Germans Blame “Missing Wind” for their Wind Power Debacle
Germany’s Debacle: 2/3 Of Wind Projects “Running Badly To Very Badly”… Case Of The “Missing Wind”
20 September 2014
Germany-based European Institute for Climate and Energy (EIKE) here brings up a television report on the disappointing returns from wind parks, recently appearing on SWR South German public television.
The days of the media not questioning green energy are over.
Wind parks experienced a gold rush atmosphere, with thousands of turbines being erected over the last 15 years. Now the data are coming in on their real performance, and it looks bad. The German SWR TV report (can be viewed at Youtube) first presents the background on wind energy development in Germany and tells the story of “disappointed investors”, especially in the western German state of Rhineland Palantinate.
Initially investors’ expectations of getting rich on wind were high, the report says. Big returns were promised (between 400 and 800% in 2006). But for a wide majority that dream has shattered violently as losses mount.
“2/3 of all projects are running badly to very badly”
The SWR report at the 1:20 mark says the promises of huge returns were based on overly optimistic wind model forecasts. Werner Haldorf of the pro-wind-energy German Association of Wind Energy analyzed wind park performance and sums up the “surprising” results at the 1:38 mark:
We can say that one third of all projects have pleased the investors, or at least have been satisfactory – depending on how high or low the subjective expectations were, satisfied also with respect to the planning results. And two thirds of all projects are running somewhat badly to very badly.”
In his summary report he concludes:
The origin of the plight for commercial windparks in Germany is the excessive “planning optimism” (Garrad Hassan) that was created among investors.”
Unexpectedly high repair, maintenance and insurance costs
At the 2:06 mark Daldorf tells SWF that the cause is “the missing wind, too much wind was planned, shoddy planning, improper planning, and unexpected (or falsely expected) high repair, maintenance, and insurance costs“.
These are the results of Daldorf’s nationwide windpark analysis. More and more it is becoming obvious that many of the investors were conned to some extent by Big Wind.
The missing wind
The report then focusses on the wind parks in the German state of Rhineland Palatinate. There the picture is even worse. The problem is that the necessary amount of wind needed to make the projects profitable there often just does not materialize. At the 2:51 mark economist Uwe Pilgram tells viewers that a turbine must run a minimum of 1700 hrs at full capacity each year in order to make a profit. But Pilgram says the average in 2013 was barely over 1400 hours.
Mainz Public Utility Director Detlev Höhner sullenly says that his community’s 20 wind plants put into operation between 2005 and 2010 so far have not made any profit and has made a “light loss”.
In the city of Trier (3:55) the result for its public utility is also disappointing. Public utility manager Rudolf Schöller:
We planned for average wind conditions, but in the first years we had relatively weak winds, and that’s why the wind yields were not so high.”
The reporter tells viewers that some years saw as little as 80% of the expected wind. The reporter adds: “That’s a disaster, experts tells us. A privately run company would certainly have gone bankrupt.”
The problem, the SWR reporter says (5:15), lies in false wind projections. Often times the planning goes out of control and is thus too costly. For the city of Mainz the new wisdom has become: “Don’t trust any planning office“.
Wind index adjusted downward three times!
At the 6:30 mark SWF brings in a wind energy expert Prof. Uwe Leprich, who warns that wind turbines “are not money printing machines” and says that the last years have seen weak wind conditions, yet hopes that will change in the years ahead. Interestingly he says that future wind conditions are based on data from the past and from these data a wind-index is computed for future planning. Here he admits (7:00 mark) that the wind index has been “adjusted three times” downward. Leprich blames the unpredictable weather conditions specifically in Rhineland Palatinate for the wind park profit problems.
The moderator then asks why that had not been foreseen (7:27 mark). Leprich replies that data from the previous decades were used, and blames “changes in wind conditions over the last few years”, adding that the wind index had to be adjusted nationwide. He repeats that especially in Rhineland Palatinate the wind conditions are especially difficult.
Skeptics’ warnings were ignored
Later Leprich says that “new framework conditions” have since been drawn up for planning future projects and that planners will need to be extra careful when siting wind projects. Readers here need to know that wind-park opponents and skeptics provided plenty of warnings on the poor profitability of wind parks, but in the mad and blind gold rush, no one heeded the warnings. Skeptics were branded crackpots, naysayers and complainers.
And what about the communities that have already falsely speculated (8:40) and lost money? Who pays for the losses, asks the moderator? Leprich doesn’t answer the question, making a huge circle around it. It was a rhetorical question anyway.
German green energy companies collapsing
The SWR report also looks at how Germany’s recent cut in subsidies for green energies and on how renewable energy companies are really feeling the pain. At the 9:30 mark the report features German renewable energy company Juwi., which years earlier had boomed mightily in the wind and solar businesses. In 2012 the company even broke the €1 billion mark in sales. But the report continues: “However 2 years later, everything is different“. Today the mood at Juwi is especially bleak as the company lays off its workers: Every third worker is getting a pink slip – 400 in all.
Government to blame…CEO drives expensive sports car
Without the subsidy nipple, the orders disappear and green energy companies die off. At the 12:20 mark the reporter says that the Juwi managing director Matthias Willenbacher blames the government for the misery, just before he is shown cruising in his ultra-high-priced sports car.
Back in the studio at the 14:00 mark, Leprich says the industry grew too fast and was led by inexperienced managers. He says the move into green energies was too rash and uncontrolled. He calls the massive investment in solar energy a mistake and concedes that the industry was too dependent on politics. At the end Leprich still thinks that solar and wind energy are the energies of the future – a seemingly obstinate position in view of the monumental debacle they are turning out to be. Leprich keeps clinging.
Historic industrial debacle
In reality, however, what we are actually seeing is the unfolding of one of history’s greatest industrial debacles, all driven by a fraudulent climate science and a deceptive industry. Slowly realizing they’ve been bamboozled, the German media, government and the numerous green energy promoters are scrambling to save face.
USA poised to follow same ruinous path
With the debacle now clear to the rest of the world, one would think other countries would sober up and be more cautious about following a similar path. They aren’t. Indeed it is truly astonishing that other countries, like the USA for example, are ignoring it all and are now attempting to put themselves on the very same ruinous path to repeat the German debacle, and to do so on an even grander scale.
If there ever was a definition for madness, this is it.
After pouring billions of euros into wind power, the Germans are left with spiralling power prices, energy market chaos (see our post here) and, now, collapsing wind power outfits. In concert with wind industry whining everywhere, German wind power outfits moan that their failing fortunes are all the government’s fault. Never mind that the wind industry circus would have never hit the road without a fat pile of government subsidies and mandated targets.
Irony is a subtle art; and one that the wind industry and its parasites struggle to identify, let alone master. After years of telling us how competitive wind power is with conventional generators, when the subsidies are pulled they yelp and do what any (inherently) unprofitable venture does: sack their workers.
And if the irony of biting the hand that feeds them isn’t enough, why not blame the vagaries of the wind?
STT loves the breezy optimism of Prof. Uwe Leprich, who says that “the last years have seen weak wind conditions“, but hangs on the hope that this “will change in the years ahead“. Although, unless the weather turns on consistently solid blows, the German wind industry could be in more trouble than Ned Kelly.
As Prof Leprich points out “wind park profit problems” are all about “unpredictable weather conditions” and goes on to blame: “changes in wind conditions over the last few years”.
Well fancy that! Who would have thought that wind power output – and, therefore, wind power outfits’ profits – might have a teensy weensy relationship with – ahem, ur – the wind?
That the fortunes of wind power outfits might wane a little when the wind doesn’t blow seems fairly obvious to an adult of moderate intelligence.
STT thinks seeing wind power outfits being done in by the vagaries of the wind is simply the inevitable result of an intellectual mismatch – of the kind that occurs when parents let toddlers play with sharp objects.