Solar power could crash Germany’s grid
Harnessing the sun’s energy could save the planet from climate change, an approach that Germany has readily adopted. Unfortunately, this enthusiasm for solar panels could overload the country’s ageing electricity grid.
Installed capacity is such that a huge surge can occur when the sun comes out. What’s needed, they say, is an electricity grid that can equalise inputs from the wind of the north to solar in the south.
(Please note the article dates from October 2010.)
Germany’s rapid transition to renewable energy
Now they tell us that’s exactly what will happen according to this recent Climate Progress post. But it is the scale of their emissions reduction ambition that is eye-catching:
In September 2010, the conservative government under Chancellor Merkel released its Energy Concept, which outlines the government’s plan to reduce carbon emissions 40% below 1990 levels by 2020 (and 80% by 2050) in part by increasing the national share of renewable electricity to more than 35% in 2020 and to 80% by 2050. Within four decades, one of the world’s leading economies will be powered almost entirely by wind, solar, biomass, hydro, and geothermal power.
Britain not to be beaten
Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock during the last few days you’ll know that Britain claims their transition will be even faster.
They are aiming at 50% reductions by 2025, 60% by 2030 and 80% by 2050.
Germany, it must be said, starts with decommissioning their nukes, currently about 30% of their power supply. Against that the 1990 starting point sees Germany with the rust bucket highly polluting industries of the East, which subsequently collapsed, thus setting a high starting point. Still I suspect Germany edges out the Brits for effort.
Both appear to be depending on CCS to some extent.
A million electric cars by 2020
Merkel’s government wants to have a million e-cars on Germany roads by 2020 and six million by 2030. Currently of more than 42 million cars in Germany, only around 3000 are electric, so a sea-change needs to take place over the next decade. (Emphasis added)
Along with the necessary infrastructure and tax incentives, they are investing big-time in R&D:
The German government has pledged to double sustainable mobility research to nearly NZ$2.8 billion
On top of government support, it is known that German car makers will be investing more than NZ$45 billion in the next three to four years into the sustainable mobility sector, and as well as cleaner cars the e-car market could create 30,000 new jobs by 2020.
What’s Malcolm Turnbull up to?
He’s thinking, that’s what, and has perhaps forgotten he’s a politician. Telling the truth is not what politicians are meant to do. Unless he’s deliberately trying to destabilise Abbott. Oh noes!
‘Direct action’ could cost $18 billion each year if we are to achieve an 80% cut by 2050, he says. That’s at a carbon price of only $15 a tonne.
See also here.
I have some sympathy for the bloke. He’s been misquoted in the press and is trying to set the record straight. I think what he’s saying is this:
- “Direct action” is designed only to achieve the limited target of a 5% reduction by 2020, mainly by buying offsets from farmers and landholders. At that point you consider what you do next in the light of whether AGW has been shown to be a load of cobblers, or whether the rest of the world is doing anything serious about mitigation. If the rest of the world is being slack, we would be better putting our effort into adaptation, because what we do on mitigation ourselves will make little difference.
If we decide that 80% by 2050 is necessary after all then other methods will have to be considered, because the direct action method if used to get to 2020 is going to be too expensive thereafter. He’s hinting that we’ll need an ETS at that point.
Turnbull is also explaining to us that his support for the Coalition direct action policy has an acceptable rationale which he can support with integrity.
He’s also saying that an ETS, once established, would be hard to get rid of. This is noteworthy because the Coalition says they will rescind Labor’s policy if the win the next election.
Almost certainly they lie.
Climate-change policy will become a poisoned chalice for a decade if the government’s plans to put a price on carbon fail
So says Greg Combet.
”If we let this chance pass us by, climate-change policy will become the poisoned chalice of Australian politics for the next decade,” he said.
”The consequences … would be profound for all Australians, especially for those businesses that are now so reluctant to take responsibility for their actions and refuse to see beyond next year’s prospectus.”
Mr Combet said Australia would lose international credibility, the domestic economy would be hurt and the transformation to a low-carbon economy ”may begin in 10 to 15 years rather than next year”.
Leigh Ewbank at The Drum disagrees. The problem won’t go away, he says, and the US are showing how the issue can be attacked without a price on carbon.
In his 2011 State of the Union address, Obama announced a national goal to produce 80 per cent of the nation’s electricity from “clean” sources by 2035 (this includes gas and nuclear power).
If you read the detail, that includes spending considerable amounts of money they don’t have and classifying gas as ‘clean’. It also involves nukes, which I understand are now in doubt after Fukushima. They also have a relatively powerful EPA that can regulate CO2 as a designated pollutant.
I think Combet has a point. If we don’t act now on a price on carbon it will become a poisoned chalice for Labor. On the other side we’ll have to wait for a leader who will ignore the troglodytes within.