The European Union prides itself as the being the world’s green crusader. It is fighting climate change with a set of ambitious targets to reduce future carbon-dioxide emissions and boost the use of renewable energy, such as solar and wind, by setting an example to the rest of the world.
But a revival of coal as an energy source across Europe is leaving a dark spot on the EU’s green credentials, according to a new report by several environmental pressure groups. Coal is the most polluting of all fossil fuels in terms of CO2 emissions. EU countries are under pressure to phase out coal as part of EU-wide goals to cut emissions and boost the development of renewable energy sources.
At the center of Europe’s coal renaissance is the region around the German-Polish border, already home to five of Europe’s most polluting coal plants, says the report, which was compiled by CAN Europe, WWF, the European Environmental Bureau, the Health and Environment Alliance and Climate Alliance Germany. Swedish power firm Vattenfall GmbH is now planning to expand the number of open-cast mines in the Lausitz area to exploit its deposits of lignite, a particularly polluting type of coal.
Read the real story on the German Energiewende or Energy Transformation. The Cinderella story is really about……coal and not wind and solar.
And we just keep rolling those dice here in Ontario
WILSTER, Germany—In a sandy marsh on the outskirts of this medieval hamlet, Germany’s next autobahn will soon take shape.
The Stromautobahn, as locals call it, won’t carry Audis and BMW’s BMW.XE -1.11% , but high-voltage electricity over hundreds of miles of aluminum and steel cables stretching from the North Sea to Germany’s industrial corridor in the south.
The project is the linchpin of Germany’s Energiewende, or energy revolution, a mammoth, trillion-euro plan to wean the country off nuclear and fossil fuels by midcentury and the top domestic priority of Chancellor Angela Merkel.
But many companies, economists and even Germany’s neighbors worry that the enormous cost to replace a currently working system will undermine the country’s industrial base and weigh on the entire European economy. Germany’s second-quarter GDP decline of 0.6%, reported earlier this month, put a damper on overall euro-zone growth, leaving it flat for the quarter.
Average electricity prices for companies have jumped 60% over the past five years because of costs passed along as part of government subsidies of renewable energy producers. Prices are now more than double those in the U.S.
German alarmist site klimaretter.de here reports on the latest negative developments now hitting Germany’s wind power industry. The latest to be hit is wind-turbine transmission manufacturer Bosch Rexroth AG, which announced it will slash 210 jobs and give up a production plant in Nuremberg.
Klimaretter writes that the reason behind the move is “the changing wind market“, which according to Bosch-Rexroth spokesperson has seen immense fluctuations.
Because 2013 saw 10 gigawatts less wind energy power installed than a year earlier, ‘capacities have to be scaled back’.”
The layoffs come on the heels of Bavaria’s move to restrict the installation of wind parks in its idyllic countryside. However, the company claims that Bavaria’s policy had no impact on the decision.
Bosch Rexroth is just the latest in a series of setbacks the wind energy industry has seen over the last months. Germany’s solar industry has already collapsed and wind energy is just the latest victim in Germany’s rollback of renewable energies. Spiegel here writes that Germany’s solar industry has shedded half its jobs in the last two years alone!
Distance control for wind turbines: Stage win for Seehofer
Von Moritz KircherFrom Moritz Kircher
Munich. Prime Minister Horst Seehofer (CSU) has reached an important stage victory in the battle for wind power in Bavaria. He had long been advocating that the distances between establishments and residential areas are enlarged. Until the 9th April, the federal government wants to present a bill that makes this possible. A further expansion in Bavaria is thus considerably more difficult.
Ministerprdent Bavaria Horst Seehofer (CSU) has prevailed with the distance control for wind turbines. Foto: dpa Photo: AP
With the so-called countries in the Building Code clause the provinces should be given the opportunity to decide their own distance control for wind turbines. If it goes to Seehofer, the distance between the wind turbine and residential building is to be set at ten times the height of the plant. That would be about two kilometres in modern wind turbines.
Critics of the height-related distance usually seen in the end for the expansion of wind power in Bavaria. In the past three years, regional plans have been developed in which priority areas for wind turbines are reported. After courier information from the 18 regional planning organizations Bavaria remain from these surfaces almost nothing left, should the distance rule actually happen as planned by the prime minister.
It is still unclear whether exceptions to the distance control will be possible. Seehofer had repeatedly indicated to make this possible if all citizens are agreed locally, plans to build wind turbines.
Germany’s agressive and reckless expansion of wind and solar power has come with a hefty pricetag for consumers, and the costs often fall disproportionately on the poor. Government advisors are calling for a completely new start.
If you want to do something big, you have to start small. That’s something German Environment Minister Peter Altmaier knows all too well. The politician, a member of the center-right Christian Democratic Union (CDU), has put together a manual of practical tips on how everyone can make small, everyday contributions to the shift away from nuclear power and toward green energy. The so-called Energiewende, or energy revolution, is Chancellor Angela Merkel’s project of the century.