanding why Germany's ruling coalition has made an about-face in its nuclear policies following the reactor catastrophe in Fukushima. Obama apparently even views Berlin's radical change in course as dangerous. Even most Democrats in American have a hard time really believing in the German rhetoric about its "green economy" or about how there's a lot of money to be made in it. In fact, to most people in the political world of Washington, Merkel's energy about-face seems downright grotesque.

by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Jun 6th, 2011 at 01:03:54 PM EST
Likewise, he has held out the prospect of billions in government support to expand American's nuclear energy infrastructure, which the Germans view as an irresponsible course of action.

Who are these Germans? I thought we were talking about the government? Siemens won't mind.

by generic on Mon Jun 6th, 2011 at 09:28:03 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Actually, didn't Siemens just leave its nuclear joint venture, and aren't they very strongly into building both turbines and substations for offshore (and onshore) wind?

PS. The timing of yesterday's announcement sat well with Germany's offshore wind community, gathered this week in Bremerhaven for Wind Force 11.

"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage." - Anas Nin

by Crazy Horse on Tue Jun 7th, 2011 at 04:08:28 AM EST
[ Parent ]


Display:
Go to: [ European Tribune Homepage : Top of page : Top of comments ]