The dangers of renewable energy - electricity prices spike across Europe

Inflation is raging across Europe, and it has been driven by a sustained spike in electricity prices.

Take a look at the following image of German electricity prices:

They're now the highest in twenty years.

The culprit is the dependence on wind power and what happens when the wind stops blowing.

In the last month the North Sea has been unusually calm, and the strong winds and storms have been absent. This has affected all the windfarms in Denmark, the UK, Germany and Sweden. When you rely on wind power for half your electricity and it drops, you have to fire up the gas and coal power stations to supply electricity instead.

Germany's position has been made more acute because 12 years ago, they closed down all their nuclear power plants, which would have provided a stable and reliable base load electricity.

As as result everyone has been scrambling to buy gas, and gas prices in Europe have spiked, and thus electricity generated by gas has become more expensive.

Only France is unaffected, as 70% of it's electricity is generated by nuclear power. The UK too still has it's nuclear power plants generating 20% of it's electricity with new nuclear plants being built (building commenced in 2015 but still has a long way to go).

Everyone else is stuffed and is paying through the nose for gas and coal.

The moral of the story: renewable energy is unreliable. Sometimes the wind doesn't blow and the sun doesn't shine. If you really want to go carbon free, you have to go nuclear, but few governments are brave enough to tell their citizens that.

And if we're struggling to generate enough energy now, imagine the cost when we all get forced to switch to electric vehicles...

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4 comments
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Yes, that is crazy, in my country the same thing is happening, we are paying what we could never imagine, I am making some changes in the way I use energy because it seems to me that this situation is going to get worse. Excellent article!

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Yes - we're all going to have to cut back usage. Turn off all appliances on standby, use LED lights and so on. But so much of modern life is dependent on electricity and charging our pones and devices and so on, I'm not sure it is possible to cut back that much.

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Unfortunately we depend too much on that kind of things, well one of my ideas was change my electric plate by gas plate, so the gas bottle costs like 15 euros to charge instead to use electric plate, and it last 6-8 months, so I'm saving quite 15-20 euros each month, that is a 30% less than before in consume.

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