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An open letter to Minister of Economic Affairs and Climate Affairs Robert Habeck

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By Kalte Sonne

Dear Minister Robert Habeck,

As Minister of Economic Affairs and Climate Affairs, you are working on the energy transition and on the “decarbonisation” of Germany in order to avert the “climate catastrophe”. Their goal is 100% “renewables” in a few years. Their “Easter package” on the energy transition leaves many questions unanswered. The share of wind and solar energy is only 5% of primary energy consumption (2021) in Germany. The double phase-out of coal and nuclear energy creates a huge supply gap. In addition, the costs of energy procurement are exploding.

Nevertheless, they dare to create the “energy transition” and are convinced that they have the necessary skills. As a precaution, however, you already say: “I apologize for the perhaps arrogant arrogance”. They want to “make big and hard decisions!” Are you referring to the costs that will come to us citizens? The changes in the landscape? The electricity shortage economy? Can you then be told: “Bring the solution, or you are the problem.”

I have questions for you about the energy transition. I would like to express my sincere thanks in advance for the answer. When I write “you” below, I also mean the Greens and their affiliated bodies, the NGOs, Greenpeace, FFF, PIK, Deutsche Umwelthilfe, etc.

Topic:

The share of “renewables” in the electricity supply in 2021 was 43%. Within 8 years, you want to increase this share to 80%. By simply doubling the wind turbines and PV systems in combination with large storage systems, the wish should become reality. Of course, this cannot work, because in the dark doldrums even 10 times as many non-controllable (!) Renewables no electricity. Dark lulls, even over several days, have so far been bridged by the ramp-up of coal- and gas-fired power plants. In principle, behind every wind turbine or PV system is a conventional power plant. With your expansion target, with average wind speed and average sunshine duration, the “renewables” generate far too much electricity unregulated, which will then be destroyed, i.e. switched off, must be switched off or dumped abroad at negative electricity prices. Storing the surpluses in the range of 10 to 20 terawatt hours for a dark doldrums is technically and financially (trillions of euros) impossible.

So, the very simple question arises: “Where does the electricity for coal, gas and nuclear energy come from after the end?” Almost every evening, a large supply gap opens. On a total of 60 days in 2021, there was practically no green electricity! The nasty diagrams from her house show this very clearly: 

https://www.smard.de/home

Building wind turbines in Bavaria is ecologically and economically quite nonsense. The average wind speed is only half as high as on the coast. Wind turbines in southern Germany do not have half the power at half the wind speed, but only 12.5%, because the wind energy scales in the 3rd power of the wind speed. Eight wind turbines in southern Germany produce only as much electricity as one on the coast. By the way, this is physics and not politics.

Do you consider the harmful side effects such as shredding birds and bats, infrasound, deforestation, degradation of the landscape by wind turbines to be justifiable? Is the land consumption of arable land and natural areas for huge PV systems and wind turbines easily acceptable? Are there enough natural resources to implement your plans for the energy transition? According to various scenes, copper, lithium and cobalt could become scarce very quickly.

The material required for only a single wind turbine consists of: 1,200 t of concrete, 260 t of steel, 4.7 t of copper, 3 t of aluminium and 2 t of rare earths and many tonnes of composite materials with plastics. For your additional 24,000 wind turbines by 2030, incredible masses can therefore be considered.

Can you speak of sustainability with only a maximum of 20 years of service life for wind turbines? Why didn’t you regulate the disposal of the wind turbines?

Solar panels are made in China with cheap coal power. In the deserts of North Africa, it only takes 4 years to generate the energy (joule or kWh) needed to produce it (ETH, Zurich). PV takes 10 years in southern Italy and about 18 years north of the Alps to generate the energy of its production. However, they have already paid off financially after a few years through high subsidies. Is this economical, ecological or sustainable?

On days with new production records of green electricity, this is cheered by you. At lunchtime, more electricity is generated than is consumed. As a result, the stock market price falls to zero euros and often even becomes negative. The electricity is “dumped” abroad. Now the highest RES levy amounts are due. If things go badly, the electricity from abroad is bought back in the evening.

Aren’t such days a disaster from an economic point of view? “The sun does not send a bill” is your slogan. So why does Germany have the highest electricity prices in the world?

You can’t actually store electricity in the power grid (Baerbock and Aiwanger). More pumped storage power plants are to serve as electricity storage. All 20 pumped storage facilities in Germany can only cover Germany’s electricity needs for 17 minutes, then all the upper lakes are empty. The new HVDC cable NordLink to Norway, capacity 1400 MW, 525 kV was intended to alleviate the problem: “Replacement of green electricity and electricity storage for Germany” spread the ÖR media and the BMU. Norway has 1,250 dam hydropower plants, but only one small pumped storage plant, Saurdal with 320 MWh capacity. Norway cannot store excess wind power from Germany, which is technically impossible. Norway produces much more electricity than it consumes itself at an extremely low cost and exports to all countries around, including England and now to Germany. If anything, Norway only buys excess green electricity from Germany at negative prices, i.e. if we add money.

The largest battery storage power plant in the world, the Moss Landing Energy Storage Facility in Monterey County (USA) has a peak output of 300 MW and a capacity of 1,200 MWh. It would take 200 such batteries to supply Germany with electricity for only four hours, then they are empty. In order to survive a two-day dark doldrums, Germany needed 2,500 such plants. The lithium for this would probably have to be imported from another planet. And we’re only talking about the power supply, which currently accounts for 25 percent of primary energy consumption.

With the “Smart Grid”, you want to use millions of e-cars as electricity storage “power to car”. This cannot work in Germany, because the electric cars from VW, Audi, Mercedes, etc. are technically not regenerative. Only some Japanese test vehicles with a special Chademo technique can do this. In addition, the German power grid is not designed for bidirectional charging and practically no one in Germany is willing to voluntarily provide their electric car as electricity storage for the general grid. Have you secretly buried the project yet? You don’t hear much about it anymore.

Hydrogen is to be used to store energy. Since 75% of the energy is lost during the conversion of electricity to hydrogen and back to electricity for physical and technical reasons and these systems are very expensive, the electricity price would have to rise to over € 1.50 per kWh, according to Handelsblatt.

So far, hydrogen has been produced from natural gas by steam reforming. With low natural gas prices, there were many areas of application for the “grey” hydrogen.

You want to replace the climate-damaging “grey” hydrogen with “green” hydrogen. From the United Arab Emirates, you want to bring “green” hydrogen to Germany in large quantities. The production of one kilowatt hour of hydrogen requires three to four kilowatt hours of electricity. This cannot be changed because physics wants it that way. The electrolysis factories that are still to be built with German help (money) can only function technically and economically if they work continuously, around the clock. The share of renewable energy in the UAE is only 0.3%! Since wind and solar power are eliminated, the electricity will come from the just completed 4 nuclear power plant units, type APR, each 1,400 MW, in Barakah. The UAE sees its NPPs as a contribution to climate neutrality. They produce large quantities of cost-effective “green nuclear electricity” around the clock for themselves and for German hydrogen.

Mr. Habeck, what do you want to call hydrogen? “Red” hydrogen? How do you intend to transport the hydrogen to Germany? With tankers? There is only one very small, only 1,250 m³, liquefied gas tanker for hydrogen in the world, the “Suito Fronitier” (Japan). Hydrogen technology is life-threatening. Hydrogen explodes quite easily when it enters the air. That’s why nobody plans to build hydrogen tankers.

The proposal to convert the hydrogen into ammonia in order to be able to transport it is technically problem-free. The catch is, there are again large energy losses. After a conversion back to hydrogen, there is almost no net energy left. Using hydrogen for energy storage or for “green” steel is becoming incredibly expensive (Handelsblatt). In Germany, the status of small test facilities has not yet been extended.

Lignite is the only domestic energy worth mentioning. It has the potential to cover one third of Germany’s electricity demand. The coal phase-out has led to the blocks being gradually shut down. But whenever a block goes off the grid, the Federal Network Agency takes it into the “reserve” and switches it on again if necessary.

Coal-fired electricity can be produced CO2-free (for the atmosphere) using CCS (CCS = Carbon Capture and Storage) technology. The carbon dioxide avoidance costs of CCS retrofitting coal-fired power plants are in the range of 65–70 euros per ton of CO2 and in the case of gas-fired power plants 70–85 euros per ton of CO2. This pays off because the EU’s CO2 certificates will soon be more expensive.

But you simply banned CCS technology in Germany. Why? Give a reasonable reason. It already works in Sweden. The CO2 is pressed under the Baltic Sea in deep geologically suitable layers. The result of your policy, however, is that Germany has once again missed out on a technology of the future.

You said you can talk about anything, including nuclear energy. Are you really serious? Then quickly change the Atomic Energy Act and let the economy do it. But you block with false arguments the continued operation of the last three NPPs and the restart of 3 more blocks. There are no technical problems. Procuring fuel elements in time is also possible with a little good will.

By the way, contrary to your claim, only 4% of the uranium for Germany comes from Russia. However, they openly showed their pride in the successful destruction of German nuclear energy.

They could replace most of Russia’s natural gas CO2-free next winter and in the next few years with the amount of electricity that can be produced by the last 6 nuclear power plants (8,200 MW) per year.

How do you intend to replace “nuclear power” when the NPPs will soon be taken off the grid? If, for example, you wanted to replace this energy with wind power, then you would need about 25,000 additional wind turbines to generate the same amount of electricity as the 6 NPPs (in 2019; Source: AGORA).

If Mrs Merkel had not, partly illegally (in the first 8 NPPs), ended nuclear energy in Germany, we could have a share of 35% CO2-free nuclear power in the electricity mix today. If Germany had not completed the planned expansion (e.B. Biblis Blocks C and D) of nuclear energy after Chernobyl, Germany could now have 80% nuclear power (very similar to France) and would hardly need natural gas or coal.

However, the mere combustion of coal, crude oil and natural gas to generate electricity and heat is not a good idea in principle. These fossil raw materials have been formed over many millions of years. If humanity consumes these valuable raw materials for chemistry, agriculture and pharmacy in just a few decades with gas and oil and some 100 years with coal, i.e. burns, destroys, then it may well be that the eviction order for man on the blue planet has already been written.

But the earth holds a huge treasure that could be a stroke of luck for humanity. An almost inexhaustible supply of uranium and thorium. These two elements are good for nothing more than the CO2-free production of energy for billions of people for centuries. The possibilities are already available today: reprocessing and the fuel cycle. Breeder technology makes better use of uranium factor 100 than previous reactors. More than 1 billion tons of uranium can be extracted economically from the world’s oceans. China is already researching these methods. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, IPPC and the Green parties in other countries expressly recommend the CO2-free use and development of nuclear energy for climate protection. Could it be that we are the energy policy ghost driver and not all the others?

Could nuclear fusion be the better alternative to nuclear fission? The imminent availability of nuclear fusion power plants is disappointing. For decades, it has been stated that the first fusion power plants will certainly be in 10 years, regardless of the timing of this statement.

The volatility of “renewables” is the biggest problem. Wind is only available with 25% of the full load hours of the year, sun only about 10% of the year. Therefore, the coalition agreement had logically provided for a massive expansion of gas-fired power plants. According to the Boston Consulting Group, the approximately 60 new gas-fired power plants with a capacity of 43 GW to €40 billion will now require a new source of supply. This is taking place in a situation in which the world’s gas markets are already characterised by bottlenecks and extreme price developments. Currently, the price of gas is eight times higher than it was a year ago.

Gas-fired power plants are bad for climate protection. The CO2 balance of combined cycle plants (combined cycle power plants) with 60% efficiency is no better than that of coal-fired power plants. With pure gas turbines with only 30 % efficiency, the CO2 emissions are unfortunately twice as high.

They visited Qatar and then jubilantly announced that Germany had entered into a gas partnership with Qatar. Saad Al-Kaabi quickly brought the expectations of the Germans back down to earth: Nothing had been agreed. Al-Kaabi, the energy minister of the small Gulf monarchy, put a heavy damper on your great expectations. Unfortunately, even if they wanted to, they could not deliver large quantities of gas to Europe, says the country’s top gas seller in a political conference in the capital Doha: “The majority of our capacities are tied up in long-term contracts in Asia. Unfortunately, this does not allow us to divert larger quantities at short notice and deliver them to Germany.”

The same situation in the US. President Biden promises fracking LNG, but can’t deliver, according to the Wall Street Journal. Since most LNG supplies are part of long-term contracts, the facilities are currently operating at full capacity, and with the largest exporter “sold out” until the 2040s, there is very little excess LNG that can be delivered to Europe…

Cheniere Energy Inc., the largest exporter of liquefied natural gas in the U.S., has sold out planned production from the $7 billion expansion of its Corpus Christi facility into the 2040s, said the company’s CEO, Jack Fusco.

Even if liquefied natural gas could be supplied somewhere to replace Russian natural gas, the freight rates would be huge: 3 – 4 LNG carriers per day! This means an additional demand of 60 to 80 ships for deliveries to Germany alone. These liquefied natural gas tankers (gas temperature: minus 160 °C) lose 0.2 to 0.6 % of their cargo per day (!) as so-called boil-off gas for technical reasons. In this way, the climate-sensitive methane is released directly into the atmosphere in large quantities.

The last 6 nuclear power plants that were still in place when the Scholz government took office were to be replaced by new gas-fired power plants that would have consumed 120 TWh of gas per year. By using the 1,300 billion ³ of shale gas in northern Germany and under the North Sea.m a large part of the energy gap could now be closed. However, lifting your own existing gas treasures in the German shale rock was sacrificed to a green feel-good policy and banned by you.

Why does your red-green-yellow “progress coalition” reject fracking in Germany? Objective reasons are not known. Unlike geothermal energy, earthquakes do not occur. The fracking fluid consists of 99.51 percent water and sand. The remaining 0.49 percent contains chemicals, all of which can also be found in the kitchen, bathroom or garage: citric acid (lemon juice), glutaraldehyde (disinfectant), guar gum (ice cream), isopropanol (deodorant), boric acid (hand washing soap), ammonium persulfate (for coloring hair), potassium chloride (intravenous drip), sodium carbonate (dishwasher), ethylene glycol (de-icer) and ammonium bisulphite (cosmetics). The fracking chemicals are neither toxic nor carcinogenic, even if it is constantly claimed by your side.

Electric cars are always powered by 100% electricity from coal or natural gas! No one can refute this. Why not? Due to the priority feed-in of renewables, no additional electricity can be generated from wind or sun if you need electricity, because it is already completely in the grid. Renewables cannot “ramp up”. When an e-car goes to the socket, an adjustable coal- or gas-fired power plant must simultaneously increase the power in order to charge the battery. How do you intend to generate this electricity (at least an additional 40 GW) for millions of electric cars (and millions of heat pumps) after the coal and gas phase-out?

An Audi E-Tron, e.B., has a 17-ton CO2 backpack. It only has an ecological advantage over a combustion engine after 166,000 km, but only if all the electricity has been produced renewable. In addition, the consumption of raw materials for electric cars is significantly higher than for combustion engines. This is ecological and economic madness and rather harmful to the climate (according to Prof. Lesch).

Why do you want to push electric cars onto the road through billions in subsidies when the damage is so immense? (Source: WDR –Die Story, Prof. Harald Lesch and Fraunhofer Institute)

If only every 2nd garage in Germany receives a wallbox, Germany would have to be completely rewired within the municipalities. A task that cannot be solved in the medium term with gigantic costs for the utilities.

They also want to enforce e-fuels (e-diesel) for LWKs, ships and aircraft. E-fuels are synthesized from CO2 and hydrogen. To produce one liter you need 27 kWh of electricity. The price per liter of e-diesel is at least 12, – € (without the taxes as with conventional diesel).

Your solution to the transport problems: You advertise e-cargo bicycles as a forward-looking means of transport! You made a joke, didn’t you? And in China, the Transrapid is heading into the future.

Corn fields, the hit of German agriculture, as far as the eye can see for ethanol in E10 gasoline kills not only insects (neonicotinoids) but also people: famines in Africa. “Plate or tank?”. Wouldn’t it be necessary to end this nonsense immediately? Do you consider the deforestation of rainforests for German biodiesel to be justified in order to achieve your climate goals?

You want to ban new oil and gas heating systems. Heat pumps are expected to replace oil and gas heating systems very soon. Six million heat pumps are to be installed by 2030. They are very expensive, consume a lot of electricity and make noise. The electricity consumption for heat pumps is 27 to 42 kWh per square meter of living space. For a house with 160 sqm of living space, this means an average electricity consumption of about 4320 kWh to 6720 kWh per year in addition.

Heat pumps only work in very well insulated houses. For the installation alone, 100,000 additional specialists are needed in Germany.

Heating and hot water using district heating from coal-fired power plants accounts for 13.9 percent (5.6 million apartments) in the heating sector. With the German shutdown cascade of coal-fired power plants, the question arises as to the replacement of the cancelled district heating supplies. Tubular heat is to be replaced by decentralised heating (?) and combined heat and power plants. Do you have a concept for how this should be done? Do you have a time and cost plan?

Do you see the danger of a major blackout? Isn’t it worrying that there will soon be hardly any more “black-start” power plants and that phase shifters are already needed today for grid stability?

Do you know the effects of missing flywheel masses (large turbines and generators) on grid stability? Uncontrolled blackouts that are difficult to control may be rare. But brownouts, power shutdowns that are limited in time and location, just like in third world countries, are pretty safe.

In 2020, there were 56 nights without wind. The power supply could only be ensured with nuclear power from France and coal power from Poland. So are we already in the power shortage economy, given the payments of 1.2 billion euros (2019) for redispatch (interventions in electricity generation to avoid grid congestion)?

They say that after the major shutdown in Germany, there will no longer be electricity “demand-oriented”, but “supply-oriented”. And at “sustainable-fair” electricity prices. What is that supposed to be? Will the energy transition then cost a “scoop of ice” per kilowatt hour?

By way of comparison, France, with its 57 NPP units, has only one fifth of the CO2 emissions as Germany with an electricity price that is only half as high. It generates 70% of its electricity from nuclear energy. Heating, hot water and air conditioning, all with nuclear power. France does not need natural gas or LNG or heat pumps. Isn’t that a reason to be jealous, Mr. Habeck? This is easy to see here: https://app.electricitymap.org/zone/DE

Isn’t the sum of the subsidy for renewable energies of about 100 billion euros per year for all subsidies, EEG levies, CO2 tax, tax relief, purchase premiums for e-cars, state support programs for all sorts of things already far too high for our economy? According to the government’s plans, this expenditure will increase enormously. Is it true that by 2030 more than 2 trillion euros will be needed on the way to climate justice, as you call it? Isn’t it a sleight of hand that you are doing together with Mr Lindner when you postpone the EEG surcharge from the electricity bill to the tax payment?

“The lack of competence, knowledge and education is evident through nothing more clearly than through the incorrect use of terms and units.” A basic knowledge of physics and mathematics is not available in politics and the ÖR media. Power and energy are constantly used incorrectly. There is cluelessness about capacity, efficiency and the main laws of thermodynamics. Mega, Giga or Terra: it doesn’t matter. What nonsense comes out of this can be seen in these examples:

“A wind turbine generates 5 megawatts of electricity (ARD). The sun does not send a bill (GREENS). Nuclear and coal power block the lines (Professor C. Kemfert). There are many gigabytes in the power grid (Cem Özdemir). Cooling towers smoke (WDR). The FFF movement: When the ice at the North Pole has melted, the sea level rises.” The children would have been better off going to school on Fridays and learning something from Archimedes. Daniel Günther, MP of Schleswig-Holstein, recently claimed in the world that its 1.9 GW wind power capacity generated more electricity than the Brokdorf NPP with 1.4 GW. In truth, the NPP has generated 3.5 times as much electricity, unit: GWh. Who is stupider here, what do you think? The politician without basic knowledge or the newspaper that has no idea about the topic and does not correct anything?

Do you know that “renewable energy” doesn’t really exist? Energy cannot be produced, destroyed, consumed or renewed. Energy can only ever be converted or stored. At the end of all processes, there is always only heat. The sun constantly sends radiant energy. This can be converted into electricity via PV and wind. Solar energy is chemically stored in coal, oil and gas. In the uranium atom nucleus, nuclear binding forces are released that generate heat. Of course, if you have voted out physics in school, you cannot know anything about the conservation laws.

Germany has a pioneering role, you say again and again, but nobody is riding behind, that’s the impression. Francois Macron says: “The Germans have every right to decide that they want to phase out nuclear energy. That is their business. But I think it would be good if they did not push such an agenda in Europe. I would like to see more respect and understanding for the fact that our analysis and risk assessment – and that of many European countries – are different.”

Only in the world do we switch off the best NPPs. Have you ever wondered whether you are not the energy policy ghost driver and not the other 50 nations that are currently building nuclear power plants instead of shutting them down?

Germany’s share of the world’s CO2 emissions is only 2%. Trying to save the world’s climate with the German energy transition makes about as much sense as taking a fried Christmas goose to the veterinarian. What we save in CO2, India and China have already emitted again in the next moment.

Finding the truth about energy and climate is apparently difficult. A quote from Berthold Brecht: “Whoever does not know the truth is just a fool. But whoever knows them and calls them a lie is a criminal.” You have to ask yourself: “Are we pursuing an energy transition into nothingness?” In 2019, the Wall Street Journal published an article on German energy policy titled “World’s Dumbest Energy Policy.”

The article points out that “countless billions” have flowed into “unreliable wind and solar energy” and that Germany is likely to slide into disaster after shutting down nuclear and coal-fired power plants. One comment read: “Mr. Habeck wants to solve the problems that would not exist without the “Greens” at all. Physics is obviously written in lower case for you. You just have to want to, then you can also override the laws of physics and mathematics. Politicians of the Greens are adamantly playing with the idea of a climate emergency in order to initiate the “great transformation(?)”. That scares people. In fact, there are already psychotherapies for “climate anxiety”. Einstein said, “The stupidity of man and the universe are infinitely large.” However, in one case he was wrong: in space.

Mr. Habeck, if you have realized that you are riding a dead horse, you should get off. I am looking forward to your answer and look forward to it!

Hans Ambos
Bensheim

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