INSIGHT INTO GERMANY’S ENERGY TRANSITION
I wanted to give the reader a brief overview of the prospects of Germany’s energy transition, in as far as national strategies in Germany’s energy transition can be identified at all.
GERMANY’S ENERGY TRANSITION HAS TAKEN DEEP ROOTS IN GERMAN SOCIETY…
With a growing environmental movement in Germany, the country embarked on an experiment of truly gargantuan scale heretherto unknown in industrialized economies. It has been decided to increase Germany’s share of renewable energy production, and decrease the use of fossil fuels. Large energy companies have had to adjust to this new energy world. This was partly a result of Fukushima, in Chernobyl, which has significantly effected large energy companies that have relied heavily on fossil fuels such as coal, as well as uranium, for electricity production. It didn’t take a long time in Germany for stock market shares of these publicly-traded companies to decline to historic lows, the use of wind and solar parks has since ballooned.
GERMANY’S ENERGY SCARCITY PARTLY A RESULT OF INCENTIVE STRUCTURES
Germany does have coal reserves, and although anthracite has been exploited for more then a century in the western part of the country, it is no longer viable to be exploited any further. But brown coal is still plentiful and available in large quantities in East Germany. It was Germany’s environmentalism that killed off open pit mining of coal reserves in East Germany, and this has to do with the fact that coal exudes more CO2 then other fossil fuel sources, such as natural gas.
NORDSTREAM 2: THE GEOPOLITICAL ALTERNATIVE TO GERMANY’S ENERGY DILEMMA IS UNDER THREAT
It becomes somewhat clearer that Germany’s energy transition is in a bit of a quagmire, with little prospect of relief for now at least. Germany may have to opt to abandon the North Stream 2 project, even though it could be implemented. Right now, Germany’s energy security depends to some extend on Russian energy resources.
GERMANY: CHOOSING RENEWABLE ENERGY SOURCES OVER OTHER FORMS OF ENERGY, INCLUDING NUCLEAR POWER
Different types of energy fuels could compensate for the intermittent supply of solar and wind energy. To give just one example, France continues to supply electricity to Germany because the France does not rely on a variable climate. There are certain advantages in having a reliable, stable electricity supply. So French nuclear power stations can help support Germany’s electricity grid, this appears to be a long-term option and is shifting the responsibility to someone else.
RENEWABLE ENERGY IS COMPLEMENTARY, AND ADDS TO THE EXISTING FUEL SUPPLY
Local administrations are considering the use of geothermal energy, being made readily available in the northern part of the country. Geothermal energy can smoothen out volatility and reduce an inconsistent supply of weather-dependent renewable energy sources.
GERMANY DEPENDS ON INDUSTRIAL PRODUCTION AND EXPORTS WILL MAKE NORDSTREAM VERY ATTRACTIVE ECONOMICALLY-SPEAKING, GIVEN THAT GERMANY IS NOW HEAVY RELIANCE ON RENEWABLE ENERGY
As it currently stands, Germany is unlikely to abandon its heavy reliance on renewable energy sources. Too much effort has been put into developing an industrial giant exporting goods to the rest of the world. No one wishes to abandon what was once thought of as the golden goose of the German economy, exports. It is a tragedy all around, but one has to keep in mind that one can reduce the worst mistakes by finding a more reliable supply of energy when wind doesn’t blow and the sun doesn’t shine.
Many thanks for the shared interest in the energy world!
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