Energy Geopolitics of Central EuropeNovember 12, 2012
A fascinating article today at the European Energy Review about the energy geopolitics among supposed friends and allies in the heart of Europe. Germany has one of the most advanced wind power industries in the world. However, most of its wind farms are located in the north of the nation, and those mostly in the east, while most of its industries are in the southwest. German renewable electricity also has customers further south, in Austria.
Normally, this is not an issue, because even Germany’s army of 22,500 turbines cannot generate base power. However, on days when the wind is really blowing, Germany does not have the grid capacity to transmit the amounts of electricity thus generated. On those days, it routes its excess electricity into the power grids of Czechoslovakia and Poland, whether the they want it or not. The power flows through the transnational grids to the customers in the south either way.
The Czechs and Poles say this plays havoc with their own national power systems. Negotiations with the Germans have been unsatisfactory, so the two nations are fortifying their borders with transformers and splitters in order to keep unwanted German electricity out.
The Germans, for their part, say that this is not about national grid security. Rather, they accuse Poland and Czechoslovakia of attempting to boost the cost of German electricity so that they can sell their own excess electricity when their planned nuclear plants come on line.
This has just been a summary of a detailed article. Read the whole thing.