Germany's RE Fiasco

WindsunWindsun Solar Expert Posts: 1,164 ✭✭
..To the contrary, the government’s support mechanisms have in many respects subverted these incentives, resulting in massive expenditures that show little long-term promise for stimulating the economy, protecting the environment, or increasing energy security...

You might think that is some kind of US headline - but no. It is about the much hyped "green revolution" - in Germany. Just show what can happen when the government gets involved. :blush:
The problem I see both in that case and in the US is that stupid projects and over-hype will give all solar a bad name. As other examples, there are showpiece projects in Spain and in the NE USA where the cost came out to $20 to $30 million per megawatt. Not good publicity for solar.
Long report (PDF) is available here.

Comments

  • CariboocootCariboocoot Banned Posts: 17,615 ✭✭
    Re: Germany's RE Fiasco

    Oddly enough, that plaint applies to far more than just RE applications. :roll:
  • westbranchwestbranch Solar Expert Posts: 5,183 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Germany's RE Fiasco

    pages 6 - 8 have some pretty damming statements particularly:

    "
    There are much cheaper ways to reduce carbon dioxide emissions than subsidizing
    renewable energies. CO2 abatement costs of PV are estimated to be as high as
    716 € (US $1,050) per tonne, while those of wind power are estimated at 54 €
    (US $80) per tonne. By contrast, the current price of emissions certificates on the
    European emissions trading scheme is only 13.4 Euro per tonne. Hence, the cost
    from emission reductions as determined by the market is about 53 times cheaper
    than employing PV and 4 times cheaper than using wind power.......

    It is most likely that whatever jobs are created by renewable energy promotion
    would vanish as soon as government support is terminated, leaving only Germany’s
    export sector to benefit from the possible continuation of renewables support in
    other countries such as the US.......

    In conclusion, government policy has failed to harness the market incentives
    needed to ensure a viable and cost-effective introduction of renewable energies into
    Germany’s energy portfolio. To the contrary, Germany’s principal mechanism of
    supporting renewable technologies through feed-in tariffs imposes high costs without
    any of the alleged positive impacts on emissions reductions, employment, energy
    security, or technological innovation. Policymakers should thus scrutinize Germany’s
    experience, including in the US, where there are currently nearly 400 federal
    and state programs in place that provide financial incentives for renewable
    energy.
    "

    looks like an interesting issue for domestic US producers...

    my view: all because of belief in unproven Anthropogenic warming...

    Eric
     
    KID #51B  4s 140W to 24V 900Ah C&D AGM
    CL#29032 FW 2126/ 2073/ 2133 175A E-Panel WBjr, 3 x 4s 140W to 24V 900Ah C&D AGM 
    Cotek ST1500W 24V Inverter,OmniCharge 3024,
    2 x Cisco WRT54GL i/c DD-WRT Rtr & Bridge,
    Eu3/2/1000i Gens, 1680W & E-Panel/WBjr to come, CL #647 asleep
    West Chilcotin, BC, Canada
  • WindsunWindsun Solar Expert Posts: 1,164 ✭✭
    Re: Germany's RE Fiasco

    The problem is not with the solar or RE technology, it is with governments piling onto the bandwagon without a clue as to what they are doing. This often causes the classic bubble, as happened in Spain recently, where in the past year something like 60% of all solar and wind companies have gone out of business.

    The same kind of government intervention caused a huge bubble, especially in solar hot water, in the US back in the late 80's. I recall that around that time there were over a dozen "solar companies" doing business in Flagstaff (and hundreds, or maybe even thousands, in Phoenix) - we are the only one that is still around today, because we did not get involved in it.
  • nigtomdawnigtomdaw Solar Expert Posts: 705 ✭✭
    Re: Germany's RE Fiasco

    Its true Spanish PV market has crumbled last year I could not buy for less than 4,5 euros a watt if they would even reply to my request today i was offered 1.25 e a watt and the promise of sub euro a watt 2010 with orders of 4 kw plus

    guess grid is dead in Spain at mo scrambleing to off gridders;)
  • westbranchwestbranch Solar Expert Posts: 5,183 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Germany's RE Fiasco

    found this article, linked from one of the RSS feeds here, on the current state of the 'unregulated/regulated Electricity Industry' ...
    read the whole page to get a good feel for the divergence of the opinion on this industry... especially the bottom :grr

    I was looking for cross-over information that might explain our Prov Governments 'relentless push' to bring on line 'green' private power producers asap :confused: some wind but most 'run-of-river hydro... Warren buffet is a major holder of one of the largest projects...
    there has been lots of hype about the award of contracts but as usual not much homework done to get them sited and on-line...


    http://seekingalpha.com/article/177920-ignore-experts-solar-energy-stocks-are-headed-up?source=feed

    Eric
     
    KID #51B  4s 140W to 24V 900Ah C&D AGM
    CL#29032 FW 2126/ 2073/ 2133 175A E-Panel WBjr, 3 x 4s 140W to 24V 900Ah C&D AGM 
    Cotek ST1500W 24V Inverter,OmniCharge 3024,
    2 x Cisco WRT54GL i/c DD-WRT Rtr & Bridge,
    Eu3/2/1000i Gens, 1680W & E-Panel/WBjr to come, CL #647 asleep
    West Chilcotin, BC, Canada
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 31,149 admin
    Re: Germany's RE Fiasco

    I have posted here about Smart Meters before... Keep reading about people complaining that Smart Meters are not accurate but instead over estimate their usage:
    Some consumers argue that the meters are logging far more kilowatt hours than they believe they are using. And many find it unfair that they will begin to pay immediately for the new meters through higher rates, when the promised savings could be years away.
    Power companies say the meters will allow utilities to vary the price charged to their customers by the hour to correspond to what those utilities are paying for energy in the wholesale market. This can help consumers save money, they say.
    They also say the meters will be crucial to remaking the electric system to handle intermittent power sources like wind turbines and solar cells while continuously meeting customers’ needs.
    However, I have only read about one early trial city in California may have had a real issue with overcharging meters (that article was pretty vague about the details--could not tell if the overcharging was real, or if it was an attempt to quiet down complaining customers of a, then new, program).

    We are supposed to have Smart electric and gas meters in our area now--for some reason they have not changed either of mine yet (we have a Time of Use plan because of our GT solar--Which is unusual for our area).

    I would be very tempted to add a second old meter slot to plug-in our old meter if the bills start to look strange.

    Anyway, from the above article, we have tiers where small amounts of power usage are subsidized and the high usage is extremely expensive (for our area, ~300 kWhrs per month is "baseline"):
    PG&E attributes the higher bills that some consumers complain about to recent rate increases and to quirks in California’s pricing system. Electricity in the state is priced in so-called tiers: consumers get the first few hundred kilowatt-hours at a low rate, but the next few units of consumption are billed at a high rate. A small increase in use can therefore result in a big increase in the bill, the utility says. It adds that an unusually high number of very hot days were recorded last summer.
    In the end, the market appears to be adjusting many times faster than the government and industry can keep up with:
    Two years ago, experts agree, it was cheaper to persuade 100,000 customers to each use two kilowatts less energy at any given moment than for a utility to build and run a 200-megawatt power plant.
    But today, reining in energy consumption is less of a corporate priority: generating capacity is in surplus in almost all parts of the United States because the recession has shuttered so many factories. And in swaths of the eastern United States, the wholesale price difference between peak and off-peak demand is far smaller lately.
    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • WindsunWindsun Solar Expert Posts: 1,164 ✭✭
    Re: Germany's RE Fiasco
    BB. wrote: »
    In the end, the market appears to be adjusting many times faster than the government and industry can keep up with:

    -Bill

    Therein lies a major problem with government involvement. By the time it notices, the market has long passed them up.

    They - and that especially includes congress and other lawmakers - are slow moving and usually tech clueless dinosaurs. They would rather listen to a lobbyist than an engineer, which only compounds the problem.

    The ethanol fiasco, and the spending of billions on fuel cells for cars are the most recent examples that come to mind.
  • Dave AngeliniDave Angelini Solar Expert Posts: 5,547 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Re: Germany's RE Fiasco
    Windsun wrote: »

    They - and that especially includes congress and other lawmakers - are slow moving and usually tech clueless dinosaurs. They would rather listen to a lobbyist than an engineer, which only compounds the problem.

    .


    I am not sure I like putting engineers and dinosaurs in the same thought with lawmakers. I do get the point........
    "we go where power lines don't" Sierra Mountains near Mariposa/Yosemite CA
     http://members.sti.net/offgridsolar/
    E-mail [email protected]

  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 31,149 admin
    Re: Germany's RE Fiasco

    Scientists... Law makers should listen to scientists. What could go wrong. :D

    Bill "Duck and Cover" B.
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • westbranchwestbranch Solar Expert Posts: 5,183 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Germany's RE Fiasco

    Bill, you left out visionaries, you know, those guys with all the 'neat' ideas, that haven't talked to the scientists/engineers to see if the idea is feasible, but have manged to get a legislator (aka Politician) to buy in and declare it is the salvation of mankind, well sort of ..... ie ethanol for cars... but never get around to thinking of what gets displaced from the food chain or any other chain for that matter, to give a marginal impact towards a nebulous (say a 1990 emissions) target .

    We are all aware of that last 10 % of battery charge being the hardest to achieve, but the previous 30 % was fast and easy... or like good computer programming, its easy to make slop (W Vista) but takes a massive effort to write it so it is efficient. ?? Linux??

    So we need good well thought out and discussed ways of doing things in a new way, with free thinkers in the group but not leading it ...
    Significant change is a monumental task that is achieved in micro increments.

    The journey of a 1000 miles starts with a single step.

    jeez I am starting to sound like??? soon I will convince myself..;)

    Eric
     
    KID #51B  4s 140W to 24V 900Ah C&D AGM
    CL#29032 FW 2126/ 2073/ 2133 175A E-Panel WBjr, 3 x 4s 140W to 24V 900Ah C&D AGM 
    Cotek ST1500W 24V Inverter,OmniCharge 3024,
    2 x Cisco WRT54GL i/c DD-WRT Rtr & Bridge,
    Eu3/2/1000i Gens, 1680W & E-Panel/WBjr to come, CL #647 asleep
    West Chilcotin, BC, Canada
  • WindsunWindsun Solar Expert Posts: 1,164 ✭✭
    Re: Germany's RE Fiasco
    BB. wrote: »
    Scientists... Law makers should listen to scientists. What could go wrong. :D

    Bill "Duck and Cover" B.
    You have a point there, given the recent flap over Climategate. :blush:

    And I am not sure how much effect it would have unless you had a large percentage that was tech-savvy and also had a tech-savvy staff to track down all those unintended consequences.
  • dwhdwh Solar Expert Posts: 1,341 ✭✭✭
    Re: Germany's RE Fiasco

    Governments are mostly made up of lawyers, so whenever they get involved, what you end up with are coffee cups with the word, "HOT!" plastered all over them.
  • WindsunWindsun Solar Expert Posts: 1,164 ✭✭
    Re: Germany's RE Fiasco

    The more I look into this, the worse it seems to get. Such as this newspaper report that about 88% of the so-called green jobs boost in the stimulous package went overseas.
  • Truth SquadTruth Squad Solar Expert Posts: 126 ✭✭
    Re: Germany's RE Fiasco

    There was NO "green jobs" boost! That is complete BS from the feds. If there was a green jobs boost, how come 29 people, including myself, lost our jobs at Southwest Windpower here in Flagstaff---and no one was brought back? I'd also like to bring up the point that Southwest Windpower bought themselves a high-dollar lobbyist to help get the federal tax credit extended to small wind. That's on top of the DOE grant that they got for developing Skystream. Yeah, how'd all those tax dollars work out for 29 of us here? Not so well. Especially considering that Southwest Windpower is now fully in bed with China.

    Southwest Windpower advertises for customer service reps and shipping clerks almost monthly. I know several of the people laid off and none were offered those positions. Yeah, how's that green jobs boost working for us? Southwest Windpower brought on a new CEO and kept the old one, making a new position for him. Looks like the green jobs boost is only for top level executives.

    More wasted money on greenwashing. As per usual.
  • westbranchwestbranch Solar Expert Posts: 5,183 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Germany's RE Fiasco

    well up here, north of the 49 th, the government was chastised for implementing a stimulus program with few controls, :grr

    the response was something to the effect of ' we know we will make mistakes but we have to shovel the money off the back of the truck quickly so it can go to work' with out some simple guarantees that it will be spent on what it was intended to...:confused::confused:

    Eric
     
    KID #51B  4s 140W to 24V 900Ah C&D AGM
    CL#29032 FW 2126/ 2073/ 2133 175A E-Panel WBjr, 3 x 4s 140W to 24V 900Ah C&D AGM 
    Cotek ST1500W 24V Inverter,OmniCharge 3024,
    2 x Cisco WRT54GL i/c DD-WRT Rtr & Bridge,
    Eu3/2/1000i Gens, 1680W & E-Panel/WBjr to come, CL #647 asleep
    West Chilcotin, BC, Canada
  • WindsunWindsun Solar Expert Posts: 1,164 ✭✭
    Re: Germany's RE Fiasco

    It gets more insane by the day. John Stossel's free car http://www.ocregister.com/opinion/golf-224708-credit-electric.html

    And you can get another one in Oklahoma apparently (from a blog post):
    The Kando Coco retails for $10,599, but is eligible for a federal tax credit
    of $4,435. Throw in a 50 per cent state tax credit for electric vehicles -
    worth $5,299 in this case - and Oklahoma residents can purchase a brand new
    Kandi Coco for just $865 (AUD$975). The Kandi Coco features four-wheel disc
    brakes, independent suspension, single CD tuner and a fully automatic
    transmission with reverse. Top speed? 40km/h.

    I looks like green boondoggles have finally hit the big time.
  • VicVic Solar Expert Posts: 3,045 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Germany's RE Fiasco

    Am a little late to this thread, but, ...

    A friend had an electronic Digital meter installed by his power COOP in Oregon. He was astonished that the new meter reported his useage increased by about 50 % over his average, with no known added demand. The COOP finally convinced that his old mechanical meter was under reporting low current demand.

    BUT, my point to my utility in this case would be that they have been making money with these old meters for about 100 years, so this under reported demand is already in the rates, which would need to be adjusted dwonward (what are the odds of this ?). I've seen a meter that simply stopped recording any demand after a year of very low demand. This was on a 400 Amp Polyphase service, so normally, the meter barely turned without a huge load.

    My 2-cents. Vic
    Off Grid - Two systems -- 4 SW+ 5548 Inverters, Surrette 4KS25 1280 AH [email protected], 11.1 KW STC PV, 4X MidNite Classic 150 w/ WBjrs, Beta KID on S-530s, MX-60s, MN Bkrs/Boxes.  25 KVA Polyphase Kubota diesel,  Honda Eu6500isa,  Eu3000is-es, Eu2000,  Eu1000 gensets.  Thanks Wind-Sun for this great Forum.
  • AntronXAntronX Solar Expert Posts: 462 ✭✭
    Re: Germany's RE Fiasco
    Vic wrote: »
    new meter reported his useage increased by about 50 % over his average, with no known added demand.

    New digital meter might be including power factor in the bill.
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 31,149 admin
    Re: Germany's RE Fiasco
    AntronX wrote: »
    New digital meter might be including power factor in the bill.

    The new digital meters have the ability to report kAH and kWH as well as a whole bunch of other information (power factor, various noise, etc.). But, until the state public utility commissions change to charging by kAH -- I don't think a utility would try pulling that one on their customers (at least on purpose). I can imagine that lots of old mechanical meters under report power usage (loss of calibration, failure of lubricants, etc.). But I can also imagine the modern electronic meters messing up too.

    I would assume that the power company has offset the AH / PF issue with higher rates for the distribution side of the billing equation. Ideally (yeah :cry: ) the new KAH rates for the average home would be reduced by the average PF for the typical home. Those that have bad PF would be encoraged to replace A/C units and/or add run capacitors. And replace their old poor PF CFL lamps with filament lamps and PF=1. ;)

    Hmmm, if they ever start charging for AH instead of WH... Figure out how to reprogram my GT inverter so that it ouputs at 0.6 Power Factor instead of 1.0 PF. 66.7% more AH for the same array size. Everybody happy! :roll:

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
Sign In or Register to comment.