Pointless: Europe’s Wind & Solar Generators Rarely Deliver Power When It’s Actually Needed

Wind and solar are an all or nothing kind of prospect; when the Sun’s at its zenith and the wind’s blowing just right, wind and solar generators actually start to look like ‘industries’. But, a spell of calm weather and/or sunset soon buries that notion. Power delivered when it’s not needed is worthless, as are part-time power generators who simply cannot deliver power when it is needed.

The three big renewable energy fanatics in Europe, Germany UK and France have had plenty of time to prove the purported merits of wind and solar.

Charles Rotter takes a look at the (miserable) scorecard, to date.

Weather Dependent Renewable power performance in Europe DE UK FR: 2020
Watts Up With That
Charles Rotter for edmhdotme
7 May 2021

In 2020, Weather Dependent Renewables (Wind and Solar Power) made up 58% of all power generation installations in the three Nations: Germany (DE), the United Kingdom (UK) and France (FR).  Together they contributed about 24% of the power generated at a productivity / capacity percentage of 19.7%.

These three major Nations: Germany, the United Kingdom and France, (DE UK FR), account for more than half of the Weather Dependent Renewable, energy generation installations across Europe.  These Nations cover an area of about 1.1 million square kilometres about a quarter of the land area of the EU(27).  It extends from 43°N to 58°N and 6°W to 13°E.  The three Nations are predominantly in Northern Europe.

A data set accounting for their hourly and daily power output from 1/12/2019 to 31/11/2020 is used to examine the comparative performance of power generation in these three Nations.  The overall comparison between the combined  generating installations and the power output they achieve is shown below.

Notable points from these graphics:

  • the Weather Dependent Renewable installations in 2020 amounted to some 60% of all generation capacity across DE UK FR, and nominally they contribute ~24% of the DE UK FR power.
  • 17% of the installed DE UK FR generation technologies still produce substantial CO2 emissions from Coal, Lignite, Biomass and Natural Gas and these CO2 emitting generation technologies remain responsible for ~33% of the DE UK FR power output.
  • the use of this combination of CO2 emitting technologies produce more than ~2.5 times the CO2 emissions that would have been emitted by simply burning Natural Gas alone for the same power output.
  • Nuclear energy across DE UK FR still produces 35% of the power, even though the 8GW of that Nuclear power is scheduled for its final closure in Germany early this decade.
  • France is the predominant Nuclear power exporting ~6GW of its excess power to other European nations.  Those recipient Nations are wholly dependent on these power inputs to maintain their grid supplies.  Nonetheless, apparently France is intending to cut back on its Nuclear generation and substitute it with Weather Dependent Renewables. …

Weather Dependence leads to Intermittency and Variability
Wind power

In the event of significant high wind, Wind power has to be curtailed to protect the equipment from damage. The extent of the very significant Wind drought across all the DE UK FR territories in July 2020 is shown in the hourly data plotted below:

Wind power output is often limited by low wind speeds as well. Using power output from Wind generators as a proxy for wind speed and thus the likely curtailment of Renewable Energy output the following graphic shows the occasions of likely overspeed curtailment and periods of low productivity due to low wind speeds on an hourly basis.

Although storage solutions, such as batteries, might be able to combat such intermittency, it should be noted that the apparently massive battery storage capacity installed in South Australia at a cost of ~US$130 million can sustain the South Australian grid for its population of 1.7 million for about 10 minutes. So, battery storage, at a scale necessary to support the power user of DE UK FR at whatever cost, could not compensate for a Wind drought of some 10 days as occurred in July 2020.

Solar performance
A direct Solar PV comparison for a few winter days showing the an equivalent summer six day output shows that in Winter Solar PV energy provides about 1/6 of the output as in summer and the extent of the dark periods in the Northern winter. It also is crucial to note that even in summer fall off of Solar power is significant even in the evenings and that nil production occurs at all at night. In addition the significant overproduction can occur around midday in Summer and that overproduction will be curtailed or sold to neighbouring countries at a negative price and thus wasted when it exceeds the power demand.

It seems that the proponents and the government mandators of subsidies for Renewable Energy, particularly Solar PV power in Europe choose to ignore:

  • the annual productivity / capacity percentage of Solar PV in Europe persistently remains at only about 10%.
  • the “duck curve” of Solar PV production means that Solar PV production normally falls off in the evening, just at the time of likely peak demand
  • Solar PV energy production diminishes at least 6 fold from Summer to Winter. Winter is the period of higher demand
  • Northern Europe, particularly the UK and Germany are cloudy regions. Other locations such as California may achieve higher Solar productivity by as much as a further 50% to achieve up to 15% annual productivity / capacity percentage.

Conclusion

An excellent way to undermine Western economies is to render their power generation unreliable and expensive. That objective of Green thinking is progressively being achieved by government policies throughout the Western world, but without popular mandate.

  • Weather Dependent Renewables now represent ~60% of power generation fleet of the three Nations, but with 70% in Germany and much less in France
  • These DE UK FR Weather Dependent Renewables provide an overall productivity / capacity percentage of less than 20%.
  • With such high levels of Weather Dependent Renewables and with the progressive elimination of base load power generators both the UK and Germany are standing into danger because their power grids are becoming increasingly fragile for lack of base load power.

If the objectives of using Weather Dependent Renewables were not confused with possibly “saving the planet” from the output of the UK’s and Europe’s relatively minor and diminishing proportion of CO2 emissions, (for electricity generation, less than 25% of 1.1%, the UK 2019 portion of Man-made Global CO2 emissions), their actual cost, in-effectiveness and their inherent unreliability, Weather Dependent Renewables would have always been ruled them out of any engineering consideration as means of National scale electricity generation.

The annual UK CO2 emissions output is well surpassed just by the annual growth of CO2 emissions in China and the Developing world. It is essential to ask the question what is the actual value of these Western government mandated excess expenditures to the improvement of the environment and for the possibility of perhaps preventing virtually undetectable temperature increases by the end of the century, especially in a context where the Developing world will be increasing its CO2 emissions to attain it’s further enhancement of living standards over the coming decades.

Reducing CO2 emissions in just the Western world as a means to control a “warming” climate seems even less relevant when the long-term global temperature trend has been downwards for last 3 millennia, the world is entering a Grand Solar Minimum, which is likely to last for several decades and as the coming end of our current warm and benign Holocene interglacial epoch approaches.

The context in 2020-2021
In spite of all the noisy Climate Propaganda of the past 30 years, in Spring 2020 the world faced a different but very real economic emergency from the reactions to the COVID-19 virus pandemic.

That Emergency, with the world facing the loss of many citizens as well as global economic breakdown, should put the futile, self-harming and costly Government mandated attempts to control future climate into stark perspective. This real Emergency clearly shows how irrelevant concerns over probably inconsequential “Climate Change” in a distant future truly are.
Watts Up With That?

About stopthesethings

We are a group of citizens concerned about the rapid spread of industrial wind power generation installations across Australia.

Comments

  1. Here is a talk on the larger problem of decarbonization, which is closely related

    https://usea.org/event/consensus-building-commercial-scale-clean-energy-systems-through-deep-decarbonization-gt-scale

  2. Great info from stopthesethings…suggest you grab a copy of “Bright Green Lies” and re-produce some of the LIES about renewables, which are presented in great detail with lots of refutation and rejection of the current climate panic, not to mention mind-boggling recommendations for a total global reset of the industrial society!!

  3. Peter Pronczak says:

    Coincidentally DE UK FR & USA control NATO & the UN bias along with the western world’s private financial system & common two party privately directed politicial system that controls taxpayer subsidy of RE.

    That green ideology & financial consolidation originated with WWI & WWII isn’t coincidental. Although dumbed down voters haven’t got a clue. With brainwashed kids, parents & teachers swallowing the rubbish that climate is not just seasonal, but has forever changed – the next ice age will be when? Regardless that CO2 has been higher than scare mongering levels.

    Those greedy for money care nothing for facts.

  4. John Shewchuk says:

    This is called the Green New Deal “Virus” … https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QpVAHZCNTa8&t

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: