American Elephants

“Energiewinde” Was A Flop That Has Driven Germans Into Energy Poverty by The Elephant's Child

Climate activists in this country looked to Europe, especially Germany, as a model of proper green virtue. Chancellor Merkel’s Energiewinde or energy revolution was supposed to solve the problem of carbon emissions. That’s solar panels and wind turbines.

People really familiar with solar panels and wind turbines, if they are not in the business of trying to sell them will explain that the problem is with the wind and the sun itself. The people selling wind turbines talk about capacity which is what a well functioning turbine will produce in the way of energy when the wind is blowing at just the right speed.

But wind doesn’t blow in the right speed steadily — it blows in gusts and puffs, steadily for a few minutes and then after a while some more puffs. Even someplace really windy. Go to White Sands National Monument sometime. Those great white sand dunes are produced by wind blowing a lot. (the mice and lizards there are white to match the dunes)

There aren’t a lot of really windy places that stay windy a lot of the time, but even those don’t meet the good flow that will match the ideal capacity that produces regular energy. Films of wind farms show some of the turbines turning and some not. Turbines break down, catch fire, malfunction, and that’s not included in the salesmen’s claims. Besides the turbines kill a lot of birds, everything from the big birds of prey like Eagles to tiny songbirds. What the decimation of the bird population will do to the environment is never mentioned.

Sunlight is more diffuse, and even in sunny places —which is where they site big solar arrays— there are clouds, moving through, cloudy days, rainy days. Clouds are not well understood in their relation to climate. If you are a summer cloud-watcher—lying on the grass and watching the clouds move by, you will notice that they are at different levels, affecting the sunlight differently.

I am by no means a climate scientist, but because I knew so little, it was clearly time to bone up. As far as I can tell, the officials who make the decisions about what to do about the climate—don’t do any studying up themselves, they just trust what others of their political persuasion say.

California Governor Jerry Brown is a true believer, who has laid his state’s problems with wildfires, flood and drought, water problems and winter and rise of the sea level, whatever on the issue of climate and an excess of CO2, and especially with President Trump’s excellent decision to fail to sign on to the Paris Climate accords. Brown was off on a ten day tour of European capitols on his way to the UN conference on climate in Bonn, to show how he and other west coast governors were ready to fight the global rise in temperatures, and possibly show how superior he was to the denier Trump, in case he might be called upon to run against Trump the next time.  Our Washington governor, another true believer, plans to try to pass a carbon tax now that Republicans lost control of the legislature.

If the Paris Climate Accords were fully adapted, climate scientists have made clear the effect on the climate by 2100 would be negligible. CO2 is what we exhale each time we breathe. It is a natural fertilizer for plants all over the world and much has been written about the greening of the planet, helping to feed the people of the world. What the Paris Climate Accords were intended to do was transfer as much wealth as possible from the worlds rich nations to the poor and developing countries. In other words it was never really about the climate at all.

But back in Germany, Chancellor Merkel has been unable to form a government. Energiewinde has not only cost far, far more than was planned, but delivered far less energy and put many a German household into energy poverty. People may not understand all the arguments about the climate and how it works, but when they can’t afford to keep their houses warm in the winter, they are not going to vote to continue freezing. Big idea, sounded good, but it didn’t work.

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