Germany producing too much power after turning off nuclear reactors? Experts warn gas-driven plants are shutting down — Wind, solar, hydro prices are too low

Published: November 11th, 2012 at 2:34 am ET


Title: Power exports peak, despite nuclear phase-out
Source: Deutsche-Welle
Author: Günther Birkenstock
Editor: Martin Kuebler
Date: 11.11.2012

Renewable energy sources are booming in Germany, and electric utilities exported more power in 2012 than ever before. But energy experts warn that what sounds like progress has its downsides.

Germany began turning off its nuclear power plants 18 months ago, following the Fukushima disaster in Japan. Since then, many in the business and industrial communities and the general public have feared that the country would soon be facing energy shortages and even blackouts […]

Instead, Germany has produced so much electricity this year that it has actually exported its surplus. […]

The rapid increase in power generation in Germany from wind, solar and hydro, however, has been accompanied by an equally rapid decrease in the price of electricity – and not just for German consumers, but also for large customers outside Germany.

This has resulted in a rise in demand for cheap power from Germany; in particular, from the Netherlands, where – due to the cheap imports – several domestic gas-driven power plants have been taken off the grid […]

Large corporate and industrial users in Germany, however, view the export figures as evidence that the country’s energy switchover has not been a success. Their industry association, the VIK, noted that wind and solar utilities frequently generated electricity when there was no immediate demand and that eco-friendly power was pushing gas-driven plants out of the market, although these were still needed when the wind wasn’t blowing or the sun wasn’t shining. […]

See also: [intlink id=”game-changer-special-issue-of-bulletin-of-atomic-scientists-shows-exiting-nuclear-power-brings-economic-and-environmental-benefits-startling-findings” type=”post”]{{empty}}[/intlink]

Published: November 11th, 2012 at 2:34 am ET


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105 comments to Germany producing too much power after turning off nuclear reactors? Experts warn gas-driven plants are shutting down — Wind, solar, hydro prices are too low

  • nedlifromvermont

    … wind, solar hydro are too cheap !!! … Take that Big Nuclear!!!

    Nuke power = Biggest Hoax since tulip bulbs

    Shut this crap industry down now, and stop with the radiation, IDIOTS!!

    .. peace! …

  • TheBigPicture TheBigPicture

    More solid proof (for the ill-informed) that nuclear was never needed. Nor wanted. It's over. Japan and Germany has shown that nuclear reactors are a joke. But sadly, not a joke, as the radiation causes disease and suffering.

    • @nedlifromvermont and The Big Picture
      November 11, 2012
      Yes indeed. I posted in our media as follows:

      Date: 11.11.2012

      "Renewable energy sources are booming in Germany, and electric utilities exported more power in 2012 than ever before. Germany began turning off its nuclear power plants 18 months ago, following the Fukushima disaster(read extinction level event) in Japan. Since then, many in the business and industrial communities and the general public have feared that the country would soon be facing energy shortages and even blackouts […]Instead, Germany has produced so much electricity this year that it has actually exported its surplus. […]"—enenews
      wind, solar hydro are too cheap !!! … Take that Big Nuclear!!!

      "Nuke power = Biggest Hoax since tulip bulbs

      Shut this crap industry down now, and stop with the radiation, IDIOTS!!

      .. peace! …" Comment!
      Mahatma Gandhi spoke of the deadening of the human spirit by wasting our own living energy. Instead he advised the enjoyment of living energy through full employment so no one goes hungry and use of a proper PDS.
      Hope citizens will force the govt- the corrupt fellows- to serve life not death.
      Note that the energy audit of nuclear energy programmes everywhere shows that these programmes consume five or more times the…

  • 16Penny 16Penny

    They (the critics) act like we can not figure out an effective way to store excess energy produced during off peak hours.

    Choose your problem:

    How do I cleanup everything after a nuclear accident?

    How do I store excess clean energy effectively?

    My choice is obvious. Germany is already storing energy by pumping water into elevated basins during overproduction periods. Hydrogen technology is also capable of storing energy by splitting hydrogen off of water molecules. An additional benefit of this is increased availability of CLEAN, storable and portable energy. Also this form of energy does not have to be pumped out of the ground so no more fracking EQ's, oil well accidents, oil tanker spills, pipeline spills. Some critics will say how dangerous hydrogen is but between it and gasoline, I'll take hydrogen. Hydrogen fuel is stable, no need for additives.

    What will we do with the oil?

    Still need it for lubricants and certain components for asphalt. Many people still use oil to heat their home and I am sure they will enjoy the WOW low prices for a change.

    • Maggie123

      16Penny – Your notes on storage are very good to read – thank you! I also appreciate your reminder of ways we use oil that for the time being are pretty important. Your thought that reduced demand on oils might bring their prices down also is fantastic – I hope, I hope, on all of this – fingers crossed!

  • BreadAndButter BreadAndButter

    So far, anybody producing renewables in Germany (companies or private households) fed that electricity into the public grid and is paid the feed-in tariff. By continually lowering that tariff, our (still) pro-nuke govmt. had a certain control about the growth of renewables, as at a certain point in spring 2012, it didn't seem too economically appealing to install solar on your roof. Govmt. happy, as they saved a certain status quo for the nukers / fossil fossils.
    But surprise, renewables became so cheap that people install solar and use the energy themselves, and don't want the feed-in tariff anymore. So govmt. is quite losing control right now 🙂

    The next big thing will be citizen-owned new grids and cross-region powerlines. The first one is getting started in December in northern Germany.

    • JustmeAlso

      here is an article ( ) from last year about Germany importing nuke power from Czech Republic and France.

      Can i assume the import of nuke power has stopped?

      • 16Penny 16Penny

        That is a pretty old article. I will look for it but I just saw an article that directly disputed the claim that economic growth in Germany is stagnant due to the switch over. Give me a few and I'll try to post it.

      • BreadAndButter BreadAndButter

        Hi Justmealso, no, it hasn't stopped yet for a simple reason: we have a European market, and electricity is transferred through all grids, if we like it or not. But there is an interesting development: in 2010, Germany exported more energy than it imported over the year as a whole.
        In 2011, it exported more than it imported in every single month.
        So the two main sources solar and wind really seem to complement each other quite well over the seasons.

        But it's not all peachy over here energy-wise. Will be better again after we finally get rid of Merkel and her bunch 🙂

        • Maggie123

          BreadAndButter – Thanks for clarifying re elec. distribution grid. Overall, Germany seems to have something hugely significant to demonstrate to the world!!

          I turned on my winter "thermal storage units" this evening, somewhat reluctantly. (These are a type of space heater that store elec. heat in firebrick and only draw power to replace heat during off-peak hours – but they're still pricey to operate in my old high-ceiling house, even with radically low thermostat settings.)

          AFTER turning them on I sat at computer to check ENE and found this article! I'm feeling quite hopeful for a clean earth, for its recovery, for all the benefits to all life that can result — and appreciating my elec. heat system all the more! 🙂

          • Radio VicFromOregon

            Just to bump up your joy meter a little more – China has slowed down its use and imports of coal the past two years and has not asked for any increases in the foreseeable future from America, so the US push to sell coal there is looking even more less likely. The dang stuff may just have to stay in the ground after all. Instead, China, while, yes, sadly, building nuke plants, is also investing more heavily into many forms of renewables despite their economic slow down. The results have been more economic stability for them. M123, i truly think the tide is turning. It won't be easy, sometimes painful, ugly and hard, but, the pendulum is swinging.

            • voltscommissar

              Sadly US coal exports to China are lagging merely because there is a prolonged frenzy of ripping very cheap coal out of the ground elsewhere. Some people are getting obscenely rich, whilst destroying their home planet with runaway climate change: up and over the tipping point to an "impossible" environment called the "Super Greenhouse" by palaeo-climatologists.

              If global energy markets are allowed to continue with this weapon of mass destruction, there will eventually be no living humans left on earth to blame for the slow-motion holocaust. Gaia's "justice" is to kill us all for the sins of relatively few obscenely greedy corporatists. Whether the cheapest most profitable coal comes from Australia, Indonesia or Russia, the outcome is the same.

              Get renewable or die, Earthlings!


        • JustmeAlso

          B&B, thanks for clarifying!
          If only people from around the world would follow the German people, nuke power will end. (When governments see that the cashcow is not nuke power, but renewables?)

          • nedlifromvermont

            … irony of ironies: Germany lost the last major war, so she got to have a government which was new and uncorrupted, able to deal truthfully about their recent past, and able to take steps toward the light, she cast off evil nuclear power. German society had to deal with the aftermath of what happens when the government gets involved with selling a lie …

            the lie in 1930's Germany? … that Jews are evil and different … the result: near total annihilation …

            the lie in 1950's until today in USA Cancerland? … that nuclear power is safe … result ..

            Germany, rebuilt, post-war, is modern: nobody can control through ownership a national news media outlet …

            USA Cancerland: rampant military-industrial fascism rules the land, under banner of "Pro-Life" repubnofascist nut cases insisting on nuclear power will give many more people cancers, genetic mutations, leukemias, than will ever get aborted …

            "He who wins the war writes the history books" has morphed into "he who wins the war wins the right to stuff their ionizing radiation into everyone's lungs, bloodstream, bones and food chains " …

            In USA Cancerland this is called "Progress" or more affectionately: "Bringing Good Things to Life".

            Kinda makes you want to puke.

            And the new argument for nuclear power? These are good jobs!!!!

            Well, jail guard at Ausschwitz was a jobs program, too, in a way. No one is crying over these lost positions, last I checked …


            • HamburgGeiger

              Hi nedlifromvermont,

              you are very optimistic concerning the situation here in Germany. I am proud that we try to show the world how to convert to clean energy, BUT this is an ongoing battle and not the straight way that it seems to be when you look from 4.000km away.

              I don`t want to turn this in the political direction, but I think what you write about that new start after ww2 is pure fantasy. Our government was and is as corrupted as yours. They don`t act truthfully and they try to obstruct our way from nuclear to clean energy in every possible way. What you see from the distance is not what really happens over here.

              I don`t want to weaken our clean energy prototype shine in the world, but you have to be realistic about the circumstances.

              After ww2 the winners set our course in the way they wanted. Since then our politics went in the same direction as yours in USA. There was no uncorrupted, truthful new beginning. We got nuclear power and everything as you, and nobody was interested in the protests against it.

              Actually currently politics steer massively against renewables over here! And w maybe will loose this battle. Many achievements of the last 10 years are torn down these days. And most people are not interested in this. They listen to what nuclear propaganda tells them. So absolute nothing to be too optimistic about. It will still be many years, a long way to go, and we will need a lot of luck until we maybe finally reach those goals.

              • nedlifromvermont

                vielen Dank an HamburgerGeiger for the reality ckeck …
                still … you do have those laws which theoretically prevent abuse of media for purposes of Propaganda …

                … here we are totally screwed with no independent media … Even NPR has taken the pro-nuclear hush money … Josef Goebbels would be in heaven, as ReichsProgrammer for Rupert Murdoch …

                Remember to Mock them at every opportunity … as in "thyroid cancer … another 'good' thing nuclear power brings to life …"

                … peace out …

                • HamburgGeiger

                  Yes, we theoretically have independent media, but in real life they are absolutely brought into line and send what they are told to. That is our reality as well as yours in USA.

                  We all learned in school that we also have separation of powers but that has nothing to do with what we see in real life. It is all a big delusion that some few people start to look through.

                  I don`t know how exactly they control the media, but be assured it is done.

        • Radio VicFromOregon

          BnB, all things in their own time. You have just accomplished something that transcends whoever is Germany's chancellor. Isn't Merkel planning her exit anyway? Am i misinformed?

          • HamburgGeiger

            Hi VicFromOregon,

            Merkel exiting german politics? Now that would be wonderful. But no, it looks like we`ll have her four more years after the next elections. And that would be very very bad for renewable energy. We only can hope for a miracle, that the green party again takes over power. Otherwise pro nuclear Merkel and all their evil friends will destroy everything that was achieved in the past.

          • HamburgGeiger

            Btw, the original article is wrong in stating that the consumer price for electricity is decreasing. The opposite is true. The price is rising to the point where it becomes a huge issue for people with lower income. And, even if that is not the true reason, this dramatic prise increase is blamed on the green energy, setting many people up against the "energy turn".

            Old powers spend millions of euro for press campaigns, and most people believe that bullshit. They turn the question of renewable energy into a social one and split the people, set them on each other – poor citizens against house owners with solar on the roof (claiming those earn too much money with that on cost of the others), etc. etc. An the only truth is, that big energy still earns big money. They take the profits from the electricity stock exchange and don´t lower prices for the customers. Instead the customers pay all costs of the new energies (and the nuclear costs, too, for sure). It is pathetic. They give the electricity for free to our neighbours, but no german citizen got even one free kWh let alone lower prices for electricity.

            If we really want to change energy production in the future, we need to get rid of big money. We do not only need clean energy but more democratic energy, not centralized structures but solar on every roof. That is what the old powers fear and try to avoid at any costs. That is the hard part of the change. We will see how this turns out. Hope the best.

            • nedlifromvermont

              … this IS The Nexus: Big Money Capitalism, Morgan Banking Interests, Investment Bankers and Big Energy companies all conspiring for big company profits-driven electrical power business, which has morphed into crony capitalism, promoting unsafe technology (nuclear power) which requires concentrated business wealth, versus public power and healthful, good decisions for all …

              … NUKE POWER is OUTED by enenewsers as The Worst Result Possible From Crony Capitalist Thugs Running United States of Cancer, Japan, Germany and Britain, France and Canada, too …

              … WOW!!! …

              …. kinda makes you wonder …

              … peace … und auf wiederhoeren …

              Go ENENEWS!!! …

            • voltscommissar

              Off-grid solar photovoltaics (and thermal) are the only effective strategy to compete against monopoly power.

              It is called "market bypass", and at the risk of repeating myself will add that the biggest stranded asset in the "deregulated" (Ha!!) energy market is the roofs of millions of middle-class home owners.

              If Australian grid-tied PVs are cross-subsidized the same as in Germany, then it is true that the poor are subsidizing middle class home owners. Grid-tied PVs are also useful "greenwash" PR for incumbents in the electricity industry.

              • HamburgGeiger

                Sorry, but no, that is not true. The poor pay for it, yes, and the middle class pays for it, too. Even those who have solar on their roof. As well as both payed and pay much more subsidy to nuclear (but that was never publicly discussed…)

                Yes, to start alternative energy subsidies are needed, as well as for every other energy in the past. And yes, there are people making money out of it, and that is perfectly ok because it is all in good cause. Think about it – even nuclear does earn money, lots of money… Why should producers of solar energy not earn money?

                This way to see it is nothing else but an attempt to stop green energy by splitting the people, setting them on each other. One should think for himself before falling for propaganda like that.

                • HamburgGeiger

                  Just forgot: There are at least as many idealists (like me) engaging in for example solar energy as there are people trying to earn money with it.

                  And please don`t believe that everybodies solar on the roof is lucrative. I currently try to get the permission to build a big solar array on our roof for 50.000 Euro. And after 20 years we will not have earned a single euro with it. Thats because of the roofs direction, shadows, etc. But we will harvest 14.000 kWh each year for our own consumption (house and electric car in the future) – that is why I do it. A pedestrian seeing the big solar roof could think that there must be a lot of profit in it. WRONG! The opposite is true in germany nowadays. The money you get for feeding the energy into the grid is much less then what you pay for electricity. So own consumption is the way to amortize that investment. Think about that.

                  • HamburgGeiger

                    And now with owners of solar roofs trying to consume as much as possible of the produced energy themselves (part time off grid solar, sometimes with accumulator and everything, making it more and more unprofitable) we see first opinions here in germany stating that is antisocial, too… (Because the others have to pay more and more of the fix costs for example costs of the grid with every kWh of their electricity consumption.)

                    So what to do? Producing solar energy is marked antisocial when you sell it and when you consume it yourself. Imo the only real antisocial thing is making big money with nuclear and all its dangers, not trying to save this planet. But they distract people from that fact with above mentioned and other bullshit. Liars and demagogues that they are.

    • 16Penny 16Penny

      So if I am reading between the lines correctly here you are telling me that if we as citizens choose to incorporate renewables in our homes we can "vote" to shut stuff down because they won't be able to make their profit. If they built their plants to a reasonable level of safety then it would be too expensive to make a profit. Who helped them with their business models? sounds like a precarious position to work in to make a profit. Anyone in the gov't watching, now is the time to make sure these companies have excess funds in escrow for decommissioning. Wait and you'll be going after the owners of penny stocks (we can only hope).

      • BreadAndButter BreadAndButter

        Hi 16Penny, what's scary is that many utilities lost their decommissioning funds in the financial crisis! I read of an US company lately who said they're terribly sorry but will have to have their NPP stay idle for 60 (!) years before they'll have the $ to decommission it.
        Sweet, eh?
        Where are you located?

        • 16Penny 16Penny

          B&B: I am in U.S.A. Missouri.

          Maggi, not all forms of renewable energy are so heavily reliant on rare earth materials.

          Algae to produce biofuels (so many varieties of strains to produce everything from hydrogen to JP8 jet fuel) directly from solar. You don't have to buy components from China and this system has beneficial byproducts. Also, variants of these systems sequester CO2 and release oxygen. There are still some obstacles to overcome but the industry is growing.

          My guess is that as soon as renewable energy sources gain enough momentum to jeopardize the big players in the industry, we will see the release of some form of energy production which has been stifled in order to eliminate competition.

          • Maggie123

            Thanks 16Penny – re rare earth element sources, I'm also very concerned and mindful of the Congo. In fact, it's the Congolese I'm most thinking of when I mention terrible, even deadly, conditions. For all our electronic pleasures – some people in out of sight parts of the world consistently pay a terrible price.

            I'm all for algae as resource – thank for mentioning it. A few decades back I 'looked' at the future and thought at the rate we were destroying earth and habitat we'd all be eating algae by now – much more pleasant to consider it as an energy resource! 🙂

            • Maggie123

              16Penny, everyone – re hi-tech raw materials: I'm pretty upset at conditions in the Congo. Have been finding/sharing info for a time but haven't seen widening interest.

              It upsets me that Congo info has not yet caught enduring attention in cultures that purchase and enjoy latest gadgets, (it has been sporadically reported)

              Info I've come across re social/political chaos is complex; it's hard to develop clarity. Activist individuals and groups often speak of their project specifically. I've perhaps not dug as deep or searched as far as would give overview but think its fair to say it's much worse than the 'modern' world can imagine.

              A 2nd 'angle' that upsets me is potential for Congolese govt/military actions (that commit/allow the brutality) to be shrugged off by belief these originate within the Congolese people.

              Intl Corps know about it. Also, months back, associated with an article on a news site (can't recall either), I coincidentally ended up in comment exchange with a Congolese. He shared, without full detail but enough, that during colonization the people were *extremely* brutalized to force them to work for raw exported resources.

              It took 2+ yrs from first news of Chinese I-phone worker plight for the world to decide it had some responsibility. Congo plight is beyond unspeakably worse yet still does not make front pages.

              "Slavery in Your Pocket", 10 min docu. I don't know when it was made – reasonably current. http://vimeo

          • Maggie123

            16Penny – So – I'm visualizing rooftops outfitted with solar and/or wind devices as appropriate standing among banks of algae growing tubs! 🙂

            • richard richard

              A large number of building in Australia have solar panels for electricity and/or hot water.

              The house I am in now has 8 large panels on the roof.

              The service stations (petrol/gas) have the awning covering the pump areas – covered with solar panels.

              Australia does not have nuclear power.

              But we mine and use coal, and intermittently (appararently) export uranium.

              • 16Penny 16Penny

                Great point, Solar water heaters and Geothermal / heat pumps are the two most efficient forms of renewables to date. Solar has made huge advances in the past ten years but from a cost analysis perspective (please correct me if you know better) it is not a good investment most of the time. Looking through socioeconomic and environmental glasses, Solar panels are fluffy little kittens compared to nuclear and dirty fossil fuel plants.

                Australia exports a crap ton (tonnes) of Uranium.

                One of the major drawbacks on solar is that their efficiency decreases over time and most panels have a life expectancy of less than 20 years. Some panels have lasted up to 50 years. Again, we are seeing innovations almost daily in the solar photo voltaic cells so in 6 months or a year there may be a turnaround in that statistic.

                • richard richard

                  The cost is still high. Basically, a house may expect to take around 10 years to return the cost of the installation in saving of electricity supply costs.

                  But if power costs rise, the return is shorter.
                  Also, if the house is unoccupied, it is 'making' money providing power, not consuming it. Take longer holidays 😉

                  i appreciate these are inefficient devices today, but so was the Model-T in it's day. Look where we are now. The money just needs to be invested into renewables, not nuclear. It would make the world of difference.

                  • @richard
                    November 11 2012 at 449 hrs

                    And in India and other similar countries a box type solar cooker will give you boiled eggs,rice dal, cooked vegetables and many an other tasty dish…. and eradicate illth and filth due to nuclears…and mines and the next gen will be healthy.. and using the sun instead of high quality electricity to produce low grade heat….

                    • richard richard

                      @Ramaswami Kumar, I just saw your comment on the solar cooker.

                      I've heard of it, and it's first rate.

                      A brilliant device. And third world countries use a lot of kerosene and even timber .. this device could turn all that around.

                      thanks so much for the reminder, if you have details maybe post them in the ..

                      FORUM: Alternative Energy — Converting to clean, renewable energy sources (335 Comments)

                      good to hear from you Rama.

            • 16Penny 16Penny

              Ya, I'd rather see green roofs than those blank black/grey panels. I am also interested in designing mini turbines that can be retrofitted into structures where wind is concentrated. I like wind power but from an aesthetic point of view it is difficult to make them look like they belong on a structure.

              I think it will take a variety of renewable sources but I don't see how that differs from conventional production methods. I also think that many of the companies going into this sector are doing it with a fresh(er) perspective and are incorporating features to work with "smart' grids.

              I look forward to the day when I have a $20 home energy bill and my car begins to recharge itself during off peak hours in my driveway or garage, with no ridiculous extension chords.

              We are going to see some truly AWESOME things during this generation, things which are unimaginable by even the most creative contemporary minds.

            • ML

              Here is info on zinc replacing the rare earth element indium for solar panels:

              "Abundant zinc could replace rare earth staple in solar panels
              By: Dan Thisdell London
              01: 00 3 Jul 2012

              Oxford University researchers may have cracked open a new route to exploiting solar power with the discovery of a low-cost alternative to indium, the scarce – and expensive – rare earth element that has been the key ingredient in photovoltaic panels for half a century.

              The zinc-based transparent conductor is less efficient than indium tin oxide (ITO), but has a great advantage in manufacturing. While ITO has to be applied to its substrate material in a vacuum chamber, the Oxford team's silicon-doped zinc oxide is a liquid that can be sprayed on like paint, making it practical to apply on large and flexible surfaces – potentially including aircraft wings and fuselages.


        • HamburgGeiger

          Nuclear industry never will pay for decommissioning and the long term costs for storing all that evil stuff. They never wanted and they can`t. Nobody can, so we the people will face the risk and the costs while the profit goes to those at the top. As always. It was the same when those plants were built and during operation.

          The real costs of nuclear power have never been formally named (for example on the electricity bill as they do it with the costs of green energy). Instead we pay for it with our taxes (and our health and lives of course). In that very moment where nuclear has to reveal the real costs or even get their plants insured, it would be the end of nuclear worldwide…

          To those of you in USA: We have a salt dome collapsing here in Germany – much like your sinkhole in Lousiana. It has been filled with nuclear waste from the 1960s on. Nobody knows what really has been put there, and nobody knows how to get it back before this thing tumbles down. And as always nobody knows how to pay for that. So even if we finally have green energy we have all those inherited waste which has the potential to make big parts of the country uninhabitable. All the trouble and the headache to the people, all the money to those few on top. It is so frustrating.

          • nedlifromvermont

            … so sorry to hear that HamburgerGeiger … actually a friend of mine who grew up in Ost Berlin told me this, too …

            … It is really about the Cover Up … Thank you for sharing …

            Here you have found a group which is holding the 'Heart Space' for the planet … in pursuit of the honest truth about these matters … and we welcome your insights …

            … we will mock THEM, and their walls will crumble … as in:

            … US Judge J. Garvan Murtha to State of Vermont: "Nuclear power is so SAFE you're not allowed to talk about it!!!!" What an unholy FARCE!!!

            … peace …

    • Radio VicFromOregon

      I bow to the clean energy gurus leading the way….this is fantastic! Thanks for the deeper insight into the home issues, too, BnB.

  • buzzz buzzz

    "… rapid decrease in the price of electricity – and not just for German consumers…"

    Erm, electricity prices are actually rising in Germany, apparently due to the high cost of switching to alternative energy sources. Large corporate and industrial users in Germany" are largely exempt from the price increases.

    So the German consumer is subsidizing alternative energy in Europe and is being bashed by industry for just that?

    Go industry!

    • 16Penny 16Penny

      Compared to the price (japan estimates in the trillions) of the alternatives, German consumers are getting off cheap and they don't have to look over their shoulder to see if the genie is sneaking out of the bottle after a natural disaster.

      • HamburgGeiger

        16Penny, genie is sneaking out of the bottle all the time. It does not need a catastrophe for that, "normal" operation is enough. And shutting down nuclear plants does not mean that alls the fuel in there is not a problem for future generations. We have nowhere to put it, and it will be a big burden for many future generations. We should never have started with nuclear.

    • Maggie123

      Buzzz – thanks for tossing in more info. I'm hoping to hang onto my "we're saved!" mood a while longer (at least for this evening) but experience and general awareness tell me this is very bright news but my "we're saved!!" mood is premature at best! 🙂

      I *do* look forward to what ENE's bring to this news release – am keen to learn more! (Thanks again)

    • BreadAndButter BreadAndButter

      Hi buzzz,
      re. rising energy prices in Germany there's a lot of confusion and misinformation going on. It's important to know that
      – the exemptions you mention were initially meant for companies / industries which compete on the global market and would profit from lower energy prices. I'm genrally A-OK with that. BUT:
      this current govmt. has granted those exemptions to server farms, chicken farms working on industrial scale and even local bus companies (which of course in no way need support on global markets).
      – This leads partially to higher prices for the private consumers. We're talking about 5 € / month for a 3 person household, which is just ridiculous. If I can dodge a nuclear disaster for the price of a latte per month, I'm happily accepting this.
      – En plus, energy prices here have been rising for the last decades! It's just now that people talk about it.
      – I'd rather see this development as an investment than a subsidy – Germany will save billions in the decades to come for not having to import fossil fuels / uranium.
      – In 10 years, we'll have the lowest energy prices ever. Very much looking forward to that…..


      • HamburgGeiger

        You are so very right, B&B. I 100% agree.

        Unfortunately the current government made nonsense of the laws that were installed with good intentions.

        We can only hope that we will see those good times in the future that you describe. Just imagine what we could do with all the money saved on energy imports… I see schools with roofs without leaks, people with properly maintained teethes, roads without potholes. We could even easily pay back all the national debt.

        I will contribute my part as good as I can. Currently I am fighting with our building authority. They don`t want me to build that photovoltaik on our roof. That is the reality in germany. Still a long way to go.

        • @HamburgGeiger
          November 11, 2012 at 10:44 am
          I am curious. Could you tell us the nature of the objection of the building authority to PV? Thanks.

          • HamburgGeiger

            In Germany you can`t simply build on your ground what you want. You have to ask for permission from the building authority for every little thing.

            There is a law that the officials shall not be too pedantic in case of renewable energy construction projects. But in reality if you plan to build solar on your roof you can run in a lot of difficulties. There for example are additional regulations for sites of historic interest (for example in inner-city of nearly every german town) etc. etc.

            I had bad luck. Our appropriate authority seems to be anti solar minded. They try to complicate things in every possible way. (That with sinking feed in tariff every month…) Currently nuclear here in Germany is on its way back, and with it there is a comeback of all the old bureaucratic obstacles. The grid operators are the next institution braking in every possible way. They all see the signs that politics made a u-turn and they hope to get the upper hand back soon.

            They just don`t conform to the "pro clean energy laws" anymore, as much as they can without being too obvious. That is enough to slow everything down until the next election that will finally end all the positive achievements of the last years.

            Now they want me to go through a long and expensive building license procedure although building solar on roofs is explicitly allowed by law. They just ignore that because they can… Yes, the situation for solar, wind, etc. has changed very much to the negative…

  • Maggie123

    I certainly hope to see word of this tomorrow on multiple popular US news sites! Wow – what a dilemma!

    I think I can see what's causing distress. Looks like the Official Plan for Netherlands (for example) was to import elec. as *only* supplemental. Instead, the imported elec. is overwhelming what was assumed 'true' of Dutch economic-to-energy 'balance'.

    In other words, if my thinking is on track – Ducks seemed properly in a row and had been given names. Three are named Nuclear, Gas, and Oil. Fourth, Alt.Ener. was meant to lag in the procession, to bring up the rear.

    There was comfort in orderliness. Prominent Planners (along with CEO's and duckling investors) slept well at night, their world predictable.

    None of any nation, perhaps including Germany, expected alternatives to be so hugely successful so quickly.


    Some issues likely to arise? Rare earth elements are used in all elec. communication and computerized devices, incl wind, solar, autos and appliances). These are currently mined where labor rights are mostly absent and worker lives deeply miserable, even deadly. Production everywhere of solar panels (at least) exposes workers to extremely toxic materials. Alternative energy may temporarily at least cause market bubbles and spikes. Most widely noticeable perhaps – humanity will undergo assorted "status-quo" upheavals during a transition time.

    Finally – rare earth elements are called rare for a reason. We'll need to figure that…

    • BreadAndButter BreadAndButter

      Hi Maggie, to fully grasp the article one has to know that the Netherlands have (or had?) plans to build a new NPP near the German border. I can imagine they are upset, but what hinders them to produce more renewable energy themselves? They have sea, coastline for wind and just as much sun as we have (which isn't a lot :-().
      I hope enenewser DisasterInterpretationDisorder will check in, he's Dutch, I think!

      • Maggie123

        Hi BreadAndButter: "what hinders them to produce more renewable energy themselves?" Exactly so! What hinders *any* nation from now following Germany's demonstration? (It's those duckling organizers, I know, I know…) 🙂

        • BreadAndButter BreadAndButter

          Even two??
          To cite our lovely Whoopie (I miss her!):
          "I want off this planet!"

          Thanks JustMe for the info!

          • JustmeAlso

            In Holland wind power has been used abundantly.

            from wikipedia ( : ''The total number of wind powered mills in Europe is estimated to have been around 200,000 at its peak,
            Of the 10,000 windmills in use in the Netherlands around 1850, about 1000 are still standing.''

            • Maggie123

              JustmeAlso – I've looked up info on the old-style "Dutch" windmill, very interesting! Several styles in different parts of the world and design changes over time. It's my thought that in a future "civilization wrecked" scenario we'd be wise to remember these machines and to know how to build them!

          • HamburgGeiger

            They won`t build those nuclear plants. There is no more profit in that in the future. And without investors money no new plants. What we see are just the last convulsions of an dying industry.

            What "they" really do is trying to get a hold of "their" part in renewable energy. They try to steer in a direction that gives them power over off shore wind-parks and big solar parks to obtain there influence through established centralized structures.

            • HamburgGeiger

              see for example desertec…

            • HamburgGeiger

              That is why the currently try very successfully to worsen the conditions for small solar on peoples roofs, small wind energy on shore, etc. And everything that does not fit in their big centralized thinking will be next on that list. Merkel and friends are just warming up. Wait what happens after the next elections.

      • Radio VicFromOregon

        BnB, maybe this puts the kabash on those icky nuke plants. Germany, more than any country i know of, did more grassroots citizen action to educate the public, stand up to government and industry, and bring this day about. Maybe Merkel even had a hunch it would work out. Germany will be getting contacted by every anti nuke group and green energy organization in the world looking for pointers. You should all be deeply proud. This also begins a new definition of Germany as well to add to
        Vergangenheitsbewältigung, a process inconceivable to most nations save perhaps Germany and Rwanda. And, Germany now leads in green energy and the commitment to step away from destructive forms of energy.

    • Radio VicFromOregon

      Like the analogy M123. This is the game changer. It's like the change over from coal to oil. Done within a decade, winners and losers, no looking back for the countries that could get the oil. All countries can get some form of alternative energy, generate it locally, use it there or sell some off. is is YooHoo! stuff.

      • 16Penny 16Penny

        I apologize for blasting this forum with posts, I will try to sit back for a while after this post.

        Another great benefit of many renewable energy sources id that they can work in isolated areas or off grid. I heard they wanted to start doing mini NPP's but how can that help a small community in a third word country?

        Give em a windmill, solar panels, anaerobic digester, water power or any other thing I missed and you open the world to them without expensive infrastructure like Ginormous power plants, transmission lines and greatly reduced loss from transmission.

        Connected mini grids are more robust than our current paradigm of big plants and fragile, long distance transmission of the power generated. My belief is that dispersed renewables combined with smart grid technology and more efficient usage is our path out of the mess we are in.

        Richard, great point with the "when you are not home it pays you" comment. I think if we stopped looking at just Germay and made it a continental approach (include power generated by costal countries and the such) then the differences between production and demand will be greatly reduced and allow for easy buffering with minimal loss.

        The next generation of automobiles are likely going to be largely electrical. This gives a smart grid system a giant and dynamic storage capacity. Having driven a few hydrogen hybrids two years ago I have to say I welcome the new products. Our weak grid in the US is a factor preventing a big…

        • Maggie123

          16Penny – your storehouse of information is so much appreciated! (Bummer re current solar panel life-span; I'd heard that too somewhere but had forgotten) … I am *very* glad glad for the sharing you're offering! (Others too, btw – thanks!)

          • HamburgGeiger

            Current solar panel life-span is at least 25 years. Many manufacturer even guarantee that. In reality most panels last 30 years or more. And after only 3 years they already earned the energy that their production costs. Degradation over time is not a big issue either. Some low percent in 20-30 years, nothing worth talking about. And modern panels will probably be even better as those now 30 years old.


          brilliant contributions 16Penny…

  • tokyota

    <a href=""&gt;

    …Therefore, summing the GBG study on the overall economic cost of electricity. So calculated, the Company bears in 2012 at a kilowatt hour of wind power cost of 8.1 cents and 7.6 cents in water flow. Coal amounted to 14.8 cents. Nuclear power is depending on the bandwidth of the applied external costs on at least 16.4 cents, the highest fall to 42.2 cents. The relatively high value of 36.7 cents on the voltaic GBG experts offer in relation to the introduction of nuclear power. Solar power is currently mainly because of the high initial investments for the construction of photovoltaic systems are relatively expensive. Comparing these issues with the early years of nuclear energy, then it is clear that government support for nuclear power with more than 60 cents per kilowatt hour in those days was almost twice as high.

  • aigeezer aigeezer

    Great thread and topic, folks. On a more sombre note, here is the kind of industry pushback we can expect, I imagine.

    Background: The new government in Quebec honored a campaign promise to shut down the province's only nuke plant (hint to voters and politicians everywhere). There was immediate major backlash from media, other political parties, and the unions representing the plant workers, who said in essence "these plants are so very dangerous that you must keep them (forever) to make sure nothing bad happens."

    The industry then played this card: there is no money for decommissioning (and it is very dangerous to do so) and "the process of dismantling it will take 50 years and cost $1.8 billion."

    Details of the $1.8 billion dismantling process turn out to be "workers will take 18 months to render it dormant" (18 months!), followed by "The plant will then stay dormant for 40 years to allow the worst of its radioactivity to disperse. Over the ensuing decade, the facility will finally be dismantled and the site cleaned up". So… amazingly… it costs $1.8 billion to do nothing for 40 years except hope that the radiation turns into pixie dust.


      agreed aigeezer…great thread/responses and I've also noticed the growing 'pushback'. Couple of things to keep in mind: the bean counters (which is not limited to the insurance industry, corporate/government comptrollers and hungry law firms) will have the greatest influence over the direction of our collective energy needs. Given the emerging awareness in the real costs of centralized energy production technologies (which shouldn't be limited to nuclear), economics will be the determining factor. Another, less obvious issue, is the after effect of hurricane Sandy and centralized power distribution systems.

      [ see: It's Hard to Get a Reading on Size of Outages — ]

      It's not being discussed (yet) but be assured, many will be looking at the real vulnerabilities of relying on centralized versus decentralized power distribution systems. And aside from enenews' excellent reporting of the tottering-condition of several nuclear power plants within the affected areas of the hurricane, the public's not (yet) been appraised of this nightmare. Taken in total, we're not far-off from the day when renewable energy systems will be incorporating the costs of decommissioning nuclear power technologies. I could live with that…

      • aigeezer aigeezer

        AFTERSHOCK, yes, I could certainly live with that too (absorbing decommissioning costs), especially considering the cost/risk of not decommissioning.

        As you know, the industry and its allies will play fast and loose with the numbers to manipulate public opinion against decommissioning. People here are good at teasing out the facts among all the spin.


          again, I agree aigeezer. They'll do their best to sway public opinion. Problem is, just as we're discovering with everything else, fascist don't respond to the will of the people. But they do jump for those who make the monetary decisions. The writing's on the wall. As I said last year, it's only a matter of deciding how they'll decouple their portfolios from NP and pass on the costs to the great unwashed…

          …love ya bro!

  • nedlifromvermont

    … nuke is dying but not dead yet …

    per Busby, "Beware the dying kick of the nuclear beast …"

    the road ahead without nuke power is now clear, but industry will try to block us with lies and dissembling …

    … must remain focused on the overall benefits of killing off nuke power … this is truly an international movement, out of the shadows and towards the light …

    … we must constantly mock these stupid, old whits guys, Kissinger, Schlessinger and all the other pro-nuclear criminals who want to kill us all off …

    … our criminal, fascist elite is not dead, merely regrouping …

    United States of Cancerland still in way deep, deep denial … look at the silly mix of marijuana laws from Washington State to New York City !!!! Need some of that smart big money support from Peter Lewis and George Soros to expose the pro-nuclear lies and deceit!!!

    … America is in Nuclear Bondage … and we're not a very smart culture or people … just check out our top shows … fat people crying, dancing badly and singing stupidly …

    … peace …

  • nedlifromvermont

    Great Posts Every One!!!

    Go enenews!

  • Mack Mack


    Renewable Energy equals Jobs.

    700,000 jobs in Europe from Renewable Energy to date!

    This # is projected to increase to 6.1 million jobs by 2050.

    That's a lot of jobs.

    • 16Penny 16Penny

      I would guess that is partly due to not having to purchase fuel to generate energy just the original construction costs, maintenance and employees salaries. No expensive fuel, no destroying the earth to harvest the fuel. No fuel spills, no hazardous byproducts (from energy production).

      As Maggie brought up, there are concerns with limited rare earth minerals and chemicals use to manufacture solar panels and possibly windmill components. Still way better than sending people into coal mines, uranium mines, fracking sites, deep sea oil rigs.

  • TheBigPicture TheBigPicture

    Btw, two people I know have solar, and the panels provide 100% of their power needs.

  • ML

    The article on decentralizing power is a good one and is relevant to this discussion.

    There will be resistance to change. So?

  • Heart of the Rose Heart of the Rose

    The switch to solar can be gradual.Not everyone can go out and install an entire solar system for their homes.
    But the prices are reasonable for solar panels and equipment.
    The the grid energy and freedom.

    It can start as small as a solar powered flashlight or a solar charger for the cell phone and ipad.
    Cooking with solar can be very effecient..and rather refreshing.
    Food preparation without the involvement of the energy companies…sweet.

    It's been a learning process here..there are many ways to take advantage of solar.
    Presently, I am working on passive solar ideas for the greenhouse.
    A total solar home…(plus some fire wood)..hopefully not to far of a disatnt dream.

  • Heart of the Rose Heart of the Rose

    PS….typo..not too far of a distant dream.
    Good for the individual ..good for the whole.
    The use of solar power would definitely take a swipe at the "debt-based' dinosaur.

  • weeman

    Do you people ever sleep, keep up the good work, we are indebted to you all.

    Let us not forget this is remembrance day and to pay tribute to those have fallen and it is our responsibility to continue the fight against evil and tyranny, or we disrespect our glorious dead.

  • TheBigPicture TheBigPicture

    Yes, there's an initial outlay for solar, but it's not unlike purchasing a car. And people buy cars like crazy. Put in perspective, especially with all the radiation around, and the constant threat of nuclear disasters, the solar solution is looking good. And, of course, this technology is improving, getting better and better.

  • Ron

    What is everyone talking about – how to pay for alternative energy. We can do it now.

    How? Divert subsidies going to the dirty energy giants (which they certainly don’t need), and while we are at it, money that goes to build ever growing stockpiles of WMDs to pay for them. In 2010 alone the US war machine got over $700 Billion tax dollars! Holy cow! Does the DOD really expect us to believe that they can’t get by on last year’s weapons or the year before that or the year before that etc.? Greenscissors has identified another $200 Billion in wasteful subsidies, That’s closing on a trillion dollars available to helping us get off this deadly merry-go-round. As a side benefit, giving everyone their own point-of-source energy, de-centralizing it, would unchain us from financial slavery to some mega energy plant. No more being subject to arbitrary price increases. No more rolling blackouts. And if we decentralize it, everyone having heir own, there will be no need to build or maintain massive infrastructure to transmit that energy to customers many miles away, draining valuable energy in the transmission and blighting the land.

  • Ganxet Ganxet


    What will happend, when we jump onto alternative energy?
    who is going to spend money on a 20th century technology?
    you can stop a NPP, but there are some hot fuel tons to be cooled, for a long time. Maybe low green energy prices could be dangerous,who will pay the NPP maintenance, if green one's win the fight?
    I hope we were able to shut all npp worldwide down.

    • @ Ganxet
      November 12, 2012 at 4:30 am
      With vapour absorption cooling using the sun/using the heat from the wastes. The hands that produced permanent poison and powerlessness should by decree cool the hot ones.

  • orsobubu orsobubu


    updates on LENR (cold fusion, low energy nuclear reaction) breakthrough technology being developed right now in US and Italy, ongoing scientific third-party verifies but already on sale in 1 MW units, US Navy was the first contractor:

    Fusion at low temps, zero nuclear waste and emissions, steam/electric output, COP 6 to 12, small domestic units planned, many verifiable tests with published results. Nickel-Hydrogen fusion with proprietary catalyst, fuel replaced after 6 months constant usage, intrinsically safe, reaction shuts down on over temperature (nickel powder melts, stopping reaction). Andrea Rossi inventor and Sergio Focardi theorist. Worth keeping an eye on.

    • HamburgGeiger

      Nuclear was promoted as a "problemfree" future energy first, too. Now we see what we got.

      We do not need another technology like that. We can use renewable green energy without a problem – that is what nature does. If we want to stay, we have to integrate into nature as much as possible. This fusion stuff is the very wrong way, imo. That will lead us into new trouble.

    • Cataclysmic Cataclysmic

      ok, all together now, "we must live in harmony with our ecosystem."

      Busting the atom is not now, nor ever has been, in harmony with nature.

      No nukes, no way, no need, get over it.

      Thank you, from the 99%

      • orsobubu orsobubu

        ok HamburgGeiger and Cataclysmic,

        I've got your points; but it's worth to keep an eye because – if these technologies will be proved real by independent tests – they could have a revolutionary impact on energy markets and global economic/geopolitical scene. Personally, I'm more afraid of economic and military confrontation, possibly leading to a world war, than ecologic catastrophes. Paradoxically, fossil and fission technologies keep the world busy and full of labour-intensive jobs. You see that solar energy – like other clean energy sources – is not a profitable market, and Siemens i.e. already left the sector. A world with a virtually free energy source like cold fusion would enhance automation and competition and lead to fall of profit rate, unemployment and overproduction. Protectionism and war would be the logical exit. I know that this sound weird, but Marx said that "This seems paradox and contrary to every-day observation. It is also paradox that the earth moves round the sun, and that water consists of two highly inflammable gases. Scientific truth is always paradox, if judged by every-day experience, which catches only the delusive appearance of things".

        • HamburgGeiger

          As I said – we do not need this technology and others with the same intention/direction. It would only bring us more problems, perhaps new weapons – in short just another way to kill us and everything around us. NO, thanks!

          We don`t need free energy, we need it expensive because that is the best way to ensure that people value it and use it more economically. With free energy we would exploit all the other ressources even faster. And this planet does not stand that anymore.

          Green energy can bring us not only the necessary energy that we really need but also peace in small and big scale. More small scale and more democratic energy production and no more need for all these wars for oil, etc. THAT would be a huge step forward in our evolution – a step that we must not miss. We are on the edge – this step is without any alternative, imo.

  • Ganxet Ganxet

    We have to wait until february 2013 .
    but seems like TESLA engine.

  • Heart of the Rose Heart of the Rose

    I found the above conversation about the cost and efficiency of solar power interesting.
    I think do to circumstances..economy,etc. that when in consideration of the use of solar, it should be combined with conservation.
    Things are not going to be as they used to be.

    Solar systems should also be considered for emergency situations.

    Example: In a photo of the Hurrican Sandy victims..people could be seen huddled aroung gas generators to charge there phones,etc.
    I can charge mine by a 5 by 7 devise in my purse.

  • Heart of the Rose Heart of the Rose

    PS..typo ..their phones..
    Solar power anti-social?
    Like paying off the car is bad for your credit..

  • TheBigPicture TheBigPicture

    Can't compare costs, because nuclear is so insanely dangerous. If it costs to create safe technologies, then so be it.