Wind and solar are meant to be the solution to our looming weather woes. The truth is that the weather-dependent ‘unreliables’ have increased our mortal vulnerability to mother nature’s vagaries.
Europe is in the grip of a bitter winter and, with routine and total collapses in both wind and solar output, its electricity grid is a heartbeat away from total failure.
It’s millions of solar panels carpeted in snow and ice are producing nothing; it’s tens of thousands of wind turbines aren’t much help, either. Despite their ostensible hatred for coal-fired power, freezing Germans are scrambling for every last watt of the stuff.
The last couple of generations of Europeans have been blessed with cheap, reliable and abundant energy supplies. But the current one is about to get a taste of what happens when bitter weather bites and the power goes out.
NoTricksZone reports on a continental disaster in the making.
Winter Storm Threatens Germany’s Power…Freezing Hell Threatens If Already Rickety Grid Collapses!
No Tricks Zone
6 February 2021
Green energy and COVID-19 lockdowns are playing energy Russian roulette with people’s lives. Perfect winter storm brewing.
A winter blizzard is set to strike Central Europe, bringing with it the potential to wreak power outage havoc. Temperatures will plummet to as low as -15°C accompanied by bone-chilling high winds. Closed shops due to COVID-19 are leaving citizens unprepared. A protracted power outage would be devastating.
In the coming hours, a high pressure system situated over Scandinavia and storm Tristan to the south will collide over central Europe and develop into dangerous weather conditions over one of Europe’s most populated regions, North Rhine Westphalia Germany.
There are some major problems with this storm that will test the German power grid stability and even possibly the citizens’ ability to fend for themselves.
Power grid at risk: hours of freezing rain
First will be the band of freezing rain that is forecast across the Ruhr region of North Rhine Westphalia. According to Kachelmannwetter.de, the freezing rain period could last hours and thus lead to heavy weight loads on power transmission structures as ice builds up. Lines could collapse.
High winds – even heavier loads
To make matters worse, high winds will further exacerbate the loads on the already ice-coated power transmission infrastructure – thus increasing the probability of power line structural failure and an ensuing power blackout, which in turn could cascade and threaten the European power grid.
Winter blackout not unprecedented
Such a blackout would not be unprecedented. In 2006, a major European blackout was caused by a disconnection of a powerline crossing in northwest Germany. The power outage quickly cascaded across Europe, extending from Poland in the north-east, to the Benelux countries and France in the west, through to Portugal, Spain and Morocco in the south-west, and across to Greece and the Balkans in the south-east.
Also just last month a major European blackout was narrowly averted. The cause: wintry weather, which was mild compared to what is forecast to hit soon.
November snow storm 2005
Wintry weather causing a blackout also occurred on November 25, 2005, in northwest Germany when the region was hit by a snow storm. Power transmission lines, which had been poorly maintained over the previous years, collapsed under the weight of ice and caused a large blackout. According to power company RWE, around 250,000 people in 25 municipalities lost power.
Grid more destabilized than ever – unsteady green energies
Another problem with this weekend’s coming storm – in addition to high winds and ice – is the fact that Germany’s power grid is more unstable than ever – thanks to the wildly fluctuating supply from wind and solar energy. Also a number of baseload-providing nuclear and coal power plants have been taken out of service, thus further destabilizing the country’s and continent’s power grid.
Power grid winter Russian roulette with people’s lives
The forecast weather conditions mean almost zero solar energy, and the expected high winds may necessitate the shutdown of wind turbines or cause wild feed-in fluctuations. One thing is certain, the grid will be challenged over the coming hours and days.
Most likely the grid will hold up and keep everyone out of the cold and darkness. But the bad news is that in the wintertime the country’s power grid has turned into a game of energy roulette and citizens have to rely on “a little luck” every time the weather turns stormy and frigid cold – thanks in large part to disastrous energy policies by the German government.
The worst time for any blackout is during a period of blizzard and bitter cold. People can freeze to death quickly. In such times they rely more than ever on a stable power supply.
What if there’s a longer term blackout?
For my wife and I here in northwest Germany, we would be toast.
With this weekend’s forecast high winds and temperatures dropping to near -15°C, we’d not only lose both power but also heat. Our natural gas furnace is controlled electrically, so it would cease to function too. Within hours the house would turn very cold and uninhabitable. We don’t have a woodstove or a fireplace. We’d have to move in with friends or relatives who have wood heat.
It would not be possible to go out and buy a generator to power the furnace because the stores are closed – due to Corona! I’ve got a gas bottle for the barbecue grill, but it’s almost empty. And I can’t fill it because the shops are closed – due to Corona. What a time for a lockdown – just when people need to be preparing the most.
Without heat at home, we could just stay at a hotel, right? Wrong. They’re closed too – because of COVID. So are bars and restaurants.
All the ingredients for a perfect disaster
Across the country, many people face the same scenario. Most would somehow get by, I’m sure. But if a blackout should occur, many will risk freezing to death in large part because of the self-inflicted green energies grid instability and the Corona lockdowns making it impossible for them to prepare properly.
We can almost see the perfect disaster brewing. Unfortunately, this is what the government has left its citizens with: hope for the best! A game of energy Russian Roulette. The winter bullet is in the chamber. We can only hope to miss it.
No Tricks Zone
5 thoughts on “Perfect Storm: Renewables Obsession Leaves Europeans Vulnerable During Bitter Winter”
1- A 7y-old All-Renewable-generation german technical study (2014) demonstrates that although on-shore wind electricity saves direct CO² with respect of CCCG generation (0.475kg/KWh),it also requires almost permanent availability of “warmed” CCCG plants to be able to compensate on the spot any wind fall, because german dams power is too small: This pre-warming and subsequent start-up efficiency loss (up to -25%) can only be compensated by more gas to burn and MORE CO² to emit.
Balance is zero in best case.
Only off-shore electricity has a small overall CO² saving but so small that is is not worth it.
2- Same study defines the mathematical best generation balance for ideal case without significant massive electricity storage:
CCCG should alone be able to supply 83GW (pic grid demand) for only 20% of annual energy supply,
Of-Shore installed base shall be 480GW, 5 times actual base,
Solar Panels installed base of 120GW.
When we include amortization of severely increased grid transmission capability, this yields a price of 1250€ per MWh for end users like you or me, instead of 170€ for present decent european countries.
3- In which pockets will this money fall, for 40 years?
What is happening to Sweden is just amazing! Now they should avoid vacuuming on weekends!
So, the next step is stop cooking, don’t use fridges, fast food is only allowed…
At the end of this year, it is planned by our “environmentalist-turned” politicians, to take another power plant out of operation.
Once that happens, Germany will not have enough dependable power.
Have a look at Moltex Energy, who’s molten salt reactor is independently estimated to generate electricity cheaper than gas: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5bS5WfTPVvQ&feature=push-sd&attr_tag=-yGHdhXVMu1tFBZJ%3A6
Nor’easters would be disastrous to a Green America. Most of the country cannot survive and flourish with intermittent electricity. Feb 8 at Eurasia Review https://www.eurasiareview.com/08022021-noreasters-would-be-disastrous-to-a-green-america-oped/
Most of the nation needs more than intermittent electricity from wind and solar, they need continuous and uninterruptible electricity from natural gas, nuclear, and coal to support the health and economy in their state to survive extreme weather conditions year-round. California, with its temperate climate conditions year-round, can survive dysfunctional energy policies that have resulted in the least reliable electrical power systems in the nation.