By Chris Nelder
Posting in Design
Real-world European experience and recent research show that renewables can achieve high levels of penetration onto the power grid, while increasing resiliency and reducing costs.
Americans have been repeatedly told a series of lies about accommodating renewables onto the power grid: That it can't handle large amounts of intermittent power generation. That standby fossil-fueled capacity must be maintained at 100 percent of demand for those times when the sun isn't shining and the wind isn't blowing. That brownouts and blackouts will inevitably result from depending on renewables. That nuclear is the only power source that can meet our needs in the future. And so on.
Europeans beg to differ.
An August 31 article by James Conca in Forbes ("Germany -- Insane or Just Plain Stupid?") regurgitated these hoary tropes, claiming that Germany's decision to shut down nuclear plants and transition to renewables was a colossal mistake, because "the grid can't handle it, the transmission system is not there, and the power disruptions and brownouts are wreaking havoc on the country's energy reliability."
Germany-based energy journalist Craig Morris shot back in his column at Renewables International:
The fact is that none of what is happening in Germany fits what Americans think, and the only regular source of news from Germany in English is Spiegel Online, a laughable source of energy news (the Forbes article cites Spiegel). Germany is switching to renewables quickly, without raising its carbon emissions, with probably the most reliable grid in the world, on a market with freedoms Americans don't even know they lack, with a job market that continues to strengthen (even during the ongoing economic crisis), and in combination with a nuclear phaseout. None of this makes sense to Americans, who respond not by accepting the facts and changing their minds but by getting the picture wrong.
Morris highlighted a 2010 study I mentioned in March ("Why baseload power is doomed"), which found that nuclear power plants are fundamentally "incompatible with renewable energies." Because renewables enjoy priority dispatch on the grid, conventional generators need to be cut back when the wind is blowing and the sun is shining. Older nuclear and coal power plants, which cannot be ramped up and down easily, are ill-suited to a grid with large amounts of variable renewable power.
Morris proceeded to dismantle the reliability argument, pointing out that instead of power disruptions, Germany's grid is now the most reliable of the EU member states.
Source: 5th CEER Benchmarking Report on the Quality of Electricity Supply, European Energy Regulators (PDF)
According to Germany's Federal Network Agency (Bundesnetzagentur), grid interruptions fell steadily since records started being kept in 2006, even as the number of operators/networks increased. Germany's grid had just 15 minutes of unplanned interruptions in 2011. Morris notes that by comparison, Germany had 19 minutes of downtime in 2007, while nuclear-heavy France had 62 minutes and the U.S. had 240 -- more than 12 times as much as Germany. Those outages cost the U.S. economy an estimated $150 billion a year, equivalent to four cents per kilowatt-hour, or about one-third the average retail price of grid power.
As I mentioned in March, the European countries with the largest share of renewables on their grids -- Germany, Denmark, Spain, Ireland, and Portugal -- were found to have "positive conditions for grid operations" in a recent study. And indeed, the CEER report from which I have taken the above chart shows that those same countries (with the exception of Portugal) sport the least grid downtime.
European countries have supported far more intermittent power on their grids than skeptics have said was possible, and more than the averaged data in the chart I showed in the March article.
The German grid is a testament to good planning, having been able to accommodate renewable power growing at an astonishing rate, from 20 percent in 2011 to 25 percent just six months later. Much of that is due to their rapid deployment of solar PV, which grew 40 percent over the 12 months ending in June of this year. Germany installed 3 gigawatts (GW) in December 2011 alone, with another 4.9 GW in the first seven months of 2012. Germany added more capacity in one month -- 543 MW in July – than the U.S. installed in the first three months of the year. For a final perspective, Germany added as much PV in the first half of 2012 as the U.S. has in total cumulative installed capacity.
Wind provides over 9 percent of the country's grid power while solar PV has more than a 5 percent share. But penetration rates can be much higher in real time, as several slick public web sites helpfully tweeted by Kees van der Leun show.
On an SMA web site, you can watch how German solar production went from zero to 15.6 GW on September 30, at which point it was meeting 30 percent of total demand.
The day before, Danish state grid operator Energinet.dk showed 80 percent of Denmark's electricity demand being provided by wind. (On average, renewables supplied about 40 percent of Denmark's power in 2011.) On the same day in Spain, wind covered one third of the demand.
The antiquated U.S. grid has never come close to supporting that much power from renewables. Without significant "smart grid" upgrades and more transmission capacity, it simply can't. But the grid needs upgrading anyway. As the Washington Post recently reported, failing to modernize the U.S. grid will cost the U.S. $71 billion in service interruptions alone by 2020.
A big part of accommodating renewables onto the grid is smart grid management. All that additional power from solar presents a bit of a challenge to the German utilities, who expect a bottleneck to develop in the distribution grids within the next five years. One way of working around that problem is smart demand response using dynamic pricing, which would persuade large industrial and commercial users to shift their usage to times when supply is ample and prices are low. Demand response will increasingly replace conventional power generation, according to the utilities. (Price-based demand management has long been a feature of electrical distribution in parts of the U.S.)
The distributed nature of renewable generators is helpful in itself. Researchers at the Max Planck Institute for Dynamics and Self-Organisation in Germany recently reported that greater network density means more inherent stability on the grid. This is partly intuitive: The more pathways there are for the power to travel, the lower the likelihood that a single downed line will take down larger portions of the grid. More interestingly, the researchers found that in a complex network, generators and consumers "synchronize themselves," which I suspect would reduce both the grid management challenge and the total generation capacity required.
New research is exploring grid management solutions to support renewables. Here are just a few of dozens of papers being published in the next several months.
A paper from Polytechnic of Porto, Portgual, models how advanced power grid scheduling techniques and wind forecasting can optimize grid power to ensure the lowest possible operation costs and reduce power losses.
Another paper from Siemens Corporate Technology in Germany considers the relative contributions of grid extensions and storage on a 100 percent renewable European grid, and finds that renewables could supply 60 percent of the power without additional grid capacity or backup, and 80 percent with an "ideal" European grid.
A technical paper from the Serbian government proposes a "reliability index" methodology that could be implemented as grid management software to predict the reliability of distributed generation.
A paper from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology finds that with better integration, Norway's immense hydro power potential could serve as storage for continental Europe and slash the need for conventional backup generation, while delivering a savings of at least 100 million euro per year.
And so on.
Back here in America, a white paper from the Center for American Progress is just trying to get the U.S. off the dime in grid development. Following the European examples, it argues that integrating better management and forecasting software into a more highly networked grid can allow it to accommodate larger amounts of renewable energy, while demand response and storage integration can improve efficiency and reduce the need for standby generation capacity, reducing costs.
The take-home lessons from these studies are straightforward: The more networked and distributed the grid, the more resilient and robust and inexpensive it is, and the less storage or backup generation it needs. It should be possible for renewables to meet up to 80 percent of demand, with more efficient use and responsive demand. The myth that the grid needs 100 percent standby fossil-fuel capacity is busted. Most of the challenges are in grid management, planning, and market design, not technology.
So what's the hold-up?
One could argue that the U.S. is lagging Europe so badly in grid development and renewables penetration because, unlike Germany, Denmark, Spain, Ireland, and Portugal, it has a significant amount of domestic fossil fuels left to burn. Our fossil fuel industry is very effective at legislative and regulatory capture. As long as our domestic fuels are cheaper than renewables (which will not be the case for much longer), we can resist change and argue over pennies per kilowatt-hour in the short term, while averting our gaze from the obvious realities of the long term, and the multi-fold savings offered by transitioning to renewables.
Platts offered a rare bit of insight a week ago into the institutional resistance of U.S. utilities, who were recently surveyed by Macquarie. The respondents worried about the impact that energy efficiency would have on the profitability of their businesses, which make most of their money on generation and transmission. In short, lower energy demand spells lower profits. One quoted analyst said the outlook for weak demand growth “might be a bad cold for utilities, but for merchant generators, it could be a heart attack.”
The more energy produced from distributed renewables, which deliver power to the grid close to where it is used, the less need for generation or transmission by the utilities. And the less the fossil-fueled generation units are used, the more difficult it is to justify their cost. As more renewable power is integrated into the grid, the profitability of conventional generation will fall.
This leads Morris to an ironic conclusion that renewable proponents should start worrying about how to protect the profitability of conventional standby power units. If no additional progress could be made in grid storage, management, and networking, I would agree. But it seems we are only beginning to understand the real potential of highly integrated and networked grids, and how better efficiency, demand response and storage could all but eliminate the need for standby capacity from fossil fuels and nuclear in the long run.
Photo: Conceptual design of transmission line pylons by Choi + Shine Architects
Oct 2, 2012
Now that was funny! The automated PC corrector thought I was referring to a derogatory term for a Chinese person. (grin)
Chris, You've got to be doing a whole lot of things right in your analysis to have such a committed legion of fossil fool, greedy deniers hanging on your every words to dis them. It's most impressive. How many times have I heard the equivalent of "I won't pay a penny more now, however logical it might be to cooperate with my neighbor, to make a better life for my descendents, if it means I can't live in Disneyland. Where's the freedom in that?" Everyone's free to descend into their own Hell and take their neighbor with them, I guess. Anyhow, consider this an affectionate pat on the back. Keep on sloggin' in the mud. The angrier your detractors get, the better you're doing. Get everyone you can to vote "yes" on Prop. 37. It'll be the first big chink in the neo-liberal armor.
Seems like there is quite a crew that attends these Nelder postings .... to discredit him, in the comments section. It doesn't have to be this way - if Mr. Nelder were simply polite and accurate, than myself, Hates Idiots, John McGrew, etc, would happily give some credit. But if he insists on these "everyone else is an idiot except for me" type posts ... well, he's going to get mocked.
3 of the newest turbines in the state have been idle for years with infrastructure problems. 3 more that were down for over a year with infrastructure problems just came online this summer. 2 more built in 2009 are up for sale because the municipal power company is losing money since installing them.. The town with the largest green investment in the state, Carver, is bleeding money from its 5 turbines and its failed solar PV farm. 2 of the turbines were down for over a year with mechanical problems. Their solar farm opened in August and is suffering from a poor location causing shadows from the forest 20 feet away and the theft of numerous panels because of inadequate site security. http://www.myfoxboston.com/story/19740899/2012/10/04/mass-wind-projects-hitting-turbulence-setbacks-for-green-energy
Doesn't matter now, cause help is on the way, thanks to me. Ive discovered how to harness and store electricity from lightening. Electricity which can be used. Hooray for the world!!!!!!!
Every time Chris Nelder makes a post out come the naysayers who say "Ooh, it's too expensive" or "It can't work in the real world". If we only listened to people like that there would never be any progress in the world. Rather than live in the past we should look to the future and figure out what we can do to transform our civilization into something that isn't eating up the world at an unsustainable rate that will impoverish our posterity.
I think some commenters wish to discredit the Germans. I'll be visiting Dusseldorf again next month. On my visit last year, I rode by an inoperative windwill . When I asked why it wasn't spinning, my 19 year old guide's answer was precise and simple, "we don't need the extra capacity now, so they turn them off to save mechanical wear on the turbine". I have never experienced lights dimming or an outage during a half dozen stays in Germany. They are not asleep at the wheel like our average consumer citizen. The Germans aren't waiting for our approval but taking action while we talk about it. In the US, my vote is for self containment, self sustainability and shared overcapacity. I foresee 180 Million 20KV cells adding to the big NATIONAL battery. Series or Parallel combinations anyone? Ooops! Need to replace an inverter. No Worries. Run a cord over to Neighbor Bob's Inverter. Profit and Greed supersede intelligence in this country of well oiled marketing machines and PACs. Look to Iceland for permanent sustainability. They survived the Great Financial Crisis. They generate their hot water and electricity from geothermal. Pretty good tasting water too! The 12.3 Km deep bore hole in Russia yielded a temperature of 356 degrees F. I assume that's a constant being so close to the mantle. Now, if memory serves, water boils at 212 F. Ethyl or Methyl Alcohol at about room temperature. Too bad the clowns at NASA or EIA-DOE haven't created a down-hole, self contained, liquid to-gas-to-liquid tethered AC generator unit to power the crib with. Mine that heat Baby! There's enough to go around. So it's not the grid nor the technology. It's the peoples' thinking that has got to change.
Questionable assertion they it 'reduces costs'. In the UK there is a levy on every electric bill which is converted into a subsidy for Wind/Wave/Tidal/Solar/Hydro/Geothermal schemes. Most of which due to the variable nature of them, are unable to supply a base load, or generate at the wrong time. Wind - Only when it blows, and overnight generated electricity is not really needed much and is wasted Solar - UK not a great place for Sun - It's not Texas ! It will only ever be small scale here Wave - Due to government policies previously, under exploited Tidal - Due to government policies previously, under exploited Geothermal - Due to government policies, under exploited, though not as suited as say Iceland to this Hydro - Ideally suited to the UK, but the greens don;t like as destroys large area's for the reservoirs. Indeed Wind and Hydro could work very well together with wasted overnight wind re-pumping water back into the reservoir for re-generation in the day. As all Carbon sources burn and generate CO2, and carbon capture is crackpot mad scientist territory/technology, this is not a go-er. Renewable do have their place, but extra safe modern Nuclear is the only solution which can provide the huge base-load without costly carbon based fuels fuel, and generating CO2 - though off-setting CO2 emissions with trillions of tree's being planted (Nature's Carbon Capture device) seems conspicuously absent as a solution Tidal - Yes Wave - Limited Wind - Limited, where windy Hydro - Yes Nuclear - Yes, as base load Carbon fueled oil/gas/coal - Yes, with Carbon capture via tree's Don;t forget global energy demands will vastly increase over the next few decades, so merely replacing current consumption with Renewable s does not answer this problem - Why China is building a new Coal-fired power station every month, according to reports.
I live in Europe, and is this article all wrong. Manufacturing companies are installing generators to run full time because of the instability of the grid, power fluxes causes machinery to shut down ruining what ever product is being produced, such as rolled aluminum. \the \north \sea wind generators are not connected to the shore, apparently a problem needed to be solved by the government. The grid in Germany does not have enough capacity to carry the electricity from the North Sea area to southern Germany, the major manufacturing area. Where will the money come from to upgrade the system? Do more research when you write an article, info is available in English from German magazines.
A back-of-an-envelope calculation indicates that if just 16-18% of U.S. homes were energy independent-generating their own power in sufficient quantity for personal use-(equivalent to 10 times ALL the presently installed PV systems in the U.S.-that their "grid feedback" -the redistribution of excess solar and wind power from home-based systems during periods of excess production over consumption- would supply a lot of daytime peak-commercial and government needs. As home-office-based telecommuting continues to grow, this will become less true,but then the power consumption needs of the homes, including home offices, would be mostly self-supplied. This also makes it even more important to rethink and rebuild the energy infrastructure to move the power transmission infrastructure underground, saving transmission losses everyday, but saving also much of the downtime incurred from weather-driven grid interruptions, some $71 Billion (up to $250 Billion by some estimates). By some other estimates doing the same thing for 20% of the roof space of commercial, retail, and government structures would add to capacity, without additional power-generation plant structures.
Here is a simple yes or no question for Chris Nelder and Craig Morris - is Germany building a fleet of new coal fired powered plants or not? Here in the USA, new coal plants are essentially DOA - killed by cleaner, cheaper, fracked shale gas. In Europe, where they refuse to frack the shale (apparently because of a scary HBO movie) they have no cheap shale gas. Thus, their choice seems to be nuclear (France) or coal (Germany). I would be a lot more impressed by Germany if they truly were replacing nuclear with renewables. But that doesn't appear to be what they are doing at all. Instead, they are replacing nuclear with coal. How do we know this? Because they are engaging in a massive build out of coal fired plants. That was the gist of James Conca's article. He was lamenting the idiocy of Germany's great leap backward, to the fuel of the 19th century - coal. Perhaps Craig Morris and Chris Nelder should visit the new coal fired plant near Cologne. It seems these two gentlemen believe this plant doesn't exist, or that it is merely emitting aromatic fragrances. Solar PV and windmills are nice enough, but if they could get the job done, than Germany wouldn't be building coal plants. Germany is an abject example of the failure of the Green movement, not of it's success, and the new coal fleet coming on-line is proof of this.
In land area, Germany is slightly smaller than Montana. 137,847 square miles compared to 147,046 square miles. Population Germany = 81.1 million. US population = 311 million. Land area entire EU = 1,707,787 sq miles. US = 3,618,780 sq miles. Many of the prime areas for wind and solar power generation in the US are farther away from the population centers than any situation Germany or the entire EU would ever encounter. The level of difficulty with renewable power grid logistics encountered in Germany or the entire EU has little to compare with the US.
... that as many states are making their plans to mandate renewable usage, many of America's "visionary" corporate leaders are planning for self-contained redundant power supplies for their facilities. Clearly, they don't have as much confidence in this paradigm as Chris does. As I've said before, we're putting the cart before the ox; we need to be investing in R&D on storage technologies before plunging large portions of our country into darkness.
Those are like comparing apples to oranges. We have states that are nearly as large and far more complex than the EU countries. An outage incidence per square mile/kilometer comparison or per line length would be appropriate.
Nobody, least of all power utilities, has ever said that you have to have 100% conventional power as backup for renewables. In fact, most utilities believe that you can get by with about 20% renewables without having to maintain a lot of idle conventional capacity. They can do this using the excess production capacity they already have for plants going down, peak demand periods, etc. Beyond that, you have to start paying for keeping conventional power plants idle as backup. So the real argument isn't that you can't run your economy on 100% renewables at least part of the time, but at what cost. Mr. Neider's article points out that Germany is around 14% renewables. In fact, 29 US states such as California (33% by 2020) and Colorado (30% by 2020) are currently under state-imposed mandates to provide a certain minimum of renewables. Xcel even believes that they are ahead of schedule in Colorado (see http://www.denverpost.com/business/ci_18061499 ). With current technology, providing renewable power at these levels will require maintaining a lot of idle conventional power as backup. This means added expense, which will be charged to customers. On top of that, new transmission lines must be run to wind and PV sites. And there's the simple fact that renewables still cost more per KWH than natural gas. The current Federal subsidy for wind, around 2.2 cents per KWH, is about what it costs to produce a KWH with natural gas (this doesn't include transmission and other overhead). It's so bad that in 2010, states with renewable mandates have electric costs that are 32% higher than non-renewable states (see the Manhattan Institute study referenced below). In Colorado, Xcel lets customers choose to go on 100% wind if they want. The cost? In 2010, it was 2.16 cents per KWH -- ABOVE the full retail rate ( http://www.xcelenergy.com/Save_Money_&_Energy/For_Your_Home/Windsource/Windsource_for_Residences_-_CO_-_Pricing_Terms_and_Conditions ). Of course, the full retail rate in Colorado already includes the price of meeting the 2020 renewable mandate. Mr. Neider optimistically says that somehow we will figure out grid optimization and storage issues. But while the power industry is hard at work on these issues, they still have no satisfactory answers. We still have no cheap way to store intermittent power from renewables, for example. Because electric generation is so critical to our economy, it would be folly to bet our future on technologies that have yet to invented. The study by the Manhattan Institute provides details ( http://www.manhattan-institute.org/html/eper_10.htm ). I should point out that while they compare renewables to coal, the country is moving to natural gas which is now even cheaper than coal.
The problem with Nelder is he doesn't advocate "pay a little more for clean energy". The problem with Nelder is he flat out lies and fabricates, or, as in this case, skips over the critical parts of the story. The story in Germany is how they are moving back to the 19th century by slapping up coal plants. IF their renewable plans were so great, THEN they wouldn't be needing new coal plants, would they. A more accurate assessment of Germany is that they are "greenwashing" their coal plants by trying to focus PR attention on their windmills and solar panels. Nelder not only goes along with this hook line and sinker, but he insults the reporters that are reporting the story correctly. If Nelder would grow up a little and take the know-it-all snarkiness out of his posts (and more importantly, keep them factually correct), perhaps he wouldn't have a collection of debunkers following him around.
Why the hell are people stealing solar panels? What kind of value do they have outside of their intended use?
None of this insanity would have taken place had it not been for easy access to "other people's money".
I agree, if "real world" facts and concerns are removed, Nelder's columns are just fine. Perhaps there can be a Nelder disclaimer - entering a "fact free zone". Maybe we can coin a new word - the "Nelderzone". As in "man, when that guy put his solar panels on top of a shady house, he really entered the Nelderzone".
When Henry Ford was puttering around in his first horseless carriage, we didn't have a government proposing to fund and build an interstate highway system or gas stations on every corner. That didn't happen until the technology was proven and accepted.
[i]"we don't need the extra capacity now, so they turn them off to save mechanical wear on the turbine".[/i] So they build these complex and expensive machines, and yet they still rely upon the old technology unless it's a peak load situation. That's completely ass-backwards from what it should be. It's another example of how deploying windmills and solar is a waste until we have a storage technology to accommodate them.
Do you have some links for this? It's sad to see the Greens destroy the economy of Europe. It is a fun place, I hope the turn to reason before it's too late.
I despair at people in Texas whining about how much it costs to power their A/C, whilst the sun beats down at 100F+ on the roof of their house without any Solar panels. One could easily power the other. Ikea and Walmart are doing it, as reported on this site.....
There are Gas Fracking pilots in the UK near Blackpool. Unfortunately they made an arse of it http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-17726538 it's not really an environmentally responsible technology, but it's cheap so bugger the environment.
One large plant requires so much coal it has its own dedicated strip mine. They move 5 million cubic feet of rock and soil a day to get at the 1 million cubic feet of coal needed daily. To save on transportation costs and CO2 from transportation they built the coal power plant within sight of the coal mine. They use some of the largest strip mining equipment in the world to get the coal. The coal being strip mined is lignite or brown coal. A dirty burning soft coal that requires expensive precombustion technologies to increase efficiency and reduce emissions. Technologies the German government will not confirm have been used. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Overburden_Conveyor_Bridge_F60 http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-08-19/merkel-s-green-shift-forces-germany-to-burn-more-coal-energy.html
They lost 27 panels to theft the first week. They have lost over 40 since it opened in August. Between the thefts, shadows from 60 foot pine trees left standing 20 feet from the array and all the rain this fall the plant has yet to produce anywhere near its promised output. 10/15 update. The latest reports have some of the frames showing up in scrap yards. The aluminum alloy is apparently very valuable.
Yes, and there were people like McMurtry around saying it would never work and it scared the horses and it was too expensive. Renewable power, particularly solar and wind are proven technologies. They are a bit expensive compared to fossil fuel power sources as long as you ignore the cost of pollution and environmental degradation from their acquisition and use. How long did it take to build out the current power supply system? Won't it take a similar amount of time to build out the renewable power supply system?
It is a mad world when idle infrastructure is taken as a sign positive sign. The point of the windmill is for it to generate electricity. Apparently they are so difficult to integrate they often sit idle ... and essentially become expensive modern art. You get the eyesore but not the electricity.
yep, a few pilots, that will get your natural gas prices below $4. I like Europe, but high oil and gas prices are a big part of her problem, and they're not going to fix themselves.
Shame on people like you who give light water nuclear reactors succor, simply because it's the only nuke we know how to make. Anything that creates deadly wastes that are deadly for millenia capable of devastating huge areas of the planet. Only the Chinese and Indians are working on Thorium reactors that shut down on their own in case of trouble and create wastes that are deadly for ONLY a few centuries, and are capable of burning up the wastes of the first half century of the nuclear miracle that is turning into a horror. Learn to look into the future!
Germans are truly engaging in the biggest greenwashing in the history of the world. This "dismantle nukes for coal" is madness, and shame on people like Nelder who give them succor.
Saying "we don't need the extra capacity now" says nothing about the reason why they don't need it. To me you're making an unwarranted assumption.
[i]"When I asked why it wasn't spinning, my 19 year old guide's answer was precise and simple, "we don't need the extra capacity now, so they turn them off to save mechanical wear on the turbine"."[/i] If the goal is the reduction of fossil fuel use and carbon emissions, this is completely backwards to what it should be.
I reread the comment carefully. I didn't see anything about [i]"Expensive windmills sitting idle while the old grid continues does the real work?"[/i] Couldn't it just as well have been that other wind turbines were providing enough power that they didn't need that one running?
Wind and solar are great if they can work. The headline is that Germany is embarking on an ambitious new plan to build ----- more coal fired plants! Hooray - back to the 19th century. I support all energy sources that aren't coal fired electrical plants - because coal fired electricity is (a) by far the worst for the environment and (b) the dominant form of global electricity production. Germany can build all the windmills and solar panels they want - but so long as they keep cranking out new coal plants (which is NOT happening in the USA), they are not a role model for anything.
...[i]"It's better to look good that the feel good".[/i] That is what the bulk of our green policy is.
The public, like me, is mostly agnostic about where the energy comes from. There is a fair bit of agreement that coal fired power is truly odious, and should be phased out. And yet, here is Germany embarking on a program to build a new fleet of coal fired power plants! And here is Mr. Nelder (and his, gratefully dwindling, entourage) cheerleading Germany, because they have a large fleet of mostly idle windmills greenwashing their newfound love of coal! It is all too absurd to figure out exactly how bad it is. Like the song from the Sopranos says, "it's bad, you know".
The point of the windmill is to generate "green" energy, and yet it sits idle while the traditional "brown" infrastructure continues to do the real work. Epic fail.