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German Expert Explains What’s Stopping Green Energy From Becoming Sustainable and Cost-Effective

Various attempts at demonstrating reliable and feasible green energy fail to overcome a long-standing challenge, physics engineer Peter Würdig says
Victor Westerkamp
Victor resides in the Netherlands and writes about freedom and governmental and social changes to the democratic form of nations.
Published: January 4, 2023
Picture shows the reservoir of the Gorona wind-hydro-pumped station on the Spanish Canary island of El Hierro on March 14, 2016. Pines and pineapples vie for space on El Hierro, a tiny rugged Canary island that has gone all out to produce all its electricity from renewables, attracting global attention in the process. (Image: DESIREE MARTIN/AFP via Getty Images)

Self-sufficient sustainable energy projects based on solar and wind energy have all failed so far — that is, a truly green replacement for fossil fuels still eludes current technology, a German lecturer said in a lecture given last November.

Peter Würdig, a qualified engineer in physics with the Technical University of Berlin, lectured at the EIKE (European Institute for Climate and Energy) event on Nov. 25 and Nov. 26 in Merseburg, Germany.

His distressing conclusion about three field trials to transition from fully grid-dependent to fully energy self-sustainability failed. And this likely goes for all of them, according to Würdig, who was also a candidate in the Lower Saxony elections of 2022 running on the right wing-party AfD (Alternative for Germany) ticket.

The theory is the energy transition, i.e., the idea that you can supply a country with solar and wind energy,” Würdig said, as reported by the German-language edition of The Epoch Times.

However, one of the significant problems solar and wind energy-dependent communities have to deal with is the fickle nature of these natural resources. When the winds are not blowing or when the weather is cloudy, plant operators would have to find means of storing energy generated during surplus periods, Würdig said.


This, he believes, is where current green energy projects are stuck, given that there is at present no feasible way of storing large amounts of electricity for low-production periods, such as in the winter when the days are shorter.

Many national and local governments are encouraging household and private-sector investment into solar energy, often involving programs where users who install photovoltaic panels remain connected to the community grid and continue to rely on traditional methods of power generation when the solar systems cannot generate enough electricity to cover the needs of consumption.

In his presentation, Würdig named the three most promising energy storage options currently available. The projects were tested on three different islands in Europe to demonstrate the practicality of large-scale transition from fossil fuels.

However, none of the projects succeeded in solving the problem of long-term power storage.

Utsira, Norway

The first island Würdig focused on was Utsira in Norway. Starting in 2004, the field experiment aimed at supplying 10 households on the island.

A diagram showing the energy system tested on the Norweigian island of Utsira between 2004 and 2006. (Image: Screenshot/YouTube/Peter Würdiger)

It relied on wind energy and a flywheel storage system tasked with securing continuous grid stability added by a hydrogen tank, an electrolysis unit, a fuel cell, and a hydrogen engine with a generator.

However, the project was not cost-effective, and the fuel cell had to be shut down after half a year. In 2006, all other components were dismantled.

Pellworm, Germany

About eight years following the attempt at self-sufficiency on Utsira, E.ON tried again. The operators wanted to supply the approximately 1,200 islanders self-sufficiently on the North Frisian island of Pellworm, off the northern coast of Germany, in 2014.

The energy company took an approach consisting of solar panels, wind power, biogas plants, and large batteries.

However, while some days with favorable conditions were failure-free, the system did not work when the weather and consumption needs failed to cooperate.

The plant produced an average failure duration of between 14 and 43 minutes a day, according to a report by Die Welt.

According to Würdig, the possibility of brief power outages may be considered tolerable by German standards. However, the Pellworm field trial suggests that technology still has some ways to go before costs can be brought down to a reasonable level.

The experiment scored a cost of 60 euro cents per kilowatt-hour (kWh) of energy produced. For comparison, one kWh from lignite coal costs only 3 cents in production.

The power plant complex itself cost 12 million euros and now lies “wasted,” per Würdig, as the plants as abandoned, the containers with the storage units removed, and the terrain converted into a dog-walking area.

Northwestern Germany’s “Pellworm SmartRegion.” (Image: Screenshot/YouTube/Peter Würdiger)

El Hierro, Canary Islands

At the turn of the millennium, the then vice president of the western Canary island of El Hierro, Javier Morales, promoted the idea of realizing a 100 percent renewable energy supply there relying entirely on hydropower.

According to a report by “”, only about 60 percent of the energy was generated by hydropower, supported by a storage basin. The missing 40 percent had to be supplied by a diesel power plant.

The field trial was completed by 2014, but, in retrospect, analyses show that the project was doomed to failure from the beginning. At the beginning of 2016, the price per kWh on the island was reportedly 81 cents, while, on the Spanish mainland, the price at that time was 24 cents.

The costs amounted to almost 90 million euros by 2019, and ongoing follow-up costs still levy a heavy burden on the production costs in the following years. On top of that, the reservoir should have measured at least five times the volume in order to produce the desired energy, while other sources speak of 20 times, Würdig noted. Both goals were geologically infeasible for the island.