Germany’s Energy Revolution

Almost half of Germany’s energy currently comes from coal. By 2050, the country hopes to get 80 per cent of its energy from renewable sources. This expertly shot short film from National Geographic offers a vision of Germany’s energy transition, and perhaps, the future of energy worldwide.

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  1. MarcG commented on Nov 28

    No time in 3 minutes, I suppose, to mention that the re-commissioning of dozens of coal power plants required to make-up the shortage due to the nuclear shutdown has resulted in making Germany the only European country posting an increase in GHG emissions over the last 5 years.

    France won’t be far behind as they just voted the same kind of disastrous policy this week announcing the shutdown of 33% of their nukes over the next 10 years.

    Hard to tell which consequence will be worse, but here are some candidates:
    1) The extinction of European populations of migratory birds killed by the millions by the giant wind mill farms. 3 giant wind farms are required to replace a typical French nuclear power plant. Half that many for the smaller German nukes.
    2) The increased carbon footprint due to the coal burning plants required by the unreliable nature of wind and solar power. Not to mention the sulphuric acid and NOx released by coal burning and the massive impacts on human populations and environment.
    3) The increased radio-activity released by coal thermal energy which is worse than uranium fission plants (100 times worse according to Scientific American among other sources on this) and of course once again the impacts on human health.
    4) The land used up by solar power farms and the loss vegetation hence of carbon sink.

    All this mess thanks to so-called “Green” parties gaining traction in Europe..
    The warning is on the wall for North America and sadly not heeded by our current breed of leaders.
    Perhaps what we need is to see a Green party actually gains actual power somewhere so that the full scope of their idiocy can finally be fully exposed.

    • Iamthe50percent commented on Nov 28

      Well, it beats being dependent on Russian gas.

    • MarcG commented on Nov 28

      That could be true from a geo-political standpoint, if it was not for the fact that the current path Europe is on is making them more dependent on Russian natural gas.
      But thanks for bringing this up.
      Just watch this become the next soap box taken by the Greens: More wind and solar so that NG Power generation can be done without.

    • KDawg commented on Nov 28

      It still amazes me that after Chernobyl and Fukushima we have people decrying the move away from old style fission reactors.

      About the only new nuclear reactors I would support would be the supposed nuclear waste destroying molten salt reactors since we have a huge stockpile of highly radioactive waste that it would be better to use than simply store and wait for ground water contamination. The question though is whether these reactors work as advertised.

      The attacks on renewables are annoying. It reminds me of people that claim a Prius pollutes more than a Ford F350 V-8 Diesel or whatever ridiculous comparison is being made for the day. Renewables aren’t without their own issues, but the attacks against them tend to greatly exaggerate their negative impacts. The attack against solar in particular is ridiculous. Yeah, there are huge solar farms, but let’s not mention rooftop solar at all.

    • DeDude commented on Nov 29

      Yes it is certainly not a group that would let the facts get in the way of their narratives and pet issues (solutions). You kind of just have to shake your head at someone who complains that the carbon footprint will increase as we move away from carbon based energy to more direct harvest of the suns energy – and then in order to boast the narrative brings up a completely separate issue of reducing the use of nuclear energy. Some people get so completely addicted to their narratives that any rational debate is out of the question.

    • MarcG commented on Nov 29

      Figures on carbon footprint are a click away. All the figures and sources I bring up can be looked up.
      Nice attempt at taking the discussion on a ad hominem track KDawg.
      I can;t think of anyone with more than two brain cells who will advocate that a Prius pollutes more than an F-350.
      They are tools designed to do different things. An F-350 can tow heavy machinery. It is an overkill to do the groceries, unless you have a 200 people coming over for supper feed for which you’d need 10 Prius, and waste more parking space at the grocery store….

    • KDawg commented on Nov 29

      Well put.

      It’s a fair criticism to argue that the rapid shutting of reactors is an overreaction to some catastrophic events and will lead to worse environmental outcomes than letting them run for a longer period of time.

      Two counter arguments would be that:

      1) Shutting them rapidly and letting energy prices rise allows a faster adoption rate for renewables and would net out to less environmental impact in the medium term.

      2) Did the government find safety issues in their review of these reactors? The nuclear industry isn’t exactly an open book since they are paired with the defense industry. Germany has long been a supplier of plutonium for NATO countries and they aren’t immune from the secrecy that requires. Perhaps these reactors are even less safe than people’s perceptions.

    • KDawg commented on Dec 1

      The “well put” was for DeDude, MarcG’s comment was in moderation and hidden from me at the time of my reply.

    • RW commented on Nov 28

      “Perhaps what we need is to see a Green party actually gains actual power somewhere so that the full scope of their idiocy can finally be fully exposed.”

      This experiment is currently being run in the US with the Republican party but even full revelation of their idiocy does not seem to have much of a deleterious effect on their electoral successes.

      Possibly a tribal identity issue: Once associated with a party, the transition to another is as difficult psychologically as transitioning from fossil-fuel to alternative is difficult in logistical and economic terms.

      The Germans will probably feel better about their decision vis-a-vis transitioning when the GHG emission trend reverses in the next few years. Not much evidence Kansas is transitioning but hope springs eternal and all that.

    • DeDude commented on Nov 29

      Yes and the same tribe of right wing clowns will use the same approach to their failing predictions as they did when hyperinflation failed to appear and the health care system failed to collapse after we gave access to poor people and…and…and…. They will ignore, deny and move on to the next narrative driven hyperventilation.

      At this point solar will move ahead and roll right over those who stand in its way. It is now at the point where individuals as well as corporate energy producers make money by using it, so its going to happen. First time we get a major terrorist attack on the grid, people will wake up and it will become both a personal and a national security issue to make energy in small local plants rather than huge regional/national grids. Then things will start moving fast and the US could end up ahead of Germany rather than hopelessly behind.

    • Biffah Bacon commented on Nov 29

      Financial disaster of epic proportions, realized and unrealized, from nuclear power.
      Washington Public Power Supply System, largest bond failure of its time.
      Unknown and unknowable cost for storage of high level, low level, and post-decommissioning waste.
      Hanford site contamination from compromised waste storage tanks, coupled with intentional irradiation of the landscape with isotopes known to lodge in the thyroid and other organs.
      Before Fukushima Daichi it was always stated as fact that fission reactors could not explode, yet there it is on video exploding as hydrogen off-gassed from an out of control reactor.
      Fort Greely, Alaska, where primary cooling water was used to heat buildings using normal hydronic heating systems, decontaminated after forty years because the remainder was too hazardous to leave around an ABM site.
      Oak Ridge where the costly security protecting the nuclear facility was breached by elderly nuns.

      Nuclear doesn’t work financially even with huge federal subsidies. Fusion is always 40 years in the future. Why not take advantage of a giant fusion reactor that has served us for the entirety of human existence? Why not invest in batteries, solar, wind, tidal, geothermal and conservation? Why not develop synergies instead of weeping for the dream that died with WPPS (pronounced “whoops”)?

    • DeDude commented on Nov 29

      Yes and “the extinction of European populations of migratory birds” by these crazy cats is just around the corner – as it has been for hundreds of years.

    • MarcG commented on Nov 29

      Tree huggers is one source of information. Without accusing them of any partiality on the relative merits of nuclear vs. so-called green energies, I went around the web to seek other sources of information:

      Here’s what the US government says on this subject:

      Other articles also mention that fossil fuel energy is also a killer of birds and fauna in general.

      My point is that all three combine into a big problem for birds.

    • DeDude commented on Nov 29

      You link is not to a government site – so it is not “what the government says on this subject”. Even taking your source at face value, the cats are still far ahead of the windmills. Cat casualties are counted in billions. Yes the first study sited in your link is a government study and it suggests 1.4 million birds per year in the US by 2030 (billions anybody?). The final hyperventilating extreme estimate gets to 30 million birds (billions anybody?). I personally think we should do more to reduce the number of birds killed by windmills, but to suggest that we should try to save this relatively small number of birds by not building windmills and instead destroy the environment with dirty carbon based energy, is completely out of proportion.

      Counting windmills into one of the things that “combine into a big problem for birds” is like claiming that the mouse that crossed the bridge with an elephant, is part of the noise problem. The main threats from the energy sector to birds is the destruction of habitats and food sources by pollution and climate change induced by carbon-based sources. Windmills will help reduce that problem.

    • MarcG commented on Nov 29

      I know you’ll be sorry to hear that we agree on something DeDude, but the main point of my comment is that currently politically correct energy policies in the western are far from effectively weaning us from carbon energy.

    • MarcG commented on Nov 30

      Sorry for rushing the typing on the last reply. Let’s try this again:

      I know you’ll be sorry to hear that we agree on something DeDude, but the main point of my comment is that current politically correct energy policies in the western world are far from effectively weaning us from carbon energy.

  2. MarcG commented on Nov 28

    I am abstaining to suggest they do not hold their breath in this unusual case.

  3. GeorgeBurnsWasRight commented on Nov 28

    I suspect we won’t be getting too many more of these reports from National Geographic now that Murdoch has bought it.

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