Fritz Vahrenholt: How much double boom do we need?

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by Kalte Sonne

Dear Sir or Madam,

Before we go to the Energy price developments next year, let’s take a look at the temperature development. The deviation of the global temperature from the University of Alabama’s 30-year satellite-based measurements mean (UAH) is in October 2022 compared to September from 0.24 degrees to 0.32 degrees Celsius rose. The average temperature increases per Since 1979, the temperature has been 0.13 degrees Celsius – no reason to to stick somewhere.

Image source: Roy Spencer

Double boom and then?

Finance Minister Lindner has rebelled the short rebellion of the FDP in the direction of This is the first time that we have had a debate on this subject in the European Parliament. Just a few weeks ago, it was said in of the Tagesschau: “The FDP, on the other hand, urges the continued operation of all three remaining German nuclear power plants until 2024“. Had It been still hoped that by 15.4., the last day of the three, Bring the FDP reason into government policy Lindner put an end to the Hopes for reason: The question is “now simply decided, since one must also say, now is the end”.

What changes on 15.4.2023 that you can do without 4500 MW of nuclear energy?

It is worth taking a look at the expansion of renewable energies, which is being driven forward with all our might. The planned wind power plants must participate in tenders from the Federal Network Agency.

This year, the first year of the traffic light, about 3000 MW of onshore wind power plants have so far been awarded a contract, which are to be built in the next few years (seehere).

That’s about 7 terawatt hours of electricity.

However, around 35 terawatt hours of nuclear energy will be lost on 15.4.2023.

At this rate, it will take five years to replace the lost amount of electricity from nuclear power. However, with the considerable disadvantage that the electricity volumes come when the wind deems it right and not necessarily when we have a need.

Why is the demand for approvals for new wind power plants so low (in 2014-2016 it was twice as much per year)?

The costs of wind energy consist mainly of material costs and capital costs.

The massive increase in material costs is a consequence of the worldwide increase in energy costs.

The components of wind turbines such as rolling bearings (steel), magnets (copper and rare earths), rotor blades (glass-fibre-reinforced plastics) have become so expensive, especially in Germany, that the end of Germany as a production location after the “end” of the solar industry is now also threatening wind energy.

Of the 10 largest wind turbine manufacturers, seven come from China.

In addition, there is now a quadrupled capital interest, which allows the generation of electricity from wind energy for 5.88 €ct/kwh (this is the guaranteed feed-in tariff) only in particularly windy areas.

It is already foreseeable what the green lobby will demand after the nuclear power plants have been shut down: the increase in the guaranteed feed-in tariff.

However, there will probably not be a collapse of the power supply on 16.4.2023, because the traffic light has brought all still available coal-fired power plants to the grid.

By replacing nuclear energy with coal, CO2 emissions in Germany increase significantly.

This is the result of green policies.

There will also be a consolidation of the high price level in Germany, because coal-fired power plants and gas-fired power plants have been made expensive with the high European CO2 emission certificates. Instead of lowering CO2 certificate prices during the energy crisis, taxpayers’ money is distributed to households and businesses.

How many double booms can we afford? Because it is recognizable that for years to come, the supply situation of electricity in Germany is too scarce due to lack of power plant capacity.

The companies that are not impressed by the slogans of the Federal Government know this. 55% of invoices in the chemical industry are no longer paid on time.

BASF has to absorb additional costs for energy of €2.2 billion and announces job cuts.

Investment in China, on the other hand, is being stepped up.

In China, the kilowatt hour costs 2-3 €ct.

No subsidy policy can compensate for this disparity without ultimately eroding public finances. The simple answer would be to increase the supply of low-cost electricity through nuclear power plants, domestic fracking gas extraction and green coal-fired power plants.

The government really believes that wind energy and solar power, which now account for about 5% of primary energy, will make ends meet.

If this does not change, the result will be a massive deindustrialization of Germany.

I’m afraid there are also some in the traffic lights who have no problem with it at all.

Renaissance of coal  

It is not only in Germany that things are going back to coal. In Italy, Holland, Greece and Hungary, too, decommissioned coal-fired power plants are being reactivated – all countries that had relied on gas.

Already in the first half of the year, EU coal consumption increased by 10%, in the second half of the year this will increase significantly.

“Germany will make the biggest contribution to the increase,” says the International Energy Agency IEA.

All these countries had insisted on phasing out coal at the UN Climate Change Conference in Glasgow in 2021.

It was only through the intervention of China and India that the compromise of “phase down” instead of “phase out” was agreed.

But in India and China, too, it looks anything but like a phase down of coal.

70% of the world’s coal use takes place in China and India.

By 2025, China will build more coal-fired power plants than the US has in stock.

India will increase its coal fleet by 25% by 2030.

The UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change had called for CO2 emissions to be halved by 2030.

But three-quarters of the world’s CO2 emissions come from coal-fired power plants (just under 30 billion tonnes out of 40 billion tonnes in total).

China burns more coal than the rest of the world.

Last year alone, it was +6% more.

Part of the emissions are in the goods that China exports, e.g., in the batteries of allegedly low-CO2 electric cars, which, according to the EU, may only be offered from 2035 for climate protection reasons. However, electric cars with Chinese batteries will emit more CO2 than cars with combustion engines for years to come. The consequences of the strong demand for coal have consequences: coal prices have risen sixfold compared to 2020.


Will LNG help us next year?  

The IEA fears a 30 billion m³ gap in gas in Europe next year, so that the replenishment of the storage facilities for the winter after next is endangered. China will capture 85% of the small additional volumes of LNG on the world market.

China had reduced gas imports by -15% later this year as the Chinese economy needed less gas due to COVID lockdown policies.

It should also not be forgotten that until August of this year, imports of Russian pipeline gas had been replenishing the storage facilities. IEA chief Fatih Birol: “Europe faces an even greater challenge next winter”. One thing is certain: gas prices will rise again next year.

The German government should know all this.

Whether she also lets us know is another matter after the falsification of the audit notes from the Ministry of Economic Affairs on the nuclear phase-out by the minister himself.

It should also know that, according to a report by Norway’s Rystad Energy, the production and transport of LNG releases 10 times as much CO2 emission equivalents as pipeline gas.

An essential factor is the energy required to cool the gas to -160 degrees Celsius. Replacing Russian natural gas with pipeline gas would generate an additional 35 million tons of CO2, the report says. That’s almost as much emissions as the 15 million diesel cars in Germany.

What does politics do?

It could be the big hour of Christian Lindner, who has called for a quick entry into the fracking of shale gas in Germany.

But who still believes Lindner a word?

If it comes to conflict with the Greens, he will fall over again.

He prefers to rely on the freedom energies such as wind power (Lindner). An energy-politically wise federal government would have long since further developed the green use of coal, i.e., coal-fired power plants with CO2 capture (CCS) and would have implemented the recommendations of the report of the Fracking Commission, which has been available to the German Bundestag since June 2021 (!) and is not discussed there.

In order to make the ignorance of the German Bundestag clear, the Commission submitted its report of June 2021 once again to the German Bundestag in June 2022 with the remark:

With the technical basis of the already existing According to the expert commission, the 2021 report can be used to carry out the examination of the German Bundestag on the appropriateness of the ban on fracking in unconventional deposits (according to § 13a paragraph 1, Water Resources Act, WHG).” (June 2022) 

What one says to such ignorance of the elected representatives in a fundamental gas – and Electricity crisis ?

A clever FDP would have long since focused on this report. I would like to ask the Commissioner whether he is aware of the fact that the Commission has not yet.

But we don’t have a federal government that is smart in terms of energy policy, not for 10 years, at least since nuclear energy research was abolished in the Atomic Energy Act (2011), CCS was banned in Germany (2012) and fracking (2017) as well.

With CCS, the trend of increased coal use in China and India could be viewed more calmly. Instead, since Merkel’s exit from nuclear energy and coal, energy policy has become nothing more than a creed.

In this belief, they relied on green advisors such as the AGORA energy transition.

The leading figures of AGORA are now at the Levers of power and show after only one year that they are on the are the best way to ruin Germany’s strong economy.

With best wishes

Fritz Vahrenholt