Skip to comments.Coal Sees Comeback in Germany
Posted on 02/09/2013 4:24:45 PM PST by eagleye85
If a recent article in the Washington Post is any indication, the Obama administration may feel pressure from the greens to crack down even harder on American coal, especially given news regarding Germanys increasing reliance on this fuel. Germany is currently harnessing lignite, or brown coal, to offset its reduced reliance on nuclear power. The Posts Michael Birnbaum worries that this may lead to increased greenhouse gas emissions worldwide.
Now, U.S. coal is spreading around the world instead, pushing down global prices, writes Birnbaum. In Europe, that has raised fears among environmentalists that the cheap natural gas in the United States has simply led to higher overall fossil fuel consumption.
Economically, it appears that natural gas abundance in the U.S. has led to cheaper coal in America, and, therefore, higher coal exports. Europe, which is experiencing a shortage of energy, is buying up the surplus coal. Green-friendly Europe has a dirty secret: It is burning a lot more coal, writes Birnbaum.
The new dependence on one of the dirtiest fuels shows just how challenging it is to maintain the momentum needed to go green, analysts and officials say, and demonstrates the far-reaching effects of Americas natural gas boom, he writes.
U.S. coal exports to Europe were up 26 percent in the first nine months of 2012 over the same period in 2011, Birnbaum reports. Exports to China have increased, too. As climate change supporters are wont to do, however, the reporter complains about this new source of cheap energy simply because it undermines greenhouse emissions-cutting goals.
Christopher Horner, author of The Liberal War on Transparency, noted in a recent interview with Roger Aronoff, of Accuracy in Media, that he believes that President Obama will likely hold up Germany as a model country for the green movement. [Obama's] not going to say Look at Spain anymore, hes going to say, Look at Germany, asserted Horner. Were prepared for that.
Germanys collapsing; 800,000 Germans sit in the cold and the dark right now because they cant afford to pay their electricity bills, continued Horner.
One might think, under the circumstances, a little extra cheap coal might be a boon for the German population. For now, confronted with a glut of newly available fossil fuel, environmentalists are trying to decide whether its best to try to keep it underground, writes Birnbaum.
Demand for coal in Germany has been rising since a May 2011 move to phase out nuclear power by 2022, he writes. But nuclear energy, which is low in greenhouse gas emissions, has been partially replaced by brown coal. Lignite supplied 25.6 percent of Germanys electricity in 2012, up from 22.7 percent in 2010. Hard black coal supplied an additional 19.1 percent last year, and it was also on the rise.
Spain isnt immune to the economic pressure, either. Consumption of coal also has leapt in Spain and Italy, with much of it supplied by the United States. That comes despite extensive efforts to harness Spains sun and Italys wind in the name of power production. Consumers, slammed by sky-high unemployment, have been particularly sensitive to energy prices.
Doesn’t lignite produce more emissions than black coal? If so, Germany’s Greens will be right on it.
Coal = more radiation into the environment than nuclear power?
Myth or fact?
Just Bammy spreading the wealth...
I think the Japanese might disagree.
As solar and wind peter out due to backbreaking costs, coal is filling the void left when idiot greenies decided to stop using nuclear energy.
Great chart, thanks.
I should add that your chart concerns CO2 only. One of the gripes on coal is that there’s a lot of nasty stuff in the ash, like mercury and heavy metals.
No surprise there, the Greeniacs got pebble-bed fission plants banned in Germany.
>>Coal = more radiation into the environment than nuclear power?
Myth or fact?<<
True. But it is still too few to cause any mutations.
In what time frame? We’ve been burning coal for many years and will for many years to come. That is a lot of radiation introduced into the environment. Japan introduced a tremendous amount in a very short time in a relatively small area. Ounce for ounce, coal ash released from a power plant delivers more radiation than nuclear waste shielded via water or dry cask storage.
Nuclear power is the greenest way to produce electrical energy.
Germans are shutting their nuclear power plants because they fear radiation. Burning coal introduces radiation into the environment. How about updating our Nuclear plant designs designs so that it is nearly impossible for the plants to get out of control? The plant in Japan was a 60 year old design and built in the late 60’s or early 70’s.
Turning our backs on nuclear energy is one of the most insane moves we can make at this point. They are paying $.35 per kilowatt hour in Germany. 800,000 people priced out of the market with government meddling.
In the 50’s they were talking about electricity too cheap to meter. Corporate/government fascism disagreed. Now we have smart meters designed to monitor electrical usage and control the use of electricity.
I believe in nuclear energy, but with serious reservations. It is a bridge technology, and in the future will be abandoned because of its very high cost. Sure it looks great per Kwh while running, but the reactors are incredibly expensive to build, the fuel is the most expensive on earth and it produces toxic waste that will out last the planet. When you figure build cost and waste storage costs for thousands of years, nuclear energy is a false economy.
However, they are necessary to make plutonium for bombs.
With the recent tech increases in building methods along the lines of passive solar, and line interactive inverters I think it indicates a polar shift in technology that will make massive power generation and distribution a thing of the past.
Micro hydro, micro wind and solar along with improved bio waste generators lean toward a more distributed generation system.
And I am all for burning fossil fuels, I think its silly to ignore the most effective generation systems we have to date. I just think we need to move away from centralized power, because it is very ineffective both in power generation and in government. Such things don’t last. A few genrations from now people will wonder how we could be so stupid as to embrace socialism, and massive power corporations.
The quality of the A/C current is a factor. The A/C from the power grid driven by commercial power generation stations cannot be beat. I would say a switch back to low voltage DC for lights computers etc. A computer really wants 5 v DC why not have that for the entire house. Lights a can be made to operate at that voltage. Leave the A/C 220v for pumps compressors etc.