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German experiment to make wind powered Silicon Chips fails

Surprising no one: lumpy expensive electricity does not make for a High Tech Paradise

It’s another example of how more green jobs means less real ones.  A German High Tech Chip maker driven to Singapore by renewable energy prices

Photo German wind turbines, Emben. Emden, Germany by Gritte

Emden, Germany by Gritte

To understand the scale of just how green Germany is, ponder that it has the third largest wind power fleet in the world, with around 30,000 turbines. In 2020, wind power generated more than a quarter of German electricity and solar power another 10%.  Despite all that *free* energy Germans pay some of the highest electricity prices in the world at 38c/KWh. Whereas Singaporeans use natural gas and pay 18c/KWh. Germans are famous for their high tech engineering, but now they can’t afford to manufacture it at home. Siltronic is moving, and along with that presumably goes some of the intellectual property, brains, and security that comes with having that production locally.

Siltronic boss Christoph von Plotho blames Germany’s high energy costs for the decision: “The high electricity price makes the location unattractive,” he said in an interview with the Handelsblatt. His company pays “less than half the electricity price” in Singapore.

The main cost driver in Germany is the green energy levy under the Renewable Energy Sources Act (EEG) which has cost energy consumers more than 30 billion euros last year.

It’s not just expensive electricity, it’s “insecure” electricity:

Germany’s largest semiconductor producer Infineon told Handelsblatt that insecure power supply was also a major factor in reconsidering industrial production in Germany and Europe.

Clean Energy Wire

Solar panels and wind turbines are just not good for making silicon chips.

How much will Germany change world temperatures with windmills when the factories just move to different places?

*For the record, German wind power has a theoretical capacity of 60GW, whatever that means.

9.5 out of 10 based on 62 ratings

51 comments to German experiment to make wind powered Silicon Chips fails

  • #
    OriginalSteve

    At the core of green madness lies socialism….

    Nuff said.

    290

    • #
      Angus Black

      At the core of both is the idea that there really is such a thing as a free lunch.

      100

      • #
        Greg Cavanagh

        The “free” part is the bait before the switch. It’s the sell point. But it was never about free energy, else nuclear would be preferred choice.

        50

      • #
        Ted1

        Angus, recent elections tell us that more than half our population is living the free lunch.

        And when the free lunch hits the wall they will blame us.

        00

  • #
    Lawrie

    30000 turbines @ 2MW =60 GW. Looks like the old “there are enough turbines in this farm to provide green energy to 76000 homes” but failing to add that is when all are operating at capacity which is only 28% of the time. If a tractor manufacturer used the same advertising he would be in jail for false claims. This is a 100 hp tractor but for 72% of the time you have to leave it in the shed. That would be a seller!!!.

    361

    • #
      Richard Owen

      Lawrie:
      wind turbines only deliver full capacity about 1% of the time (shortly before they shut down because the wind is blowing too strongly). Yes, they deliver some capacity some of the time. Possibly you meant that they deliver an average of 28% of their claimed capacity over time.

      That figure is higher for off-shore wind which Germany (and Denmark and the UK) thought that would be the answer** but that has been disappointing – only 40% more output for 3 times the cost.

      2 questions actually, “where can we get more output?” and “where can we put those turbines where people cannot see them?”.

      110

  • #
    Lank

    Wake up Australia! Use our natural gas, build nuclear, go big on clean coal. We have all the natural resources and are the envy of every other nation.
    We have abundant high quality silica here in Australia but we need low-cost reliable energy to process it – We could be the Silicon Valley of the Southern Hemisphere.
    Same for lithium ion batteries, autonomous mining equipment, EVs etc etc.
    Why won’t the Feds restructure the CSIRO to smaller groups with commercial ambition. For example seed fund one to build a small scale commercial Li-ion battery plant and produce from our local supply of metals and materials – working with, and diluting ownership to a commercial battery maker. Same with EV’s, etc etc.

    363

    • #
      Graham Richards

      This would require LOGIC which is in extreme short supply in Australia’s Federal & State governments. So sorry cannot entertain ideas like yours ( & mine).

      230

      • #
        Harves

        Yep, this country is doomed. Greens would prevent Lithium mining is the same way that they promote renewable power yet have prevented any hydro-providing dams being built for decades.

        120

        • #
          Philip

          True, but some greens are now very pro damns for pumped hydro storage. I was talking with one online who wants dams everywhere now, and i mean everywhere, any gully available. He was talking thousands of them, not just a few big ones. Suddenly all of the enviro-problems they usually obsess about or imagine, are gone. Like bird kills from windmills, couldn’t care less. Kind of gives me hope for greenies in a way.

          00

      • #
        Leonard

        Yes Graham. It would require logic. But also, it would require unbiased education, truth in Green advertising, lack of apathy, and also common sense.

        20

    • #
      Cookster

      Yes wake up Australia. But there are zero signs of this happening anytime soon. Energy policy is now set by indoctrinated 10 year olds coming home from school and lecturing their parents who vote on why Australia must be run on wind and solar part time energy.

      80

    • #
      Richard Owen

      Radical idea – why not use our very large amounts of coal or natural gas to build a chemical industry? Until 1951 coal supplied more chemicals than oil.

      We are isolated from dependable supplies of oil. Perhaps a leaf from the Germans or South Africans experience? Instead of a farcical attempt to make hydrogen from brown coal and burying the resulting CO2, why not convert all of it into various base chemicals? New Zealand almost switched their petrol supply to natural gas (from methane to methanol to petrol) until the price of oil dropped.
      Unfortunately we are overrun by people who “think” that battery cars will work – without asking how the increased demand for electricity would be supplied.

      61

      • #
        Chad

        Richard Owen
        February 25, 2021 at 7:09 am ·
        Unfortunately we are overrun by people who “think” that battery cars will work – without asking how the increased demand for electricity would be supplied.

        No body has to “Think” battery cars will work……the BEV horse has already bolted !..
        ..and they will be recharged from the “GRID” in the same way the Millions of A/C units are powered (that didnt exist 20 yrs ago !)…
        A million EVs charging every day,.. ( for the same equivalent miles traveled as ICE cars).. would increase the daily grid demand by 7.5 GWh per day,…
        …. or less than 1.5% more than current Oz typical grid demand.
        So they dont have to “Ask” how the increased demand for electricity will be supplied either !

        14

        • #
          Speedy

          Hi Chad. Your figures are for ONE million electric cars in Australia, and you seem to be assuming even distribution of power demand over time. Which are probably unrealistic. How many cars do you think we have on the road at the moment? My guess is about 10 million. Would you like be the one to tell upwards of 80-90% of the population that they can’t own a car? Please be my guest…

          And while you’re there, maybe you can explain how those electric cars are going to change the weather – you could start by providing EVIDENCE that global warming is man-made, unprecedented and catastrophic.

          Cheers,

          Speedy

          40

          • #
            Chad

            You are asking the wrong guy Speedy…
            I picked 1 million, because that is the figure that had been used by others in previous threadsnd and reposted by Jo a few days ago.
            I have also done the figures for 50% , (7.5m) of the current (15 million) cars on our roads..and that suggests a 56 GWh per day requirement …
            Even that figure is less than 10% of CURRENT grid capacity, but we all know we will not get to 50% EVs for 20++ years at least.
            That level of extra generation capacity is already available despite the corruption and destruction of the system.!
            Using Public data , the AVERAGE distance traveled by car owners, is 30 km per day, which for an EV would require less than 6kWh, or less than an hour of recharge even on a typical domestic system.
            So, with the simplest of “Smart” technology and “Demand Management”, there would be few issues of “Peak demand”. Exceeding capacity
            Analysis of existing EV users reveals that a wide range of charging habits are used, from the typical “Off Peak” / overnight,.
            .daytime rooftop solar ( after scool and shopping runs),
            ..workplace daytime charging,
            ..shopping mall solar chargers,
            Roadside charge stations when traveling
            I wont be telling anyone they cant own a car…
            .. they will decide themselves not to , once they begin to realise how expensive our government will make it.. EV or ICE
            If full AI Automated , driverless “Taxi” type systems are eventually available , very few City dwellers ( 80% of the population) will need a private car.
            What makes you think i believe EVs are going to change the weather ?
            That is a rediculous idea !
            You need to separate fact ( EVs are going to become common),… from fiction …( man made CO2 related climate change , Wind and solar can reliably power the grid, etc !)

            12

            • #
              Chad

              Final thought for you Speedy, anRichard..
              If you can get over your obvious but irrational objection to EVs,….
              …we could use that extra 56 GWH demand , as a rational argument for at least one large 2.0 GW HELE coal generator, rather than the alternative 40 large 250MW Wind farms !
              That sounds like a good case to me !
              ( Better still , make that a Nuclear plant !)

              20

            • #

              See how difficult it is?

              Rational debate proceeds to a point until someone can’t help themselves and says – “so explain everything known about CO2”, or similar, designed to end the discussion with some sense of victory taken away by the person making the non-sequitur. No response to the irrelevant question is seen as an admission of defeat about the actual topic being discussed.

              12

          • #
            Ted1

            “Would you like be the one to tell upwards of 80-90% of the population that they can’t own a car?”

            Rest assured that that is their intention. The question is, 80% or 90%?

            20

            • #
              Lucky

              In Australia? No problem. Already widespread acceptance of mask wearing, no trips to Bali, police intrusion (largely peaceful), signing-in, and unsocial distancing. Next? Bring it on.

              00

    • #
      Chad

      #
      Lank
      February 24, 2021 at 7:06 pm ·
      Why won’t the Feds restructure the CSIRO to smaller groups with commercial ambition. For example seed fund one to build a small scale commercial Li-ion battery plant and produce from our local supply of metals and materials – working with, and diluting ownership to a commercial battery maker. Same with EV’s, etc etc.

      I agree, but the CSIRO, would probably just hinder the progress of projects,
      …and why would they need to anyway, when there are already at least two Lithium battery production plants under development in Oz ?
      Like this one..
      https://renaissanceone.com.au/

      20

  • #
    tonyb

    ‘Free’ Energy. Yes, people do seem to believe that. In the same way we get ‘Free’ water out of our taps as it merely falls out of the sky and the water companies need do nothing to it.

    280

  • #

    Madness knows no bounds. Einstein is quoted on the difference between genius and stupidity, in that stupidity is infinite.As a recognised genius, he had a pretty good idea about that.

    160

  • #
    Kalm Keith

    In the same vein we have had local industry either closed or left teetering on the edge for a decade because of Australia’s screwed up energy mess.

    Kurri Aluminium smelter shut down years ago and Tomago smelter has been left sitting anxiously hoping for a miracle that would see politicians fix the electricity craziness.
    Sadly, getting elected is more pressing than doing the right thing.
    Aluminium smelters cannot run when the power could go off for hours at a time: it doesn’t work like that.

    The German problem is closer to home than most people admit.

    KK

    330

  • #
    Saighdear

    Germany! – the “fatherland” – really is becoming a land of bampots. I watch a lot of Free-to-air Satellite Progs from there: Documentaries of ALL SORTs from around the world. Armchair travel, if you will. What our UK misses ( and the Remoaners) is that their Media appears to be more in keeping with their Folk in their everyday life. Regularly one sees progs about Environmental issues:do they SOW the Seeds of western unrest in envronmentalism? They SHOW how people work, what they work on, etc … from windmills to farming to Alpen Life to grizzly Abattoir jobs, Making things, sorting things, crafting things enjoying things, etc …. it’s all there. … and guess what, there’s ALWAYS the plug of Climate change, Nay! WARMING.
    The AUTO industry: MUST be in bed with government ( Maybe Auto should read as Engineering) appears soooo happy to comply ( VW in America) and the yielding to EVs – countless progs about the benefits of running them….
    References here : 1. https://www.ardmediathek.de/ard/ 2. https://www.zdf.de —>https://www.zdf.de/doku-wissen
    Finally put up a screen in front of your monitor!

    30

  • #
    PeterS

    I would love to see the unions wake up to the fact their jobs will be destroyed by ALP+Greens faster than by the LNP.

    210

  • #
    williamx

    How much area is required for a wind power facility?

    This is a quote from National Wind Watch.

    “The huge turbines require a correspondingly large area around them clear of trees and other turbines to maximize the effect of the wind and avoid interference. In an array that can take advantage of the wind from any direction, the GE needs 82 acres and the Vestas V90 111 acres per tower.

    In practice, the area varies, averaging about 50 acres per megawatt of capacity.

    Can the area around a wind turbine continue to be used?

    Only by putting oneself in danger. Besides the unpleasant noises and distracting motion, wind turbines are not safe. They are high-voltage electrical devices with large moving parts. It is estimated that for every 100 turbines, one blade will break off (see Larwood, 2005). In the winter, heavy sheets of ice can build up and then fall or be thrown off. Access to the land around wind turbines is usually restricted, even to the landowner.

    end quote.

    OK. From the head article posted above… Germany has 30000 wind turbines. Producing a max of 60 gigawatts in ideal conditions. (spoiler alert… Nameplate capacity does not guarantee output)
    If roughly 100 acres are needed per turbine. It is 3,000,000 acres of land, made unusable by a unreliable energy source.

    Well done green power!

    Now if you replace the power output of 20 coal fired, reliable power plants with 30000 unreliable wind turbines.
    What does Germany achieve?…..

    Maybe it is a constant instability in the grid, loss of jobs, high energy costs and a smiling Macron and Putin.

    It makes sense.

    Well done Germany!

    220

    • #
      JS

      It is 3,000,000 acres of land, made unusable by a unreliable energy source.

      From what I’ve seen of Germany it’s 3,000,000 acres of forest cleared. Imagine the outcry if someone tried to clear 3,000,000 acres of forest for any other purpose.

      Now if you replace the power output of 20 coal fired, reliable power plants with 30000 unreliable wind turbines.

      Even more stupid is that they replaced the output of nuclear power plants with their bird chompers.

      130

  • #
    John R Smith

    We keep discussing engineering, science, medicine, and logic.
    None of this is about that.
    Run an increasingly technological society on intermittent energy sources?
    Two masks work better than one?
    End raci_l stereotyping with rac_l stereotyping?
    End misinformation with less information?
    Build Unity with political pogroms?
    We’re fighting the last war.
    Maybe two wars back.

    80

  • #
    Andrew McRae

    And all in the name of reducing CO2 emissions apparently.
    Regarding carbon capture, one recent suggestion was for crushed olivine to be mixed in with coal to yield higher exothermic energy output, lower CO2 emissions, and a solid waste that could be formed into bricks for construction.
    https://mobile.twitter.com/ID_AA_Carmack/status/1364226613852864517

    If anyone can figure out why this scheme wouldn’t work, it would be Jonovians. 🙂

    I guess the first test is whether you spend more energy mining and crushing the olivine than you get out in additional heat in the furnace. But then what powers all the extra olivine mining equipment? Probably a fossil source. So even if you assume CO2 emission is a cost to be avoided, this scheme still may not be a net reduction, depends on the numbers.
    What other problems can resident coal power experts think of?

    50

    • #
      Kevin kilty

      There is a tendency to write down chemical reactions and assume they will work as written on an industrial scale without further considerations. I got into a “discussion” with some people at WUWT years ago trying to point out that writing chemical reactions with arrows going either direction does not mean the reactions are “reversible” in the ordinary sense of that word.

      Let’s ponder some of the questions about “burning” olivine that an engineer would have to consider. In a coal power plant of the sort I am familiar with coal is pulverized to dust size and mixed with air at a carefully maintained air/fuel mass ratio. Burning is a fast reaction. The ash in the coal ends up as a “slag” that is a problem substance, but we can handle that. At any rate we remove as much of the heat of the exhaust gases as possible to raise steam for turbines.

      Now imagine that you have a low-temperature stream, post-furnace and heat exchangers, of gas containing a fair amount of CO2 and you plan to “burn” olivine with it to make magnesite which is a very stable material to sequester CO2. The first questions to ask are 1)in what form are the reactants? 2) what is your supply of reactants? 3) at what temperature can you get the maximum conversion of CO2? 4)How much material processing is needed?

      The reaction of olivine plus CO2 to magnesite is favored at low temperature, but the rate of reaction is very slow. Even at temperatures near that in the furnace it can take hours to reach equilibrium, and that equilibrium may involve less than 50% conversion, possibly a lot less. The arrow of chemical reaction does not go very far in either direction at any temperatures worthy of further work. Making the olivine very fine (10 micrometers, say) helps the rate, but at the cost of a great deal of mechanical input. The best sources of olivine are dunite deposits and dunite is only about 90% olivine. There is far, far less dunite around than coal. So, you are going to get a local solution to the sequestration issue at best — maybe nothing more than a couple of heavily subsidized demonstration projects.

      The nearly two orders of magnitude difference in reaction rate, the poor equilibrium point, and the need to reduce a hard rock to very fine particles all suggest to me a real material handling problem. And this doesn’t even begin to consider details like: is the reaction going to be gas-phase or aqueous? How are you planning to extract the heat of reaction to perform useful work?

      I would guess we might do best to just crush up some marginal deposits of olivine bearing rock to sand-sized grains, put it in playground sandboxes, and let natural weathering do what it can. We can pat ourselves on the back for helping to solve the CO2 “crisis”. Better yet, maybe forget the whole thing.

      By the way, readers of this blog may appreciate this anecdote. I have a friend who, in support of a Mars flyer design, designed and actually constructed and tested on a test-stand, a turbo-jet engine that can burn CO2 in the thin Martial atmosphere using extremely fine magnesium metal. Loud, smoky, scary thing to watch run. It was not meant for a long service life, but rather to get around on Mars quickly. When it comes to combusion problems, this fellow is a genius.

      180

  • #
    Richard Ilfeld

    Another note from the eat your own cooking dept.
    At least the Germans are living with the consequences of their energy decisions.
    According to a popular Auto Magazine, a well maintained mid to high end vehicle nowadays,
    (good tuning essential to minimize emissions doncha know), can be expected to run 200-300,000
    miles over 12-15 years, depending mostly on the severity of the winters it faces.

    If the world you’re touting is facing an existential threat in nine, you’d better not be driving a late model car.

    60

  • #

    The deal to move manufacturing to Texas must have fallen through.

    Pointy

    100

    • #
      OriginalSteve

      The problem isnt Texas …. the problem is the Texas politicians who let the significant wind power onto the grid.

      Texas needs to pass a law that says :

      “No more than 5% grid capacity at any time from renewables.”

      Jail anyone who tries to do otherwise…its a matter of survival in these temperatures.

      This isnt hard ..it just requires backbone.

      110

      • #
        Chad

        The start of the Texas energy problem was when they “Deregulated”. (Commercial Market system) their generation sources , several years ago.
        Consumer prices immediately started to increase and Generators started looking for quick, cheap methods of producing power to get more fingers into the honeypot.

        30

      • #
        Lucky

        The Texas problem,
        -is not even their own politicians,
        -the energy system is bureaucratic, statist, wokist, control by US Federal government agencies. It is hard to keep up to date with them but DoE, EPA, and FERC are among the many. Their powers got vastly increased in the Obama years.

        The energy sector is highly regulated, many private entities are in it but only due to cronyism.
        The role of ERCOT appears to be unclear tho’ stultifying, reports on this site tell us that the members, now anonymous, are not Texas residents.
        It is easy to think that those positions are politically appointed sinecures like the decision making level in general.

        30

  • #
    Cookster

    Just another example of the mass delusion over wind, solar and “storage”.

    On carbon capture, it is carbon capture that the believers say can make “net zero” dreamland possible without nuclear energy. Too bad about agriculture. But now in Australia we even have the Prime Minister of the right of centre major political party talking nonsense about net zero when the technology to make this possible without nuclear hasn’t been invented anywhere in the world. But Scott Morrison talks nonsense because that is the safe political thing to do.

    Even big business leaders are wanting government to provide a pathway to net zero. What they really want is to be first in line for handouts and subsidies.

    Now it is politically popular to say “net zero”. Sigh. Nothing has changed since 2007 when John Howard promised an ETS to counter Kevin07’s la la land policies.

    China got a huge free hit at Paris 2015 by being classified as a developing nation whilst the west after Fukushima tsunami made nuclear unfashionable drinks the Kool aid.

    The world is so messed up on this rubbish I have almost given up caring. Intelligent and educated people are incapable of simple thought.

    My thanks to Jo for maintaining this site as a reality check against what passes muster in the MSM.

    Green energy is just a massive global Ponzi scheme. If its Green it must work. Just don’t think too hard.

    120

  • #
    Cookster

    Meanwhile in Australia at 5:40am NEM time coal is providing 84% of the grid’s demand, solar zero% and no plans for nuclear in sight to make net zero by 2050 even possible. Even dispatchable gas is now discouraged in the net zero la la land. Its hopeless.

    120

  • #
    OldOzzie

    More Green blackouts ahead

    WSJ EDITORIAL BOARD

    You’d think the Texas blackouts would trigger some soul-searching about the vulnerability of America’s electrical grid. Not in today’s hothouse of climate politics. The Biden Administration is already moving to stop an examination of grid vulnerability to promote unreliable renewable energy sources.

    Regulators have been warning for years that the grid is becoming shakier as cheap natural gas and heavily subsidized renewables replace steady coal and nuclear baseload power. “The nation’s power grid will be stressed in ways never before experienced” due to “an unprecedented resource-mix change,” the North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC) warned in 2011.

    It added: “Environmental regulations are shown to be the number one risk to reliability over the next one to five years.”

    But the Obama Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) refused to consider how climate policies would affect reliability. Since 2011 about 90 gigawatts (GW) of coal capacity have shut down, replaced by some 120 GW of wind and solar and 60 GW of gas power cap

    The wind lobby says Texas should have required thermal (nuclear, gas, coal) plants to be weatherized to withstand single-digit temperatures. Perhaps, but wind still performed the worst during the blackout, generating power at 12% of its capacity compared to 76% for nuclear, 39% for coal, and 38% for gas, according to a data analysis by the Center of the American Experiment.

    In 2018 FERC finally began examining these grid resilience challenges. But its new Democratic Chairman, Richard Glick, closed the inquiry last week. He cited the lack of regulatory action, but the real reason is that grid resilience conflicts with the Biden climate agenda.

    When the blackouts arrive, don’t say Americans weren’t warned.

    60

  • #
    Simon B

    The writing was on the wall a decade ago. The West will be completely dependent on Asian manufacturers by 2030. That was the plan, wasn’t it? How did supposed intelligent societies become so dumb, so easily? Klaus Schwab must be ecstatic, Gore and Blood even more so as they manipulate the straggling Western countries into 3rd world status while they get richer. They may even end believing their our lies as they see the coffers fill!

    100

  • #
    OldOzzie

    Meanwhile

    Hyundai Kona Electric Battery Worldwide Recall Will Cost $900 Million

    More than 75,000 vehicles are affected worldwide, and now the U.S. is preparing a battery replacement recall over cells that can short-circuit.

    – South Korea has issued a recall for more than 25,000 Hyundai Kona Electric crossovers over potential fires.
    – Hyundai and battery supplier LG Chem have been unable to determine what is causing the fires.
    – Hyundai is filing for a voluntary recall with the U.S. safety agency NHTSA.

    Hyundai and Kia already part of a large recall in the United States due to fire danger in older vehicles.

    Other automakers including Honda, McLaren, Toyota, and Chrysler have also recently issued recalls concerning potential vehicle fires.

    50

  • #
    Speedy

    My brother is a yachtie. He reckons the wind is free but the sails cost a S/Load. Someone should explain that to the greenies.

    80

  • #
  • #
    CHRIS

    USA Capitalism has a lot to answer for in this scenario. The Greedy corporations shifted their manufacturing bases offshore, so they could maximise profits by paying third world employees crap wages (one example is Nike). As far as I’m concerned, this greed serves the USA right, and I hope the USA will eventually reap the whirlwind and die. Then if the UN/CCP takes over the world a-la 1984, then tough bikkies. The West’s complacency has asked for this.

    01

  • #
    Philip

    And so with that many turbines, how is the landscape holding up aesthetically ? I admit sometimes they actually suit a landscape or two, but most often an abomination. Have Germans stopped caring about landscape or do the windmills fit right in ?

    10