Germany may need to — er — “adjust” its own clean-energy standards

posted at 2:01 pm on July 21, 2012 by Erika Johnsen

As one of Europe’s more fiscally sane, politically organized, and self-fancied forward-thinking countries, Germany — Europe’s largest economy — has touted itself as a leader in government-sponsored clean-energy development and sustainability progress. The Germans have been supporting all sorts of venture socialism in the green-energy industry for years, and after the Fukushima metldown in Japan last year, Chancellor Angela Merkel made grandiose and expensive promises to forcibly phase Germany away from their nuclear power system and upped Germany’s arbitrarily-determined goals for implementing a greater share of wind and solar power in their domestic energy sector.

Now, of course, with Germany being roped into the fiscal crises of their less-than-thrifty European fellows, as well as facing their own economic ‘headwinds,’ reality is rearing its ugly head. It turns out it actually mightn’t be a great plan to try to eliminate the nuclear power grid that supplies about a quarter of Germans’ electricity needs by spending a huge chunk of change on offshore wind farms. Strangely enough, despite all of the public “investments” they’ve poured into making their favorite, quixotic green-energy sources viable and into making their own self-imposed arbitrary energy standards feasible, the industry is still struggling to provide jobs and keep energy prices affordable.

Germany may need to adjust its energy efficiency targets but remains committed to the “green revolution” it outlined last year, the country’s environment minister said on Tuesday. …

The minister caused a stir on Sunday by comments to a newspaper that the target would require an enormous effort and that he doubted whether it was even possible. …

Such comments are something of an embarrassment for Chancellor Angela Merkel, who abruptly announced an accelerated exit from nuclear energy last year after Japan’s Fukushima disaster and laid out a vision for a switch to renewable power. …

Merkel’s goals are to increase renewable energy to at least 35 percent of power generation by 2020 and 80 percent by 2050. Twenty percent of electricity now comes from renewables, nearly half of that from wind turbines. …

“The problems the ministers describe are long known. The coalition’s energy revolution is nothing more than rhetoric … The expansion of the grid is not making progress, and the integration of renewable energy is a failure,” he said. …

Le sigh. Yet again, we’re presented with another demonstration of what happens when a government tries to engineer the society it wants based on the current regime’s political ambitions, rather than what is practically and fiscally possible. Is it really a good idea to just unilaterally decide that your country is going to overhaul its energy sector, just because you wish it to be so — the costs be damned? And besides spending unsustainable amounts of money on government programs to support the renewable ventures of its political favor, a perhaps greater concern is that the energy/science/tech industries are busy rent-seeking and chasing subsidies rather than a free-market profit. Government interference distorts market signals and displaces resources — what if they’re potentially wasting their time and resources on ideas that may not be worth a hill of beans while they could be researching and developing new alternatives that really could stand a shot? If this keeps up, perhaps we’ll never know.

How many examples do we need of the many ways in which government’s misbegotten green-energy ambitions can royally mess with a country’s national budget and economy before the government will just back off? Earlier this week, President Obama told a crowd at a campaign rally in Ohio that he’s much too clever to waste his time repeating his past mistakes…

…and then went on to talk about how, in his second term, he plans to spend more of our money on green-energy “investments.” …Yes, because it’s not at all like those haven’t been a gigantic mash-up of fail so far.

A study by the Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank, found that 19 of the companies that received loans or grants by the Obama administration have filed for bankruptcy or are in the process of doing so.

These include Evergreen Solar, SpectraWatt, Solyndra, Beacon Power, which got $43 million; AES’ subsidiary Eastern Energy, Nevada Geothermal, which received $98.5 million; SunPower, which got $1.5 billion from the government; First Solar, which received $1.46 billion from the federal government; Babcock & Brown, an Australian company which received $178 million from the administration; Ener1, a subsidiary EnerDel that received $118.5 million; Amonix, which received $5.9 million; The National Renewable Energy Lab; Fisker Automotive; Abound Solar, which received $400 million; Solar Trust of America; A123 Systems, which received $279 million; Willard & Kelsey Solar Group, which received $6 million; Johnson Controls, which received $299 million; and Schneider Electric, which received $86 million.

One can only hope the American people will be clever enough not to repeat their past mistakes this November.


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Better yet, how many of these people live the lifestyle they are trying to engineer for the rest of us?

Badger40 on July 21, 2012 at 2:04 PM

Erica, some of your snark can be quite cruel. It’s one of the things I like best about you.:)

a capella on July 21, 2012 at 2:06 PM

and after the Fukushima metldown in Japan last year, Chancellor Angela Merkel made grandiose and expensive promises to forcibly phase Germany away from their nuclear power system and upped Germany’s arbitrarily-determined goals for implementing a greater share of wind and solar power in their domestic energy sector.

I knew then that Merkel made one of the stupidest decisions. If she gives in to the eurobonds she will be thrown out and replaced by a Hollande type. May they all go to Hades, with her up front, if she succombs.

What’s next? France to close all nuclear plants? Nothing like the dark ages in Europe!

Schadenfreude on July 21, 2012 at 2:07 PM

Erica, some of your snark can be quite cruel. It’s one of the things I like best about you.:)

a capella on July 21, 2012 at 2:06 PM

Hear hear

Rio Linda Refugee on July 21, 2012 at 2:08 PM

Just read today that the windmills in Scottland are
destroying the landscapes of all the historic sites .
What a shame .

Lucano on July 21, 2012 at 2:09 PM

Germany uses climate change and the advise of “unbiased” experts to justify much of their green energy program. But, the “experts,” like Berkeley grad Michael Mann [hockey stick fabricator], are, it turns out, typically leftists or activists. At this dailymail article a comment:

- Chrome from San Francisco [said] “It is funny how every story supposedly challenging climate change has an ‘expert’ who isn’t a climatologist. In this case it’s a guy with no quoted credentials from a geography department. Why anyone would think an unknown geographer is credible on climate change I have no idea.”
Yes but you see until recently there wasn’t a science called “climatology”, there were meteorologists, physicists, geographers etc. Then along come a load of activists calling themselves climatologists and bingo – no one else has a right to comment. Argumentum ad verecundiam at its finest.

anotherJoe on July 21, 2012 at 2:13 PM

Here’s an interesting development. The Finnish people are appalled at the bailouts in the EU and want out. They are even more rabid than the Germans at having to work hard to bail out the looters/moochers. They might get out first and start the domino effect. I can’t wait.

———

Plaudits for Erika Johnsen on her steady professional work at HA!

Schadenfreude on July 21, 2012 at 2:13 PM

Reading through the list of ‘green energy’ companies that have received loans and either already gone bankrupt or are in the process of going bankrupt; one word came to mind: Criminal.

There used to be a time where actions like these would get a fellow tarred and feathered and run out of town.

HoosierStateofMind on July 21, 2012 at 2:13 PM

Erica, some of your snark can be quite cruel. It’s one of the things I like best about you.:)

a capella on July 21, 2012 at 2:06 PM

^
It normally wouldn’t occur to me to read an article talking about the failures of environmentalists. Not because I disagree or anything (indeed, I do actually agree with Erica on pretty much everything she’s written here), but because it’s not a topic I’m passionate about. But I read it anyway, for the snark :P

Mr. Prodigy on July 21, 2012 at 2:13 PM

*Erika
(sorry)

Mr. Prodigy on July 21, 2012 at 2:13 PM

Huge green taxes on everything is killing the German people.

May their destructive ‘sophistication’ wake them up!

Schadenfreude on July 21, 2012 at 2:14 PM

That “Green Revolution” worked out so well for Spain.

GarandFan on July 21, 2012 at 2:19 PM

Erica, I always read your byline here. Keep up the excellence. Spot on, as usual. Quality over quantity.

philw1776 on July 21, 2012 at 2:26 PM

I haven’t looked at Europe, but here in the U.S. there is a discernible positive correlation between “green investment” and unemployment:

http://wp.me/s2pfca-669

stout77 on July 21, 2012 at 2:29 PM

Thorium liquid salt reactors. We invented them in the ’60′s.

They are impossible to melt down, the plug in the bottom melts and the liquid salt required for the reaction of the thorium pellets runs out into a containment vessel beneath if they reach a certain temperature and the reactor shuts down.

They are efficient and effective, they produce only 1 1/1000th of the waste of a traditional reactor.

We have VAST amounts of thorium and the deposits are distributed world wide, its readily available and easy to extract.

It can’t effectively be used to produce a nuclear weapon. Which is exactly is why we don’t have them.

China has begun to use our discarded technology to construct a thorium reactor.

This could be the answer to our energy concerns for centuries to come. Europe needs to think about REPLACING the reactors they currently use with these cleaner, safer, more efficient thorium reactors. So do we.

thatsafactjack on July 21, 2012 at 2:30 PM

I never thought I would say this but I miss pollution.

Blake on July 21, 2012 at 2:30 PM

Mr. Prodigy on July 21, 2012 at 2:13 PM

Me too. Sadly, I lack the self discipline necessary to use Preview.

a capella on July 21, 2012 at 2:31 PM

a capella on July 21, 2012 at 2:06 PM

Heh, me too. Fun to read. She fits in well here, don’tcha think?

petefrt on July 21, 2012 at 2:40 PM

A study by the Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank, found that 19 of the companies that received loans or grants by the Obama administration have filed for bankruptcy or are in the process of doing so.

Just curious but “19″ out of how many? 20? 200?

In any case, sounds like Obama is “doing better” than Bane with companies that went belly up once they got involved.

Seems like an important point that Romney should bring up often.

Rod on July 21, 2012 at 2:42 PM

Can we have a foreign exchange program, say 10,000 Finns in, 10,000 illegal Mexicans out…

hillsoftx on July 21, 2012 at 2:42 PM

Le sigh. [...] Is it really a good idea to just unilaterally decide that your country is going to overhaul its energy sector, just because you wish it to be so — the costs physics be damned?

Axe on July 21, 2012 at 2:45 PM

mightn’t

Also praiseworthy. :)

Axe on July 21, 2012 at 2:46 PM

Me too. Sadly, I lack the self discipline necessary to use Preview.

a capella on July 21, 2012 at 2:31 PM

preview is for cowar

ds!

Axe on July 21, 2012 at 2:47 PM

In any case, sounds like Obama is “doing better” than Bane with companies that went belly up once they got involved.Seems like an important point that Romney should bring up often.

Rod on July 21, 2012 at 2:42 PM

??

a capella on July 21, 2012 at 2:48 PM

I never thought I would say this but I miss pollution.

Blake on July 21, 2012 at 2:30 PM

LOL — it’s like Bill Clinton. You think, at the time, it can’t be worse than this …

Axe on July 21, 2012 at 2:48 PM

If he doesn’t repeat things that don’t work, then why is he running for a second term?

TBSchemer on July 21, 2012 at 2:48 PM

In any case, sounds like Obama is “doing better” than Bane with companies that went belly up once they got involved.Seems like an important point that Romney should bring up often.

Rod on July 21, 2012 at 2:42 PM

??

a capella on July 21, 2012 at 2:48 PM

Sorry. I’ll explain: Bain has about a 75-80% success rate. I’m guessing that Obama’s success ratio is much worse.

Rod on July 21, 2012 at 2:59 PM

In little over a decade Germany went from 6% renewable production to 20%. They’ve already outdone EU targets and are very much in line with their 2035 roadmap. When they plan something, they get it done.

lester on July 21, 2012 at 2:59 PM

How about just getting the government out of picking winners and losers on energy, remove regulations and tax incentives, remove subsidies and price supports, and let the marketplace figure this out? If individuals don’t want to purchase ‘dirty’ energy they can help to set up the infrastructure to get their ‘clean’ energy going on their own, without help, and show how economical it is. They can do this thing known as ‘compete’.

I mean, really, if the benefits are so apparent, so good, so sweet, then people will willingly pay more for it, no?

ajacksonian on July 21, 2012 at 3:05 PM

thatsafactjack on July 21, 2012 at 2:30 PM

They are efficient and effective, they produce only 1 1/1000th of the waste of a traditional reactor.

Really? What is their efficiency? What do you mean by effective, how many have produced power? How much waste in lbm will one produce in one year? By waste do you mean expended fuel or contaminated material that must be controlled and stored?

We have VAST amounts of thorium and the deposits are distributed world wide, its readily available and easy to extract.

We also have vast amounts of coal, oil, natural gas and uranium worldwide that are readily available and easy to extract.

It can’t effectively be used to produce a nuclear weapon. Which is exactly is why we don’t have them.

Do you think that the fuel in a commercial reactor can be used to produce a nuclear weapon?

China has begun to use our discarded technology to construct a thorium reactor.

You are aware that there has actually been a thorium power reactor on line here in the US aren’t you? Like many things that look great in theory it didn’t work out too well in practice. Now it wasn’t a salt reactor but it did use thorium for fuel. Lots of problems that weren’t anticipated. Based on that the people who front the bucks for these things decided that PWRs and BWRs were a better investment.

This could be the answer to our energy concerns for centuries to come. Europe needs to think about REPLACING the reactors they currently use with these cleaner, safer, more efficient thorium reactors. So do we.

Of course I’m sure you know more about these things than the people actually making decisions about them so I’ll defer to your greater knowledge about how safe and clean and efficient they are. Which plants have you worked on and in what capacity?

Oldnuke on July 21, 2012 at 3:10 PM

In little over a decade Germany went from 6% renewable production to 20%. They’ve already outdone EU targets and are very much in line with their 2035 roadmap. When they plan something, they get it done.

lester on July 21, 2012 at 2:59 PM

Your wiki cut and paste skill is duly noted.

But what about this?

Fear and the desire to be eco-friendly resulted in Germany shutting down its nuclear reactors after the panic over Fukushima. Now Germans are finding out what the cost of renewable energy really is, but no one explained what the bill would look like beforehand. This piece by Neubacher and Schroder appears on Spiegel Online. The “unexpected costs” in the title is not quite honest since the increased cost was entirely predictable.

Nuclear power provided 23% of Germany’s power before the eight plants were shut down in 2011. Wind, solar, and biomass are the primary sources of renewable energy currently. Shutting down their nuclear power plants transformed Germany from an energy exporter to an importer with much of their power coming from a Czech nuclear plant. What the politicians failed to explain is that renewable energy is much more expensive than conventional energy. Government subsidizes cover some of the cost (paid by the taxpayers), and consumers pay the balance in higher energy bills.

And as Der Spiegel noted last month:

“The primary reason for these costs can be seen on rooftops throughout Germany. Energy consumers will pay €100 billion over the next 20 years to subsidize photovoltaics installed before the end of 2011. The first several months of this year added at least €5 billion to that amount.”

“Stark says she’s already seen the effects of the transition to renewable energy sources. “In the past, at most one client per month came to me because of problems paying energy bills,” she says. “Now it’s at least 30.”

“All of the political parties wanted to appear eco-friendly, and many politicians never knew much about how the system worked in detail.”

Obviously, you’re cheering for the same thing to happen here. Why do you Hate America?

Del Dolemonte on July 21, 2012 at 3:17 PM

In little over a decade Germany went from 6% renewable production to 20%. They’ve already outdone EU targets and are very much in line with their 2035 roadmap. When they plan something, they get it done.

lester on July 21, 2012 at 2:59 PM

There is no such thing as renewable energy. It just doesn’t exist. We cannot create energy we can only change it.

Oldnuke on July 21, 2012 at 3:20 PM

Good news for Germans.

a capella on July 21, 2012 at 3:22 PM

“The problems the ministers describe are long known. The coalition’s energy revolution is nothing more than rhetoric … The expansion of the grid is not making progress, and the integration of renewable energy is a failure,” he said. …

In little over a decade Germany went from 6% renewable production to 20%. They’ve already outdone EU targets and are very much in line with their 2035 roadmap. When they plan something, they get it done.

lester on July 21, 2012 at 2:59 PM

Yea, “they’re doing just fine”

Barred on July 21, 2012 at 3:26 PM

lester on July 21, 2012 at 2:59 PM

They are great on engineering and execution. On strategy, they are a whole bunch dumber than the Poles.

According to a manufacturing engineer I know, the Asians are going to put them in bankruptcy.

a capella on July 21, 2012 at 3:22 PM

A melodious observation and it shows that one should find out what the piper wants for the performance before gushing about the tune.

IlikedAUH2O on July 21, 2012 at 3:39 PM

Say what you will about the French, at least they won’t fling their nuclear industry into the wind.

AshleyTKing on July 21, 2012 at 3:45 PM

Wasn’t our POTUS a big hit over there? And now they are mad about the green revolution!

We can follow them…why, we have nothing to worry about..the Germans have never gone ga ga over destructive political leaders or ideological crazes.

IlikedAUH2O on July 21, 2012 at 3:47 PM

Thorium liquid salt reactors. We invented them in the ’60′s.

thatsafactjack on July 21, 2012 at 2:30 PM

Interesting article (.pdf) on Thorium-based Molten-Salt Reactors.

http://www.thoriumenergyalliance.com/downloads/ThoriumSummary_Alex_Cannara.pdf

timberline on July 21, 2012 at 3:48 PM

In little over a decade Germany went from 6% renewable production to 20%. They’ve already outdone EU targets and are very much in line with their 2035 roadmap. When they plan something, they get it done.

lester on July 21, 2012 at 2:59 PM

Well maybe, but will they be able to afford it? It doesn’t sound like it. What they have isn’t even close to working.

whbates on July 21, 2012 at 3:50 PM

Shutting down their nuclear power plants transformed Germany from an energy exporter to an importer with much of their power coming from a Czech nuclear plant. What the politicians failed to explain is that renewable energy is much more expensive than conventional energy. Government subsidizes cover some of the cost (paid by the taxpayers), and consumers pay the balance in higher energy bills.
Del Dolemonte on July 21, 2012 at 3:17 PM

If I recall, the Germans were brow-beating their neighbors like the Czech Republic and Poland for bringing nuclear plants online. Now they find themselves purchasing the very energy they discouraged.

Hill60 on July 21, 2012 at 3:51 PM

Now they find themselves purchasing the very energy they discouraged.

Hill60 on July 21, 2012 at 3:51 PM

There is something a bit amusing about all that. Karma, anyone?

a capella on July 21, 2012 at 3:54 PM

Erika –
“Le Sigh” is French …if parodying German it would be “Der Sigh” (or in German “Der Seufzer”)

:-)

albill on July 21, 2012 at 3:58 PM

Say what you will about the French, at least they won’t fling their nuclear industry into the wind.

AshleyTKing on July 21, 2012 at 3:45 PM

Probably because they are much more dependent on nuke power than Germany. They now get 75% of their electricity from nuclear, and are also the world’s largest exporter of electricity.

And 17% of that nuclear-generated electricity is using recycled nuclear fuel.

Del Dolemonte on July 21, 2012 at 4:02 PM

Interesting article (.pdf) on Thorium-based Molten-Salt Reactors.

http://www.thoriumenergyalliance.com/downloads/ThoriumSummary_Alex_Cannara.pdf

timberline on July 21, 2012 at 3:48 PM

There are tons of reactor types out there. Thorium is just another type of fuel. It has good points and bad points. The industry, pretty much world wide, has elected to use the uranium/plutonium cycle for their power reactors. Thorium is not a silver bullet it’s just another way to make a turbine turn. The problems associated with the plants that used thorium here in the US pretty much put the damper on further development. That was even though the plants overall eventually worked pretty well. Ft.St.Vrain maintained a cycle efficiency in the high 30s, some say as much as 40% efficient which would be phenomenal.The de-bugging process was so expensive that nobody wanted to pursue it further though. The problems didn’t really have too much to do with the thorium cycle it was rather the other aspects of the plants that caused problems. Personally I really like natural gas fired steam plants myself. Cost per megawatt is a little higher but they can be built relatively quickly and they’re a lot cleaner than coal.

Oldnuke on July 21, 2012 at 4:16 PM

The parentheses in the title are misplaced. They should be arround “clean-energy”. The Supreme Court took it upon itself to redefine “clean” although it has no discernable knowledge about any science. Maybe it decided to stike out in this direction because it is begining to be apparent that its presumed area of knowledge, “The Constitution” is so lacking.

burt on July 21, 2012 at 4:33 PM

Le sigh. Yet again, we’re presented with another demonstration of what happens when a government tries to engineer the society it wants based on the current regime’s political ambitions, rather than what is practically and fiscally possible. Is it really a good idea to just unilaterally decide that your country is going to overhaul its energy sector, just because you wish it to be so — the costs be damned?

Allais Gendarme!! Allais!! Retournez-moi!! This instonce!! Oh, pauvre moi, I am ze bankrupt … (Sobs)

Difficultas_Est_Imperium on July 21, 2012 at 4:46 PM

Twenty percent of electricity now comes from renewables, nearly half of that from wind turbines.

Nope. Don’t believe it, it’s just propaganda. A country of that size would need thousands of wind turbines to generate 10% of it’s power needs. My opinion, it’s a lie.

peacenprosperity on July 21, 2012 at 4:53 PM

Twenty percent of electricity now comes from renewables, nearly half of that from wind turbines.

Nope. Don’t believe it, it’s just propaganda. A country of that size would need thousands of wind turbines to generate 10% of it’s power needs. My opinion, it’s a lie.

peacenprosperity on July 21, 2012 at 4:53 PM

They are probably measuring ‘installed capacity’ rather than actual generation. Coal has a use capacity of about 85%, nuclear is somewhat higher. Wind tends to be around 20 to 30%, or less.

A megawatt of coal gives you about .85 MW.
A megawatt of wind gives you about .2 to .3 MW.

sharrukin on July 21, 2012 at 5:03 PM

They are probably measuring ‘installed capacity’ rather than actual generation.

So it’s “funny math” or as known in my house, a lie.

peacenprosperity on July 21, 2012 at 5:14 PM

The American public is stupid and enjoys being slaves to the Great White Father in DC. That includes all you “rugged” individualist that reads this junk here. You are all for the government telling people what to do and how to live as long as it’s what you agree with.

Your Mamma loves me on July 21, 2012 at 5:21 PM

Government subsidizes cover some of the cost (paid by the taxpayers), and consumers pay the balance in higher energy bills.

Der Spiegel must mean “subsidies”, which means that the German taxes and then repeated higher energy prices…milk the hard-working Germans from all directions, while the gov’t serves them green pap…because it makes lester and most stupid Germans feel good.

If I recall, the Germans were brow-beating their neighbors like the Czech Republic and Poland for bringing nuclear plants online. Now they find themselves purchasing the very energy they discouraged.

Hill60 on July 21, 2012 at 3:51 PM

The Austrians were doing the same. They are even ‘smarter’ – they approved a nuclear plant to be built in Austria, it was finished, then they helf another vote, downed its opening and now it just sits there.

lester/Obama style work-creation, theft-by-thuggery socialism for the cronies who fill their coffers, for reelection and power.

It’s all a socialist clusterfark.

May they all burn in Hades, hell/Hell on Earth and the other.

Schadenfreude on July 21, 2012 at 5:31 PM

The protesters against nuclear energy “We don’t need any of that; we are content with the electricity which comes out of our sockets”.

Schadenfreude on July 21, 2012 at 5:33 PM

They are probably measuring ‘installed capacity’ rather than actual generation. Coal has a use capacity of about 85%, nuclear is somewhat higher. Wind tends to be around 20 to 30%, or less.

A megawatt of coal gives you about .85 MW.
A megawatt of wind gives you about .2 to .3 MW.

sharrukin on July 21, 2012 at 5:03 PM

?? What in the world are you talking about? How much is a megawatt of coal? I hope you don’t mean that an amount of coal with the thermal equivalent of 1Mw will give an electrical output of .85Mw, because then you’re talking about a steam cycle efficiency of 85% and I can assure you that ain’t gonna happen. Try 35% on a good day.

Oldnuke on July 21, 2012 at 5:34 PM

So it’s “funny math” or as known in my house, a lie.

peacenprosperity on July 21, 2012 at 5:14 PM

If my math is correct (and I’m the first to admit that it’s suspect) it would take something like 1400 of the largest size commercially available wind turbines to supply 10% of Germany’s electrical needs. However since wind is notoriously unreliable what with not blowing on demand (Unlike the Obama administration) you have to have a 1 for 1 backup of reliable power from some other source. If you don’t you can expect a lot dark nights.

Oldnuke on July 21, 2012 at 5:39 PM

The protesters against nuclear energy “We don’t need any of that; we are content with the electricity which comes out of our sockets”.

Schadenfreude on July 21, 2012 at 5:33 PM

Actual phone call to the control room of the Nuke plant where I worked. I took the call.

“Rinnggg”

Me “North Anna control room, shift supervisor speaking”.

Oldnuke on July 21, 2012 at 5:42 PM

?? What in the world are you talking about? How much is a megawatt of coal? I hope you don’t mean that an amount of coal with the thermal equivalent of 1Mw will give an electrical output of .85Mw, because then you’re talking about a steam cycle efficiency of 85% and I can assure you that ain’t gonna happen. Try 35% on a good day.

Oldnuke on July 21, 2012 at 5:34 PM

I never said thermal equivalent, I said installed capacity.

sharrukin on July 21, 2012 at 5:49 PM

The protesters against nuclear energy “We don’t need any of that; we are content with the electricity which comes out of our sockets”.

Schadenfreude on July 21, 2012 at 5:33 PM

Actual phone call to the control room of the Nuke plant where I worked. I took the call.

“Rinnggg”

Me “North Anna control room, shift supervisor speaking”.

Oldnuke on July 21, 2012 at 5:42 PM

Dangit, alien finger made me hit submit.

to continue.

Caller “Hey, what’s going on with you guys tonight?”

Me, thinking it was one of our people wanting an update “Not much, shut down for refueling getting set to do some EDG testing.”

Caller “Oh so you’re shut down eh. Guess that’s why my lights went out.”

Me realizing my mistake (control room phone was a restricted number) “Who am I speaking to?”

Caller “This is Mr. umpty squat over here on the lake. Came down for a long weekend at our lake house and now the lights are out. How long are you guys gonna be shut down?”

Me “Sir, we are not the reason your electricity is off you need to call the trouble line and report your outage.”

Caller “Well I like to go straight to the source. I get better results that way. When will you have my lights back on?”

Me “We’re going to be shut down for about a month.”

Caller “WHAT! You mean I’m not going to have power back for a MONTH!”

About there I broke down and explained to the guy how to get his problem fixed.

Oldnuke on July 21, 2012 at 5:52 PM

albill on July 21, 2012 at 3:58 PM

Le Sigh sayeth the renowned French lady-killer, Pepe le Pew.

Erika has rare wit. Always fun to read.

petefrt on July 21, 2012 at 5:54 PM

I never said thermal equivalent, I said installed capacity.

sharrukin on July 21, 2012 at 5:49 PM

I still don’t understand. Installed capacity is just the rated output of the generator in Kw or Mw. Not sure what you’re saying here. What do you mean by installed capacity?

Oldnuke on July 21, 2012 at 5:55 PM

I still don’t understand. Installed capacity is just the rated output of the generator in Kw or Mw. Not sure what you’re saying here. What do you mean by installed capacity?

Oldnuke on July 21, 2012 at 5:55 PM

Installed capacity is the sustained output usually measured in megawatts. This is almost never achieved in actuality. Plants don’t run at maximum installed capacity, but usually at somewhat less. In wind energy plants, often at considerably less than installed capacity.

sharrukin on July 21, 2012 at 6:04 PM

Here’s an interesting development. The Finnish people are appalled at the bailouts in the EU and want out. They are even more rabid than the Germans at having to work hard to bail out the looters/moochers. They might get out first and start the domino effect. I can’t wait

…so they’ve seen how well the taxpayer stimulus money is paying off for the Finnish firms of Tesla and Fisker? They must think our dog-eater is rabid!

KOOLAID2 on July 21, 2012 at 6:04 PM

If you don’t you can expect a lot dark nights.

Turn off all the nuclear and coal generated power plants tomorrow and pull the plugs on the power coming from Poland and the Czech Republic and 20% of the country will not have power. I would not be surprised to find out that any power derived from “renewables, nearly half of that from wind turbines” needs the other sources of power to deliver whatever power might be generated. “Green” is a farce. I read a study a couple of years ago about the energy needed to build a Hummer as compared to a Prius. The Prius took 3 times the energy, are estimated to last a third of the life span of a Hummer and have a highly toxic nichol powered battery that comes from mines in France where the surrounding countryside looks like the moon and that you can’t just dump in a typical automotive recycling plant. But if it makes ed begly feel better about himself, who is to criticize?

peacenprosperity on July 21, 2012 at 6:09 PM

Installed capacity is the sustained output usually measured in megawatts. This is almost never achieved in actuality. Plants don’t run at maximum installed capacity, but usually at somewhat less. In wind energy plants, often at considerably less than installed capacity.

sharrukin on July 21, 2012 at 6:04 PM

Ok, we’re on the same page there then. Now tell my what you meant by this.

A megawatt of coal gives you about .85 MW.
A megawatt of wind gives you about .2 to .3 MW.

I’ve never seen this type of equivalency before. Coal is usually rated in BTU/lb or ton. BTU can be converted to Mw of course it’s just a matter of units. What do you mean by getting .85 Mw out of a Mw of coal? .85Mw electrical or thermal? Just hit me! Are you talking about capacity factor?

Oldnuke on July 21, 2012 at 6:14 PM

Are you talking about capacity factor?

Oldnuke on July 21, 2012 at 6:14 PM

Obviously. Advanced coal plants are rated at 85%, older ones at 60 to 70%. Nuclear at about 90%, older ones as low as 70%. Wind capacity factors can dip as low as 10%, so comparing the installed capacity in MW’s of wind and coal plants is not an accurate measure.

sharrukin on July 21, 2012 at 6:28 PM

Are you talking about capacity factor?

Oldnuke on July 21, 2012 at 6:14 PM

Obviously. Advanced coal plants are rated at 85%, older ones at 60 to 70%. Nuclear at about 90%, older ones as low as 70%. Wind capacity factors can dip as low as 10%, so comparing the installed capacity in MW’s of wind and coal plants is not an accurate measure.

sharrukin on July 21, 2012 at 6:28 PM

Wasn’t so obvious to me. And plants are rated at whatever they achieve it doesn’t come listed on the nameplate. It’s a calculated value and it’s not set. It changes all the time. Capacity factor is affected by all sorts of things anything that affects output changes the capacity factor. Things like load following, ramping a unit for testing, planned outages, unplanned outages pretty much anything. Availability factor is a much more useful and telling number. Capacity factor tells you only that a given plant produced some percentage of it’s rated capacity over some time period. Doesn’t give you a clue about why it was high or low. Availability factor on the other hand will tell you how much of a plants rated capacity it could have produced over the same time. For instance if a plant load follows it’s capacity factor will drop due to producing fewer megawatts over time It’s availability factor will be unchanged because the plant could have produced the power. A forced reduction in power though will affect both capacity and availability factors.

Oldnuke on July 21, 2012 at 6:51 PM

Availability factor is a much more useful and telling number.

Oldnuke on July 21, 2012 at 6:51 PM

Installed capacity is what most sources use. If you don’t agree with that then take it up with them.

sharrukin on July 21, 2012 at 6:58 PM

Installed capacity is what most sources use. If you don’t agree with that then take it up with them.

sharrukin on July 21, 2012 at 6:58 PM

Installed capacity and capacity factor are two entirely different things. Capacity factor is calculated using the installed capacity of the generator.

Capacity Factor

The capacity factor for a power plant is the ratio between average load and rated load for a period of time and can be expressed as

μcf = (100) Pal / Prl (3)

where

μcf = capacity factor (%)

Pal = average load for the power plant for a period (kW)

Prl = rated capacity for the power plant (kW)

Oldnuke on July 21, 2012 at 7:12 PM

These include Evergreen Solar, SpectraWatt, Solyndra, Beacon Power, which got $43 million; AES’ subsidiary Eastern Energy, Nevada Geothermal, which received $98.5 million; SunPower, which got $1.5 billion from the government; First Solar, which received $1.46 billion from the federal government; Babcock & Brown, an Australian company which received $178 million from the administration; Ener1, a subsidiary EnerDel that received $118.5 million; Amonix, which received $5.9 million; The National Renewable Energy Lab; Fisker Automotive; Abound Solar, which received $400 million; Solar Trust of America; A123 Systems, which received $279 million; Willard & Kelsey Solar Group, which received $6 million; Johnson Controls, which received $299 million; and Schneider Electric, which received $86 million.

This is the absolute perfect crime.Trumped up company’s put together by big time lawyers,ran by cronies,paid for by taxpayers,and nothing illegal because the president and government departments signed off on them.Nothing will stand up in any court.
Crime does pay.

docflash on July 21, 2012 at 8:05 PM

Imagine… a government that doesn’t try to “engineer society” at all.

J.E. Dyer on July 22, 2012 at 10:58 AM

A megawatt of coal gives you about .85 MW.
A megawatt of wind gives you about .2 to .3 MW.

I’ve never seen this type of equivalency before. Coal is usually rated in BTU/lb or ton. BTU can be converted to Mw of course it’s just a matter of units. What do you mean by getting .85 Mw out of a Mw of coal? .85Mw electrical or thermal? Just hit me! Are you talking about capacity factor?

Oldnuke on July 21, 2012 at 6:14 PM

It seems obvious that he was talking about advertised capability versus actual available output.

I’m not sure why you were unable to help him make his point instead of clouding his point by playing some game of precise terminology.

blink on July 21, 2012 at 11:56 PM

Blink, I suspect you are not an engineer or trained in a hard science like chemistry. Oldnuke is not playing word games; as an expert he’s trying to force precision into the discussion. You see this all the time in discussions about alternative energy that move beyond talking points. Liberals are notorious for reaching this point and then reverting to talking points. Analysis of electrical generation, distribution and associated costs is extremely complicated. I appreciate Oldnuke’s efforts to take the discussion to a more detailed level. (Besides, I have never heard anyone use the term “megawatt of coal” – I saw that and stopped reading because it signaled the writer did not know what he was talking about.)

Over50 on July 22, 2012 at 3:23 PM