Fuel poverty in Germany, a glimpse of the future

Reposting from 2015. Freezing in the dark. Welcome to Bill Shorten’s brave new world, the German experience.

Some 800,000 German homes have been disconnected from the grid – victims of what is euphemistically called “fuel poverty”. In response, Germans have picked up their axes and have headed to their forests in order to improve their sense of energy security – although foresters apparently take the view that this self-help measure is nothing more than blatant timber theft (see our post here).

German manufacturers – and other energy intensive industries – faced with escalating power bills are packing up and heading to the USA – where power prices are 1/3 of Germany’s (see our posts here and here and here). And the “green” dream of creating thousands of jobs in the wind industry has turned out to be just that: a dream (see our post here).

A handy piece by Don Aitkin (as usual).

An interesting reference to Ross Garnaut.

You say ‘Almost every reputable economist believes that a market mechanism like an emissions trading scheme is the best way to reduce carbon pollution.’ I shake my head again at that ignorant phrase, but how many of them have actually looked at the ‘challenge’ of global warming? Ross Garnaut didn’t, and said so. It was all too hard for him. Rubbish! None of it is very hard, for him, for you or for me. The basic science is accessible, but so many commentators refuse to look at it. They happily accept what they are told is the ‘settled science’.

That recalls the modelling that Garnaut used to plan our climate change strategy. With the Coalition in power, what about making the model public so we can see what sort of assumptions went into it?

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25 Responses to Fuel poverty in Germany, a glimpse of the future

  1. Chris

    I am reading Ian Plimer’s latest book called “Climate change delusion and the great electricity rip-off”. He dismantles all of the greenie arguments. The book should be essential reading for everybody, especially politicians.

  2. MACK

    In chapter 11 of Garnaut’s 2008 report, he predicted all the adverse outcomes from climate change, from more infectious diseases to reduced demand for Australia’s minerals. Not one has happened, or shows any sign of happening. The lesson is to ignore everything he says.

  3. Garnaut is a stooge. A one man Ponds Institute.

    Any time a model is used to set public policy it and the assumptions used should be made public.

  4. billie

    some days I just feel you and I, the collective you, are whispering

    I am Don Quixote

    as we tilt again at the windmills

  5. Roger

    Some 800,000 German homes have been disconnected from the grid – victims of what is euphemistically called “fuel poverty”.

    The plan is on track.

    Year Zero approaches, comrades!

  6. RobK

    The EU has plenty of hydro, pumped hydro, nuclear, coal, gas available to it. It has first order technical and manufacturing capacity. It has a relatively high population density and standard of living. It is struggling to make a go of renewables.
    Technically much of this stuff is possible but either untested or hideously expensive (or both). The challenge for taking on such projects is alluring for any designer if faced with a blank cheque. There’s glory awaiting along with guarantees of cash, irrespective of outcomes. Often the missing link to make it all work is just a mythical tweek of some technology or two, to make it economic.
    To commit to a new scheme that is not fully tested is madness. We are transitioning much too fast. Wasting useful infrastructure and having an ad hoc approach to the uptake of the new paradigm. The extent of redesign of physical and regulatory system is deep rooted and not appreciated by many. Just read Finkel’s report, even he was unable to set down rules of design but deferred to expert panels to tackle issues as they arise. We are experimenting on a national scale. It really is time to back off. Push it out by a 50 year cycle of modern baseload plant and have a good think about it over a couple of generations. By doing this, emmissions will be down along with costs. Prosperity will enable far more innovations than ravenous debt. Remove all subsidies.
    If we dont we will rely on our gullibility.

  7. min

    My late husband was on a board with Ganaut years ago now but said he had no idea how the real world operated and made bad decisions.

  8. Don’t overlook the fact that in 2017-2018 more than 72,000 Australian homes had their power disconnected because they couldn’t pay their electricity bills.

  9. Singleton Engineer

    One of the best current fresh approaches to the divided argument that is energy policy in an era where climate change is perceived as a threat is in Jesse Jenkins’ paper linked from

    Though he and I tend to agree with the mainstream opinion regarding climate change, it remains important that action (eg to help to reduce the 800,000 disconnections) isn’t bogged down permanently for the sake of argument, eg about whether or not there is such a thing as “baseload” power. There is certainly common ground that firm power is essential, so start there. I’m a pro-nuclear, “baseload” boy at heart, with decades of experience in large and small power stations, but these terms have become rallying cries for variable renewables supporters who rely on the wind that is always blowing somewhere, or that batteries can fill the gaps left by the VRE’s.

    In case you were wondering: I am quite contented for other to disagree with my current, fallible opinions. Please don’t take offense or think that I am trying to convert anybody to do anything, except to work from the common ground – ultimately most of us desire affordable, efficient, achievable energy options much more than we need to highlight unresolved differences between tribes.

    Here’s a link: https://www.cell.com/joule/fulltext/S2542-4351(18)30386-6

  10. GoWest

    Nothing has changed – Oz has more leaners than lifters so we stumble relentlessly through a climate change policy induced recession to ensure that Govt continues to eat up the GDP ….. BS is strong enough to be our saviour… if he gets out of Paris… The Libs — they are toast.

  11. Roger

    Don’t overlook the fact that in 2017-2018 more than 72,000 Australian homes had their power disconnected because they couldn’t pay their electricity bills.

    Gov’t owned QLD companies were gouging customers and paying a $1.65 billion dividend to Palaszczuk’s Treasury last fy.

    Up the workers!

  12. RobK

    Singleton Engineer,
    I agree with Jesse Jenkins’ propositions and yours (other than that I’m perhaps more sceptical of CAGW). I came to my position from small to medium scale off-grid power supplies over three decades. The commitment of funds parasitic to coal (RET) is harmful because it causes coal to atrophy by way of its operational mode (baseload function) whilst paying RE directly and simultaneously pushing up costs/prices. It makes any transition disfunctional because it doesn’t filter out dud technology due to the largesse while it lasts. These inefficiencies of transition are not something we can afford. Ultimately there will be a very high price to pay.
    Already now, to fulfill present commitments, the cost of energy is higher than it would have been if left to normal market forces, where government only intervened in order to allow all forms of energy equal access to the market.
    Energy infrastructure is a long term investment. Pushing it around with predjudicial cross-subsidies might be workable politically but doesnt in any way guarentee a satisfactory conclusion. Far from it.

  13. RobK

    Gov’t owned QLD companies were gouging customers and paying a $1.65 billion dividend to Palaszczuk’s Treasury last fy.
    Stanwell (Qld gov) harvests subsidies in WA via windfarm investment. WA pays Qld RET penalties so Qld can sell coal power to NEM. It’s all very logical from the right perspective.

  14. H B Bear

    My late husband was on a board with Ganaut years ago now but said he had no idea how the real world operated and made bad decisions.

    An egghead. See also Fred Hilmer. Should never see the light of day outside academia where the only damage they can do is to young peoples’ minds.

  15. Art Vandelay

    That recalls the modelling that Garnaut used to plan our climate change strategy. With the Coalition in power, what about making the model public so we can see what sort of assumptions went into it?

    I recall when they were recruiting people for the Garnaut modelling in Canberra. Let’s just say they wanted people who would do what they were told (ie, torture the data to give the ‘correct’ answer).

    The resulting report is a load of garbage. A bunch of us had to wade through it for work and we all couldn’t believe how bad it was.

  16. Rohan

    As as side note, I work for a company who supplies the transmission/distribution companies with products designed, with a track and scientifically proven record, to extend asset life. We have seen a significant reduction in sales.

    Ive had a few recent but quit conversations with engineers within these companies; they’re very worried. They know who will cop the blame after fronting the royal commission when the shit hits the fan. Like my highschool classmate did in the Black Saturday Royal Commission.

    The next 20 years are going to be ugly.

  17. stackja

    36.000 homes without power as more storms to batter Sydney
    Christopher Harris, The Daily Telegraph
    December 16, 2018 5:22pm

    More than 36,000 homes across Sydney and the Central Coast were still without power on Sunday night after severe thunderstorms lashed the state with more wild weather on its way this week.

    Some home are expected to be without electricity until the middle of this week after the severe thundstorms on Saturday afternoon knocked down powerlines.

    State Emergency Services volunteers were today frantically working to fix damaged roofs with storms to batter parts of the state again on Monday evening and on Tuesday.

  18. MikeS

    We were one of the 36000 homes who just received a foretaste of our brave new energy free future. The Gen Z ‘s in our house didn’t particularly enjoy having no power, no internet, candles, dead mobiles, cold showers, cooking on a gas barbie. They appreciated the comparative history lessons even less. Uplifting stories about their great, great grandparents cut no ice.

    The one reassurance for this cranky old fart is that I have just seen how young voters are likely to respond when this gets serious. Shorten better not be planning on genZ’s support for energy austerity when the inconvenience bites.

  19. Craig Mc

    Garnaut is a stooge. A one man Ponds Institute.

    There’s a difference between a stooge and a carpet-bagger.

  20. mareeS

    When my brothers and I were young in the 1960s, our suburb in Newcastle had a coal mining operation, and our Saturday job was to collect enough coal from the beach to fuel our kitchen stove and our fireplace for the week.

    Spouse and I live in the same beachside suburb in a 100yo house with a coal burning fireplace, though the mine is long gone, but we still collect free coal at the beach on Saturdays in winter.

    Nobody taxes us, we just burn it for heat.

  21. mareeS

    Coal in the fireplace is actually quite efficient once it burns down to a glow,Mandy the cats just love it.

    You have to have a good chimney, though, and we can’t burn wood.

  22. RacerX

    “faced with escalating power bills are packing up and heading to the USA – where power prices are 1/3 of Germany’s”

    Despite trickle down economics not working.

  23. Entropy

    The key assumption of Garnaut’s model for the ETS was that a global ETS would be in place by 2016. The paper did not contain any sensitivity analysis about that assumption.

    There were other goodies too. Agriculture for example, was to replace cattle and sheep with kangaroo farming. All based on a basic spreadsheet that converted sheep and cattle DSEs to the equivalencies t kangaroo DSEs. The spreadsheet was provided by some green group in Canberra. And by “green group” I mean an ignorant fool with MS Office on his Macintosh.

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