Tuesday, December 21, 2021

The Greening of Europe

No one seems to be reporting on this story on this side of the Atlantic, so here goes. The issue, what happens when you go green? Perhaps the news media is ignoring the story because they do not want us to see what happens when you place too much reliance on renewable energy.

We recall that the sainted Angela Merkel suffered a spasm of stupidity and shut down Germany’s nuclear power plants. The result-- electricity shortages and skyrocketing energy prices. 

Zero Hedge reports on Europe’s ongoing energy crisis. It’s source is Bloomberg’s Chief Energy Correspondent, Javier Blas. Given the source I take it that we can rely on the information.

Zero Hedge begins with the perils of cold weather. Even in France, where they did not shut down their nuclear power plants, some of these have been taken off line, for various reasons:

Europe's energy crisis worsened Monday as the Northern Hemisphere winter is about to begin. Colder weather plagued parts of Europe with zero degrees Celsius, straining electricity grids already dealing with unreliable green energy sources (such as low wind power generation) and nuclear power plant outages in France. 

Let's begin and take a look at soaring day-ahead electricity prices across Europe. Bloomberg's Chief Energy Correspondent Javier Blas pointed out, "electricity prices across much of Europe set fresh and frightening record highs."

Blas pointed out that German day-ahead electricity prices are at 431 euros per megawatt-hour, a record high. 

Of course, actions have consequences. And the loss of electrical generation capacity in Germany will cause industrial shutdowns. Way to go, Angela:

Germany is an economic powerhouse on the continent, and high power prices could force energy-intensive industries to shutter operations and re-sell their power on spot markets. 

In France, the problem is different. First, there are safety concerns. Second, workers at some plants are on strike. Leave it to the labor unions:

In France, several nuclear power plants have reduced output due to safety woes and a worker strike, straining the grid and sending power prices to decade highs. 

What will the consequences be:

With more nuclear power plant outages and unreliable green energy, electricity producers will use more gas to produce energy. However, supply constraints persist as the amount of gas entering Germany at the Mallnow compressor station collapsed over the weekend; storage tanks on the continent are only 60% filled, a record low for this time of year.

As for America, where the Green New Deal was DOA, natural gas prices have been lower:

While gas prices in Europe remain at record levels, there's been an entirely different situation in the US with warm weather and abundance of gas have depressed prices.

What does Bloomberg’s correspondent Blas say?

Bloomberg's Chief Energy Correspondent Javier Blas tweeted a disturbing map of European day-ahead electricity prices that will hit record highs on Monday. 

"EUROPEAN ENERGY CRISIS: Wow, wow, wow... I'm running out of words to describe the European short-term electricity market," Blas said. 

He continued, "Multiple records breached for Monday. With the exception of Poland and Scandinavia, all Europe is above €300 per MWh (France and Switzerland near €400)."

The continuation of surging power prices, as Blas explained, is due to "Lots of nuclear reactors are down, demand is high (electricity used for heating), so it's burning gas to bridge the gap." 

It will be a political problem soon enough:

Europe's energy crisis worsens and risks sparking discontent among many Europeans. How long until politicians order utilities to implement price caps on power rates? If politicians want to stay in power, they might also have to subsidize people's power bills as energy inflation runs wild. 

Consider yourself better informed about the greening of Europe. Console yourself with the thought that they are saving the planet-- even if their citizens go broke or freeze.


Walt said...

Ah, but t we gave them Putin’s pipeline and gave Putin (literally and figuratively) power over them.

David Foster said...

Here’s the great French scientist Sadi Carnot, writing in 1824:

"To take away England’s steam engines to-day would amount to robbing her of her iron and coal, to drying up her sources of wealth, to ruining her means of prosperity and destroying her great power. The destruction of her shipping, commonly regarded as her source of strength, would perhaps be less disastrous for her."

Extrapolation to the countries of our present era, and their sources of energy, should be straightforward.

See my post Powering Down:


Matthew Boulton, showing James Boswell around the Boulton & Watt steam engine factory in 1776, summed up his business one simple phrase:

"I sell here, sir, what all the world desires to have–POWER"

So why are our so many of our present-day national leaders so eager to destroy the power sources which make their countries strong and prosperous? See my post Power: Mechanical, National, and Personal