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 the rise of the Green Party in Germany, the country embarked on an experiment of truly gargantuan scale heretherto unknown in industrialized economies. It has been decided by public consensus and government legislature that renewable energies can without any concomitant source of fossil fuel provide for the energy needs of a highly-industrialized nation. Large energy companies have mistakenly believed this idealism be only short-term, convinced the government will loose interest in this project. But the disaster of Fukushima, in Chernobyl, has turned the tables on the 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 collapse to historic lows, and investments have since ballooned in wind and solar technologies.
GERMANY’S ENERGY POVERTY IS SELF-MADE
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 is very clear to me that Germany’s energy transition is in a quagmire, with little prospect of relief and help from the outside world will be needed to course-correct. The insistence of the United States of America that Germany abandons the North Stream 2 project is wishful thinking, it cannot be implemented, simply because Germany’s energy security depends on Russian energy resources for a multitude of reasons that I have mentioned in previous blog posts.
GERMANY: THE NATION THAT DEVELOPED AN OBSESSION WITH RENEWABLE ENERGY SOURCES
Equally unfathomable is the abysmally nonsensical strategy to go it alone in Europe with solar and wind energy, not thinking about the apportioned use of different types of energy fuels to 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. I do not recommend building so many nuclear power installations as in France but there are certain advantages 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
The government has not even considered the use of other alternative renewable energy sources such as geothermal energy, being readily available in the northern part of the country. Geothermal energy can smoothen inconsistent supply of weather-dependent renewable energy sources.
GERMANY’S DEPENDANCE ON INDUSTRIAL PRODUCTION AND EXPORTS WILL MAKE NORDSTREAM VERY ATTRACTIVE INDEED, GIVEN GERMANY’S HEAVY RELIANCE ON RENEWABLE ENERGY
As it currently stands, Germany is unlikely to ever abandon its strategy of relying solely on renewable energy. Too much time has been spend, too much effort put into developing an industrial giant to smothers the earth with exports, no one is going to leave the industrial age behind. 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 the German government is in a position to correct some of its worst mistakes by adjusting to the new energy world, be more forthcoming in Russo-German relations and proceed with Nordstream 2. Wisdom.