Germany's Giant Green Reversal
The theater of the absurd is not only in production on the banks of the Potomac, but also in Berlin. Last spring the German Government made a monumental declaration with all the pomp and circumstance included: the country would phase out all its nuclear plants by 2022, shuttering 7 immediately in the wake of the Fukushima disaster and phasing out the rest of their 10 remaining plants as quickly as possible over the next ten years. It took only 3 months for reality to rear its ugly head. Per Der Spiegel:
Germany's energy agency is warning that one of the German reactors mothballed in the wake of Fukushima may have to be restarted to make up for possible power shortages this winter and next. Berlin is also using money earmarked for future energy efficiency to subsidize coal-fired plants.
With concern rising that solar and wind power might not be sufficient on cold winter days, one of the older reactors will likely have to be switched back on.
Merkel and her government have celebrated the phase out of nuclear energy in Germany as an "energy revolution" and vowed to make up for the capacity lost through the reactor shutdowns through billions in investments in renewable energies and energy savings measures. But according to a report in the daily Berliner Zeitung on Wednesday, some of that money has now been earmarked to subsidize the construction of new coal-fired plants.
Criticism from the Greens has been scathing, with parliamentarian Oliver Krischner telling the paper that "coal-fired plants are damaging to the climate and are not flexible enough to make up for fluctuations in supply from renewable resources.
[Natural gas-fired plants are another option] But it is expensive. Whereas a megawatt hour of electricity produced by coal currently costs between 18 and 19 Euros [US$25-27], a megawatt of gas-electricity costs 40 Euros [US$57]. "In Germany at the moment, we don't see a price scenario that would allow for newly constructed natural gas-powered plants to become profitable," the German energy giant RWE recently said in a statement.
It should also be noted that the cost per megawatt hour of nuclear generated power is between 15 and 20 Euros (US$21-28) and the actual cost of renewable energy considering the infrastructure requirements cannot be measured as the initial investment is so massive and unaffordable. () Further virtually all of Germany's natural gas must be imported from Russia thus subjecting them to the whims of an historical foe.
The German government has essentially turned to coal-fired plants as a replacement for nuclear. A spokesman for the German Federal Network Agency claimed that should a nuclear plant have to be switched back on for this winter or next, it is only a "temporary solution." After that there should be enough coal fired plants to fill the gap. This in a country that prides itself on being the world leader in "Green Awareness" as a majority of Germans believe in man's so-called devastating impact on "climate change."
One wonders what Mark Twain would have to say about the abject folly of the world leaders, headlined by Barack Obama, on stage today. Perhaps the Marx Brothers would be an apt comparison except theirs was pre-meditated comedy; the current cast of characters does not realize how foolish they constantly appear.