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Germany Produces Record-Breaking 5.1 Terawatt Hours of Solar Energy In One Month

Soulskill posted 1 year,26 days | from the go-big-or-go-home dept.

Power 687

oritonic1 writes "Germany is rapidly developing a tradition of shattering its own renewable energy goals and leaving the rest of the world in the dust. This past July was no exception, as the nation produced 5.1 TWh of solar power (PDF), beating not only its own solar production record, but also eclipsing the record 5TWh of wind power produced by German turbines in January. Renewables are doing so well, in fact, that one of Germany's biggest utilities is threatening to migrate to Turkey."

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Gonna go back in time (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,26 days | (#44624655)


Re:Gonna go back in time (2)

Culture20 (968837) | 1 year,26 days | (#44624685)

Yeah, it could power 4214 trips!

NO NO NO (4, Funny)

AmiMoJo (196126) | 1 year,26 days | (#44624679)

This can't be right, solar doesn't work, Germany is too far north, the lights must go off every night, PV is a stupid technology, nuclear is the only way!!1 How can this be happening, it must be a liberal media lie put out by the scientifically illiterate eco-nazis... it... it just can't...

Re:NO NO NO (4, Informative)

Ruede (824831) | 1 year,26 days | (#44624773)

i am paying 24,26 €cents per kwh

i prefer the prieces of nuclear power.

Re:NO NO NO (3, Insightful)

IonOtter (629215) | 1 year,26 days | (#44624849)

"i prefer the prieces of nuclear power..."

Ask the people of Fukushima how they feel about those low-low prices.

Re:NO NO NO (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,26 days | (#44624931)

"i prefer the prieces of nuclear power..."

Ask the people of Fukushima how they feel about those low-low prices.

Impossible, there are no people in Fukushima.

Re: NO NO NO (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,26 days | (#44624879)

Nuclear subsidies are in your taxes, where you don't see them. Solar subsidies are in the electricity price, where you see them. Nuclear energy is not cheap energy, and while it does work for base load, you only need to look at France in the winter and in the summer to see that relying on nuclear does not cover all loads, so you also need other power plants on standby, so nuclear does not have an advantage over wind and solar there.

Re: NO NO NO (2, Insightful)

khallow (566160) | 1 year,26 days | (#44624995)

Nuclear subsidies are in your taxes, where you don't see them. Solar subsidies are in the electricity price, where you see them.

In other words, both those subsidies are in the same place. Whether you "see" them or not depends on what "see" means and how you spin it.

Re: NO NO NO (2)

Bengie (1121981) | 1 year,26 days | (#44625241)

And coal taxes us by health care for coal miners and other breathing issues caused by pollution.

Re:NO NO NO (2, Informative)

tbf (462972) | 1 year,26 days | (#44625093)

Problem isn't renewable energy, problem is the horribly bad EEG law Rot/Grün was drafting: Industries got excluded from paying renewable energy compensation, still a fixed price must be paid for renewable energy. So everytime the energy price drops at the European Energy Exchange in Leipzig the consumer's energy price rises. Yet another example how socialism fails. See http://www.lvz-online.de/leipzig/wirtschaft/strompreise-an-der-leipziger-boerse-sinken--buerger-zahlen-mehr-fuer-energie/r-wirtschaft-a-173930.html (German) for a good explanation of that fatal mechanism.

Re:NO NO NO (-1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,26 days | (#44625171)

Wake up sheeple!!!

Re:NO NO NO (4, Interesting)

Guspaz (556486) | 1 year,26 days | (#44625249)

Funny, my province's power is entirely supplied by a government-owned corporation, which hits about 98% renewable energy generation, has among the lowest energy prices in the world, and has still produced a consistent profit in the billions for decades. Doesn't seem to be failing to me.

Re:NO NO NO (1)

Zeromous (668365) | 1 year,26 days | (#44625309)

YYMV and anyone saying something different is selling something.

Re:NO NO NO (1)

yincrash (854885) | 1 year,26 days | (#44624841)

What I'm more interested in is what is the percentage breakdown of various energy sources for the total energy consumption of the country.

Re:NO NO NO (3, Informative)

Maxo-Texas (864189) | 1 year,26 days | (#44624979)

33% petroleum
12% hard coal
12% lignite
22% Natural gas, petroleum gas
08% nuclear Energy
02% Water and wind power
10% other renewables
  -1% Foreign trade balance power
02% Other

Re:NO NO NO (1)

SolitaryMan (538416) | 1 year,26 days | (#44624991)

Took like 30 seconds of googling. For production: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Renewable_energy_in_Germany#Statistics [wikipedia.org] and for consumption: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Energy_in_Germany#Energy_consumption [wikipedia.org]

Re:NO NO NO (1, Troll)

crossmr (957846) | 1 year,26 days | (#44625223)

30 seconds of googling to get 4 year old statistics. Wow.. what a great locator of information you are. They've obviously been improving renewable energy so those statistics are outdated and not remotely useful.

Re: NO NO wait! What about clean coal! (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,26 days | (#44624869)

There has to be something better then renewable energy.

What will happen to all those to big to fail oil and gas
companies when they are only needed for occasional back
up power.

The sky is falling, The sky is falling...........

Re:NO NO NO (5, Informative)

Kjella (173770) | 1 year,26 days | (#44624913)

Well to quote the wikipedia page quoting a financial times article:

Due to the costs of this "Energiewende" Germany now has Europes highest energy costs. Costs have risen over the last 5 years even for industrial consumers who are exempted from the costs of the renewable energy subsidy that consumers pay. In 2013, energy was 4 times cheaper in the United States than in Europe, and 6 times cheaper than in Germany.

It comes at a price and the sweet spots to produce renewables have already been picked, to keep it up they must use less and less ideal areas and means. Nice to see them lead but it's not really an act the whole world can follow.

Re:NO NO NO (2, Informative)

AmiMoJo (196126) | 1 year,26 days | (#44624993)

Gotta love statistics. "Europe" includes a large number of countries with widely varying prices. If you compare Germany to similar north western European countries it isn't particularly expensive. Other countries happen to have some nice natural resources, or they subsidise the cost through general taxation (especially for nuclear power).

The US is a terrible polluter and has lots of fraked natural gas that have driven down prices, so isn't a very useful comparison.

Re:NO NO NO (1, Informative)

khallow (566160) | 1 year,26 days | (#44625133)

The US is a terrible polluter and has lots of fraked natural gas that have driven down prices, so isn't a very useful comparison.

Unless electricity costs matter to you more than those other concerns (the "terrible polluter" is about as polluting as the EU and fracking just doesn't seem that bad compared to normal oil drilling) at the minor levels they occur at.

Solar power reduces electricity price .. (3, Informative)

dgharmon (2564621) | 1 year,26 days | (#44625273)

"Oh, the solar power haters* are going to love this oneâ"a recent study by Germanyâ(TM)s Institute for Future Energy Systems (IZES), conducted on behalf of of the German Solar Industry Association (BSW-Solar), has found that, on average, solar power has reduced the price of electricity 10% in Germany (on the EPEX exchange). It reduces prices up to 40% in the early afternoon, when electricity demand is peaking and electricity typically costs the most. Thereâ(TM)s a visual of that (in German) here:" link [cleantechnica.com]

Re:NO NO NO (1, Troll)

Mycroft_VIII (572950) | 1 year,26 days | (#44624921)

It can, only problem is last time I checked (a few years ago though) it took about 6 TW of energy to produce solar cells that could deliver that much energy. It also produced more and more highly toxic waste than the same in coal which in turn produces more radioactive contamination than nuclear, which in modern designs is even better and much safer.

Mycroft.

Re:NO NO NO (2)

Iniamyen (2440798) | 1 year,26 days | (#44625111)

TW is not a measure of energy!!!!! ARGGGHHH

Re:NO NO NO (5, Insightful)

Tim the Gecko (745081) | 1 year,26 days | (#44625117)

It can, only problem is last time I checked (a few years ago though) it took about 6 TW of energy to produce solar cells that could deliver that much energy.

Don't you mean TWh? TW is the rate of energy production.

The good news is that the cells last for longer than a month. From your guesstimate figures it seems like they break even remarkably quickly, and then are energy positive for decades.

Re:NO NO NO (0, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,26 days | (#44625165)

6 TW is a quantity of power, not energy. Based on this simple mistake, I am going to go ahead and write off everything you said since I don't think you have any clue what you're talking about.

Re:NO NO NO (1)

Microlith (54737) | 1 year,26 days | (#44624925)

You must be pretty tough to knock down those straw men!

5.1TWh is probably enough that, with all existing sources of energy, they could fully supply their exports or cut off all imports and have a small surplus. It would be, at most, slightly under 1/9th of what Germany produces on a down month. Note also that the output from solar has dropped, so all told they're at... just under 7 TWh in renewables.

But let's ignore that the vast majority of energy production continues to be fossil fuels, which pollute constantly.

*http://www.iea.org/stats/surveys/mes.pdf

Re:NO NO NO (1)

Microlith (54737) | 1 year,26 days | (#44624947)

s/solar has dropped/wind has dropped/

Re:NO NO NO (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,26 days | (#44625009)

That's right... keep alienating people instead of bringing them together.
 
I hope you get AIDS and die.

Re:NO NO NO (1, Troll)

poity (465672) | 1 year,26 days | (#44625043)

Please try to run smelters on PV, build cars and planes on wind.
Renewables advocates always forget industry when poo-pooing nuclear.

Re:NO NO NO (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,26 days | (#44625215)

Of course nuclear for (air?)-planes is the way to go.

Re:NO NO NO (1)

khallow (566160) | 1 year,26 days | (#44625073)

What's not right? Germany pays a huge amount of money to make solar work. Those technical arguments still apply, but you can spend a bunch of money to ignore them.

Re:NO NO NO (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,26 days | (#44625149)

This is how it works [wikipedia.org] :

"Due to the costs of this "Energiewende" Germany now has Europes highest energy costs. Costs have risen over the last 5 years even for industrial consumers who are exempted from the costs of the renewable energy subsidy that consumers pay. In 2013, energy was 4 times cheaper in the United States than in Europe, and 6 times cheaper than in Germany."

It is pretty awesome progress (from something like 7% of electricity generation to ~25% from 2000 to 2012), but there's still a long way to go and it's come at a very high cost. I'm all for switching to renewable sources. It should be part of the mix. But I think we should be realistic about what it will take. Most people seem to think it is an easy substitution. Other than hydroelectric, which is a very mature renewable technology, it's challenging stuff.

Re:NO NO NO (2)

ackthpt (218170) | 1 year,26 days | (#44625297)

This can't be right, solar doesn't work, Germany is too far north, the lights must go off every night, PV is a stupid technology, nuclear is the only way!!1 How can this be happening, it must be a liberal media lie put out by the scientifically illiterate eco-nazis... it... it just can't...

Worry not, the average American Household keeps Green and Renewable Energy at bay by leaving lights on all over the house, the refrigerator door open while doing something else, having the TV running while not in the room, having dozens of wall-warts sucking energy to power nothing at all, but burning up watts through cheap inefficient design, pre-heating ovens and stoves, etc.

I'm considered subversive for managing a monthly combined bill of about 30 dollars. I expect their coming to get me, reprogram me so I'll be a more wasteful power consumer, it's only ... just a sec, door. brb

[NO CARRIER]

But...but... (4, Informative)

IonOtter (629215) | 1 year,26 days | (#44624693)

But Germany gets so much more sun than the US! We can't compete with that?!

(I wish I were kidding...) [americablog.com]

Re:But...but... (5, Funny)

simonbp (412489) | 1 year,26 days | (#44624835)

With enough government subsidies, I'm sure you could build a profitable solar plant underground...

Re:But...but... (3, Funny)

SnarfQuest (469614) | 1 year,26 days | (#44624957)

Please don't give out politicians ideas.They come up with enough stupid ideas on their own without your help.

And it's only getting better (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,26 days | (#44624703)

with cheaper solar panels and more efficient too. I think there will be a point in the future where no house is build without solar panels.

I don't like the greens too much but on days like this I'm happy that they do have as much political influence as they do.

Re:And it's only getting better (-1)

Mycroft_VIII (572950) | 1 year,26 days | (#44624987)

It'll be a while, it currently take more energy to make a solar panel than it can generate in it's lifespan and costs more than coal or nuclear without the subsidies.
And that's not even counting that solar panel production has so much toxic waste associated that it's one of the worst.
That said I do like the potential if we ever find a way to make solar cleaner and cost effective without government (tax payers) money artificially sustaining what would otherwise be an economic failure.

Mycroft

Re:And it's only getting better (3, Informative)

c0lo (1497653) | 1 year,26 days | (#44625217)

It'll be a while, it currently take more energy to make a solar panel than it can generate in it's lifespan and costs more than coal or nuclear without the subsidies.

No longer true since 2012 [acs.org]

Re:And it's only getting better (2)

khallow (566160) | 1 year,26 days | (#44625251)

it currently take more energy to make a solar panel than it can generate in it's lifespan

That hasn't been true [slashdot.org] for a while.

Re:And it's only getting better (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,26 days | (#44625267)

A 200 W solar panel costs about $400 today. If that cost were entirely from the energy required to produce it, that would mean it requires 4000 kWh to produce ($400 / $0.1/khW). 200 W * 10 hours a day = 2 kWh per day. In a year, it'll produce perhaps 600 kWh (assuming 300 days of sun). Most panels are guaranteed for 20 years, so that's roughly 12000 kWh over the lifetime of the panel. 12000 kWh > 4000 kWh, no?

Re:And it's only getting better (1)

Gareth Iwan Fairclough (2831535) | 1 year,26 days | (#44625019)

and how long will the panels produce their rated output for?

Re:And it's only getting better (1)

tehlinux (896034) | 1 year,26 days | (#44625071)

And how long does it take to pay for them?

Re:And it's only getting better (2)

c0lo (1497653) | 1 year,26 days | (#44625243)

And how long does it take to pay for them?

In Melbourne AU (shitty weather, better than Germany though): 5-6 year. And this only by the cuts in the power bills.

but but but but (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,26 days | (#44624727)

exxon... says... unsustainable...

Re:but but but but (1)

phantomfive (622387) | 1 year,26 days | (#44624777)

Not to burst your conspiracy theory, but oil companies aren't opposed to solar. Solar cars, yes, but they don't lose everything from reduced coal burning. Some oil companies actively invest in alternative energy [bp.com] .

Re:but but but but (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,26 days | (#44624895)

the oil/auto industry stands on the slaughtered husk of electric public transportation - a product of 'investing'.

Re: but but but but (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,26 days | (#44624901)

Not so. BP mothballs solar technology that competes. I know this firsthand-lost my job at BP research right after we achieved solar efficiencies that were competitive with oil. They only invest so they can own/sit on the technology and prevent commercialization

Eclipsing? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,26 days | (#44624759)

No matter how much you wanted to do that pun, 2% greater does not count as "eclipsing".

Uneconomics 101 (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,26 days | (#44624769)

But at what cost?

Re:Uneconomics 101 (1, Insightful)

Rockoon (1252108) | 1 year,26 days | (#44624875)

But at what cost?

Apparently Germans pay 2+ times the price that Americans pay.

So essentially this news story is stating that Germans are setting new records at getting fucked by their inefficient electricity generation strategy.

Re:Uneconomics 101 (1)

reve_etrange (2377702) | 1 year,26 days | (#44624935)

I'm not so sure about your plan to let ~150 W / sq. m the sun is beaming down here all day be completely wasted forever, either.

Re:Uneconomics 101 (1)

Rockoon (1252108) | 1 year,26 days | (#44625183)

I'm not so sure about your plan to let ~150 W / sq. m the sun is beaming down here all day be completely wasted forever, either.

If Germany was having some sort of electricity shortage crisis where they just couldn't build any more power plants of any kind, you might have a point.
In reality there are more efficient ways to generate electricity, there are places to do it, and there is fuel to do so. No real shortage at all. They are forcing by mandate that their residents pay more than necessary for electricity. Inefficiency. Look up the definition.

Re: Uneconomics 101 (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,26 days | (#44624977)

Germany's electricity prices are about the same as California's. Germans use much less electricity than Americans.

Re: Uneconomics 101 (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,26 days | (#44624997)

California has the most expensive areas in the country and doesn't really represent the rest of the US. It's one of the reasons I moved east.

Re: Uneconomics 101 (4, Insightful)

Rockoon (1252108) | 1 year,26 days | (#44625095)

Germany's electricity prices are about the same as California's.

Residents in Germany are paying ~$0.35/kWh while residents in Californian are paying ~$0.16/kWh, and California isnt a good example of efficiency either.

In Europe, only the people of Denmark pay more than Germans and most of Europe pays ~40% less than Germans.

But lets not let facts get in the way of a good P.R. piece about solar power, right?

Re:Uneconomics 101 (1)

Pav (4298) | 1 year,26 days | (#44625105)

It's certainly a huge expense... but on the positive side they're joining the Chinese, the Australians etc... to claw back a couple of percent of global carbon and finance the development of solar technology - the price of panels etc. has halved and halved again. There are also advantages to relying less on foreign energy or so I hear. The Germans can free-ride on the US waste on the military, and the US can free-ride on the German waste on solar/wind etc... development. Sounds fair to me.

"Renewables are doing so well, infact..." (3, Insightful)

Red_Chaos1 (95148) | 1 year,26 days | (#44624775)

"...that one of Germany's biggest utilities is threatening to migrate to Turkey."

Don't let the door hit your ass on the way out.

Re:"Renewables are doing so well, infact..." (1)

maxwell demon (590494) | 1 year,26 days | (#44625005)

I wonder how they plan to relocate their nuclear reactors to Turkey ...

Re:"Renewables are doing so well, infact..." (2, Insightful)

jklovanc (1603149) | 1 year,26 days | (#44625175)

If you buy power only at night or when wind generators are not working but require us to keep our plants available 24/7 there is a problem. When you need power from conventional plants you really need it but we can't charge extra to keep up the infrastructure.

Don't let the door hit your ass on the way out.

You will say something different during a winter storm where solar is almost zero and wind generators are shut down due to over speed. It does not matter if you use fossil fuel heat if the electric controls don't work. Welcome to the problem with green energy; you ca not turn it up on demand.

At what cost? (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,26 days | (#44624789)

Discussion of technological breakthroughs is meaningless without a discussion of the cost.

We have the technological capacity to build a hotel on the moon and run flights daily. We don't have the means to do it on an even remotely economically reasonable basis.

And in discussing costs, I mean real costs. Subsidies to the renewable energies and penalties/fees to the fossil fuel based energies are distortions to the economic picture and must be excluded for an honest discussion on the topic. Here in California I saw a state sponsored study that attempted to prove that recycling plastic bottles was more economic than treating them as trash. I actually read the study and what I found is that the authors allowed subsidies to be included in the revenues of the recycling agencies and extra fees charged to landfills (and related) to be counted in the costs of the trash side. Naturally if your agenda is recycling and you have regulatory control over the revenues and costs... you're studying your ability to exercise power: not the economics behind an industry.

Re: At what cost? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,26 days | (#44624923)

The level playing field argument is difficult to use on a finite resource.
Oil will run out and add it does the cost will rise therefore we can choose to subsidise now or we can leave it for our offspring to pick up the heavier tab in the future.
A bit like 'why would I build a bridge here when it only costs a dollar to catch the ferry'...until the ferry needs replacing.

Re:At what cost? (5, Insightful)

reve_etrange (2377702) | 1 year,26 days | (#44624963)

Subsidies and negative externalities of the fossil fuel and other non-renewable energies and future return to scale of the solar energies are distortions to the economic picture and must be excluded for an honest discussion on the topic.

FTFY

Re:At what cost? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,26 days | (#44625109)

Every time I recycle bottles I get money! If I did not do that and put that in trash I would not get money!

Re: At what cost? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,26 days | (#44625129)

Solar power costs about 20ct per kWh, assuming German climate, current pricing for panels, electronics and installation, and a 10 year lifetime. The lifetime is on the low end, but let's be pessimistic. In a more sunny climate and with a more realistic life expectancy, solar power can easily cost less than 10ct per kWh, with today's technology. If you can use all the energy from your roof installation, solar is already competitive without subsidies.

Re:At what cost? (1)

edxwelch (600979) | 1 year,26 days | (#44625185)

Have a look at this:
http://www.businessspectator.com.au/article/2013/8/18/energy-markets/rwe-pulls-31gw-due-renewables [businessspectator.com.au]
Renewables have made electricity so cheap that RWE is taking 3.1 GW of fossil fuel generating capacity off the market.
"The reason they give for that is that wholesale electricity prices are way down in Germany as a consequence of more renewable in the mix. They would be losing money if they needed to sell at these low prices."

Re:At what cost? (1)

mattack2 (1165421) | 1 year,26 days | (#44625259)

Why are you ignoring the subsidies to the fossil fuel energy companies too?

B.S. (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,26 days | (#44624797)

BundesScheisse?

Germany has eminent domain authority? (1)

fustakrakich (1673220) | 1 year,26 days | (#44624799)

Just nationalize the plants that are being shut down and keep them running only as long as necessary. Oh wait... Maybe the banks won't like that, and we don't want to offend them.

SUBSIDYS! (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,26 days | (#44624801)

..lots and lotts and lotttsss and lotsssss of..

Not Subsidies but Close (1)

StarWreck (695075) | 1 year,26 days | (#44624807)

Obviously there are subsidies to encourage buying solar panels. However, whats really burning the utilities is how the pricing is worked out in Germany. The utilities have to pay top tier price for small scale solar power (ie if you have solar panels on your roof, generating an excess). The way the ends up working is that each kilowatt hour your neighbors put into the grid, the more you have to pay to pull power from the grid. More solar power drives the price up.

I don't see how this can last long term. California has a much more common sense approach - equal pricing. The utilities have to pay you back equal to what you would pay.

Most other US states, the utilities can pay you back less than they charge you.

Re:Not Subsidies but Close (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,26 days | (#44624941)

I'm actually happy that Germany is unfairly propping up solar power. I want there to exist a nation running mostly on solar power. It will be key evidence to help tip the rest of the world over as solar power becomes more and more viable (and fossil fuels more and more expensive).

Re:Not Subsidies but Close (2)

reve_etrange (2377702) | 1 year,26 days | (#44625017)

Interesting. Actually, first incentivizing consumers at the expense of utilities, and then later doing the opposite, might make sense from the perspective of a revenue constrained country like Germany.

The trouble with California is that the rules depend on when and where you bought in. Some people are only allowed to earn back up to the connection fee.

Meanwhile in France... (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,26 days | (#44624859)

a single nuclear plant (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gravelines_Nuclear_Power_Plant) produces 38 Twh or about 7.5 times more than ALL of Germany's solar power! Don't get me wrong, I think renewables are amazing but the numbers look impressive until you compare them to how the world really powers itself...renewables have a LONG way to go.

Months vs years... (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,26 days | (#44625015)

"In 2006 the plant produced 38.14 TWh". In a full year. The 5.1 TWh of solar power was for a single month.

Renewables still have a long way to go, but it's 12 times better than you think. :)

Re:Months vs years... (1)

Knightmare+1 (660327) | 1 year,26 days | (#44625247)

Not exactly 12 times. 5 TWh is for the month of July which is probably one of the peak months in the year. You can see in the linked PDF the graph for monthly production. Mininal production was 0.35 TWh in January. I don't know how much of an impact is the growing number of solar panels and how much is the seasonal effect. We can have a better look when we get the data for the rest of the year.

Re:Meanwhile in France... (1)

edxwelch (600979) | 1 year,26 days | (#44625039)

Ever considered what would happen if an asteroid hit that nuclear power plant? It would be like Fukusima, except that there would be no one to pore water on it, because everyone would be dead. With no one to control the meltdown, it would just burn uncontrollably, turning everything downwind into a nuclear wastland.

Re:Meanwhile in France... (1)

sgt scrub (869860) | 1 year,26 days | (#44625097)

I think your post would have been more interesting if you would have included the length of time comparison. How long does the NPP put out 38 Twh per amount of fuel compared to renewable's 7.5?

Percentages, please (4, Informative)

rogerz (78608) | 1 year,26 days | (#44624877)

Perhaps I should RTFA, but looking at the Wikipedia page on Energy_in_Germany, that looks to be about 10% of monthly electricity consumption, (generously, given that it's summer), and less than 2% of total energy consumption.

Re:Percentages, please (1)

westlake (615356) | 1 year,26 days | (#44625049)

Perhaps I should RTFA, but looking at the Wikipedia page on Energy_in_Germany, that looks to be about 10% of monthly electricity consumption, (generously, given that it's summer), and less than 2% of total energy consumption.

You were expecting better reporting in a post to Slashdot?

The US has vast reaches of desert land in the southwest for sola and n the plains sstates for wind. The northeast and the northwest for hydropower. The Atlantic, Pacific and Gulf coasts for a mix of technologies beyond coal and oil.

It is the difference between the natural resources of a continental empire and those of a single central European state.

Errrrrr.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,26 days | (#44624919)

Can someone translate this to DeLoreans?

Tell me when the subsidie run out (1, Troll)

Karmashock (2415832) | 1 year,26 days | (#44624965)

They told you the real story here. The solar and wind guys are getting huge government subsidies and tax breaks. Where as the coal and nuclear providers have to pay all sorts of fees, extra taxes, and of course regular taxes.

So guess who is being more profitable?

You can crush any business by doing that. Anything. You could make growing rice in Antarctica viable doing that. Just offer a big enough subsidy for every ton of rice grown there. Boom. Profit.

The question is can the german government sustain these subsidies indefinitely. As in forever. And if/when they stop providing them what will happen to their renewable programs?

I live in California. We've gone through many renewable programs going back to the 1970s. This has been our experience.

First, we give the renewable company a lot of money.

Second, they build their plant.

Third, we give them big tax breaks for subsidies which last for five to ten years.

Fourth, they operate for five to ten years.

Fifth, the subsidies stop.

Sixth, the renewable power company dies almost instantly.

Seventh, the power station is left abandoned in the desert to rot. There isn't even enough money left after to tear it down. Our deserts are littered with these power plants. Dozens of them. Every time one closes we tend to start up another one. And another ruin is in the making.

I want renewable energy. But I want it to be self supporting.

Re:Tell me when the subsidie run out (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,26 days | (#44625001)

Let's wait a few dozen years for oil to run out. Maybe then. But I guess we'll have to rely on nuclear anyway.

Re:Tell me when the subsidie run out (4, Informative)

edxwelch (600979) | 1 year,26 days | (#44625107)

Are you joking? Nuclear gets the biggest subsidies of all:
http://www.ucsusa.org/nuclear_power/nuclear_power_and_global_warming/nuclear-power-subsidies-report.html [ucsusa.org]
The insurance is cappedat at ridiculously low value, meaning if there is an accident the taxpayer will have to pay.
Without the insurance cap nuclear power would not exist.

Re:Tell me when the subsidie run out (0)

connor4312 (2608277) | 1 year,26 days | (#44625113)

I want renewable energy. But I want it to be self supporting.

Why? There really is not much reason to require it to be self-sustaining.

Re:Tell me when the subsidie run out (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,26 days | (#44625121)

then also make sure that other industries pay their real costs
http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=Pleasant_Prairie_Power_Plant

I used to work down the road from this place.

Wonder who paid the $200 Million dollars in health costs from the coal burning ? Not the coal company.

Re:Tell me when the subsidie run out (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,26 days | (#44625145)

From what I see while traveling through the country, I expect more than 90% of all solar panels installed in Germany to be on the roofs of private homes. So there is no fear of them being shut off if the subsidies stop.

Re:Tell me when the subsidie run out (3, Interesting)

Ryanrule (1657199) | 1 year,26 days | (#44625147)

Oil/coal/gas get non expiring subsidies.

Re:Tell me when the subsidie run out (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,26 days | (#44625289)

I want renewable energy. But I want it to be self supporting.

Careful what you wish for. Renewable energy becomes self-supporting on the condition that non-renewable energy becomes much more expensive.

The reason all those renewable plants got subsidies was partially because the government predicted that non-renewable energy was going to keep getting more expensive (which was a reasonable, but wrong, prediction a few times in the last half-century). If the prediction was right, the plants would have survived when the subsidies ran out, because renewable energy would have been competitive or cheaper than alternatives--not because renewable got cheaper, but because non-renewable got more expensive.

The chances of anyone exactly predicting with accuracy the point where sustainable energy becomes self-supporting are nil. The only two realistic scenarios are 1) that the prices for fossil fuels eventually rise rapidly and stay high, and we belatedly scramble to create a sustainable energy infrastructure after-the-fact in the middle of a crashing global economy, or 2) that we try to get that infrastructure set up in advance while the global economy isn't in complete tatters, and end up not being able to use some or even most of it because we did it too early.

I admit option #2 is wasteful. I'm not sure it's worse than option #1 though.

Does this mean (1)

SnarfQuest (469614) | 1 year,26 days | (#44625021)

Does this mean that Godzilla will immigrate to Germany, because they have more power lines to walk through? With 5.1twh of electric power, how can he resist the temptation? How can Japan possibly compete, with their Nuclear plants mostly shut down?

Re:Does this mean (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,26 days | (#44625187)

No, the lack of a big power line connecting the wind turbines at the coast to the south is an often cited problem these days.

Why migrate to Turkey? (3, Funny)

sgt scrub (869860) | 1 year,26 days | (#44625041)

I can't see Turkey putting out more energy than coal or natural gas. Surely it wouldn't be any cheaper, or cleaner, to burn Turkey than what they are using now.

Still small (1)

Lawrence_Bird (67278) | 1 year,26 days | (#44625045)

Germany uses on the order of 4,000 TWw per year. 5 TWh in the peak solar month... still a long ways to go. Then again, Germany sticks other countrys with over half of its energy needs.

Clarification requested on "load priority" (2)

cpm99352 (939350) | 1 year,26 days | (#44625057)

The Forbes article states "Under current regulations, electricity generated by renewable energy resources are given priority access to the grid. As a result, electricity generated by coal and gas-fired plants is only used “to make up for any shortfalls,” according to the AFP."

Does this mean that the nuclear stations have to divert their power when the wind picks up or the sun comes out? I'm certainly no expert, but I thought in the US it is the opposite, so that the wind stations have to go on bypass and the dams/nuclear stations have priority. Or is the Forbes article simply incorrect?

Shortfalls (1)

jklovanc (1603149) | 1 year,26 days | (#44625079)

That is the problem. Notice that conventional electricity generation is used when there is not enough green power produced. Storms that would over speed wind power and block most of the solar power happen quite often and could drop green power generation drastically. During those times convention power plants need to be available. If they are not profitable then they will not be available and brownouts and blackouts will occur due to lack of power. The problem with green power is not generation; it is storage so it can be used when needed and not just when produced. Sure there are some technologies available but they are not widely used. More money needs to go into the storage issue.

Electricity production from solar and wind .. (1)

dgharmon (2564621) | 1 year,26 days | (#44625139)

According to the Fossel Fuel lobby in the UK, solar and wind isn't economical, drives up the cost of electricity and gas and is bad for the environment, the money should be given on the Fossel Fuel companies instead ..

Why is Wind power so expensive? An economic analysis [thegwpf.org]

Npower delivers clarity on the changing cost of energy [npowermediacentre.com]

This may not be a good thing folks.. (0)

bobbied (2522392) | 1 year,26 days | (#44625195)

Germany is subsidizing renewable energy production heavily, very heavily. Their top electric producer is now struggling to maintain their business, keep their nuclear and fossil fuel plants profitable so they are threatening to close up shop and leave Germany at the mercy of renewable. Electricity essential to keep a modern economy going and "running out" is simply NOT an option. If you run low on electricity, you have to shut off stuff, because if you don't EVERYTHING will shutdown. Many renewable energy sources are NOT reliable, the sun doesn't always shine and the wind doesn't always blow and chances are one or both will go away when you need it most. (Heck, fossil fueled plants fail, albeit less often than the weather forecast.. )

While renewable energy may sound good, there are some serious problems looming for Germany if they continue down this path too quickly. Eventually, government money can run out and the subsidizing of renewable energy will stop. Then what happens if all the rest of the electric producers are out of business and the sun doesn't shine on a calm day? Down goes the electric grid. Folks are going to find that Germany is back in the horse and buggy days, only nobody kept any horses around just in case. Bringing up the electric grid in a whole country would take times measured in weeks and would surely adversely impact the German economy.

My German friends, tread carefully. Government subsidies never really work out like you think. There is always a down side...

We're #1! We're #1! (1)

Isara (869637) | 1 year,26 days | (#44625239)

The US produces %0.11 of our electricity via solar. just over 2 TWh (source [eia.gov] [PDF]). We have how much landmass and we don't even come close to Germany's output. Depressing... I'm curious to know what programs Germany has in place to support adoption of solar and wind energy production. Although it would likely never happen, it would be nice if we could replicate some of that here, in the more weather-stable parts of the country. Even better if we could have some decent mass storage solutions to allow solar to really support the whole grid on a larger scale (as opposed to locally).

Amazing (4, Insightful)

PopeRatzo (965947) | 1 year,26 days | (#44625305)

Any mention of solar or any other renewable energy on Slashdot brings out an army of trolls, dolts, nincompoops and people who haven't commented on a story in ages, but suddenly have a pressing need to hold forth on solar energy. People who say, "It takes 7TW just to build a goddamn solar panel!" or, "Solar's no good because it's only 10%, and since coal is 30%, then that means coal is better because clouds!!" as if we'd passed the limits of technology in the 1890's and had better just get used to what we've got. I don't know what motivates people, or what brings them out for these stories, but it's pretty clear that if there is a concerted corporate effort to spread disinformation about energy, it's definitely working.

The same people who will discuss seriously the best type of deep space drive for a manned mission to the Cygnus constellation will aver with absolute certainty that solar energy is just a pie-in-the-sky pipe dream.

If I was a sociologist, I'd study the phenomenon. But that would just depress me.

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