According to Sigismund Kobe, the German energy transition is based on “ignorance about the laws of physics”. The emeritus physics professor at the Technical University of Dresden, born in 1940, is certain: “If natural and engineering principles continue to be faded out as before, the entire previous concept of the energy transition will burst like a colorful soap bubble.”
Germany would like to be the first country to get completely out of coal and also to shut down its nuclear power plants. The industrial nation wants to prove to the entire world: In Germany, it is only possible to ensure a stable power supply using regenerative energy sources. That will not work out, emphasizes Kobe in an interview with the German medium Eifelon, for physical reasons, as he shows using the various forms of renewable energy sources.
With hydropower and biogas plants, electricity could be provided largely according to the needs of the consumer, only they have “no greater potential for expansion in Germany”. In contrast to Norway or Switzerland, Germany lacks enough regions with the necessary height differences to build enough additional hydropower plants. In addition, the annual amount of rain is insufficient. The agriculturally usable areas in Germany, on the other hand, are already sufficiently divided into those for food and feed production and those for bioenergetic use. The future potential of these two renewable energy sources for Germany is therefore severely limited.
The only other renewable energy sources that Germany could invest in expanding are wind and sun. The problem: Power generation fluctuates here, as Kobe emphasizes. It just depends on whether the wind is blowing – or not, although the latter is quite often the case. With solar energy, in turn, everything depends on the amount of sunshine: “The vast majority of the annual share of electricity from photovoltaic systems in electricity production is fed in in the summer and then again mainly in a few hours around noon, before and after the share is low and at night the sun never shines. ” The network will soon no longer be able to cope with these additional fluctuations in generation.
In contrast to hydropower and biogas plants, the addition of solar and wind power plants is quite possible in Germany and is often demanded – but unfortunately it does not solve the problem. In spite of the massive expansion, the actual output has already remained comparatively low. If more wind and solar systems are added, as is currently required, the problems with dark doldrums cannot be solved. If there is no wind in Germany, no wind turbine will move, regardless of how many additional ones have been set up. Conversely, if too much sun shines and too much wind blows, the systems produce more than all consumers can consume. Even then, security of supply is at risk and the system is no longer stable.
The problem is: consumers set the pace. You determine when and how much electricity is needed. “Electricity is the most perishable commodity in the world,” says Kobe. At the same time it is generated, it must also be consumed. However, surplus electricity cannot be stored in the grid. One solution would be to store the electricity that is currently being generated too much. The problem: Germany does not have such storage facilities with the necessary gigantic storage capacity, and they will not be available to it in the foreseeable future.
The batteries in electric cars are nowhere near enough to store electricity, quite apart from the fact that nobody will bear the costs for intermediate storage unless they are compensated for it.
The greatest concern for Kobe is security of supply. It is not without reason that the Ministry of Economic Affairs’s monitoring report is anonymous. It says: “Overall, the availability of the energy sources for electricity generation can be assessed as secure.” Kobe said: “Experts are horrified and sound the alarm.”