The Stuttgart Energy Transition Conference

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By Kalte Sonne

Monthly Newsletter by Fritz Vahrenholt

Dear Sir or Madam,

Before we talk about how helplessly and irresponsibly Berlin’s politicians are reacting to the crisis of the energy transition and ignoring analyses and answers from scientists from the Stuttgart Energy Transition Conference, let’s take a look at the temperature development.

The deviation of the global temperature from the 30-year average of the satellite-based measurements of the University of Alabama (UAH) increased sharply in July 2022 compared to June from 0.06 degrees to 0.36 degrees Celsius. Temperatures thus reached their second highest level in a July since 1998. The temperature has been rising by an average of 0.13 degrees Celsus per decade for 40 years.

Energy policy in stretching operation

In March, Federal Environment Minister Lemke and Economics Minister Habeck published an audit note on the continued operation of nuclear power plants due to possible gas supply restrictions due to the Ukraine war. They admitted that a stretch operation of the nuclear power plants is possible, but completely misrepresent the facts of a stretch operation. Quote:

“The nuclear power plants would then produce less electricity in the summer of 2022 in order to be able to produce electricity beyond 31.12.2022 in the first quarter of 2023. Overall, between today and the end of March 2023, no more net electricity would be produced.”

Either the ministers have no idea or try to lead us behind the spruce. Stretch operation means longer and overall higher utilization of fuel beyond the planned end of the cycle and thus the production of additional electricity quantities. The Gesellschaft für Anlagen- und Reaktorsicherheit GRS, a non-profit company of the Federal Republic of Germany and the TÜVs, declares the extension operation:

“At the natural end of the cycle, the reactor can no longer produce 100% power. This has the effect that not enough steam is generated in the steam generators. As a result, the pressure of the steam also drops accordingly. With the falling pressure of the live steam, its temperature also drops and, due to the coupling in the steam generator, the temperature of the coolant in the reactor. This, in turn, causes the potential performance of a reactor block to decline more slowly. This process takes place without human intervention… The stretch operation has been approved for German nuclear power plants and has already been carried out several times (in different lengths). Such operation is feasible for at least 80 days. Since a reactor block loses about 0.5% of its output every day in stretch operation, it would still be at about 60% of its designed output after 80 days.”

So full power would be generated by 31.12.2022 and then slightly decreasing to 60% at the end of March 2023.
The statement of the ministers is objectively wrong, namely on a question that is about the existential supply of the citizens in Germany with energy. Which deals with power shutdowns, plant closures and cost explosions. Can we go back to business as usual? Do political misstatements no longer have any consequences?
Ministers also stated in the March audit report:

“The procurement, production and nuclear approval for the production of new fuel elements for a functional reactor core usually takes 18-24 months. If necessary, an acceleration to about 12-15 months is possible.”

The US manufacturer Westinghouse, which is one of the established suppliers of German nuclear power plant operators, received a request from the German government shortly after the start of the Russian attack on Ukraine as to whether fuel rods could be supplied at short notice in order to extend the operating times of the three nuclear power plants. This is reported by the Handelsblatt. The company said yes and said it was able to supply fuel rods by the end of the year. That would be a delivery time of 9 months. Here, too, the Green Minister of the Environment and the Green Minister of Economic Affairs have not told the truth. And the entire federal government is watching as the people are held up to uphold the green ideology. The window of a delivery next spring is now closing. The stalling tactic works. The Bundestag is on vacation.

The Minister of the Environment and the Minister of Economic Affairs also stated that for the continued operation of the three plants Brokdorf, Gundremmingen and Grohnde, which had already been shut down on 31.12.2021, legal measures would be required that would amount to a “new permit”. To this end, the Association of Nuclear Technology writes:

‘As long as the approval for dismantling has not been received by the supervisory authorities, only the existing operating licence will continue to apply. According to the Atomic Energy Act, the deadlines set in §7 (1a) only expire the entitlement to operate, but the operating licence is not affected. In fact, the permits are still effective from an administrative point of view, as the law does not suspend them. It should be sufficient to change the final dates of the aforementioned §7 1a and to refrain from specifying residual electricity quantities.”

Then the nuclear power plants Brokdorf, Grohnde and Gundremmingen would also be operational. In reality, the political debate does not have to be about “stretch operation”, but about the continuous operation of 6 nuclear power plants. This would immediately ease the electricity markets and their pricing.

Double standards for gas  

As with nuclear energy, Minister Habeck also blocks all attempts at gas to reduce import dependency through its own natural gas digestions. Half of the gas imports from Russia could be extracted by fracking the shale rock, which is over 1000 m deep. Axel Bojanowski in the world :

“Reports from German research institutes prove that fracking is in principle harmless. Nevertheless, politicians have banned the technology. Huge natural gas reserves are stored under Germany, which could now lead out of the energy crisis.” Federal Economics Minister Habeck could only think of the corresponding initiative: “The debate on fracking is of no use to us at all at this time. It takes years, if you want to do it at all, to develop such deposits.”

In the case of wind and solar energy, the same minister had enforced that “the expansion of renewable energies is in the overriding public interest and serves public safety” in order to speed up the procedures. Even conservation goals have been overturned. Why isn’t gas production declared a national interest in Germany instead of begging in Qatar and relying on fracking gas from the US? The Federal Chancellor must intervene here. He can take an example from the two Tory top candidates for the next prime minister, Liz Truss and Rishi Sunak, who have spoken out in favour of lifting the fracking ban in the UK under Boris Johnson. And he can see here how further ideological hesitation translates into job losses. Please click : Database Deindustrialization of Germany.

The Energy Transition Conference of the University of Stuttgart  

Die Welt, Tichys Einblick and Publico were the only media that took part in the symposium 20 Jahre Energiewende-Wissenschaftler ziehen bilanz from 8.- 10.7. in Stuttgart. The conference was organized by the Chair of Energy Storage at the University of Stuttgart, Prof. Thess. In 13 expert lectures, a ruthless inventory of the energy transition was carried out. The invited representatives of federal and state governments, higher federal authorities, the Bundestag and state parliaments, who shone through their absence, had learned a lot.
Axel Bojanowski published a remarkable interview with the lecturers Prof. Schwarz and Prof. Beckmann in Die Welt.

The meeting had a result in the Stuttgart Declaration, which was submitted to the Petitions Committee of the German Bundestag on 26 July and registered under the number 136760. It will be published in 2 weeks by the Petiton Committee and can then be co-signed.

The lectures of the scientists can be seen here on Youtube. Particular attention should be paid to the lectures of Prof. LomborgProf. Schwarz Dr. Pillkahn and the summary of all lectures by Prof. Thess. If you want to follow my lecture held there, you can do so here. I have stored the slides under for further use.

With best wishes
Fritz Vahrenholt