Eco-freaks love to tout Germany as the place to imitate if we want to make renewable energy mainstream, so I decided to look into some of the major problems they’ve encountered with their Energiewende program.
The first failure is the program requires massive government subsidies to operate and the country accelerated the program without planning, so it’s no surprise that $100 billion was wasted on the installation of roof top solar panels.
The major problem is the sun doesn’t shine in the winter so the most solar energy is generated when the least electricity is used – in the summer.
Often you’ll see a triumphant claim of impressive amounts of solar energy being generated and used in the country, but those figures come from the summer season.
In the case of wind, it’s usually a daily stat taken when the wind was blowing strongest that day. In reality, about 10% of energy throughout the year is renewable.
The next failure is that wind and solar power are intermittent – the sun doesn’t always shine and the wind doesn’t always blow. Renewable energy gets access to the grid when it’s available, essentially pushing thermal energy from coal offline.
Thermal plants were designed to run all day, everyday and now they’re only marginally profitable because this energy is still required when intermittent solar and wind energy aren't available.
There’s also no viable storage for wind and solar energy – it has to be used when it’s produced. That means back-up is required, which in Germany’s case, is coal.
The country started the Energiewende program as a result of a goal to eliminate nuclear in the year 2000, which provided as much as 25 per cent of power.
As a result of phasing out nuclear energy and using coal as the back-up for renewables, greenhouse gas emissions have risen in the country, exactly the opposite of what they implemented the energy program to do.
There’s a reason only 2 per cent of global energy is produced by solar and wind – they aren’t viable. They’re intermittent sources that can’t be stored. Plus, it takes a lot of work to concentrate these types of energy for use.
Solar panels and windmills have to be manufactured from rare materials that are mined and refined.
Until humans find a way to capture and store solar and wind to be used in a free standing facility without back-up, renewable energy plans are just an expensive and faulty government experiment funded by the public.