Merkel’s government shut down eight reactors in the immediate aftermath of the Fukushima disaster (which was caused by a tsunami – a threat Germany isn’t exposed to) and has vowed to shut down all remaining nuclear facilities by 2022. The problem? Despite heavy government subsidization, renewable energies simply aren’t filling the void.
Merkel’s energy plan called for the addition of 25,000 megawatts of sea-based wind turbine power by 2030. However through the first six months of 2012 only 45 megawatts had been added to Germany’s existing 200-megawatt supply, according to an industry analyst quoted by Reuters. And despite massive subsidies funded by a household energy surcharge (which currently comprises 14 percent of German power bills), major wind projects in the North Sea are being delayed or canceled due to skittish investors.
The basic problem? Wind farms are notoriously unreliable as a power source. Not only that, they take up vast amounts of space and kill tens of thousands of birds annually.
“Generating energy with wind involves extreme fluctuations because it depends on the weather and includes periods without any recognizable capacity for days, or suddenly occurring supply peaks that push the grid to its limits,” a 2012 report from Germany energy expert Dr. Guenter Keil notes. __Forbes
It would be one thing if Germany were simply committing energy suicide for itself. But Germany is the anchor for the European power grid. If Germany goes down, Europe goes down.
Already, Germany’s neighbors have begun to build massive switches into their power-line border crossings with Germany. The switches are meant to shut down all power connections with Germany during the times that Germany attempts to dump erratic power surges from wind onto neighboring power grids — threatening cascading power failures across Europe.
Germany’s increasingly erratic power supply is seen as a threat to the futures of several large German industrial concerns. Several of Germany’s largest industrial companies are accelerating plans to locate new plants — and replacements for old plants — overseas, where power supplies are less expensive and more reliable.
Foolish mainstream journalists are fixated on the dangers posed by German austerity to European economies. They would be wiser to focus on the real dangers to both Germany and Europe.