Going Over there Again to Study Home Energy

In the meantime, Germany is about to go under due to gov't spending on alt. fuel:

Nordseewerke, which produces Statue of Liberty-sized foundations fo... More than two years later, Germany wind farms have been slow to appear, stymied by the difficulty of planting towers in deep ocean waters, an outmoded electrical grid and investors who are losing faith in the project. The delays hammered 110-year-old Emden-based Nordseewerke, which filed for bankruptcy before DSD Steel Group GmbH bought it in February, retaining only a third of its 750 employees.

In December, at a summit for her Christian Democratic Union in Hanover, she said that the 550 billion euro ($717 billion) effort is the most ambitious, complex and difficult project in Germany’s future.
Merkel’s Subsidies.

“If Germany succeeds, it could be a role model for economies all over the world,” says Claudia Kemfert, who heads the energy unit at the DIW economic institute, a research group, in Berlin. “If it fails, it will be a disaster for Germany’s politicians, society and economy.”

Merkel’s subsidies to renewable-energy producers are fueling runaway electricity costs and posing a threat to the stagnant German economy. Consumers pay for the subsidies through a surcharge on their bills. The fee had surged 47 percent on Jan. 1 from a year earlier. In three years, it had more than doubled.

The Bundesbank, Germany’s central bank, said in December that it expects the economy to expand by as little as 0.4 percent in 2013 as the three-year sovereign-debt crisis continues to exact a toll on exports. German industry has been hit hard by power prices, which in 2012 were about 40 percent higher than in France and the Netherlands, according to a February report by the Cologne-based IW economic institute, a research organization.



Merkel’s expansion plan requires companies to add about 5,000 sea-based turbines by 2030 -- an effort that’s been dogged by technical stumbles. To build the wind farms, ships carry steel foundations for turbines from the port of Bremerhaven to about 125 kilometers (78 miles) offshore, where cranes lower the 550-ton structures onto the seabed. They will support windmill towers taller than the Great Pyramids of Giza as part of a giant renewable-power plant in the middle of the North Sea.

Completion of the North Sea wind farm and at least four others has been delayed as crews grapple with the demands of installing equipment in seawater as deep as 40 meters (130 feet). And grid operator TenneT TSO GmbH has warned it wouldn’t be able to connect several wind farms under construction to the mainland network on time, citing problems with transformer stations. These setbacks have caused the nation’s second-biggest utility, RWE AG (RWE), and Denmark’s Dong Energy A/S to delay investments in new offshore wind farms in Germany.

It’s part of an effort to construct three north-south so- called power autobahns to ship electricity. Within a decade, Germany aims to build or upgrade some 5,700 kilometers of power lines, the distance from London to Kabul. As of August, 15 of 24 grid projects identified as key by the government were behind schedule, mainly because of public opposition to construction projects in neighborhoods.

If reactors close before the grid improvements are completed and no new fossil-fuel stations are added, Germany could suffer blackouts, Bavarian Economy Minister Martin Zeil said in February.

“We’re not yet where we want to be,” Merkel told business leaders in February in Mainz. Eager to prevent a voter backlash in September, Merkel has pledged to contain power prices. The government has increased cuts to clean-energy subsidies during the past three years, and Altmaier in January proposed freezing the related surcharge to consumers in 2014 at the current level.

He said any increase thereafter should be limited to 2.5 percent a year. If the government can control prices, Merkel said, other countries will follow Germany into renewable energy, giving the economy a chance to create a new export industry.

Germany’s Reputation

“It’s not just Merkel’s reputation that’s at stake here,” Eurasia Group’s Nickel says. “Germany wants to be a leader in exporting these green technologies around the world. But if the project doesn’t work at home, then no one will copy it.”
Meanwhile, Marutz of Nordseewerke is losing patience with government officials who say the wind farm mess will be fixed.
“We’re still being told that installations will pick up,” he says, “but the question is when.”

Will report back from Berlin & Paris!

Views: 25

Comment

You need to be a member of Home Energy Pros to add comments!

Join Home Energy Pros

Home Energy Pros

Home Energy Pros was founded by the developers of Home Energy Saver Pro (sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy,) and brought to you in partnership with Home Energy magazine.

Latest Activity

Ethan Bukowiec replied to Ethan Bukowiec's discussion Thoughts on energy startup's new propane smart meter
"Wanted to give everyone an update on how things are doing with our Kickstarter campaign. We have…"
4 hours ago
Tom White's video was featured

Unlocking the Power of Grey Water in a Living Building Challenge Home

Rob Nicely, President of Carmel Building & Design talks with Tom Wood, Nexus eWater System's Chief Technology Officer, about Unlocking the Power of Grey Water.
4 hours ago
Griffin Hagle's discussion was featured

You're designing a Home Performance dashboard. Which 6 metrics do you include?

Credit Karma got me thinking about this. For those who are unfamiliar, it's a free* online credit…See More
4 hours ago
Bud Poll's discussion was featured

Inconsistant Local Authority

It becomes frustrating to give people modern advice and then have to backtrack and tell them to do…See More
4 hours ago
w d's discussion was featured

Managing Solar Energy

What's the state of the art on managing solar energy (esp. at the home)?There's surely no…See More
4 hours ago
Ethan Bukowiec's discussion was featured

Thoughts on energy startup's new propane smart meter

Hello,I wanted to introduce you all to a new energy startup I am working with called …See More
4 hours ago
George Kopf's discussion was featured
4 hours ago
John Porterfield replied to Dave Robinson's discussion Can We PLEASE Stop Calling Them “Ductless” in the group 1000 Home Challenge
"Any update on this work?  Seems manufacturers would provide an indoor coil that would…"
6 hours ago

© 2014   Created by Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service