Major Blow: Top German Economist Shows ‘Energiewende’ Can Never Work!

Germany’s once highly promoted “Energiewende” (transition to green energies) and the country’s feed-in act have been given a grade of “F” by one of the country’s top economists, Prof. Dr. Dr. h.c. mult. Hans-Werner Sinn.

Just days ago the renowned economics professor gave a presentation dubbed “How much volatile power can the power grid take?” before a packed audience in Munich:

The basis of his presentation is a recent paper appearing in the European Economic Review: Buffering volatility, A study on the limits of Germany’s energy revolution.

Green energy “disillusionment”

In summary, Sinn claims that it is unrealistic to believe that Germany can power itself with only wind and sun due to their immense supply volatility and that it is already a huge challenge in itself just to replace coal, oil, and gas for producing electricity. Coal, oil, and gas for electricity make up only a puny 12.8% of German total energy demand (chart 6:25-mark).

As far as the rest, you can dream about it, but you cannot do it. […] It was disillusionment from the very start, and it’s important that this be made very clear.”

Sinn shows just how volatile wind and solar energies in Germany are, using 2014 as an example. At the time Germany had installed just over 24,000 turbines with a total rated capacity of almost 36 gigawatts:

Chart: Prof. Hans-Werner Sinn, cropped here.

However, those turbines delivered on average only 5.85 gigawatts, well under 20%.

“Costs a horrendous sum of money”

The numbers are even more gruesome for solar panel installations, which of course do not function at all at night:

Chart: Prof. Hans-Werner Sinn, cropped here.

In Germany in 2014, 37.34 gigawatts of rated solar capacity was installed. Delivered, however, were merely a tenth of that amount, an average of 3.70 gigawatts. What it does, says Sinn:

It costs a horrendous sum of money, reduces the standard of living and blights the landscape. This simply cannot be!”

Sinn’s results are a major blow to the proponents of the German Energiewende and to the notion it is clean, cheap, and reliable. As the numbers and results come in, it becomes increasingly clear that the German mega-green project is turning into an embarrassing fiasco.

Sinn rhetorically asks whether it might be possible to smooth the supply, i.e. using a variety of strategies such pump-storage and power-to-gas, in order to make the supply more steady, reliable and efficient. His answer is an emphatic no, saying: “It’s an Energiewende to nowhere.”

Even if Germany installed enough capacity to make its supply 100% green, 61% of the output would have to “scrapped” because there would be no use for it, Sinn shows, using a chart at the 55-min. mark.

Lost credibility for science

The public, media, and policymakers, however, refuse to acknowledge that the German man-on-the-moon energy project is big trouble. At his blog site, Holger Douglas commented on Sinn’s presentation and the failure of the Energiewende:

In the ensuing discussion one of the gravest consequences of the Energiewende emerged: the credibility of science. At almost every single research institute experts have been making every effort to dodge the fundamental laws of physics and nature in order to justify the Energiewende after the fact.”

Sinn also notes he believes the cost of the Energiewende will end up far exceeding the earlier government estimate of 1 trillion euros. Moreover, he says that Germany is also transforming its idyllic landscape into a large industrial park.

De-industrializing by over-industrializing

The Energiewende is one green plan that is backfiring spectacularly on a scale few could have imagined earlier. And in typical German fashion, leaders refuse to acknowledge this and appear as if they would prefer to see the country descend (once again) into ruin before admitting they’ve erred.

This is one presentation that needs to be made in English in other countries that are gung-ho on going solar and wind.

Read more at No Tricks Zone

Comments (12)

  • Avatar

    Spurwing Plover


    Global Warming/Climate change is the biggist hoax in the entire history of mankind i mean were talking Trojan Horse here its all about World Goverment all under the Useless Nations controling our very lives from cradle to grave dictating our diets(Total Vegan)Transportation(Mass Transit,Cycling)the way we heat and cool our homes and the type of energy we use(Solar/Wind energy)the Useless Nations the Fake News Network(CNN)the New York Pravda(Times)and the Demac-Rats and the various Green Freaks(Sierra Club,Greenpeace,EDF and NRDC)its all about Controling out lives

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    Volatile. Dr. Sinn concisely nailed it.
    Wind turbines deliver 20% of advertised power and solar panels deliver 10% of what the headlines claim. To achieve “publicized” rated output of one turbine requires 5 of them! Who would tolerate a car that got 4 mpg? Who would accept light bulbs dim as candles? Only in the Green never-never land are these failures celebrated.

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    Wind, Solar and other renewable electric sources have replaced everything but the last 12.8% of electricity needed in Germany.
    “–> Also see our much newer article: 10 Huge Lessons We’ve Learned From Solar Power Success In Germany. And keep an eye on all of our Germany stories to really stay up to date on Germany’s renewable energy success.

    A few weeks ago, I visited Intersolar North America, an exhibition for photovoltaics, solar thermal technology, and solar thermal architecture. The exhibition, which was previously only held in Germany, had an understandably large German presence (including a large beer garden). During my time there, I stopped by the German Energy Agency booth, and was quite impressed with what I found. So, without further ado, here are 4 reasons why we should be paying a whole lot of attention to the Germany renewable energy market.
    1. Germany has the world’s largest wind power sector— but had barely any notable wind power at all 16 years ago.
    With over 20,600 MW of installed capacity, Germany is the world’s wind power leader. And they accomplished this feat pretty quickly, having had less than 100 MW in 1992. The second place wind leader, Spain, only has approximately 12,000 MW of capacity.

    2. The country has the world’s second largest solar power market, despite having extremely cloudy weather.
    Germany comes in as number 2 for solar power, with 750 MW of peak capacity as of 2006. However, it is far and away the European leader for photovoltaic capacity, with a capacity of 3063 MW. Additionally, the world’s largest solar cell producer (Q-Cells) is located there. Oh, and the country also has the largest solar thermal market in Europe.
    3. Over 214,000 people work in the German domestic renewable energy industry.
    With 2.3 million renewable energy workers worldwide, Germany once again takes the cake as a pioneering country. Last year, German companies accounted for 38 percent of the total wind energy market.
    4. They have progressive renewable energy laws.
    The German government has just agreed on a new climate change legislative package with the goal of reducing CO2 emissions up to 36 percent by 2020. German Environment Minister Sigmar Gabriel calls it the biggest climate change package in the world.
    “….stunning success. It has shown that German engineering can manhandle Mother Nature and power a major chunk of an industrial economy with clean energy from the sky rather than dirty energy from the ground. Enough renewable energy was produced in Germany in 2016 to cover 32% of the country’s electricity consumption, a staggeringly large proportion by global standards.
    In doing that, Germany has demolished one of the most fundamental reservations about alternative energy: that wind and solar power are too flaky to be relied on. A breezeless day or sudden clouds can interrupt them, making them, critics said, too unreliable to supply more than a token portion of a nation’s energy supply. But even with all that erratic wind and solar energy stuffed into the system, Germany continues to operate one of the most reliable electricity grids in the world. Blackouts remain as rare in the world’s fourth-largest economy as late trains or bad beer….”

  • Avatar

    Spurwing Plover


    Rakoooi its winter save your Hot Air to keep you pathetic little snowflake self warm but snowflakes melt and vaporize in the heat

  • Avatar

    Spurwing Plover


    Nether Windturbines nor Solar Panels are enviromentaly Friendly their hazerdous to Birds and Bats many that are protected law laws and the Bird Migration Protection Treaty

    • Avatar



      So what are bird friendly power sources? Coal and natural gas kill far more birds than wind so you could not possibly be in favour of those. Nuclear kills a lot and hydro has a lot of wildlife issues as well. So what are your wildlife friendly suggestions? If bird deaths are your biggest concern than you must be for solar and geothermal, maybe wave as those are pretty much the only power sources that are completely clean of killing birds but out of the major sources wind seems to kill far fewer than other alternatives.

      Wind is responsible for 0.27 bird deaths per GWh
      Nuclear is 0.6
      Fossil Fuels is 9.4 deaths per GWh

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        That’s an old 2012 Sovacool study, which has been debunked. To get his fossil fuel numbers he estimated birds killed by climate change and attributed them to fossil fuels …bit of a stretch : )

  • Avatar

    Michael Hayes


    A paradigm shift to Oceanic Farming and Living space for billions is technically doable today.

    The STEM can be intense yet all aspects of farming and living with the Ocean are known to a respectable degree of certainty. The economics are more attractive than land crop/forest investments.

    The transport factor is the cheapest imaginable.

    It is the underlying policy matrix that needs the closest scrutiny.

    I propose a UN guided B Corp policy matrix in which institutional investors can find long term security.

    An investor does not need to be Green minded, just one with reasonable expectations of returns on the 20 year scale.

    There are very few 20 years scale projects which institutional investors can truly believe in these days.

    Oceanic farming and living is a new frontier for them as well as it is for the common person.

    Norway’s sovereign fund may wish to own a position in the B corp offering. While Germany and the Dutch can lead the marine engineering.

    Once underway, what European nation wouldn’t want to invest?

    I respect this economist’s professional opinion yet today’s available green STEM, urgent migration needs, and a fuller policy pallet all need to be folded into the energy debate.

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    Dr A. Cannara


    This has been known to any sentient scientist/engineer since the first German anti-nuclear program began. The word “utility” means what? It doesn’t mean some service that comes unreliably less than half the time.

    Would our families kick us out if we came home one day ad sad: “No shower/bath unless the sun is up; no toilet flushes unless the wind is between 25 & 55mph; no cooking, TV… unless both wind & sun are bounteous…”?

    Water/sewer/police/fire… are, by responsible govt. design, to be available services all but maybe 5 minutes/year. Electricity has never been intended or designed to be less so. Only political ignorance and crass subsidy has moved solar/wind into use where it was never appropriate.

    In engineering, there’s a term for ‘renewables’ — “inappropriate technology”.

    Energiewende and its supporters have set back climate/ocean protection efforts via cultlike ignorance. A disgrace. Our descendants will rightly spit on our graves.

    Dr. A. Cannara
    650 400 3071

    PS, if anyone wants sworn legal testimony supporting the above, Sections 2.2 & 2.6 are relevant…

    And read “Roadmap to Nowhere” and

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    No device can generate energy in excess of the total energy put into constructing it.
    Google The Fifth Law or click on Energy^2 above.

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