Europe: Just One Cold Winter from Frozen Oblivion?

As Europe plunges headlong into dependency on unreliable and intermittent sources of energy — wind/solar — the fearsome spectre of a killing cold winter begins peeking over the time horizon.

Leading up to winter, various countries of Europe have been shuttering more dependable power plants including nuclear, gas, and coal, leaving her people vulnerable to the whims and caprices of unreliable energy sources. And while it will take more than one cold winter to finish off a once-brave continent, a long series of cold winters could spell the end of the EU’s so far sad attempt to reclaim European global dominance.

A cold winter may plunge Europe into an energy crisis because of the over-reliance on renewable energy and the shutting of natural gas-fired generators, Cap Gemini SA (CAP) said in a report.

…About 60 percent or 130,000 megawatts of Europe’s gas-generation capacity is at risk of closing by 2016, it said, citing IHS Inc. (IHS) estimates.

“These plants — that are indispensable to ensure security of supply during peak hours — are being replaced by volatile and non-schedulable renewable energy installations that are heavily subsidized,” according to the report, produced with Exane BNP Paribas, law firm CMS Bureau Francis Lefebvre Lyon SELAS and think tank VaasaETT.

…“Without longer-term economic incentives to invest in new and vital energy infrastructure and in the face of a declining utility margins and revenue, longer term security of energy supply could be in jeopardy,” Colette Lewiner, energy adviser to Cap Gemini’s chairman, said in the report. _Bloomberg

Depending on solar power in a European winter is the height of stupidity — something one has come to expect of the EU these days. Erratic wind power — too strong one moment and non-existent the next — is almost as bad. Wind has a habit of absenting itself just when power is most needed.

…Renewables have “grid priority”, meaning the grid must take their electricity first. This is a legal requirement, to encourage renewable energy in Europe… [ed: Far from being logical, this requirement is the epitome of self-defeating policy for any government that actually cares about the underlying economy and society.]

…it is getting harder to maintain grid stability. Utilities are not rewarded for offsetting the variable nature of wind and solar power. Instead, they are shifting out of electricity generation. And this is happening at a time when renewable energy supplies, on average, 22% of Germany’s electricity demand [ed: The true number is closer to 2% of Germany’s electricity demand when “supply” is matched to “load”]. No one really knows what will happen when renewables reach 35% of the market, as government policy requires in 2020, let alone if they reach the national target of 80% in 2050. Almost everyone acknowledges that as the share of renewable energy rises, regulation of the grid will have to change. _Economist

Intermittent unreliable forms of energy such as wind/solar are being driven by government subsidies, mandates, tax breaks, and other forms of governmental distortion of crucial market signals. Underlying this headlong plunge into the unreliables, is the quasi-religious ideology of anthropogenic carbon climate doom — a pseudo-scientific power grab disguised as an environmental imperative.

Corrupt and incompetent governments across the advanced world are pushing a wide range of policies that are certain to cripple their underlying economies, and bring ever greater hardship to their peoples.

Such mad lemming-like rushes to the cliff-tops are becoming the signature policies of Obama, Hollande, the Greens of Germany, the faceless unelected bureaucrats of the EU, and their ideology-bound comrades in cubicles in both governmental and non-governmental bureaucracies of western governments.

One might well wish for government shut-downs of every such government for as long as it takes to starve the energy policy-makers — before those faux environmentalists starve the rest of us out of a future.

It is never too late to have a dangerous childhood.

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