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Discussion: (10 comments)

  1. “Figure 3: Wind, Solar, and Nuclear Capacity in Germany, 2010″

    Figure 3 is wrong. Germany does not have 350 GWe nuclear power. Germany has just 20 GWe nuclear power.

    1. forsetiboston

      “These figures are average daily output by source on an annualized basis, so the nuke figure is right, but I should be more clear on this. The solar and wind figures may be incorrect..” he is checking the solar figure.. Typically most solar and wind fan boys don’t like to do average daily output calculations.

  2. When will conservatives realize that the most patriotic thing you can do is support clean, domestic power generation? Interesting how you say nothing about the prohibitive costs of nuclear and how it couldn’t even survive with out tax dollars. I guess as long as the tax dollar go towards something you like, it’s not “Big Government.” Swine!

    1. Actually its not just conservatives that see the benefits of nuclear energy. Im left of left and ill say the anti nuclear movement has become a scourge with respect to legitimate environmental concerns by their support of policies that increase atmospheric CO2 and CH4. All nuclear capacity not realized in the last 30 years became coal. Thats a incredible destructive legacy.

      Beyond belief really.

  3. Steve Hayward

    These figures are average daily output by source on an annualized basis, so the nuke figure is right, but I should be more clear on this. The solar and wind figures may be incorrect; I’ll go back and doublecheck.

  4. The 350 gigawatt for nuclear power in Figure 3 is dead wrong. This is close to the total for the whole world which I think is 440 gigawatt. The U. S. has 104 operating nuclear plants with about 100 gigawatts. The figure of 20 gigawatts nuclear for Germany makes sense.

  5. German reader

    Dear Mr. Hayward,

    you wrote “After all of this effort, solar power accounts for only 1.1 percent of Germany’s total electricity supply, and supplied only 5 percent as much electricity as its nuclear power plants.”

    Just today, the Association of German Energy Suppliers (BDEW) announced the numbers for the first half of 2011: Solar power now constitutes 3.5% of total electricity supply, and though the numbers for nuclear power are not out yet, solar is likely to have contributed roughly 25% of the output of Germany’s remaining nine nuclear power plants. (8 others were shut down after Fukushima).

    That’s rapid change, isn’t it?

    Regards,
    Jens Kendzia

    1. Is that a percentage of energy supply or of energy demand? Last time I checked, Germany had become quite a good customer of some neighboring countries’ nuclear industry, namely France and the Czech Republic.

      @ Steven Hayward: Nobody will confuse your numbers if you get the units right: GW vs. GWh.

      On a side note, whenever I come across some public PV installations and I compare the KWh generated in the last 12 months with my own power consumption at home (they often have large LC displays boasting the generated kWh), I must hold my breath to not get angry at the total waste of money. Examples? Ca. 200 sqft installation on a local train station with 316 (!) kWh generated over the months of January to (end of) August, McDonald’s with some 3000kWh over 12 months (but a much larger installation – a full McDonald’s rooftop!). My personal consumption is about 4000kWh. Heating and transportation NOT included of course (natural gas & diesel).

  6. jamiereuter

    US like abhorrent ways like coal burning for power stations. http://bit.ly/qo2U9W

  7. You may find this Spiegel article http://www.spiegel.de/international/business/0,1518,786048,00.html interesting; (it pretty much agrees with the common sense in Stephen Hayward’s article).

    Here are the German energy statistiscs: http://www.bmwi.de/BMWi/Redaktion/Binaer/Energiedaten/energiegewinnung-und-energieverbrauch2-primaerenergieverbrauch.xls

    Photovoltaics are a nice and expensive gadget, and a major export of Germany (especially to captive quasi-bankrupt countries in Southern Europe). All the photovoltaics of the world can not replace a single nuke (in its ability to power an electric train). Even if interconnected with massive superconductors (assuming they are free). A nice hobby, heavily subsidized with O.P.M.

    Photovoltaic and wind fans (all preachers of Salvation and lovers of O.P.M) often deliberately confuse the public with massive exponentially growing figures of Installed Capacities. They conveniently forget availability or capacity factors. Also the fact that as more and more of these stochastic sources come on line, the bigger the problem they create on a network. Unless, of course, we consumers are trained to turn on the washing machines only when the wind blows or the sun shines. But I am anxiously waiting to see electric trains, or foundries, or hospitals operate on photovoltaic power. I know… backup power, fancy storage… wires, control systems, gadgets… Lots of O.P.M.

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