ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel
  • »
  • Technology»
  • Renewable & Alternative Energy

Germany's Energy Stromautobahn Gamble

Updated on August 31, 2014
Bard 1 Wind Farm in the North Sea
Bard 1 Wind Farm in the North Sea
The Stromautobahn (the electricity highway)
The Stromautobahn (the electricity highway)
The 230 ft. towers needed for the highway
The 230 ft. towers needed for the highway

Electricity is expensive in Germany. It has jumped up by 60% in the past five years. The German industry is quickly losing its competitive edge as government subsidies end. Prices are double what they are in the USA and China.

The Stromautobahn will cost TRILLIONS of euros, involve stringing high-voltage cables hundreds of miles from the the windy North Sea at Wilster to Grafenrheinfeld. When completed in 2025, it is expected to produce 40% of Germany's electricity from wind energy and will help wean off fossil fuels and nuclear energy. By 2050, it will be 80%. In dollars, the project will cost $1.5 trillion, which is 50% of the country's GNP. Two things is causing the dramatic energy shift: the nuclear disaster in Japan in 2011 and German companies moving out of the country to the USA (like VW, Mercedes) because of high energy costs.

Electricity in Germany has tripled since 2010, and accounts for about 20% of a household's or business costs. Even with subsidies from the government, which amount to over $24 billion yearly, costs continue to rise. Many companies receive an exemption from paying surcharges that help pay for this huge project. This is has been called unfair because those not exempt (everyone else) pay them and surcharges continue to increase as it is built. These companies save about $5 billion annually, so they are quite content. To illustrate how energy costs lure German companies away, the German chip maker, Infineon, pays $25 million more for energy than it would if it moved next door in Austria.

The new Stromautobahn will string more than 4000 miles of high-voltage lines offshore to onshore from the North Sea to Germany's industrial center when completed. However, only 220 miles have been completed so far. These lines will move through, in the air, across large cities and towns. The plan is to use 1000 wind giant turbines located in the North Sea to Wilster, at the mouth of the Elbe River. Currently, there are only 80. Converter stations located there will then send the electricity to 500 miles south. There is opposition as towns and locals fight the installation of a 230 foot power tower littler their area. Local governments are saying, " not in our backyard". The Bard Offshore 1 is equivalent in size of Flensburg and is located 60 miles northwest of Borkum Island in the North Sea. This one 'wind farm" will provide 400 megawatts, roughly corresponding to the consumption of all private households in the Greater Munich area. It takes about nine months to install that many wind turbines.

There is another pressing reason why Germany is doing this: the nine nuclear plants that create the country's electricity are going offline in 2022. If the new plan is not completed by then, Germany will have to resort in creating its needs by other means.

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • perrya profile image
      Author

      perrya 3 years ago

      Thanks, this is what happens when "being Green" overrides all

    • lions44 profile image

      CJ Kelly 3 years ago from Auburn, WA

      I still have my doubts about these projects. To unilaterally take yourself off nuclear puts your country in a very tight spot and also hurts your standing worldwide. Why? Think Russia's invasion of Ukraine. Dependency breeds instability. Germany needs to be energy independent now. Why destroy your economy and your bargaining power on a "hope." I like wind power, but extremism in this way is a vice. Perry, as usual, thought- provoking article. Voted up and shared.

    • profile image

      Howard Schneider 3 years ago from Parsippany, New Jersey

      Excellent Hub and information, Perrya. I applaud the Germans for taking this step away from fossil fuels. It is bold and costly but it will save money in the future and provide for a cleaner environment.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: "https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr"

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)