Fritz Vahrenholt: Incompetent energy policy

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From KlimaNachrichten Redakteur

By Fritz Vahrenholt

Dear Ladies and Gentlemen,

In April 2023, the deviation of the global temperature from the 30-year average of satellite-based measurements from the University of Alabama (UAH) fell slightly to 0.18 degrees Celsius (see graph above). The average temperature increase per decade since 1979 is only 0.13 degrees Celsius.

The incompetent energy policy of the Ministry of Economy

The incompetence of the Ministry of Economic Affairs, led by Robert Habeck’s Graichen family, continues: withdrawn gas levy, phase-out of nuclear power plants in the middle of Germany’s biggest energy crisis (Habeck: “We don’t have an electricity crisis”), restarting coal-fired power plants without CO2 capture, the heat pump disaster and no end in sight.

Manuel Frondel of the Leibniz Institute for Economic Research estimates the costs of the Heat Pump Act at €225 billion. Robert Habeck speaks of €130 billion. He talks about money that most people don’t have. Even if only the cost of the heat pump of €25,000 is taken into account, by 2030 (excluding the cost of building investments) 6 million heat pumps will cost €150 billion.

In an answer by State Secretary Graichen to the minor question by MP Bartsch, we learn about the “sensational” CO2 reduction of this impoverishment program for the middle class: If 2030 million heat pumps were to be installed in 6, 10.4 million tonnes of CO2 would be avoided by this effort. This is roughly equivalent to the emissions that occur when a nuclear power plant is shut down when the electricity is replaced by lignite.

We continue to calculate: that’s a measly 1.4% of Germany’s CO2 emissions (746 million tonnes of CO2 in 2022). For every tonne of CO2 avoided, a whopping €14,423 (€150 billion divided by 10.4 million tonnes of CO2) is invested.
A similar CO2 reduction would be achieved if a single lignite-fired power plant were equipped with CO2 capture. The Schwarze Pumpe power plant emits around 12 million tonnes of CO2 and would become CO600-free with an investment of €2 million. This is an investment cost of €2 per tonne of CO50.

Why is the effect of the heat pump so puny ? This is shown in the following table. compared to my last newsletter, the figures are not from the literature but they are manufacturer’s information. The heat pump has a CO2 footprint due to CO2-heavy electricity generation. Incidentally, the above-mentioned measly reduction will only occur if, according to the plans of the Federal Government, an 2030% share of electricity is actually generated from renewable energies (80% gas-fired power plants) by 20. If, as expected, this CO2 reduction does not materialise, the billions spent are almost a zero-sum CO2 game (see table)

According to Vaillant, the CO2 emissions of a gas condensing boiler are 0.178 kg per kWh (0.2 kg gas boiler – 11% condensing efficiency). A heat pump with a usual efficiency of COP = 3 (COP = Coefficient of performance) turns 1 kWh of electricity into 3 kWh of heat. To compare a natural gas heating system with a heat pump, you have to divide the CO2 footprint of a kWh of electricity (2022 : 0.494 kg/kwh) by 3. That’s 0.165 kg/kWh for the heat pump: over 100 billion in expenditure with almost zero CO2 effect.

What would be an effective CO2 reduction instead?

If one wanted an effective and efficient CO2 reduction, one would have to equip all East German lignite-fired power plants that can still be operated until 2038 with CO2 capture. The East German lignite-fired power plants produce 50 TwH of electricity and emit about 50 million tons of CO2. In order to make the 14 power plant units CO2-free, about 8.4 billion would have to be invested. So for a small fraction (1/20) of Habeck’s monster plan of investments in heat pumps, you get five times the amount of emission reduction. Investing in exhaust gas purification in lignite-fired power plants would thus be more efficient by a factor of 100.

Why don’t politicians do that? I don’t have an answer.

In this way, Germany would have an incredibly high impact on the world’s CO2 balance. Not because of their own emissions, but because it shows a way in which China, India, Indonesia, Pakistan and the rest of the world can free their planned use of their coal reserves from CO2 emissions in a technologically brilliant and cost-effective way.
I am firmly convinced that the capture of CO2 and injection in deep rocks (preferably basalt) is on the verge of a breakthrough. Experts estimate that the cost of CO2 capture and injection into deep rock (CCS) costs around $70 per tonne of CO2 (for sources, see my book “The Great Energy Crisis”, Chapter 4 “Ending the War on Coal”).

After all, the market economy will prevail here as well. The costs of around €70 per tonne of CO2 are offset by savings of €100 per tonne of CO2 for CO2 certificates that no longer have to be paid. And according to the EU’s plans, these “penalty” certificates are to rise to €200 per tonne in the near future.
But one will argue that the technology must first be developed. However, until the ban on CCS in Germany, they existed in the form of a pilot plant in the Schwarze Pumpe. In 2014, the main mastermind behind the CCS ban in Germany decided in 2014 was the then Schleswig-Holstein Energy Transition Minister Robert Habeck: “We do not want CCS as a clean-up technology for climate-damaging coal combustion”.

The Miracle of Hohenmölsen

I’m currently on the road a lot to distribute my book. A few days ago I was in Hohenmölsen, a small town on the edge of the PROFEN lignite mining area in Saxony-Anhalt. After the event, a LEAG employee pulled me aside and told me that I had been caught up in a fake when I found out in my new book that the CCS Schwarze Pumpe plant had been sold to Canada. With regard to politics, LEAG had led the public to believe that the plant had been sold to Canada so that no one would get stupid thoughts and could demand the reactivation of the plant. The system is still in place, the measurement and control technology has been expanded, but it can be reactivated. Political correctness is already blossoming strangely in Germany.
But now Olaf Scholz, who I know is a supporter of CCS technology (Hamburg and Brandenburg were the only states to oppose the CCS ban in the Bundesrat in 2014), can advocate for the reactivation of Schwarze Pumpe’s CCS plant.

I learned a lot in Hohenmölsen. Did you know that up to 15% wax is extracted from the waxy lignite mined there and that the wax producer Romonta is one of the largest wax producers in the world? These jobs are also highly vulnerable. Which country is destroying itself as radically as Germany under the Green government command?

With best wishes
Fritz Vahrenholt