10 July 2010

Germany Will Seek 100% of its Electricity from Rewables by 2050

As we pin our hopes on shale and coal, Germany steps forward with an "audacious" plan:

Germany, which generates 16% of its power from renewable sources such as hydro-electric, wind and solar, now plans to get 100% of its electricity from renewables by 2050. It is an audacious plan, but German economists maintain it will actually improve the German economy and forestall the dislocations of the global warming that will otherwise occur. Wind turbines alone are expected to generate 25 percent of the electricity in the European Union of 27 states by the year 2030. By hooking a network of wind turbines into a common grid, some of the big problems with wind power, especially intermittency or the failure of the wind to blow all the time, can be overcome (with a networked grid, active wind farms can take up the slack for ones where the breeze has temporarily died down).

via Informed Content


BadTux said...

The problem is that even at 16%, Germany is having some serious problems with load balancing due to the variability of sun and wind, with brownouts happening on days that the sun and wind aren't cooperating. France, on the other hand, has no such problems. But then, France gets 100% of their electricity from either hydroelectric or nuclear power :).

- Badtux the Energy Penguin

Karlo said...

Nuclear and hydroelectric power are both controversial but should be reconsidered by those of us who desire a greener world. I haven't read anything about solar energy that makes me think it's a solution anytime soon--although it has great potential--so for the next several decades, I'd agree that France has come up with a good solution. At the same time, if a breakthrough happens with solar power, we'll probably have Germany to thank for it.

libhom said...

Nuclear power plants are incredibly easy to take out by terrorists, including domestic teabagger types that I'm amazed our political establishment tolerates them. One small airplane could easily cause a Chernobyl.

As for replacing toxic energy sources with green ones, that is a wonderful idea. It would also reduce the expansion of our foreign debt.

Solar isn't the only green energy technology that can be used. Wind and geothermal also can play a huge role.

BadTux said...

Uhm, Libhom, what would have happened if the 9/11 terrorists had instead crashed their airliners into the containment dome of a nuclear power plant?


Chernobyl was a 1940's weapons reactor repurposed to make electricity. Nobody has built a nuclear reactor like that for 50 years. Well, except the North Koreans, but that's a different story.

Wind and solar aren't reliable enough, and geothermal is useful only where it's close enough to the surface to access. Modern civilization is energy intense, and right now the only highly dense energy source we have that's reliable enough and doesn't kill the planet with global warming in the process is nuclear. Which sucks because nukes, while much more reliable than Chernobyl, are still expensive and not exactly environmentally friendly. But the alternative is 5 billion dead humans, since it takes modern civilization to feed / house / clothe that many humans. You can't do it with a hunter-gatherer civilization, that's for sure, or even with a peasant farmer civilization scratching out a meagre living with hand tools on an acre of land. The first thing that would happen would be environmental disaster (see: Haiti, where every plant above the size of a blade of grass has been either eaten or burned and the whole half of the island where the Haitians live is virtually desert due to loss of topsoil). The second thing would be lots of dead humans. So... nukes, or utter environmental disaster. Pick your poison...

- Badtux the Pragmatic Penguin