Friday, October 19, 2012

Sad Energy Tales of Denmark, Spain, Germany, & California

Renewables are barely halfway to the goal of getting 40 percent of [Germany's] electricity from renewable energy by 2020. (The current 25 percent figure is highly dubious since not much of the old stuff has been shut down and new coal plants are actually being added to keep the lights on.) Germany already pays the second highest electrical rates in Europe, almost twice what France pays with its 70 percent nuclear. (Just who’s #1 we’ll get to in a moment.) German industries are already complaining they won’t be able to compete anymore in the world market.

Spain paved the way to its current financial meltdown by deciding to become the “solar capital of the world” in the middle of the last decade. The government subsidized a huge homegrown industry, with whole new towns springing up around new manufacturing plants. The whole enterprise lasted about five years until high electrical rates started driving industries to France and the government ran out of money. The subsidies disappeared and the entire industry collapsed, leaving ghost towns in its wake. By the time it was over, Spain was on the critical list of Europe’s ailing economies.

Denmark has littered the landscape with windmills so that it is hard to go anywhere in the countryside without being in sight of a 40-story whirling tower. The country claims that wind to provide 20 percent of its electricity but this is deceptive. Wind generates a 20 percent equivalent of Denmark’s electrical needs, but only about half of this is actually consumed in Denmark. The rest is dumped into Sweden and Germany at giveaway prices, leaving wind’s actual grid contribution at only 5 to 10 percent. All this is made possible only because neighboring Sweden has lots of hydroelectric power available for immediate backup when the wind dies. Norway also has lots of pumped storage to handle Denmark’s surpluses. The result of all this is that Denmark is the only county with electrical rates higher than Germany.

Our own domestic version of Germany and Spain is California. The Golden State created the California Electrical Crisis of 2000 by refusing to build anything medium-sized small industrial co-generation plants and pitifully small renewable projects from 1980 to 2000. Since then it has stampeded into natural gas, so that 45 percent of its in-state generation now comes from this one source, double the national average. Californians pay twice as much for electricity as surrounding states and Governor Jerry Brown is now wrestling with an annual budget deficit of $30 billion and a total state debt of $1/2 trillion. Spain, with a 25 percent more population, has an annual deficit of $46 billion and a total debt of $1 trillion. _William Tucker in Nuclear Town Hall

Green idiocy is the bane of Europe and California, not to mention Obama's Washington DC. Green government policies have a way of destroying everything they touch, eventually becoming the victims of their own hidebound ideological thickness.

It would be nice if national electorates were intelligent enough to vote for a better class of political leaders, but that may be asking for two much, given the abominable state of modern journalism, academia, popular culture, and bloated government bureaucracies.

And in the EU, of course, the people have little say about the decisions made in Brussels regardless. Corrupt from the shell to the core.

When governments become so intent on carrying out an ideological agenda that they sacrifice the well being of the people, they are digging their own graves -- one way or another.

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