In this recent blog post I mentioned both California and Germany as sources of the growing evidence of the limits of renewables penetration. This post discussed California. This article on the energy collective which is repost of a German article by Heiner Flassbeck, a prominent and respected German economist discusses the German limits. The graph above from Flassbeck’s article illustrates the problem.
It was not necessary for Germany to build this amount of wind and solar to know that periods like December 2016 with low winds and low sunshine are possible. This shows low wind for periods of four to five days. Statistics show that low wind periods of up to two weeks are common in northern Europe. Sunshine in northern Europe is greatly reduced in winter, and weather can reduce it even more.
Flassbeck uses this practical evidence to discuss the economic impracticality of the current German path to a completely renewables based energy supply. Fassbeck’s concluding thoughts get to the heart of the issue. I quote:
“The example of Energiewende once again demonstrates that the traditional political approaches of our democracies are ill-equipped to solve such complex problems. Consequently, they pursue what I have recently called symbolic politics: democracies do something that is supposed to point in the right direction without thinking it through and without even taking note of the system-related consequences. If it goes wrong, the political predecessors were guilty and nobody feels responsible.
That is why citizens need to remain vigilant and critical. You can wish for a lot and always hope for a good outcome. But as important as wishes and hopes are, they are not yet solutions. We likewise have to use our minds when we would prefer to turn them off because the conclusions are so depressing.”
In previous posts I have stated my opinion that StratoSolar will not receive attention until current wind and solar actually are shown to be impractical solutions. Perhaps the emerging practical evidence from California and Germany will start to build that awareness.
By Edmund Kelly