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Let me put this as bluntly as at all possible. The german solar subsidy program 2004-2009 entailed was a total financial commitment from the German state of 60. Billion. Euros. in present value. What the germans got for that money was an installed capacity of 1.3% of their total electricity production.
An equivalently sized investment (Not subsidy. Investment!) in nuclear capacity would have meant that every coal plant in Germany would either already have been demolished, or be scheduled for the teams with the dynamite within at most 3 years.
Not made less profitable at the margin on some future date. Already blown the fuck up due to being utterly worthless.
If the German example leads other people to copy that type and scale of subsidy? That counts as a negative externality.
by Thomas on Wed Apr 28th, 2010 at 01:27:52 AM EST
[ Parent ]
  1. the German State did not put a single cent. The feed-in tariff is borne by rate payers, not by taxpayers.
  2. as I've written in various other places, the merit order effect of the wind injected in the system was sufficiently large to ensure that the net effect on rate payers is actually to bring prices down

oh, and beyond that:

  1. can we agree that €3bn/EPR is not a realistic figure today? Can we also agree that no nukes can be built under today's market based system? And that if you start changing rules for nukes, then you can't criticize wind using these rules?
  2. the 25GW of installed wind now provide 50TWh of essentially free electricity every year - counting solar, we're getting close to 10% of yearly needs of Germany.
  3. did you count how many billion euros of solid wind and solar technology exports are not made possible by these early subsidies?


Wind power
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Wed Apr 28th, 2010 at 02:33:41 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Wind-feed-in and solar-feed-in are diffrent in kind due to a diffrence in degree.
Each KHW of wind is warranted a minimum price of some 8 cents, and because it gets dispatched first, it mostly displaces (very expensive) gas, which means that the real subsidy is fairly theoretical. Solar is guaranteed a minimum price vastly higher than any other energy source, including all other green energies. Merit order or no, that means the extra costs are in no way theoretical, and let us, just for a second turn the merit order logic on its head. Nuclear inherently comes at the top of any rationally managed capacity dispatch order, so an investment of this size in additional capacity would crash electricity prices far and hard, no?

3 billion/epr is fairly reasonable for an average cost of a 20 reactor buildout in Germany. Germany has historically had lower nuclear construction costs than the rest of the western world, and 20 is enough to get major savings from series build

by Thomas on Wed Apr 28th, 2010 at 04:33:39 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I agree that today, feed-in tariffs for wind and solar are different in nature.

The trick is to give support to the early projects and make it possible for costs to tumble down before the absolute cost of the support mechanism becomes too heavy a burden on the system. For wind, this happened rather successfully; for solar, it seems to be more difficult.

It can still be argued that it can be good long term industrial policy, but we are at the most difficult junction right now - already some scale, and still high costs.

Wind power

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Wed Apr 28th, 2010 at 01:05:18 PM EST
[ Parent ]

Let me put this as bluntly as at all possible.

Fact checking will help.

I would also recommend avoiding blunt contact with those employed in Germany's negative externality, as they tend to be as proud of their export success around the globe as the Danes.  What portion of Danish GDP comes from wind?  (Hint:  one fourth of all Danish export credits go to wind)  In addition to lowered electricity prices, isn't that a positive externality?

As comments here have stated, Germany is quickly growing a vibrant solar manufacturing industry to export.  Mirroring wind.

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

by Crazy Horse on Wed Apr 28th, 2010 at 03:52:20 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Indeed half of all PV cells produced in Germany in 2008 went for export.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Thu Apr 29th, 2010 at 06:27:48 AM EST
[ Parent ]

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