Tuesday, November 27, 2012

The Power Issue

Handelsblatt is one of the few papers in Germany that I'd consider as four-star....the German version of the Wall Street Journal, as far as I'm concerned.

Today, they came out with a brief article relating back to the Federal Network Agency and Federal Cartell Office.  They will present a paper where they say that Germans probably should start anticipating less power reliability within the next couple of years.  The German grid.....is not going to be as stable as its been over the past decade.

The cause?  Well...it's that terrible renewable energy business....wind, solar, steam, etc.

There's this magical formula that will start to exist where you count on the renewables so much....that you have to have an enormous back-up energy plan....ready to go at a moment's notice....if your renewables fail to produce at the rate you need for the next hour or two.

Some folks have been counting up the marginal points where power companies have been fairly close to a brown-out or black-out situation.  It's increasing....not decreasing 

The deal?  For two decades, the environmental crowd in Germany has been pressing on the political front to lessen nuclear power, and to accept renewable power to a greater extent.  Of course, Germans have been getting use to the idea of their grid producing 8760 hours a year of power.  In the 1950s and 1960s....you could accept a four-hour black-out here, and a six-hour black-out there.

Today?  If the power went off for more than five hours....folks would want an explanation, and that's acceptable for once or twice a year at best.  What happens if a German had to experience twelve hours a month of power loss?  Some political folks would have to find themselves new jobs.

For an American living in Germany....I came to appreciate the dependability of the German grid.  Over sixteen-odd years....I think the longest I ever had the power off was six hours and it was due to a massive lightning strike in the nearby region.  In an average year.....there might be two scheduled outages (two to three hours), which are advertised the week prior and everyone knows about it.

Looking at the report here....I'm guessing that Germans may eventually start purchasing their own little power generator....running off gas.....and hooked up to their house.  They may hate to admit they've become Americanized.....but it's a likely trend.


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