A new coal mine in Germany

Can Cats help with up to date reports on the new coal mine in Germany? this is an old Guardian report and of course I would like better sources.

Controversial plans to chop down a German forest to build a vast coal mine should proceed because Germany needs the polluting fuel to keep the lights on, according to the chief of the country’s state secretary for energy.

The situation is schizophrenic because there is a working group planning the exit from coal that is a longstanding commitment. With Merkel fading away perhaps saner voices might be heard more loudly, like the secretary for energy.

It seems that the Germans have stopped mining hard coal but they still depend on brown coal to keep the lights on. The situation will be really critical when the last nuclear plants are gone in 2022. A bit like Australia with Liddell.

Of course Snowy 2.o is supposed to replace Liddell in a decade or two. As you would expect, the political imperative to get Snowy 2.0 on the road has overwhelmed any concerns about the difficulties that will arise when the tunnels drill through wetlands and rock formations that have not been adequately assessed.

This entry was posted in Global warming and climate change policy, Rafe. Bookmark the permalink.

27 Responses to A new coal mine in Germany

  1. stackja

    Snow 2.0 pushing water up hill using coal.

  2. stackja

    German regulators urged to cut coal closure payouts

    If market price is the benchmark for compensating the early closure of coal assets, this make a mockery of compensation claims by RWE, according to the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (IEEFA).

    RWE wants to be compensated for the premature closure of its coal power plants in line with generous payouts of the past, a position that the IEEFA said ignores the darkening outlook for coal mining and generation, and which pits the company against genuinely affected mining communities for precious taxpayer funds.

  3. Ben

    Not sure about the mine, but generation and load data is captured in this visualisation site.


  4. Dr Faustus

    Can Cats help with up to date reports on the new coal mine in Germany?

    No new mine – RWE was proposing to clear a remnant portion of the Hambach forest to extend its current operations. They have postponed clearing the land in response to the political shitstorm.

  5. Mother Lode

    because Germany needs the polluting fuel

    They can’t help themselves.

  6. Dr Fred Lenin

    Solve the Adani protest , build a massive modern power station on it and use the coal for power for the National Grid for hundreds of years . All mining proposals held ip by the u.n. Left ,build a power station on it and use it for cheap power for the Australian People ,now who can protest about that ?
    Get right up the commos noses that would ,put it to referendum ?
    Questions. Are you in favour of using Australian coal to provide cheap power for the people ?
    Or do you want to pay the communist u.n,billions to opress you and lose all industrial jobs in Australia
    Thus should really put the Fox in the chicken house .

  7. The Hambach forest is a small area west of Cologne and east of Aachen and is in the way of the Hambach lignite (brown coal) mine. NW of Cologne is the larger Garzweiler lignite mine. Presently a site of enviro-obstruction. Nothing to do with black coal.

  8. BoyfromTottenham

    Dr Fred – sounds like a good start. How far away from the Adani mine (and the several that will follow to exploit this massive untapped coal resource) is the nearest coal-fired power station? Are there currently any suitable power lines anywhere near the Adani mine to supply several megawatts of power from this power station? All new mines in this remote region will need serious amounts of reliable power, so sooner or later a base load power station will be needed in the area. Why not do the sums and put up a proposal now, based on the availability of suitable coal and plenty of potential demand for the power? Or have the economics of coal-fire power generation in Australia been totally broken by the eco-nazis? If so all future major mining and industrial projects in Australia may have to factor in the cost of building their own power stations and sourcing their own fuel. Is this really a good outcome?

  9. DaveR

    Of course Snowy 2.o is supposed to replace Liddell in a decade or two.

    No way, no how.

    Snowy 2.0 just saves a portion of the excess energy generated at non-peak times, for use during peak times. It is a big wet battery.

    It does “save” a portion of the excess power generated during the day, that might otherwise be lost. But its hard to see how solar and wind generators dont sell everything they produce at current demand prices given their massive subsidies, unless they are just storing it for selling into peaks – the market speculation story.

    But like most markets, the secondary industry is already out there to buy low, sell high, thereby flattening the price curve out. When that fully happens, Snowy 2.0 will be redundant.

    When looked at on an energy in – energy out basis, Snowy 2.0 consumes energy. Liddell does not. Simple as that.

  10. None

    Snowy 2: spending billions to pump water uphill at night time only to drop it the next day for a net loss of energy and money. I mean.how f****** stupid can you be?

  11. Roger

    With Merkel fading away perhaps saner voices might be heard more loudly, like the secretary for energy.

    Iirc the German Energy minister recently said that due to its strong manufacturing base Germany would be dependant upon coal in its energy mix for the foreseeable future.

    In other words, unlike Australia, Germany will not deindustrialise to please the Greens.

  12. Roger

    In other words, unlike Australia, Germany will not deindustrialise to please the Greens.

    Meanwhile, I should have added, we have the most perfidious political class of any Western country, determined to neutralise every competitive advantage we have, including vast energy reserves, while planning and subsidising 4-5 times as many unreliable generators as the EU. The only bright side is that with wage growth predicted to remain at historic low levels, the cost of platinum plating the national grid to accommodate unreliable generators may just be a bridge too far for most Australians.

  13. Dan the Man

    Roger, in Germany the Greens have much more influence than in Australia, and they usually get about 20% of the votes, increasing trend. Most supporters of the Greens know little but talk much and loudly. All indicates a future coalition between Merkel’s party and the Greens which means the de-industrialisation of Germany.
    There is already a lot of solar and wind energy in Germany, however, not at night when there is no wind. To keep up the grid is getting more demanding all the time.
    They almost had a blackout in January, and the Goverment keeps warning the people about the dangers of the blackout but nobody seems interested to hear that. The German grid is intereconnected with other European countries so a real large blackout would mean several countries without power. If a blackout lasts longer than a week there will absolute chaos, say the authorities and the army.
    The scenarios are well-known so I won’t elaborate on this here.
    I am originally from Germany and can compare the situation there and here in Australia: There is not much difference.
    Greens, socialists and their sympathizers want solar and wind, and want fossil to be switched off, to fulfill their dreams, no matter what. They are immune to facts and would rather die now from a breakdown of civilization caused by lack of electricity than die in 100 years from a temperature rise of 2 degrees.

  14. Aynsley Kellow

    I was going to make the same point DaveR!
    Rafe: be careful in making such statements. It provides a gloss of credibility to something that is a net consumer of electricity. The energy return on energy invested on pumped storage hydro in Scotland is as low as 70% and the cost around $55m/GWh (on market exchange rates) – though that does not involve tunnelling through hard rock.
    I makes sense economically if peak prices are high enough compared with prices during a daily glut, but can serve only as daily storage and to help stabilise voyage and frequency in a system with considerable renewables – and its costs should be charged to those renewables. What is important is the System Levellised Cost of Energy, not the LCOE for a single generation source. Allowing rent-seekers to quote the latter is what has got us in the mess we are.

  15. IainC

    I propose that Australia buy the mothballed German nuclear power stations as they become available, ship them here and start the engines. I’m sure we could find some fresh uranium from somewhere (think, think). That way, all inefficient, polluting, last-century energy sources (ie wind and solar) can be phased out in favour of stable, metabolic power. Keep your eyes peeled on e-bay (aka energie-Bayern).

  16. They are immune to facts and would rather die now from a breakdown of civilization caused by lack of electricity than die in 100 years from a temperature rise of 2 degrees.

    I think you mean that they’d rather other people die now.

    It never occurs to them that their own cosy lifestyles might be adversely affected. They just assume that assiduous attention to the recycling bin is the biggest sacrifice they personally will ever have to make, while they will continue to have Ipods, overseas holidays, designer foods, etc.

  17. Roger

    Dan the Man, apologies, it seems that was a former German Energy minister.

    More recently the coal exit is back on the agenda.


  18. Ƶĩppʯ (ȊꞪꞨV)

    merkel is a wahmen! everything she pontificates is as if it comes directly from God!

    god demands we return to candle light to save the universe from the ravages of prosperity and modernity

    and thus it is written for when day returns to night

  19. Ben

    In regards to Snowy 2.0, it has six new hydro turbines for about 2,000 MW capacity for 175 hrs, so it does add new dispatchable generation capacity to the grid. Although with lake levels low and hydro regularly setting marginal prices (water rationing) it’s anybody’s guess what effect it will have on lowering wholesale prices…

  20. Aynsley Kellow

    Ben, it should drive down peak prices, but I am reliably informed by a former Snowy engineer that the system was essentially designed for providing peak power.

    Snowy 2.0 will continue this: take cheap surplus electricity, waste 20-30% of it pumping water uphill, and then provide electricity when peak demand occurs.

    It is worth noting, however, that four kinds of storage are required in an electricity system: Short-term storage; Daily storage; Intraseasonal storage; Interseasonal storage.

    Snowy 2.0 (and any PSH) can only provide the first of these. It is unlikely to be any help if there is a day or two with cloudy skies and calm winds – or winds so strong the turbines have to close down to protect themselves,

  21. Delta

    DanR and Aynsley Kellow – spot on. The overall round trip efficiency for Snowy 2.0 is 72% at full load output: 100% energy input (pump water uphill), 72% recovered as power generated when water released. A net consumer of energy. Then there will be an impossible operating procedure to run it. Traditionally these schemes (like the original Snowy) have been used to meet peak demand at a known time of the day using cheap energy supplied at off peak times. However, now we have intermittent power from wind and solar with the intention to capture the “excess” power and store it for later use. There are serious problems with this insanity – the availability of the power sources is not known, the need to fill in gaps caused by intermittent renewables is also unknown. So how can you decide when to pump, when and for how long to draw down? What happens when you run out of water – that was Tasmania a few years ago when the carbon tax was in place. And if you want some hydro inertia for system stability or system strength or if you need the hydro to follow the load (because intermittents cannot) it has to be running at these times – but may not be because it is pumping.

    It’s all insane but nevermind, we have this motley crew telling us, “Cost-effective, clean, reliable grid: “You can have it all,” says Zibelman. (Read it and weep as they intend to scale up the disaster). The motley crew clearly doesn’t know the first thing about electrical power engineering but may have to learn at their peril bit by bit as they try to bend the laws of Physics.

    Re LCOE, yes it it the System LCOE that matters. See here for an article on this subject about a talk that was given last year on the System Levelised Cost of Electricity. Ignore the first pages and go to page 7. This shows the direction in which we are heading – to $250/MWh and that’s just AEMO’s neutral case from their Integrated System Plan that Ziebelman talks about which is more than double the current price. And that price could (and in my guess would) be easily exceeded, that is if we ever get anywhere near the end goals.

    So as for Snowy 2.0 reducing power prices, the only retort is bollocks.

    But the green juggernaut continues on its destructive path. A change in government will hasten its speed leading to an earlier system black. A final comment -the recent restructuring at AEMO to bring in scientists and physicists to design (and build) the “new grid” will also hasten its collapse.

  22. Aynsley Kellow

    Many thanks Delta. Will read the piece on SLCOE with interest.

    I have been introduced to the concept by the work of German economist Lion Hirth. Many of his papers are available as free downloads (usually pre-prints) if you search for him on Google Scholar.

  23. Dr Faustus

    So as for Snowy 2.0 reducing power prices, the only retort is bollocks.

    That is a safe starting point for any large-scale proposal to arbitrage off-peak electricity.

    It’s only cheap because during periods of low demand the high-cost generators are first out of the market. Add in any large load – say a few hours of 2,000 MW recharge pumping – and the price instantly moves up.

  24. Overburdened

    I’m cautious in using the word ‘schizophrenic’. It implies to me that a person has a chronic relapsing condition for which there is no cure much like diabetes or asthma. It has a profound impact on the affected person and their significant others.
    Relevant to the article, I can’t explain the events and thinking that led to this paradox in Germany.
    What l will say is that many years ago a person with schizophrenia pointed to a bureaucrat and told me, ‘I may be a schizophrenic, but he’s a fuckwit, and there’s no pill to fix that’.

  25. Lutz

    If the Snowy is to supply 2,000 MW capacity for 175 hrs that is 350k MWhr. The total of all wind in Australia amounts to about 5600 MW installed. Assuming 20% of that is available say 1200MW, it would take about 300 hrs or 12 days of uninterrupted wind energy to fill the storage. Solar cannot be counted since it is unlikely to have a surplus during the day.
    Furthermore it is foolish to think that there is such a thing as ‘surplus’ energy. Demand has to match generation at all times, so any energy used for pumping simply adds to the demand.

  26. karl

    “How far away from the Adani mine (and the several that will follow to exploit this massive untapped coal resource) is the nearest coal-fired power station?” Collinsville Power station was mothballed into C & M last year. Its relatively close.

Comments are closed.