Selling coal as nuclear-free energy

Nuon is also wooing customers away from German providers by offering “nuclear-free electricity” at attractive rates-electricity that will be produced in coal-burning power plants in the future.

From Der Spiegel

Not only coal, but coal with even higher GHG emissions, imported not only from nearby Poland, but from South Africa.

How will Germany make enormous reductions in greenhouse gas emissions and switch to renewables? Currently, Germany’s per capita GHG emissions in 2000 (12.3 tonnes carbon dioxide equivalent) are 40% higher than France’s (8.8 tonnes CO2-e), largely because of the difference in electricity production.

About half (pdf) of German reductions, about 60% of CO2 reductions from energy, since 1990 came from wall-fall. This would have been a combination of changes in East Germany, and an economic recession. The rest is due to policy decisions.

German energy
So what does the German energy mix look like? Note: mineral oil is petroleum.

In spite of all we’ve heard about German renewables, twice as much energy comes from coal as nuclear, and nuclear is almost 3 times as productive as all renewables together. How does the 4.6% renewables break down in 2006?

For electricity, in TWh:
wind 26.5
hydro 21.5
photovoltaics 1
biomass and biogas 10
landfill and sewage gas 3.1

For heat, also in TWh;
biomass 76.5
solar thermal 3
geothermal 1.6

So most German renewable energy comes from biomass and biogas.

It doesn’t begin to compare to the amount of new coal Germany may build:

From cities like Stade in northern Germany to Karlsruhe in the south, power companies want to both build 30 new coal-burning power plants and modernize several older plants…

Size isn’t provided, but 30 new coal power plants, 700 MW each, 70% capacity factor, would provide 130 TWh. This differs from the assumptions in Germany keeps adding coal power, if you can guide me here, please do!

Germans are to be commended on their addition of wind, their willingness to heavily subsidize a low-GHG source of electricity. Hopefully, they will continue when they reverse their nuclear power as pretty much everyone recommends. For example;

Deutsche Bank

Germany will miss its CO2 emission targets, face rising electricity prices and become “dramatically” more reliant on Russian gas if it keeps to its policy of phasing out nuclear energy, a new study warns.

International Energy Agency

The IEA praises Germany’s commitment to sound energy policies and now urges the government to reconsider the phase-out of nuclear power and to focus on energy market reform and climate policy…

Losing the nuclear option will have significant impacts on energy security, economic efficiency and environmental sustainability. Eliminating nuclear from the supply portfolio will reduce supply diversity, increasing reliance on energy imports, particularly natural gas, which is not diversified enough. Shutting down productive assets before their useful lifetime will also impact economic efficiency, requiring additional near-term investments in new capacity that could otherwise be avoided. Finally, generation from nuclear power is free of greenhouse gas emissions. While additional renewables capacity, along with energy efficiency gains, could certainly make up some of the resulting gap, there will be greater reliance on carbon-emitting fuels. Without a doubt, a phase-out will limit Germany’s full potential to reduce its emissions. The IEA urges the government to reconsider the decision to phase out nuclear power in light of these adverse consequences.

One face of European security concerns
Face of European security concerns, Vladimir Putin

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