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  • Julie Wornan

Gone with the Wind

Updated: 4 days ago


When the wind goes down, so does wind-generated electric power.

When supply is constricted, prices rise.

And when the supply of clean power goes down, dirty power moves in. Think, coal.


This is not just theory, it’s the real world. Here are recent examples:


Britain’s last coal power stations to be paid huge sums to keep lights on.

Plants called on to supply electricity amid fall in wind generation and surge in price of gas.

https://www.theguardian.com/business/2021/sep/13/britain-last-coal-power-stations-to-be-paid-huge-sums-to-keep-lights-on-record-energy-prices/


The problem was compounded when a fire damaged a major cable bringing electricity from France.

https://www.theguardian.com/business/2021/sep/15/fire-shuts-one-of-uk-most-important-power-cables-in-midst-of-supply-crunch


UK electricity prices now most expensive in Europe.

Power prices have risen strongly across Europe but the UK has come under more intense pressure due to its high dependence on gas and renewables to generate electricity.

https://www.spglobal.com/platts/en/market-insights/latest-news/electric-power/091321-factbox-uk-electricity-prices-now-most-expensive-in-europe


Energy Prices in Europe Hit Records After Wind Stops Blowing.

Heavy reliance on wind power, coupled with a shortage of natural gas, has led to a spike in energy prices.

https://www.wsj.com/articles/energy-prices-in-europe-hit-records-after-wind-stops-blowing-11631528258


Coal replaces wind as Germany's main energy source in H1.

Electricity generation from coal increased by 35.5 percent year-on-year during the period.

http://www.news.cn/english/europe/2021-09/13/c_1310185711.htm


Shall we compare costs?

Graph of electricity prices 2011-2021
Electricity prices soar.

Germany’s Solar and Wind is Triple the Cost of France’s Nuclear and Will Last Half as Long.

https://energycentral.com/c/ec/germany-solar-and-wind-triple-cost-france%E2%80%99s-nuclear-and-will-last-half-long


France’s nuclear energy spending was 60% of what Germany spent on renewables. Germany’s solar farms will have to be rebuilt every 15-25 years. The wind farms will need to be rebuilt every 20-25 years. Nuclear plants can last 40-80+ years.


France produces 70% of its electricity with nuclear, and enjoys one of the lowest electricity prices in Western Europe. Germany is close to its goal of shutting down all its nuclear plants.


Power prices in Germany are among the highest in Europe.

https://www.cleanenergywire.org/factsheets/what-german-households-pay-power


France has a lower number of yearly deaths from air pollution compared to every other mainland European nation.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nuclear_power_in_France#Public_opinion


Substituting intermittent renewables for reliable nuclear energy is hurting not just consumers’ budgets and health, but also everybody's climate.

https://www.europeanscientist.com/en/features/europes-division-over-nuclear-power-is-hurting-the-climate/


Do we still want to prioritize wind farms over nuclear power plants? Should we put our money on fickle wind or faithful atoms?


- Julie Wornan







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