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Wind energy: Hardly any commandments for new wind turbines


Funding opportunities for wind turbines are currently hardly accessed. A problem for the energy transition.

The Federal Network Agency has presented sobering figures for the expansion of wind energy in Germany. Only one-third of the bidding capacity was bid, the agency said.

"With a tendered volume of 675 megawatts, only 25 bids with a volume of 204 megawatts were submitted," it said from the network agency. Regionally, the surcharges are mainly divided between bids in Brandenburg and in North Rhine-Westphalia and Schleswig-Holstein. All submissions have been awarded a contract, according to the agency.

If you want to build wind turbines in Germany you have to apply for auctions at auctions. Each call for tender will only fund a certain number of projects. Those applying for the lowest funding will be awarded the contract by the Federal Network Agency.

Germany lags behind in terms of wind energy targets

Already in the previous week had become known that Germany in the expansion of wind power behind its own goals remains massive. By the end of September, according to an analysis of the Wind Energy Agency on land only 147 new plants with a capacity of 504 megawatts were registered. That's just 18% of the average performance over the past five years over the same period.

The faltering expansion of wind power is in contradiction to the plans of the German government to cover at least 65 percent of German electricity consumption by renewable energy sources by 2030 - above all through wind energy on land, the most important green power source so far. (Read an analysis of the wind energy here)

At the moment, solar energy is doing better. Here, according to the latest figures, 153 bids were issued with a performance of 648 megawatts, but tendered was only a quantity of 150 megawatts. According to network agency, the surcharges went to Bavaria in the majority.

Advantages / disadvantages of the energy sources

The energy industry is in transition - SPIEGEL ONLINE shows the advantages and disadvantages of different energy sources.


Plus: Petroleum is the lubricant of industrial economies. In Germany, oil covers around 35 percent of energy requirements - more than any other raw material. In the transport sector, there are currently few alternatives to oil: The existing gas station network is geared to gasoline and diesel, the current engines drive almost exclusively with these two fuels.

Minus: The price of oil has increased rapidly in recent years - and with it the price of gas. Motorists sometimes had to pay more than € 1.50 for gasoline. The German economy thus loses billions , because the country is almost completely dependent on imports. Most of the world's oil resources are located in politically sensitive regions such as the Middle East, Russia, Venezuela or Nigeria. Supply crises can therefore not be ruled out. In addition, oil is a finite resource : The known deposits are slowly running out. Large new fields have barely been discovered in recent years - and if so, only in difficult-to-develop areas such as the Arctic. Added to this is the CO2 problem: when oil is burned, the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide is produced .

natural gas

Plus: Natural gas is the most climate-friendly fossil fuel - combustion produces less CO2 than coal or oil. In addition, stocks will last for a while: the range of the gas deposits is estimated at around 60 years , with oil it is only 40 years. Refined conveyor techniques also make access to large new gas reservoirs possible. Another advantage: Gas can make an important contribution to power generation. Because gas-fired power plants can be ramped up and down quickly - this flexibility helps to compensate for fluctuations in wind power.

Minus: Worldwide, only a few countries have gas reserves. The dependencies are correspondingly large - Germany receives around 40 percent of its natural gas from Russia. Also problematic is the still widespread attachment to the price of oil : the more expensive oil becomes, the more expensive gas becomes. Electricity companies are already complaining that gas-fired power plants are hardly profitable anymore. Private households know the same problem when heating - gas is hardly cheaper than oil. Even when driving natural gas is not an alternative: The current price advantage over gasoline and diesel is only due to the tax advantage .


Plus: coal is available almost everywhere in the world - unilateral import dependencies like gas are therefore not to be feared. Germany also has significant resources: lignite can be produced without subsidies , for hard coal this is at least conceivable given rising prices. In addition, inventories last longer than any other fossil energy source: estimates are around 200 years old . Coal is particularly suitable for generating electricity in the base load - about 50 percent of German electricity comes from coal-fired power plants .

Minus: No energy source is as harmful to the climate as coal. Combustion produces around twice as much CO2 as with gas. This could be particularly problematic if one replaces existing nuclear power plants with new coal-fired power plants - or if electric cars in the future will fill up with coal power on a large scale. Also worrying are the working conditions under which coal is mined : The largest producers include China, Russia and South Africa - countries in which miners are killed again and again.


Plus: nuclear power plants - once built - produce cheap electricity. The raw material uranium is consumed only in small quantities, so that the running costs are low. Nuclear power can be used in the base load, so regardless of short-term weather fluctuations. In France, nuclear power is also used for heating , so in the long term could also be operated electric cars . With nuclear energy, hardly any CO2 is released. It is therefore more climate friendly than coal or gas.

Minus: The biggest disadvantage of atomic energy is the risk of a GAU . Even if you assume a low probability - the damage would be enormous. The Chernobyl disaster was just a foretaste of what would happen in densely populated Central Europe: thousands of victims , permanently contaminated areas of land, capital losses worth hundreds of billions. Added to this is the unresolved issue of final disposal : although nuclear energy has been used for around 50 years, there is still no permanent landfill for irradiated waste. Whether there can even be a safe repository, is controversial: The nuclear waste radiates sometimes more than 100,000 years long - what happens in this time, nobody can predict. Recently, another problem is being discussed more and more: what happens when terrorists make an attack on a nuclear power plant? Or if they come into possession of fissile material? Security experts have no final answer to these questions.


Plus: Hydropower is very environmentally friendly - with little intervention in nature, energy can be obtained cheaply. Around five percent of German electricity comes from hydroelectric power plants. In addition, energy can be stored very well in reservoirs: In the event of an oversupply of electricity, water is pumped upwards. If necessary, it is then drained to power the turbines.

Minus: In Germany, the potential of hydropower is almost exhausted. Almost every river has a power plant, as does almost every lake. On the other hand, hydropower has become a bit of a bad name abroad: giant projects such as the Yangtze dam in China are destroying nature on a large scale.


Plus: Of all renewable energies, wind power has grown the most in recent years. In the meantime, Germans are drawing significantly more electricity from wind turbines than from hydroelectric power plants. The industry will continue to enjoy great growth potential in the future - especially offshore, ie in offshore wind farms . Another advantage: Wind power is relatively cheap. The operators of the plants get through the Renewable Energy Act little more support than the price of conventional electricity on the energy exchange is high. For comparison: solar power is paid much higher.

Minus: Critics consider wind turbines for a blight on the landscape. In addition, the wind blows very unreliable : In a strong breeze, the German power grid is overloaded, in a downwelling electricity from abroad must be bought. Practical storage for wind energy does not exist so far. Another disadvantage: strong wind blows especially in northern Germany, the major consumption centers are located in the south and west. To transport the electricity, many new lines are needed .


Plus, the sun is an eternal source of energy by human standards, and it seems free to everyone. If all roofs in Germany had a solar system , then a large part of the local electricity demand could be covered - climate-friendly and independent of imports. In addition, sunlight can also be used to heat water : with solar collectors, you can supplement conventional heating systems and thus reduce energy costs .

Minus: The sun has the same disadvantage as the wind - their energy can not be used at any time. The biggest problem, however, is the price : solar power costs much more than conventional electricity. And despite subsidies worth billions , solar energy has so far made only a small contribution to the German electricity supply: estimates fluctuate between one by two percent . For photovoltaics to become competitive in Central Europe, there would have to be a technical revolution - or the price of conventional energy would have to rise dramatically.


Plus: wood, straw, corn - when burning these substances, only as much CO2 is released as the plants have previously removed from the atmosphere. Biomass can be used in many areas: for heating (eg with wood pellets), for driving a car (with biodiesel or bioethanol ) or for power generation (with biogas). The big advantage: biomass is stored energy. So you can decide freely when you want to use them - unlike with wind or solar power. Another plus: Energy crops growing in Germany reduce dependence on imports.

Minus: Recently, the bioenergy is massively criticized. Because the plants need enormous acreage - and thus compete directly with food production . Especially with biofuels this becomes a problem: is it morally justifiable that the rich will fill corn - while the poor are starving? In addition, there is a gigantic quantity problem : If Germany wanted to cover its entire petrol and diesel needs with biofuels, it would require an area that is larger than the entire Federal Republic. The same applies to heating: If all Germans change to wood pellets, the German forest would not be enough for that - again, energy imports would be necessary.


Plus: The heat inside the earth is available around the clock. It can be used for both heating and power generation . If there were no problems with drilling technology, geothermal energy could cover the entire German energy demand.

Minus: In Germany you have to drill hundreds or even thousands of meters to reach a sufficient temperature level. The costs of geothermal energy are therefore very high . In some places there are also problems with the groundwater. Other countries are in a better position here for geological reasons: Iceland, for example, covers most of its energy needs with heat from the Earth's interior.

Source: spiegel

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