Energy rationing in Germany has already begun, Francis Menton writes on his Manhattan Contrarian site.
[A]n energy emergency plan initiated in June enables utility firms to pass on high gas prices to customers. . . . On Thursday, Germany’s government confirmed that a planned gas surcharge on customers could be much higher than previously expected, to save energy companies from going bankrupt in the coming months.
Germany is already having to make drastic cutbacks to energy use. Town councils are dimming or turning off streetlights and even traffic lights. Large landlords and housing associations have started turning down the heating on their residents and rationing their hot water. Some local authorities are considering setting up ‘warm rooms’ for elderly people to gather in the winter.
A Surplus of Electricity?
But hang on a second, advises Mr. Menton. Doesn’t Germany, after a decade of a crash program to build wind turbines and solar panels, have enough turbines and solar panels to supply all the electricity it could ever use?
You would think so, but unfortunately it doesn’t work that way. According to the U.S. Energy Information Agency, in 2020 (latest year given) Germany used 500,000 GWh of electricity, which would mean that its average usage (divide by 8760) was about 57 GW. Its peak usage (according to Montel) is about 100 GW. So if it had dispatchable generation resources (fossil fuel, nuclear, hydro) of about 120 GW,
Germany should have a more than sufficient 20% margin and plenty of electricity. Instead Germany has vastly more generation capacity, 248 GW (again from the U.S. EIA for 2020). Of that, 54 GW is solar and 62 GW is wind, a total of 116 GW between those two, well more than its entire peak usage, and more than double average usage.
Don’t count on any of it when you need it, advises the Manhattan Contrarian.
Still Dependent on Natural Gas from Russia
The small amount of nuclear (8 GW) is on the way out. So they can’t get rid of the natural gas as backup, and with fracking banned in their own country and also throughout Western Europe, they are left completely dependent on natural gas from Russia.
The U.S. Following the German Strategy
What is the U.S. energy strategy going to be under the new Senate bill just negotiated by Manchin and Majority Leader Schumer? The same basically as the German strategy, warns Mr. Menton.
In a few words, massive subsidies and tax breaks to incentivize the construction of vast amounts of wind turbines and solar panels.
Bafflegab, from E&E Daily, July 28:
Huge win for clean energy. . . . Clean energy tax credits are the centerpiece. Under the deal, existing renewable credits would be extended. After 2025, they would become technology neutral and based on greenhouse gas emissions reductions.
Triple Electricity Rates
Is there any deeper thinking behind this than just that wind and solar are “clean” so we should build more of them? Doesn’t look like it. … give us a few years of this, and we’ll be right where Germany is: vast excess capacity of wind and solar panels, none of which is there when you need it, and electricity rates tripled to pay for the redundant excess capacity and subsidies to the people who built it.
At least so far we have our own natural gas for the backup, but they’re trying to shut that down too.
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