Germany's energy policy looks like a disaster in the making, says Christopher Booker and we’re going to be FUBAR if we do the same here
Last week, the head of Germany’s national grid warned that supply was in such a parlous state that major power cuts may soon be inevitable. Like Britain’s, Germany’s energy policy has been so skewed by green obsessions that it has built 22,000 wind turbines, more than any other country in the world. Yet they are even more useless than ours – generating at only 15 per cent of their “capacity” (ours (UK) managed 21 per cent last year). Even the 6 per cent of the nation’s electricity they supply is so unreliable that the Germans say they must not only keep open several coal-fired power stations – in defiance of an EU anti-pollution directive which is shortly to close six of ours – but that they must build new ones, to burn some of the world’s “dirtiest” coal.
Our crazy green lead government has also committed to ensuring that 20 per cent of Australia's electricity supply will come from renewable energy sources by 2020. There are currently 54 wind farms operating across Australia with plans to add another 1200 MW (800 Turbines) of wind capacity currently being built in Australia and another 8700 MW (5,800 Turbines) of projects proposed around the country.
A 1.5 MW wind turbine of a type frequently seen in Australia has a tower 80 metres high. The rotor assembly (blades and hub) weighs 22,000 Kg. The nacelle, which contains the generator component, weighs 52,000 Kg. The concrete base for the tower is constructed using 26,000 Kg of reinforcing steel and contains 190 cubic metres of concrete. Oh yeah, don’t forget the rare earth’s found inside the nacelle.
Every wind turbine has a magnet made of a metal called neodymium. There are 2,500 Kg of it in each of the behemoths that have just gone up around Australia. The mining and refining of neodymium is so dirty and toxic (involving repeated boiling in acid, with radioactive thorium as a waste product), that only one country does it: China. This year it flexed its trade muscles and briefly stopped exporting neodymium from its inner Mongolian mines. Forget Middle East oil, how’s that for dangerous reliance on a volatile foreign supply. And they kill birds – lots of birds.
Within a few years, thanks to Julia Gillard and Bob Brown, our once-beautiful countryside will have been ravaged by towering wind turbines which are absurdly insufficient for our energy needs and which inflate our energy bills to levels only a mad person could consider right or just.
In addition, wind turbines require an extensive network of backup coal or gas power stations to provide energy on calm days!
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