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Re: [hreg] Good Clip on Germany

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  • Jim & Janet Duncan
    Tom quoted: In the U.S., for example, some of the most politically powerful voices are those of the various energy-related industries... This is a portion of
    Message 1 of 6 , Aug 21, 2003
    • 0 Attachment
      Tom quoted:

      "In the U.S., for example, some of the most politically
      powerful voices are those of the various energy-related industries..."

      This is a portion of text from a ASES White Paper Report, the copy of which
      I can't find to give a date and credit, from 4 or 5 years ago. The complete
      text is no longer on their website, though.
      Anyway, it speaks volumes about why we have such a battle ahead with the
      status-quo in DC.

      Jim Duncan
      North Texas Renewable Energy Inc.
      Fort Worth, Texas
      817.917.0527


      A recent estimate by the Energy Information Administration at the US
      Department of Energy places the total annual value of federal subsidies for
      oil, gas, coal and nuclear energy sources at $2.8 billion. A 1992 study by
      the Alliance to Save Energy (using 1989 statistics) estimated the annual
      subsidy level for fossil and nuclear fuels at between $27 and $46 billion. A
      1998 study by Management Information Services Inc. estimated that energy
      subsidies amounted to $564 billion (in 1997 dollars) over the five decades
      preceding the study. The authors of this study concluded that roughly half
      of the total went to the oil industry in the form of tax expenditures.

      Other studies seem to underestimate the impact of federal actions on
      sustainable energy alternatives. For example, ASES (the American Solar
      Energy Society) has long held that current energy purchasing practices by
      the federal government clearly favor fossil and nuclear fuels. Similarly,
      failure of the federal government to work with the states to establish
      universal non-discriminatory interconnection (to the grid) standards serves
      as a penalty for sustainable energy technology and an indirect subsidy for
      fossil fuels. (For more information, see ASES Policy Statements on Federal
      Government Purchases of Renewable Energy and Green Electricity and
      Photovoltaic Interconnection Issues, available at
      www.ases.org/solarguide/position.html or from ASES headquarters.) Studies
      are similarly inconsistent in how they treat the Federal Power Marketing
      Administration; the Price-Anderson Act (which makes the federal government
      the ultimate insurer of claims arising from nuclear power plant problems);
      the Strategic Petroleum Reserve (particularly now, as reserves are released
      to lower consumer prices); and power plants that do not comply with federal,
      state and local environmental regulations.

      Notwithstanding the lack of consensus on dollar amounts, there can be little
      disagreement over the fact that federal policies, programs, regulations and
      budgets do not treat all energy sources equitably. Both because of its
      regulatory responsibilities and because it is the nation's largest energy
      consumer, how the federal government treats sustainable energy sources
      overall has an impact upon the purchasing habits of corporate and individual
      consumers. This impact in turn affects the ability of clean energy
      technologies to establish and maintain a foothold in the energy market.
    • Roxanne Boyer
      Mr Han, I think that when the article was talking about the wind industry employing more people than nuclear, it meant that there is a huge investment to have
      Message 2 of 6 , Aug 23, 2003
      • 0 Attachment
        Mr Han,
         
        I think that when the article was talking about the wind industry employing more people than nuclear, it meant that there is a huge investment to have wind power outgrow nuclear power in the future.  It takes a lot of people to build and start up the wind farms.  It doesn't take many people to operate an existing nuclear power plant.  The industry includes production for export as well.  Germany makes many of the wind and solar power equipment that is installed around the world, and it is a strong point of their economy - not a drag on the economy as you assumed.
         
        The first country that develops a renewable energy industry that can deliver power at a cost competitive with fossil fuels will be the leader of the next generation of world economy.  Fossil fuel cost is rising and renewable energy cost is falling - at some point they will cross (refer to my previous e-mails showing about 2025).
         
        I agree with you that transmission and distribution of energy between areas where there is high potential for renewable energy and places where energy is needed will be very important.
         
        -Chris
         
         
        ----- Original Message -----
        From: Ooi, Han
        Sent: Thursday, August 21, 2003 1:27 PM
        Subject: RE: [hreg] Good Clip on Germany

        <<The German wind industry now employs more people
        than nuclear power (an industry that provides 30 percent of the nation's
        electricity) without a commensurate increase in electricity costs.

        Germany now generates 4.5 per cent of its electricity with the wind and
        appears on track to meet government targets of 25 per cent by 2025.>>

        Hmm...it takes more people than nuclear (which produce 30% of energy) only to produce 4.5% of energy??  Maybe this is why Germany's economy is in the dumps.

        <<The main obstacles that keep renewables from producing more than a small
        share of energy in most of the world are lack of access to the transmission
        grid, high up-front costs, lack of information, and biased, inappropriate
        and inconsistent government policies.>>

        Backs up what I said earlier about an integrated grid being crucial for renewables.  You need the grid to transport renewable power from where it is plentiful to where it is scarce.

        <<With a fraction of the wind and solar resources of
        the U.S., Germany now has almost three times as much installed wind
        capacity (38 percent of global capacity) and is a world leader in solar
        photovoltaics as well.>>

        Building photovoltaics in Germany is just plain stupid.  The place is so overcast that people get depressed over there.  Best place in the world for photovoltaics is in eastern Egypt...incidentally the piece of land that Moses and his merry men wandered through.  That part of Egypt gets on average 300 watts/m^2 a year, the most in the world.

        -----Original Message-----
        From: Tom Gray [mailto:tomgray@...]
        Sent: Thursday, August 21, 2003 1:03 PM
        To: tomgray@...
        Subject: [hreg] Good Clip on Germany


        Germany Leads the World in Alternative Energy
        By JANET L. SAWIN New Internationalist (08-19-03)

        Berkeley Daily Planet
        Edition Date: Tuesday, August 19, 2003

        Clusters of tall white wind turbines spin gracefully atop green hillsides.
        Solar photovoltaics (PVs) are integrated into windows and rooftops of
        modern homes, factories and office blocks. Even the old renovated seat of
        government is fitted with solar panels.

        A utopian fancy? No, just Germany today. Remarkable considering that in
        1990 Germany had virtually no renewable-energy industry and appeared an
        unlikely candidate for it. Utility monopolies, entrenched nuclear and coal
        industries and a general conservatism made Germany appear barren ground for
        renewable-energy advocates.

        Joschen Twele, a wind-energy expert recalls: 'When I started my job in wind
        energy [in the 1980s] I thought it had only a chance in remote areas of
        developing countries. So I concentrated on Africa.'

        Yet by the end of the 1990s, Germany had transformed itself into a
        renewable-energy leader. With a fraction of the wind and solar resources of
        the U.S., Germany now has almost three times as much installed wind
        capacity (38 percent of global capacity) and is a world leader in solar
        photovoltaics as well.

        And it has created a new, multibillion-dollar industry and tens of
        thousands of new jobs. The German wind industry now employs more people
        than nuclear power (an industry that provides 30 percent of the nation's
        electricity) without a commensurate increase in electricity costs.

        Germany now generates 4.5 per cent of its electricity with the wind and
        appears on track to meet government targets of 25 per cent by 2025. The
        government also considers solar photovoltaics an option for future
        large-scale power generation.

        What's more, the government recently pledged to reduce its carbon dioxide
        emissions to 40 percent below 1990 levels by 2020, much of this to be
        achieved by switching to renewable energy. Not quite the 60 percent many
        climate-change experts say is required worldwide, but vastly more
        impressive than commitments made thus far under the Kyoto Protocol.

        How has Germany done it?

        The main obstacles that keep renewables from producing more than a small
        share of energy in most of the world are lack of access to the transmission
        grid, high up-front costs, lack of information, and biased, inappropriate
        and inconsistent government policies.

        Germany's dramatic success has been achieved through a combination of
        consistent, ambitious policies designed to address these barriers and
        create a market for renewable energy. These policies were driven by the
        public's rising concerns about global climate change, risks associated with
        nuclear power, and a need to reduce dependence on imported fuels.

        Most significant has been the grid access and standard pricing law, enacted
        in 1991 and inspired by effective Danish policies. Under this law,
        renewable energy producers receive above-market payments for power they
        feed into the grid and the costs are shared among all electricity consumers
        in Germany. These preferential payments for renewables are not considered
        subsidies, but means of internalizing the social and environmental costs of
        conventional energy and providing compensation for the benefits of renewables.

        But some barriers remained. For example, as the number of wind turbines
        skyrocketed in some regions, local opposition and lengthy, complex siting
        procedures had the effect of stalling the development of new projects. The
        government responded by encouraging communities to zone specific areas for
        wind energy--a step that addressed concerns such as noise and aesthetic
        impacts and assured prospective turbine owners that they would find sites
        for their machines.

        To address the start-up costs barrier, the German government has offered
        long-term, low-interest loans and income tax credits to projects and
        equipment that meet specified standards.

        These initiatives have drawn billions of dollars to the renewable energy
        industry, while technology standards have reduced risk and created
        confidence by keeping out substandard machinery. The government has also
        promoted awareness of renewable technologies and available subsidies
        through publications and training programs.

        Such rock-solid policies ended uncertainties about whether producers could
        sell their electricity into the grid and at what price. They also provided
        investor confidence--attracting investment money and making it easier for
        even small renewable power producers to obtain bank loans. Germans from
        diverse backgrounds and income levels have been able to invest in renewable
        energy projects, leading to a surge in installed capacity and associated
        jobs, and reinforcing political support.

        Increased investment has also driven improvements in technology, advanced
        learning and experience, and produced economies of scale resulting in
        dramatic cost reductions. Between 1990 and 2000 the average cost of
        manufacturing wind turbines in Germany fell by 43 percent. Between 1992 and
        2001, PV capacity experienced an average annual growth rate of nearly 49
        percent. German PV manufacturers plan to expand their facilities
        significantly over the coming years to meet rapidly rising demand, a step
        that will further reduce costs and increase employment.

        Germany has demonstrated not only that it is possible for renewable energy
        increasingly to meet the energy needs of industrialized society but also
        that the transition to a more sustainable energy future can happen rapidly
        with political will and the right policies. To begin with, policies must be
        consistent and long-term. On-and-off policies in the US have created market
        cycles of boom and bust, making it difficult to develop strong domestic
        industries. As a result, the U.S. is the only country where total
        wind-generating capacity has actually declined in some years.

        Market creation must also be prioritized. Germany began funding research
        and development of renewable energy in the 1970s but saw little commercial
        development until market incentives were enacted two decades later. Today
        at least 300 companies are involved in supplying solar panels. Last year
        Germans installed more than 2,000 new wind projects, all of them feeding
        into the grid. It is estimated that more than 100,000 Germans own shares in
        wind energy projects, while many own shares in solar PV and other renewable
        projects as well.

        The issue of who owns the production and distribution of electricity is
        highly significant. When a nation's electric system is centralized and
        utility-owned, power is concentrated in the hands of a few, both literally
        and politically. In the U.S., for example, some of the most politically
        powerful voices are those of the various energy-related industries. But
        when almost anyone can be an energy producer, as in Germany, the public can
        play a greater role in decision making, creating a more democratic society.

        Renewables now generate eight percent of Germany's electricity and the
        country has nearly two-fifths of the world's wind capacity. But the share
        of total wind capacity owned by large companies is also rising, as the
        sizes of machines and projects--and thus costs--increase.

        The advantages of shifting away from conventional energy and towards
        greater reliance on renewables are numerous and enormous: climate
        stability, air quality, health, job creation, political and economic
        security, to name but a few. Renewable energy also offers models for
        diverse and democratic ways of producing, buying and selling power. Yet
        change is never easy and there are strong forces globally--including
        politically powerful industries--that wish to maintain the status quo.
        While resistance to change is inevitable, the world cannot afford to be
        held back by those who are wedded to energy systems of the past.

        Janet L Sawin is an energy and climate change writer and researcher based
        at the Worldwatch Institute in Washington DC.





        Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to http://docs.yahoo.com/info/terms/




        Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to the Yahoo! Terms of Service.
        [Scanned by AwesomeNet Anti-Virus]
      • Ooi, Han
        Ok, I acknowledge your point. In my opinion though, I think the practical thing we can do to make renewable energy happen more quickly is to take advantage of
        Message 3 of 6 , Aug 25, 2003
        • 0 Attachment
          Ok,
            I acknowledge your point.
           
            In my opinion though, I think the practical thing we can do to make renewable energy happen more quickly is to take advantage of the consensus developed after the blackout by pushing to have new high capacity transimission lines built through areas that contains abundant amounts of renewable energy.
           
            I've done a feasability study for renewables and given present technology, they are still marginally profitable to unprofitable right now.  Looking several steps ahead, one of the factors that will greatly affect the cost and feasbility of renewables would be the availability of transmission infrastructure in the regions that they are plentiful.  Our current grid was designed in the age of fossil fuel power generation so much of the main transmission backbone wasn't sited in the areas that are abundant in renewables.  This artificially raises the cost of renewables by forcing the producers to build (long) connections to the transmission arteries.  In other cases, the transmission lines availabe in the area aren't of the highest capacity.  This would act as a constraint on the amount of renewable power that can be feasibly produced and sold.
           
            Transmission facilities (especially new routes) takes decades to build so it would be conceivable that the day renewable power become cost effective against fossil (in the right areas), no transmission facility may exist to carry it.  We can position renewables to succeed quicker by pushing a plan that lays the foundation for its success.
          -----Original Message-----
          From: Roxanne Boyer [mailto:rox1@...]
          Sent: Saturday, August 23, 2003 10:57 AM
          To: hreg@yahoogroups.com
          Subject: Re: [hreg] Good Clip on Germany

          Mr Han,
           
          I think that when the article was talking about the wind industry employing more people than nuclear, it meant that there is a huge investment to have wind power outgrow nuclear power in the future.  It takes a lot of people to build and start up the wind farms.  It doesn't take many people to operate an existing nuclear power plant.  The industry includes production for export as well.  Germany makes many of the wind and solar power equipment that is installed around the world, and it is a strong point of their economy - not a drag on the economy as you assumed.
           
          The first country that develops a renewable energy industry that can deliver power at a cost competitive with fossil fuels will be the leader of the next generation of world economy.  Fossil fuel cost is rising and renewable energy cost is falling - at some point they will cross (refer to my previous e-mails showing about 2025).
           
          I agree with you that transmission and distribution of energy between areas where there is high potential for renewable energy and places where energy is needed will be very important.
           
          -Chris
           
           
          ----- Original Message -----
          From: Ooi, Han
          Sent: Thursday, August 21, 2003 1:27 PM
          Subject: RE: [hreg] Good Clip on Germany

          <<The German wind industry now employs more people
          than nuclear power (an industry that provides 30 percent of the nation's
          electricity) without a commensurate increase in electricity costs.

          Germany now generates 4.5 per cent of its electricity with the wind and
          appears on track to meet government targets of 25 per cent by 2025.>>

          Hmm...it takes more people than nuclear (which produce 30% of energy) only to produce 4.5% of energy??  Maybe this is why Germany's economy is in the dumps.

          <<The main obstacles that keep renewables from producing more than a small
          share of energy in most of the world are lack of access to the transmission
          grid, high up-front costs, lack of information, and biased, inappropriate
          and inconsistent government policies.>>

          Backs up what I said earlier about an integrated grid being crucial for renewables.  You need the grid to transport renewable power from where it is plentiful to where it is scarce.

          <<With a fraction of the wind and solar resources of
          the U.S., Germany now has almost three times as much installed wind
          capacity (38 percent of global capacity) and is a world leader in solar
          photovoltaics as well.>>

          Building photovoltaics in Germany is just plain stupid.  The place is so overcast that people get depressed over there.  Best place in the world for photovoltaics is in eastern Egypt...incidentally the piece of land that Moses and his merry men wandered through.  That part of Egypt gets on average 300 watts/m^2 a year, the most in the world.

          -----Original Message-----
          From: Tom Gray [mailto:tomgray@...]
          Sent: Thursday, August 21, 2003 1:03 PM
          To: tomgray@...
          Subject: [hreg] Good Clip on Germany


          Germany Leads the World in Alternative Energy
          By JANET L. SAWIN New Internationalist (08-19-03)

          Berkeley Daily Planet
          Edition Date: Tuesday, August 19, 2003

          Clusters of tall white wind turbines spin gracefully atop green hillsides.
          Solar photovoltaics (PVs) are integrated into windows and rooftops of
          modern homes, factories and office blocks. Even the old renovated seat of
          government is fitted with solar panels.

          A utopian fancy? No, just Germany today. Remarkable considering that in
          1990 Germany had virtually no renewable-energy industry and appeared an
          unlikely candidate for it. Utility monopolies, entrenched nuclear and coal
          industries and a general conservatism made Germany appear barren ground for
          renewable-energy advocates.

          Joschen Twele, a wind-energy expert recalls: 'When I started my job in wind
          energy [in the 1980s] I thought it had only a chance in remote areas of
          developing countries. So I concentrated on Africa.'

          Yet by the end of the 1990s, Germany had transformed itself into a
          renewable-energy leader. With a fraction of the wind and solar resources of
          the U.S., Germany now has almost three times as much installed wind
          capacity (38 percent of global capacity) and is a world leader in solar
          photovoltaics as well.

          And it has created a new, multibillion-dollar industry and tens of
          thousands of new jobs. The German wind industry now employs more people
          than nuclear power (an industry that provides 30 percent of the nation's
          electricity) without a commensurate increase in electricity costs.

          Germany now generates 4.5 per cent of its electricity with the wind and
          appears on track to meet government targets of 25 per cent by 2025. The
          government also considers solar photovoltaics an option for future
          large-scale power generation.

          What's more, the government recently pledged to reduce its carbon dioxide
          emissions to 40 percent below 1990 levels by 2020, much of this to be
          achieved by switching to renewable energy. Not quite the 60 percent many
          climate-change experts say is required worldwide, but vastly more
          impressive than commitments made thus far under the Kyoto Protocol.

          How has Germany done it?

          The main obstacles that keep renewables from producing more than a small
          share of energy in most of the world are lack of access to the transmission
          grid, high up-front costs, lack of information, and biased, inappropriate
          and inconsistent government policies.

          Germany's dramatic success has been achieved through a combination of
          consistent, ambitious policies designed to address these barriers and
          create a market for renewable energy. These policies were driven by the
          public's rising concerns about global climate change, risks associated with
          nuclear power, and a need to reduce dependence on imported fuels.

          Most significant has been the grid access and standard pricing law, enacted
          in 1991 and inspired by effective Danish policies. Under this law,
          renewable energy producers receive above-market payments for power they
          feed into the grid and the costs are shared among all electricity consumers
          in Germany. These preferential payments for renewables are not considered
          subsidies, but means of internalizing the social and environmental costs of
          conventional energy and providing compensation for the benefits of renewables.

          But some barriers remained. For example, as the number of wind turbines
          skyrocketed in some regions, local opposition and lengthy, complex siting
          procedures had the effect of stalling the development of new projects. The
          government responded by encouraging communities to zone specific areas for
          wind energy--a step that addressed concerns such as noise and aesthetic
          impacts and assured prospective turbine owners that they would find sites
          for their machines.

          To address the start-up costs barrier, the German government has offered
          long-term, low-interest loans and income tax credits to projects and
          equipment that meet specified standards.

          These initiatives have drawn billions of dollars to the renewable energy
          industry, while technology standards have reduced risk and created
          confidence by keeping out substandard machinery. The government has also
          promoted awareness of renewable technologies and available subsidies
          through publications and training programs.

          Such rock-solid policies ended uncertainties about whether producers could
          sell their electricity into the grid and at what price. They also provided
          investor confidence--attracting investment money and making it easier for
          even small renewable power producers to obtain bank loans. Germans from
          diverse backgrounds and income levels have been able to invest in renewable
          energy projects, leading to a surge in installed capacity and associated
          jobs, and reinforcing political support.

          Increased investment has also driven improvements in technology, advanced
          learning and experience, and produced economies of scale resulting in
          dramatic cost reductions. Between 1990 and 2000 the average cost of
          manufacturing wind turbines in Germany fell by 43 percent. Between 1992 and
          2001, PV capacity experienced an average annual growth rate of nearly 49
          percent. German PV manufacturers plan to expand their facilities
          significantly over the coming years to meet rapidly rising demand, a step
          that will further reduce costs and increase employment.

          Germany has demonstrated not only that it is possible for renewable energy
          increasingly to meet the energy needs of industrialized society but also
          that the transition to a more sustainable energy future can happen rapidly
          with political will and the right policies. To begin with, policies must be
          consistent and long-term. On-and-off policies in the US have created market
          cycles of boom and bust, making it difficult to develop strong domestic
          industries. As a result, the U.S. is the only country where total
          wind-generating capacity has actually declined in some years.

          Market creation must also be prioritized. Germany began funding research
          and development of renewable energy in the 1970s but saw little commercial
          development until market incentives were enacted two decades later. Today
          at least 300 companies are involved in supplying solar panels. Last year
          Germans installed more than 2,000 new wind projects, all of them feeding
          into the grid. It is estimated that more than 100,000 Germans own shares in
          wind energy projects, while many own shares in solar PV and other renewable
          projects as well.

          The issue of who owns the production and distribution of electricity is
          highly significant. When a nation's electric system is centralized and
          utility-owned, power is concentrated in the hands of a few, both literally
          and politically. In the U.S., for example, some of the most politically
          powerful voices are those of the various energy-related industries. But
          when almost anyone can be an energy producer, as in Germany, the public can
          play a greater role in decision making, creating a more democratic society.

          Renewables now generate eight percent of Germany's electricity and the
          country has nearly two-fifths of the world's wind capacity. But the share
          of total wind capacity owned by large companies is also rising, as the
          sizes of machines and projects--and thus costs--increase.

          The advantages of shifting away from conventional energy and towards
          greater reliance on renewables are numerous and enormous: climate
          stability, air quality, health, job creation, political and economic
          security, to name but a few. Renewable energy also offers models for
          diverse and democratic ways of producing, buying and selling power. Yet
          change is never easy and there are strong forces globally--including
          politically powerful industries--that wish to maintain the status quo.
          While resistance to change is inevitable, the world cannot afford to be
          held back by those who are wedded to energy systems of the past.

          Janet L Sawin is an energy and climate change writer and researcher based
          at the Worldwatch Institute in Washington DC.





          Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to http://docs.yahoo.com/info/terms/




          Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to the Yahoo! Terms of Service.
          [Scanned by AwesomeNet Anti-Virus]


          Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to the Yahoo! Terms of Service.
        • Michael Christie
          Folks, One thing to always keep in mind is that the transmission lines in the United States do not belong to the people. They are privately owned. Any decision
          Message 4 of 6 , Aug 25, 2003
          • 0 Attachment
            Folks,
             
            One thing to always keep in mind is that the transmission lines in the United States do not belong to the people. They are privately owned. Any decision as to expansion or upgrading of these lines will be dependant on corporate boards and managements, based solely on what kind of return on investment they can get. The job that we wish could be done is too large for these private corporations to afford until they can see the return in dollars. They will not (and should not) do it for altruistic reasons. The only other answer is to spend tax dollars. Investment of public money into the infrastructure will require many questions to be answered first (do we just give these corporations the money, or do we take over ownership, or what?). So, the question of how to upgrade the infrastructure goes from the practical to the political. Do you want to spend scarce tax dollars on private corporations to do what they have neglected to do in the past?
             
            As demand for alternate energy grow, these corporations will move in the direction of providing the transmission lines, and at some time in the future, the government will have to share in the costs. But it will be slow. What we as a group, and as individuals can do is to e-mail or write our representatives, and heads of the utility corporations such as Centerpoint, and tell them what we think. You can find the addresses of your state congressmen at www.texas.gov, your federal representatives at www.firstgov.gov. You can find your district numbers on your voters registration cards. I do not know where to e-mail any directors of Centerpoint. Does anyone else know?
             
            As to the marginality of costs for renewable energy sources, cost will go down as more systems are built, as the  factories will be able to take advantage of higher volumes for raw materials to reduce costs.
             
            Michael Christie
            -----Original Message-----
            From: Ooi, Han [mailto:Han.Ooi@...]
            Sent: Monday, August 25, 2003 10:06 AM
            To: hreg@yahoogroups.com
            Subject: RE: [hreg] Good Clip on Germany

            Ok,
              I acknowledge your point.
             
              In my opinion though, I think the practical thing we can do to make renewable energy happen more quickly is to take advantage of the consensus developed after the blackout by pushing to have new high capacity transimission lines built through areas that contains abundant amounts of renewable energy.
             
              I've done a feasability study for renewables and given present technology, they are still marginally profitable to unprofitable right now.  Looking several steps ahead, one of the factors that will greatly affect the cost and feasbility of renewables would be the availability of transmission infrastructure in the regions that they are plentiful.  Our current grid was designed in the age of fossil fuel power generation so much of the main transmission backbone wasn't sited in the areas that are abundant in renewables.  This artificially raises the cost of renewables by forcing the producers to build (long) connections to the transmission arteries.  In other cases, the transmission lines availabe in the area aren't of the highest capacity.  This would act as a constraint on the amount of renewable power that can be feasibly produced and sold.
             
              Transmission facilities (especially new routes) takes decades to build so it would be conceivable that the day renewable power become cost effective against fossil (in the right areas), no transmission facility may exist to carry it.  We can position renewables to succeed quicker by pushing a plan that lays the foundation for its success.
            -----Original Message-----
            From: Roxanne Boyer [mailto:rox1@...]
            Sent: Saturday, August 23, 2003 10:57 AM
            To: hreg@yahoogroups.com
            Subject: Re: [hreg] Good Clip on Germany

            Mr Han,
             
            I think that when the article was talking about the wind industry employing more people than nuclear, it meant that there is a huge investment to have wind power outgrow nuclear power in the future.  It takes a lot of people to build and start up the wind farms.  It doesn't take many people to operate an existing nuclear power plant.  The industry includes production for export as well.  Germany makes many of the wind and solar power equipment that is installed around the world, and it is a strong point of their economy - not a drag on the economy as you assumed.
             
            The first country that develops a renewable energy industry that can deliver power at a cost competitive with fossil fuels will be the leader of the next generation of world economy.  Fossil fuel cost is rising and renewable energy cost is falling - at some point they will cross (refer to my previous e-mails showing about 2025).
             
            I agree with you that transmission and distribution of energy between areas where there is high potential for renewable energy and places where energy is needed will be very important.
             
            -Chris
             
             
            ----- Original Message -----
            From: Ooi, Han
            Sent: Thursday, August 21, 2003 1:27 PM
            Subject: RE: [hreg] Good Clip on Germany

            <<The German wind industry now employs more people
            than nuclear power (an industry that provides 30 percent of the nation's
            electricity) without a commensurate increase in electricity costs.

            Germany now generates 4.5 per cent of its electricity with the wind and
            appears on track to meet government targets of 25 per cent by 2025.>>

            Hmm...it takes more people than nuclear (which produce 30% of energy) only to produce 4.5% of energy??  Maybe this is why Germany's economy is in the dumps.

            <<The main obstacles that keep renewables from producing more than a small
            share of energy in most of the world are lack of access to the transmission
            grid, high up-front costs, lack of information, and biased, inappropriate
            and inconsistent government policies.>>

            Backs up what I said earlier about an integrated grid being crucial for renewables.  You need the grid to transport renewable power from where it is plentiful to where it is scarce.

            <<With a fraction of the wind and solar resources of
            the U.S., Germany now has almost three times as much installed wind
            capacity (38 percent of global capacity) and is a world leader in solar
            photovoltaics as well.>>

            Building photovoltaics in Germany is just plain stupid.  The place is so overcast that people get depressed over there.  Best place in the world for photovoltaics is in eastern Egypt...incidentally the piece of land that Moses and his merry men wandered through.  That part of Egypt gets on average 300 watts/m^2 a year, the most in the world.

            -----Original Message-----
            From: Tom Gray [mailto:tomgray@...]
            Sent: Thursday, August 21, 2003 1:03 PM
            To: tomgray@...
            Subject: [hreg] Good Clip on Germany


            Germany Leads the World in Alternative Energy
            By JANET L. SAWIN New Internationalist (08-19-03)

            Berkeley Daily Planet
            Edition Date: Tuesday, August 19, 2003

            Clusters of tall white wind turbines spin gracefully atop green hillsides.
            Solar photovoltaics (PVs) are integrated into windows and rooftops of
            modern homes, factories and office blocks. Even the old renovated seat of
            government is fitted with solar panels.

            A utopian fancy? No, just Germany today. Remarkable considering that in
            1990 Germany had virtually no renewable-energy industry and appeared an
            unlikely candidate for it. Utility monopolies, entrenched nuclear and coal
            industries and a general conservatism made Germany appear barren ground for
            renewable-energy advocates.

            Joschen Twele, a wind-energy expert recalls: 'When I started my job in wind
            energy [in the 1980s] I thought it had only a chance in remote areas of
            developing countries. So I concentrated on Africa.'

            Yet by the end of the 1990s, Germany had transformed itself into a
            renewable-energy leader. With a fraction of the wind and solar resources of
            the U.S., Germany now has almost three times as much installed wind
            capacity (38 percent of global capacity) and is a world leader in solar
            photovoltaics as well.

            And it has created a new, multibillion-dollar industry and tens of
            thousands of new jobs. The German wind industry now employs more people
            than nuclear power (an industry that provides 30 percent of the nation's
            electricity) without a commensurate increase in electricity costs.

            Germany now generates 4.5 per cent of its electricity with the wind and
            appears on track to meet government targets of 25 per cent by 2025. The
            government also considers solar photovoltaics an option for future
            large-scale power generation.

            What's more, the government recently pledged to reduce its carbon dioxide
            emissions to 40 percent below 1990 levels by 2020, much of this to be
            achieved by switching to renewable energy. Not quite the 60 percent many
            climate-change experts say is required worldwide, but vastly more
            impressive than commitments made thus far under the Kyoto Protocol.

            How has Germany done it?

            The main obstacles that keep renewables from producing more than a small
            share of energy in most of the world are lack of access to the transmission
            grid, high up-front costs, lack of information, and biased, inappropriate
            and inconsistent government policies.

            Germany's dramatic success has been achieved through a combination of
            consistent, ambitious policies designed to address these barriers and
            create a market for renewable energy. These policies were driven by the
            public's rising concerns about global climate change, risks associated with
            nuclear power, and a need to reduce dependence on imported fuels.

            Most significant has been the grid access and standard pricing law, enacted
            in 1991 and inspired by effective Danish policies. Under this law,
            renewable energy producers receive above-market payments for power they
            feed into the grid and the costs are shared among all electricity consumers
            in Germany. These preferential payments for renewables are not considered
            subsidies, but means of internalizing the social and environmental costs of
            conventional energy and providing compensation for the benefits of renewables.

            But some barriers remained. For example, as the number of wind turbines
            skyrocketed in some regions, local opposition and lengthy, complex siting
            procedures had the effect of stalling the development of new projects. The
            government responded by encouraging communities to zone specific areas for
            wind energy--a step that addressed concerns such as noise and aesthetic
            impacts and assured prospective turbine owners that they would find sites
            for their machines.

            To address the start-up costs barrier, the German government has offered
            long-term, low-interest loans and income tax credits to projects and
            equipment that meet specified standards.

            These initiatives have drawn billions of dollars to the renewable energy
            industry, while technology standards have reduced risk and created
            confidence by keeping out substandard machinery. The government has also
            promoted awareness of renewable technologies and available subsidies
            through publications and training programs.

            Such rock-solid policies ended uncertainties about whether producers could
            sell their electricity into the grid and at what price. They also provided
            investor confidence--attracting investment money and making it easier for
            even small renewable power producers to obtain bank loans. Germans from
            diverse backgrounds and income levels have been able to invest in renewable
            energy projects, leading to a surge in installed capacity and associated
            jobs, and reinforcing political support.

            Increased investment has also driven improvements in technology, advanced
            learning and experience, and produced economies of scale resulting in
            dramatic cost reductions. Between 1990 and 2000 the average cost of
            manufacturing wind turbines in Germany fell by 43 percent. Between 1992 and
            2001, PV capacity experienced an average annual growth rate of nearly 49
            percent. German PV manufacturers plan to expand their facilities
            significantly over the coming years to meet rapidly rising demand, a step
            that will further reduce costs and increase employment.

            Germany has demonstrated not only that it is possible for renewable energy
            increasingly to meet the energy needs of industrialized society but also
            that the transition to a more sustainable energy future can happen rapidly
            with political will and the right policies. To begin with, policies must be
            consistent and long-term. On-and-off policies in the US have created market
            cycles of boom and bust, making it difficult to develop strong domestic
            industries. As a result, the U.S. is the only country where total
            wind-generating capacity has actually declined in some years.

            Market creation must also be prioritized. Germany began funding research
            and development of renewable energy in the 1970s but saw little commercial
            development until market incentives were enacted two decades later. Today
            at least 300 companies are involved in supplying solar panels. Last year
            Germans installed more than 2,000 new wind projects, all of them feeding
            into the grid. It is estimated that more than 100,000 Germans own shares in
            wind energy projects, while many own shares in solar PV and other renewable
            projects as well.

            The issue of who owns the production and distribution of electricity is
            highly significant. When a nation's electric system is centralized and
            utility-owned, power is concentrated in the hands of a few, both literally
            and politically. In the U.S., for example, some of the most politically
            powerful voices are those of the various energy-related industries. But
            when almost anyone can be an energy producer, as in Germany, the public can
            play a greater role in decision making, creating a more democratic society.

            Renewables now generate eight percent of Germany's electricity and the
            country has nearly two-fifths of the world's wind capacity. But the share
            of total wind capacity owned by large companies is also rising, as the
            sizes of machines and projects--and thus costs--increase.

            The advantages of shifting away from conventional energy and towards
            greater reliance on renewables are numerous and enormous: climate
            stability, air quality, health, job creation, political and economic
            security, to name but a few. Renewable energy also offers models for
            diverse and democratic ways of producing, buying and selling power. Yet
            change is never easy and there are strong forces globally--including
            politically powerful industries--that wish to maintain the status quo.
            While resistance to change is inevitable, the world cannot afford to be
            held back by those who are wedded to energy systems of the past.

            Janet L Sawin is an energy and climate change writer and researcher based
            at the Worldwatch Institute in Washington DC.





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