Richard Ha writes:
Germany attempted to transition to a green electricity generation more than ten years ago. Today, some of its electricity rates are the highest in Europe, and it is using coal for 45 percent of its electricity. The lesson here is that there really isn’t any “free lunch.”
From Bloomberg.com today:
Merkel’s Taste for Coal to Upset $130 Billion Green Drive
By Julia Mengewein - Sep 22, 2014
When Germany kicked off its journey toward a system harnessing energy from wind and sun back in 2000, the goal was to protect the environment and build out climate-friendly power generation.
More than a decade later, Europe’s biggest economy is on course to miss its 2020 climate targets and greenhouse-gas emissions from power plants are virtually unchanged. Germany used coal, the dirtiest fuel, to generate 45 percent of its power last year, its highest level since 2007, as Chancellor Angela Merkel is phasing out nuclear in the wake of the Fukushima atomic accident in Japan three years ago.
The transition, dubbed the Energiewende, has so far added more than 100 billion euros ($134 billion) to the power bills of households, shop owners and small factories as renewable energy met a record 25 percent of demand last year. RWE AG (RWE), the nation’s biggest power producer, last year reported its first loss since 1949 as utility margins are getting squeezed because laws give green power priority to the grids…. Read the rest
How is HECO going to both lower our electricity rates and increase intermittent power into the grid? Seems we are going to bet everything on natural gas. At $4/thousand cubic feet (mcf), it is very cheap. In Asia and Europe, it’s more than $11/mcf.
What happens when its price rises in 10 and 20 years? Where will we be then? Will we have a competitive advantage to the rest of the world? Or will we be struggling, like Germany is today?
Where will we be 10 and 20 years from now? We should be paying attention to what people like Marco Mangelsdorf, president of ProVision Solar, and others are saying about the PUC’s request for an energy action plan for the state of Hawai‘i.