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Green Germany Risks Running Out Of Power

July 19, 2019

By Paul Homewood



Reuters report very real concerns in Germany that power cuts could be looming:




The country, the biggest electricity market in the European Union, is abandoning nuclear power by 2022 due to safety concerns compounded by the Fukushima disaster and phasing out coal plants over the next 19 years to combat climate change.

In the next three years alone conventional energy capacity is expected to fall by a fifth, leaving it short of the country’s peak power demand. There is disagreement over whether there will be sufficient reliable capacity to preclude the possibility of outages, which could hammer the operations of industrial companies.

The Berlin government, in a report issued this month, said the situation was secure, and shortfalls could be offset by better energy efficiency, a steadily rising supply of solar and wind power as well as electricity imports.

Others are not as confident, including many utilities, network operators, manufacturing companies and analysts.

Katharina Reiche, chief executive of the VKU association of local utilities, many of which face falling profitability as plants close, said the government’s strategy was risky because it had not stress-tested all scenarios. She characterized the plan as “walking a tightrope without a safety net”.

Utilities and grid firms say if the weather is unfavorable for lengthy periods, green power supply can be negligible, while storage is still largely non-existent. Capacity aside, the network to transport renewable power from north to south is also years and thousands of kilometers behind schedule, they add.

Stefan Kapferer, head of Germany’s energy industry group BDEW, said it would be risky to rely on imports. “Conventional power capacity is falling nearly everywhere in Europe and more volatile capacity is being built up,” he told Reuters.

The government rejected such concerns, saying the likelihood of plant crashes or identical weather conditions across Europe was remote.

Regardless of reliability, however, Germany becoming a net power importer would have major consequences for the whole continent, whose power markets are interlinked under EU single market rules – and are dominated by exports from Germany.

The shift comes at a time when nuclear plants in France, another major exporter to the rest of Europe, are ageing fast – meaning it is also increasingly likely to rely on imports.



There is a naive assumption amongst politicians and environmentalists that Germany will be able to readily import electricity at times of stress. That might not be as simple as it sounds.


BP Energy Review


Currently, coal power supplies a fifth of the EU’s generation mix, and nuclear another quarter.

With Germany’s plans to shut all nuclear plants by 2022, and French plans to reduce nuclear to 50% of their mix by 2035, there will be a sizeable drop in the contribution of nuclear power.

Add in the projected loss of coal power demanded under climate policy, and the mix in 2035 could look like this:


Assuming the other sectors’ shares remain the same, there could end up being a generation gap of 27%.

Of course, this does not reflect the potential increase in wind and solar generation. However, as we all know, this is extremely unreliable, and there is no evidence at all that the whole of the European grid can depend on such unreliable energy for long periods.

In reality, the situation will almost certainly be much, much worse by the 2030s.

If things go according to plan, demand for electricity will go up in leaps and bounds, with decarbonisation of heating and transport. Consequently the generation gap will be much larger.

Far from cutting back on baseload capacity, we should be investing in much more, rather than relying on ephemeral renewables.


The German policy of relying on others to plug the gaps created by their own short sighted political agenda is simple minded at best.

When the same policy is enacted at the EU level, it is suicidal.

  1. BLACK PEARL permalink
    July 19, 2019 10:28 pm

    Ho Ho Ho …. maybe not so merry a Christmas coming

  2. mikewaite permalink
    July 19, 2019 10:47 pm

    So the Berlin Govt says that there is no risk to supply.
    The network operators , industrialists and analysts say there may be rsk.
    Who EXACTLY are the people in the Berlin Govt, superior in knowledge and analysis to the professionals, who are assuring the politicians and consumers that there is no risk.

    • keith permalink
      July 20, 2019 4:42 pm

      Sounds a bit like our idiot Government officials.

    • Gerry, England permalink
      July 21, 2019 11:17 am

      Seems like we don’t have the only government made up of clueless morons.

  3. It doesn't add up... permalink
    July 19, 2019 11:14 pm

    Another topic tackled by Roger Andrews

    He provides a host of charts demonstrating the infeasibility of their plans, and shows how little they have achieved to date. Recommended for putting some real flesh on the bones presented by Reuters.

  4. Pancho Plail permalink
    July 19, 2019 11:16 pm

    I find myself hoping for a really bad winter, compounded by a blocking high covering most of Europe, just so that there is a crisis to focus their minds before they have taken us all down an irrevocable path to green failure.

    • TrevorC permalink
      July 20, 2019 10:52 am

      I agree with Pancho Plail, it will take a widespread blackout, and some very cold homes, to make the general public (and maybe the dumb politicians) realise how much wishful thinking and little real planning have gone into our future electricity supply. And that wind and solar are never going to provide a reliable source of electricity.

    • David permalink
      July 20, 2019 6:01 pm

      Oh yes please I so hope

    • Pancho Plail permalink
      July 20, 2019 11:54 pm

      And right on cue comes this from NASA reported widely in the press (headline from Daily Express) -“Cold weather to grip WORLD as solar minimum to DEEPEN, NASA says”

      • Gerry, England permalink
        July 21, 2019 11:19 am

        But, but all that CO2……..

  5. sean2829 permalink
    July 20, 2019 1:51 am

    Come on, this is easy. It’s called de-industrialization. German Chemical giants can go to the US gulf coast where energy and feedstocks are much cheaper and the production of automobiles some want outlawed in Europe can be made in Alabama, Tennessee and South Carolina. Get rid of German industry and electric consumption is halved.

    • July 20, 2019 4:30 pm

      The West is fully embarked on a New Dark Ages scenario, not only among the ruling Predator Class but by marked enthusiasm among average citizens. No use fretting… mass depopulation and deprivation is in the cards while the rest of the world laughs at the Suicide of the West. I’ll be laughing too.

  6. John F. Hultquist permalink
    July 20, 2019 3:54 am

    nuclear plants in France, another major exporter to the rest of Europe, are ageing fast –

    ageing fast

    I’m older than the nuclear plants, and I’m ageing slowly.
    About 97% of Germany’s and Europe’s problems as self-inflicted.
    This is an episode of “when you are in a hole, stop digging.”

    • Gerry, England permalink
      July 21, 2019 11:22 am

      You have to be able to notice the hole first and that is generally something beyond the ability of our politicians. Perhaps only when it gets really big will they notice.

  7. Iain Reid permalink
    July 20, 2019 6:26 am

    From the report:-

    “The German policy of relying on others to plug the gaps created by their own short sighted political agenda is simple minded at best.”

    Britain is following the same path and I agree entirely with the comment at the end of theabove sentence.

  8. tom0mason permalink
    July 20, 2019 8:14 am

    Stefan Kapferer, head of Germany’s energy industry group BDEW, said it would be risky to rely on imports. “Conventional power capacity is falling nearly everywhere in Europe and more volatile capacity is being built up,” he told Reuters. …

    …Regardless of reliability, however, Germany becoming a net power importer would have major consequences for the whole continent, whose power markets are interlinked under EU single market rules – and are dominated by exports from Germany.

    An there is the point, the domino effect of having ALL countries in the EU mindlessly follow the same plan, a plan from Brussels; a plan put together NOT because it was sensible, nor because it’s efficient, nor because it’s has good long-term worth because it hasn’t. No it was done this way because the EU elites wanted it this way, so that they could virtue signal to the world, so that they could ponce about saying that Europe had reduce it’s carbon footprint. Reduce it’s carbon footprint by putting their jackboot of decree and law on EU people’s freedom to choose — restricting the market to reduced power kettles, refrigeration, vacuum cleaners, reduced power lighting, etc. The EU elites controlling the minutia of everyone’s lives.

    • July 20, 2019 11:38 am

      Ah yes, those EU elites…

      Green MEP discovers the reality of Brussels

      They say you should never meet your heroes, new Green Party MEP Magid Magid appears to be having exactly this experience in Brussels after discovering that the EU that he was passionately in favour of just a few weeks ago is actually a bureaucratic hellhole dominated by stale old white men stitching everything up behind closed doors. Brexiteers did try to warn him…

      • Gerry, England permalink
        July 21, 2019 11:27 am

        Did he naively think that the EU was democratic? Another fool taken in by the existence of the toothless parliament. The EU just can’t bring themselves to say that government is best done by chosen commissars so have this smokescreen of ‘participation’ they laughably call democracy. Mind you, we have nothing much to shout about with our sham system especially as a tiny minority have just elected our new Prime Minister.

    • It doesn't add up... permalink
      July 20, 2019 2:33 pm

      Reduced power kettles are a symptom of the lack of basic scientific and engineering knowledge among the regulators. It takes the same quantity of energy to boil a given quantity of water however slowly you do it. The slower, the greater the loss of heat to the surroundings during the process. Halve the power and you can expect twice as many kettles to be switched on at the same time for no saving in instantaneous power requirements at grid level.

      Much the same can apply to some uses of vacuum cleaners, although the adjustable power model I have is excellent when the power is adjusted for the job at hand.

      • Pancho Plail permalink
        July 20, 2019 7:49 pm

        I have a modestly priced instantaneous water boiler that can provide water at one of several usable temperatures up to boiling in quantities of 100,200 and 300ml. Just heats the amount I need to the right temperature, with no waste.
        The scientific illiteracy of politicians is frightening.

      • Chaswarnertoo permalink
        July 20, 2019 10:42 pm

        Yep. Scientifically Illiterate.

      • Gerry, England permalink
        July 21, 2019 11:30 am

        There is sense in trying to make things more efficient to reduce the money needing to be spent on generating capacity but there are some physical limits such as the energy required to heat water. I wonder if would have reached the point of so many LED lamps and lights to chose from if incandescent lamps had not been restricted and something was needed to replace the crap CFLs.

    • sarastro posa permalink
      July 20, 2019 4:33 pm

      It’s not just the elites… the vast majority of citizens support Green Energy plans… no one is ramming this down anyone’s throat …

      • Gamecock permalink
        July 20, 2019 5:58 pm

        Of course! When the power runs out, they will rejoice in their sacrament. Warmed by the thought of their contribution to the Common Cause, uniting Man on every continent.

        “Forget about playing your games, children. Rejoice in your contribution to SAVING THE PLANET!”

        Of course, it only works if everyone else does it, too. Else, your factories are packed up and moved to South Carolina. Or China.

        Slightly off topic: there is a wonderful story of Germany banning the export of certain pistols to the U.S.

        The company packed up the FACTORY, and moved it to the U.S.

      • Pancho Plail permalink
        July 21, 2019 2:50 pm

        By refusing to debate the issues surrounding “global warming” the promoters of green schemes, the media and the government are denying citizens the chance to make a reasoned decision. If that is not ramming it down peoples’ throats I don’t know what is.

      • tom0mason permalink
        July 21, 2019 4:11 pm

        sarastro posa,
        “…the vast majority of citizens support Green Energy plans”

        And your evidence for this assertion is what? Or is that your opinion?

  9. July 20, 2019 8:20 am

    Reblogged this on ajmarciniak.

  10. July 20, 2019 10:39 am

    Reblogged this on Climate- Science.

  11. July 20, 2019 11:29 am

    With all this warming we’re going to get (?), demand for power-hungry air con is bound to rocket, making things even worse for the future non-nuclear coal-free Germany.

  12. Arthur Clapham permalink
    July 20, 2019 12:28 pm

    Two more words the Dictionary describes as Green, those words are Naive & Simple, very apt I think!

  13. David permalink
    July 20, 2019 3:55 pm

    EU energy security policy :
    1, everyone imports from everyone else ,
    2, buy lots of candles
    Erm , that’s it

    • DAC permalink
      July 22, 2019 1:50 pm

      Said like that, it bears a scary resemblance to the 2008 global economic crisis. A gigantic circular cascade failure, just waiting for a trigger event.

  14. Athelstan. permalink
    July 20, 2019 7:34 pm

    In other news, irony alert!

    Chancellor mutti commemorates the deaths 75 years ere von stauffenberg et al, those who attempted to cut short the existence of the nutter running the show back in the time of the Nasties.

    Any excuse, and in doing so exhorting the German people to,

    “Merkel honors Hitler’s attempted killers, laments rise of far-right extremism

    The chancellor said Germans have a “duty” to stand up to right-wing extremists just as the resistance faced down Adolf Hitler. July 20 is the 75th anniversary of the failed assassination attempt on the Nazi dictator.

    “We, too, have a duty today to stand up against all those tendencies that want to destroy democracy,” the chancellor added.” /end quote.


    “destroy democracy”……… is it?

    Are they so inert, incognizant to the irony? When, all the time leading the 27 EU unfortunates into a federal insanity, green agenda by diktat, Indeed, it is a wonder of bafflement: how does she keep a straight face?

    • Pancho Plail permalink
      July 20, 2019 8:09 pm

      How nice,” the resistance faced down Adolf Hitler” It would be nice to have an acknowledgement that they were helped out just a bit by the thousands of Allied servicemen who gave their lives to bring democracy back to Europe.
      How good of her also to single out right wing extremists. I assume she thinks we have nothing to fear from left wing extremists like XR.

      • Athelstan. permalink
        July 20, 2019 8:38 pm

        If you note, that, mutti was a product of agitprop and exemplar star pupil of Soviet’s totally obedient satellite – DDR, and product of the Erich Honecker-jugend, it helps to understand her more clearly.

    • Gamecock permalink
      July 20, 2019 10:04 pm

      The Left speaks of democracy because YOU care. They don’t.

  15. Phillip Bratby permalink
    July 20, 2019 8:15 pm

    This reminds me of the late Professor Sir David Mackay, a physicist and professor of engineering at Cambridge and chief scientific adviser at the then Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC), who said that powering the UK with 100% renewable energy is an “appalling delusion”.

    • Graeme No.3 permalink
      July 21, 2019 7:12 am

      Yesterday in South Australia with the wind blowing strongly the price of electricity dropped to $ 0 per MWh. Yet the authorities were directing some wind farms to shut down so they could run enough gas fired generation to keep the system stable.
      We’ve had our State-wide blackout.

      Yet there are politicians who haven’t grasped the obvious, as they call for a third interconnector (this time to NSW) so surplus wind can be exported to NSW at zero price, and expensive coal fired electricity imported when the wind doesn’t blow.
      (and the capacity starved NSW main users & generators are aprox. 1500km away; think London to the otherside of Warsaw).

  16. July 21, 2019 2:54 am

    Reblogged this on Climate Collections.

  17. ianprsy permalink
    July 21, 2019 9:14 am

    Talking of running out of power:

    I thought I recognised the “presenter’s” accent. Worth waiting 56 seconds for the punchline!

    • Gerry, England permalink
      July 21, 2019 11:40 am

      LOL!!!!!!!! You just made my Sunday.

      If you go to WUWT and look down the comments there is a picture of a car being recharged from a trailer.

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