Renewables Regret: Power-Starved Europeans Rue Their Governments’ Wind & Solar Obsession

Eating cold baked beans in the dark might not be everyone’s idea of fun, but power-starved Europeans are getting used to that kind of indignity.

German households and businesses are already suffering Europe’s highest power prices; since Putin’s Ukrainian adventure began, German power prices have rocketed, further still, recently hitting a record 40 US cents per kWh. Power rationing is already routine, with worse to come.

Equally wind and solar-obsessed Britain, power prices have more than doubled in 12 months and, like their German cousins, will face power rationing this winter.

John Hinderaker delves into the utterly breathtaking stupidity that led to Europe’s power pricing and supply calamity.

The West’s Energy Disaster Worsens
Powerline
John Hinderaker
31 August 2022

There is no excuse for advanced economies to experience a shortage of electricity, or of energy generally. The world has more than ample supplies of fossil fuels. And, if you buy the global warming hype, nuclear energy is the obvious alternative, although that implies universal use of electric vehicles that are devastating to the environment.

Nevertheless, an electricity crisis is upon us. From the U.K.: “Energy could be rationed ‘for years.’”

Europe faces years of energy rationing without Russian gas, the boss of Shell has warned. Ben van Beurden said it was a “fantasy” to think that Europe’s energy crisis would be resolved soon and he warned that if Moscow were to cut off all supplies, life would be “very hard”.
***
Gas prices for Britain for this winter closed on Friday at a record high of 827p per therm, more than 16 times higher than the average prices over the decade pre-crisis. Soaring wholesale gas and power prices have already fed through to record household bills, which are due to increase by 80 per cent to £3,549 a year from October.

The current crisis in Western Europe is due in part to the threatened cutoff of Russian natural gas. But countries like Britain and Germany are vulnerable to such a cutoff because they fecklessly failed to provide for their own energy self-sufficiency. That was an incredibly stupid policy, but one that is now being pursued by the Biden administration despite having the Western European example before it.

But how about France? France gets the bulk of its electricity from nuclear power, so Russia’s natural gas should be irrelevant. Right? France 24 reports: “French PM says companies may face energy ‘rationing’ this winter.”

French Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne warned company bosses on Monday about the risk of energy rationing this winter and urged them to take steps to reduce their consumption.
***
She said the government was already drawing up contingency plans which included a “quota trading system” that would enable companies to buy and sell power quotas.

How can this be, given France’s unique investment in nuclear power?

France is more sheltered than many European countries from the surge in gas prices caused by Russia’s decision to reduce its exports to Europe after its invasion of Ukraine in February.

France generates some 70 percent of its electricity from a fleet of 56 nuclear reactors, but 32 are currently offline either for routine maintenance or to evaluate corrosion risks.

Not sure what is going on there. But governments, including France’s, welcome the current energy crisis because they think it will facilitate their pet project:

“Every company needs to mobilise and act. I call on everyone to establish their own energy-saving plans in September,” she said, while stressing that the crisis caused by record-high energy prices would help the transition away from fossil fuels.

“The months ahead are just a step in the bigger transition that we need to make,” she said.

No such transition is occurring, nor will it. The chimera of wind and solar energy is a bad joke, but one for which citizens of developed countries are about to pay dearly. This is a topic we have written on many times, but this graphic, which Steve recently posted, conveys the big picture at a glance:

Meanwhile, here in the U.S., we had energy independence–not just independence, but dominance–only a few years ago. It took a concerted effort by the Biden administration to screw it up. But the Left’s war on our prosperity and our way of life is only beginning. In Gavin Newsom’s California, sale of gasoline-powered vehicles is supposedly banned by 2035. Of course, that won’t happen. But the idea is that all vehicles, not just the current tiny percentage, will be electric. So how will all those EVs be charged? Not during the usual charging times, at least for the time being:

Hoping to avoid blackouts, the California Independent System Operator, which manages the state’s power grid, warned Tuesday that it probably will issue a series of Flex Alerts over the next several days. Flex Alerts are voluntary calls for conservation during the afternoon and evening hours, when energy use tends to soar. Residents will be asked to turn up their thermostats to 78 degrees or higher, avoid using dishwashers or other large appliances, and hold off on charging their electric vehicles, all during the 4-9 p.m. time frame.

There is no excuse for blackouts in a developed country, but with regard to energy pretty much the entire West is regressing. We have ample sources of reliable energy, but are inexplicably choosing to depend on inherently unreliable, ridiculously expensive, and environmentally damaging sources instead. Eventually Western countries, including the U.S., will come to our senses, but the harm done in the meantime will be incalculable. And you know who isn’t “transitioning” away from reliable sources of power, like coal? China.
Powerline

No self-inflicted power supply crisis in China.

About stopthesethings

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

Comments

  1. ” but 32 are currently offline either for routine maintenance or to evaluate corrosion risks.

    Not sure what is going on there. ”

    The explanation is out there.

    Believing they were going to shut down 1/3 of their nuclear plants and “transition” to more wind (why?, why?!) France stopped spending money on maintenance and instead squandered it building windmills.

    Now, they must play catch up with nuclear plant maintenance.

    The issues in France are not a normal part of a properly maintained nuclear fleet. It is an artifact of neglect brought on by magical renewable thinking.

    Yet, the naysayers are using this temprorary problem, brought on by following the policies of the naysayers, are an argument against nuclear power.

    Sigh. The lies never stop.

  2. Arrogant American leftists say “America’s nothing special; we’re just people too.” Then they look at the energy failures in Europe and Australia and say “We can do it right because we’re much smarter than they are.” They say the same thing about socialism.

  3. “Eating cold baked beans in the dark might not be everyone’s idea of fun, but power-starved Europeans are getting used to that kind of indignity.”

    How long do you – or rather, the authorities – expect people will put up with that based on the output oc computer models that after the Covid fiasco are becoming increasingly discredited before they start to take direct action?

  4. There is only one wind energy source that is efficient, old wind mills that were used to grind grain. It DIRECTLY transferred energy to the grinding stone. This saved a village the hard work of grinding grain by hand. It was a simple process of blades catching wind, gears and shafts transferring the energy to the grind stone. This invention was also used as paddles on brooks and streams that would use the natural flow of water to turn the wheel that turned the shafts that caused the grinding stone to rotate and crush the grain. It used very little if any oil and helped lead the people into the industrial revolution as with the freed up time they could work on other projects like discovering petroleum reserves that can power hundreds of planets for 500 millenniums, oil which led to steel manufacturing and automobiles. That led to ever more expansion where oddly the people went back to using wind mills, making them generate electricity occasionally to allegedly mostly power things that brainwash them into believing we are getting somewhere. Other devices using the same principles were developed or brainstormed since Roman days. One was thought could power an organ in a church. It was as practical as is the giant wind turbines of today, meaning it was not practical at all. Wind farms are movie sets producing only energy theater and they produce energy for portfolios as they transfer your dollar energy to theirs.

    • My grandfather had the only other good windmill. It pumped water up from a bore into a big, big tank on top of a tower. The wind didn’t have to work all the time because the tank stored its output. But at the same time, it was very limited because the water had to be stored where it was needed. It also wasn’t useful for anything else – he had a bunch of oil lamps to light the house, and a wood fireplace to cook. Nobody would try to run (ruin?) a civilization by relying on this type of power.

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