Oops: Europe’s rising and renewable-driven energy prices are causing a coal resurgence

posted at 3:21 pm on January 6, 2014 by Erika Johnsen

Question: What happens when you forcibly implement an overly ambitious plan to overhaul your entire energy infrastructure by ridding yourself of both nuclear power and coal, instituting on outright ban on hydraulic fracturing and hence natural-gas exploration, and relentlessly subsidize politically preferred forms of so-called “green” energy that investors and consumers aren’t choosing to use of their own volition?

Answer, via Bloomberg:

Across the continent’s mining belt, from Germany to Poland and the Czech Republic, utilities such as Vattenfall AB, CEZ AS and PGE SA are expanding open-pit mines that produce lignite. The moist, brown form of the fossil fuel packs less energy and more carbon than more frequently burned hard coal.

The projects go against the grain of European Union rules limiting emissions and pushing cleaner energy. Alarmed at power prices about double U.S. levels, policy makers are allowing the expansion of coal mines that were scaled back in the past two decades, stirring a backlash in the targeted communities.

“It’s absurd,” said Petra Roesch, mayor of Proschim, a 700-year-old village southeast of Berlin that would be uprooted by Vattenfall’s mine expansion. “Germany wants to transition toward renewable energy, and we’re being deprived of our land.”

Lignite demand worldwide is forecast to rise as much as 5.4 percent by 2020, according to the International Energy Agency. At the same time, it estimates consumption must fall 10 percent over that period to achieve goals endorsed by EU and world leaders to hold global warming to 2 degrees Celsius by the end of this century.

It’s no coincidence that Germany has some of the highest rates of renewable generation as well as some of the highest energy prices in the developed world. Their and several other European countries’ ambitions to self-revolutionize their energy sectors turned out to be a recipe for the precise disaster that they were conscientiously looking to avoid — i.e., more coal. This is what happens when you let big-government delusions of “green” grandeur commandeer policy, and the Obama administration seems determined not to learn that universal lesson. Environmentalists and Obama-admin apologists will argue all day long that the administration’s forthcoming rules to regulation emissions in both new and existing coal plants are simply leading a trend that’s happening anyway with the advent of natural gas, but should natural gas or general electricity prices start to significantly rise, it’s possible that coal would once again become an attractive energy choice, as it is in Europe — but the Obama administration is deliberately preempting that possibility. Fortunately, we’re in the midst of a bona fide energy boom that has been heavily dependent on hydraulic fracturing, but the Obama administration isn’t doing too much to actively rule out “necessarily skyrocketing” energy prices from our future.


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Minus 7 here in Toledo. I’ve got to worry about pipes freezing and I’ve had to dig out a trench in the snow for dog #2 (Chihuahua). Bring on the coal!

rbj on January 6, 2014 at 3:29 PM

from a muted giggle to a full blown ROFLOL. That is funny stuff there.

DanMan on January 6, 2014 at 3:29 PM

At the same time, it estimates consumption must fall 10 percent over that period to achieve goals endorsed by EU and world leaders to hold global warming to 2 degrees Celsius by the end of this century.

Still tilting at that particular windmill are they?

Johnnyreb on January 6, 2014 at 3:32 PM

Damn, and to think Europe used to be the cudgel with which America-hating leftists would bash us; “look how enlightened they are!”

Oh well, back to Cuba worship.

Bishop on January 6, 2014 at 3:36 PM

“Angela…..where did you put the keys to the nuke power plants? We can’t find them anywhere…….”

BobMbx on January 6, 2014 at 3:37 PM

meh, just plant some more trees, all’s good

DanMan on January 6, 2014 at 3:38 PM

Skyrocketing energy prices are, yes, caused solely by the renewable energy … implemented because of global warming. On global warming, my wuwt comment earlier:

You know what, even if the Arctic and Antarctic were melting away to nothing to much less, it wouldn’t prove anything, other than that we have had some (probably natural) warming and / or cyclical phenomena. But that’s not happening. This year we have record levels of Arctic ice growth, and record Antarctic sea ice. And it just doesn’t feel any hotter, any different, than it did decades ago. And we got record cold all over the place, with right now, after noon, Chicago is experiencing windchills of -41°F. And why was the world record hot temperature set way back in 1913? Certainly after a century of runaway warming we would have broken that record somewhere, but, alas, the 1913 record still stands! Something is fishy.

And another thing, when we look at the past 100+ years of temperature change, even when we have to try to peer through grossly mis-adjusted warmist data and a growing urban heat island effect, we see little discernible changes in the rate of early 20th century (low CO2) and later 20th century (higher CO2) change. It suggest NO signal from CO2. And we also know that the original IPPC contention that there was a documented causal relationship between CO2 and temperature was clearly rebutted in 1999, yet the ipcc fought this tooth and nail until 2003 when they finally conceded, and yet in 2005 Al Gore still deceptively put forward the discredited points about CO2 in his movie (yes, see what I’m talking about regarding Al Gore & CO2 in this key 3 1/2 minute video). Look, throughout history you cannot ferret out ANY effect of CO2. You can say that maybe there’s been an effect, or that our their theory suggests an effect, but data doesn’t show it. And the fact that we’ve had this 15 year temperature stall out, and that the warmist adjusted 20th century temperature record appears to have had only mild (NOT hockey stick style!) warming, and before that, going back hundreds of thousands of years and even hundreds of millions of years, there’s no evidence at all of CO2′s effect, all this suggests that the IPCC is plain wrong on CO2.

anotherJoe on January 6, 2014 at 3:46 PM

At the same time, it estimates consumption must fall 10 percent over that period to achieve goals endorsed by EU and world leaders to hold global warming to 2 degrees Celsius by the end of this century.

They better get serious then, because just the amount of carbon dioxide those “scientists” who got stuck in the Antarctic ice have caused, will take a full 5% reduction by my calculations.

Maybe Europe should get serious and institute rolling blackouts and raising taxes on driving and cooking fuels.

KMC1 on January 6, 2014 at 3:47 PM

Here’s a special gift for our Northern brethren during this bitter cold snap.

BobMbx on January 6, 2014 at 3:52 PM

Mine comes with heat. Doing my best to keep pollution going.

CW20 on January 6, 2014 at 4:00 PM

Experts : Cold Used to be Caused By Cold, But is Now Caused By Heat: http://stevengoddard.wordpress.com/2014/01/06/experts-cold-used-to-be-caused-by-cold-but-is-now-caused-by-heat/

anotherJoe on January 6, 2014 at 4:13 PM

After Fukushima, Angela Merkel decided to take all of Germany’s nuclear plants offline by 2022. That ought to make for some mighty high utility bills.

Hill60 on January 6, 2014 at 4:19 PM

this is proof that all liberal ideas are a fool’s errand. They’re never thought out, they just sound good. Another example is fighting inequality, like what the new Obama is doing in NEW YORK.

phatfawzi on January 6, 2014 at 4:36 PM

That troll in the WH promised to damage the coal industry and he has. Who are the morons who voted for that? JMJ!

ultracon on January 6, 2014 at 4:49 PM

Coal is cheap and can be burned relatively cleanly, nothing like 40 or 50 years ago. Without coal – the Obama Plan – electricity “rate will necessarily skyrocket” around the world.

We should research new technology, but that doesn’t mean “investing” in old technology like wind turbines and solar panels which have been proven inefficient (and are useless in the grand scheme anyway until and unless we have a safe, clean technology to store excess power for night time use).

Lesson to the greenies: technology advances when government gets out of the way and lets it, for the most part. And money spent promoting inefficient technologies is wasted, and in fact delays the eventual breakthroughs by diverting limited resources from their best use.

Adjoran on January 6, 2014 at 5:05 PM

“Angela…..where did you put the keys to the nuke power plants? We can’t find them anywhere…….”

BobMbx on January 6, 2014 at 3:37 PM

I don’t know where they keep the keys these days but the chicken switch is right here. Just so you know the reactor trip breakers are open in that pic.

Oldnuke on January 6, 2014 at 5:31 PM

We should research new technology, but that doesn’t mean “investing” in old technology like wind turbines and solar panels which have been proven inefficient (and are useless in the grand scheme anyway until and unless we have a safe, clean technology to store excess power for night time use).

Utilities don’t invest in windmills, they get paid to build them and the cost is passed to rate payers directly. Solar plant are even a bigger joke. If I’m going to be forced into subsidizing something I would prefer that it provide meaningful jobs for the community, wind and solar don’t. Coal, gas and nuclear do.

whbates on January 6, 2014 at 5:54 PM

I don’t know where they keep the keys these days but the chicken switch is right here. Just so you know the reactor trip breakers are open in that pic.

Oldnuke on January 6, 2014 at 5:31 PM

We actually scrammed once….no one knew why. So we went cold iron, and the snipes had to do the start-up alignment without A/C. It was HOT back there……worked in shifts…something like 15 mins in, then 30 mins out.

Turns out the battery wasn’t all that deep. We turned off everything forward of the RC. When I say we turned everything off, that means everything. Except for 1 SINS binnacle and the SCP/BCP. We snorkeled for nearly 12 hours while drifting in the Gulf Stream.

BobMbx on January 6, 2014 at 5:58 PM

This is a must see primer on climate modelling. Its entertaining and informative.

You can even send it to liberals; they’ll be able to follow along because it has cartoons.

BobMbx on January 6, 2014 at 6:03 PM

The economic powerhouse that is Germany was built upon COAL.
See: Krupp, et al

Thermodynamic Fundamental Definition:
There is NO such thing as RENEWABLE ENERGY.
The statement is absolute NONSENSE of the first order.

As for Europeans eschewing coal? Foot meet revolver.

Missilengr on January 6, 2014 at 6:22 PM

Drudge reports: South Pole warmer than O’Hare…
“Well” the scare mongering eco-nerds will certainly say “there you go, the South Pole is set to become the only inhabitable place on the planet, when the rest of the world freezes over.” Yeah, in the meantime, there’s that little bit about the record levels of Antarctic ice that just doesn’t jive at all with the “scary scenarios” of runaway melting that the “experts” have been coached to make up.
“We have to offer up scary scenarios… each of us has to decide the right balance between being effective and being honest.” -Stephen Schneider, lead ipcc author, 1989
“Unless we announce disasters no one will listen.” -Sir John Houghton, ex ipcc chair
“The only way to get our society to truly change is to frighten people with the possibility of a catastrophe.” -Daniel Botkin, ex Chair of Environmental Studies, UCSB
“Global warming will kill most of us, and turn the rest of us into cannibals.” -Ted Turner
“Human beings, as a species, have no more value than slugs.” -John Davis, Earth First!

anotherJoe on January 6, 2014 at 6:28 PM

We snorkeled for nearly 12 hours while drifting in the Gulf Stream.

BobMbx on January 6, 2014 at 5:58 PM

EDGs gotta breathe :-)

Oldnuke on January 6, 2014 at 6:29 PM

This is what the libtards want here for 20 years, to stifle the economy. While paying off their alternative-energy pals’.

CROOKS!

TX-96 on January 6, 2014 at 7:02 PM

When my husband was a slosh, I kept alcohol out of the house. The result was not his becoming a tea drinker.

Jackalope on January 6, 2014 at 10:31 PM